‘You gave it your best James, your almighty best’
James Daly, 1962 - 2018
THERE was sincere sadness and a sense of disbelief as news of James Daly’s untimely death spread throughout Kerry, Limerick and far beyond.
He passed away peacefully on the 18th January, embraced in the loving care of his wife Eileen, sons Mark and James and daughter Eimear, having been admitted to the Milford Care Centre, Limerick on the previous day. James was born on 19th October, 1962 to parents Joan and Denis Daly, Castleisland. He came from a family of six children, brother to Katherine, Joanie, Mike, Myra and Marguerite. He attended school locally in Castleisland but it’s fair to say that he received a very worthwhile education in the company of his father Denis and older brother Mike, as they travelled roads, boreens, cul-desacs and mountain tracks to farmers, fair days and marts the length and breadth of the country buying and selling livestock and sheep, an education that served him well and shaped his destiny. An education, now in fond recall, referred to as UDD, the University of Denis Daly. Studies included Farming and Finance, Statistics and Logistics, Supply Chain Management, in other words ‘how to work hard and make a few bob’. As well as plenty of hardship, there were great times along the way, always in pursuit of progress and an eye to the land and fine fields.
James also had an eye on his girl. In Eileen O’Loughlin, the love of his life, he had met a perfect ally, the Vet’s daughter, from just ‘back the road’ in Sandville, Castleisland. Childhood sweethearts, James and Eileen married, restored a beautiful old stone farm-house and set up a happy home together on the farm in Ballinlough, Kilteely, Co. Limerick, 28 years ago, where they reared their three children. They worked hard and achieved a lot.
From Ballyhaunis to Bunclody, Castleisland to Camolin, Dingle to Dunboyne, Puck to Pallasgreen, wherever there were livestock or sheep to be bought, sold, supplied or distributed James Daly was widely-known, wellliked and highly regarded. Blessed with a shrewd business intuition, a hard work ethic and common sense, James had his profession perfected to a fine art and conducted it always with ease, good will and good humour, without posturing, fuss or fan-fare. The esteem in which he was held was reflected in the huge crowds that attended his Removal and on the day of his Funeral Mass, and in the Guards of Honour that were provided on both days.
Although, being diagnosed in 2011, James never complained of illness and no matter what, he just kept working through all that journey, through operations and treatment and tests and results. With remarkable reserves of endurance and courage, he continued to pack a lot in, made the days count, never called it quits. Often times he’d sit into his jeep in Dublin, after a hospital stay or bout of treatment and a few hours later be on his John Deere working on the farm in Ballinlough or at the ring in Gortatlea Mart. He was still buying and selling and dealing on the phone, in the hospital, up to the very end. A farmer, a buyer, a seller, a dealer, a supplier, a lorry driver, a character and above all a dear husband, father, brother and sound friend, James made everyone’s world a friendlier, funnier place. With that smidgen of harmless devilment, if you met him today, you’d find yourself still laughing tomorrow and into the middle of next week.
James is so very sadly missed by his wife Eileen, sons Mark and James, daughter Eimear, his brother Mike (Castleisland), sisters Katherine Murphy (Cork), Joanie Madigan (UK), Myra Daly (Tralee) and Marguerite Griffin (Nenagh), sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, mother-in-law and extended O’Loughlin family, nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbours and many friends.
The Daly and O’Loughlin Families would like to extend many thanks to the Medical People in numerous hospitals, to the Milford Care Centre, Limerick and to all those who cared in so many ways during James’ final days and throughout the Funeral proceedings; Davern Undertakers, the great neighbours and friends, the meitheal of stewards who provided traffic control, the wonderful Parish Choir, the meaningful support of an entire Community in the Parish of Kilteely. A heartful thanks to the crowds of neighbours, friends, relatives and acquaintances who travelled from James and Eileen’s native parish of Castleisland and to all those who made the journey from near and far to express sympathy and convey condolences. Thanks to those who organised and formed the Guards of Honour which meant a lot, to those who sent Mass Cards, letters, emails, texts and those who telephoned.
A special thanks to Fr Joe Tynan. In his thoughtful words during the Funeral Mass, Father Joe spoke of James’ love of the land which prompted the lovely gesture of placing a fist of straw from the Crib, carefully on the coffin and then bringing to mind Listowel playwright, the late John B Keane and his work ‘The Field’, the simplicity of these salutes striking a chord.
Indeed, to summarise the life and times of James Daly, one could paraphrase John B’s words taken from his play ‘Sive’, ‘You gave it your best James, your almighty best’.
James’ final resting place is the ancient graveyard in Ballinlough, with its rustic stone walls and iron gate, sheltered by a rolling grassy hill and a stand of steadfast, old trees, at the end of his own boreen, still with an eye to the land and the fine fields he farmed. May the sod lie gently on his soul!
‘God be with him now and bring him home with his fair share’. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann. James’ Month’s Mind Mass will be held in St. Patrick and Brigid’s Church, Kilteely, Co. Limerick on Saturday, February 17 th at 7.30pm.
The late James Daly