Saying goodbye to a true Valentia islander
ON Tuesday April 3, Valentia Islander Patrick O’Driscoll was laid to rest in Kilmore Graveyard.
Patrick would not have been a familiar personality to many of the younger generation of Valentia Islanders as he left Valentia Island many years ago to settle in Dublin. However,as a true Valentia Islander, he was well known among his own peers and those somewhat younger as he had a considerable number of relatives here. He passed away on Good Friday in the Connolly Hospital of Blanchardstown.
Patrick came from the townland of Dohilla, a place of outstanding beauty: sloping fields and rugged seascapes lying in the northern side of Valentia Island, overlooking Valentia Harbour, Beginish Island, the Valentia Lighthouse, Dingle Bay and the Blasket Islands far off in the distance.
He was born to parents Patrick and Alice (née Bowler) O’Driscoll, a family which comprised four boys and three girls. Having completed their secondary school education in Cahersiveen his brothers and sisters left Dohilla to permanently reside in various parts of the country.
Patrick stayed on to operate the family’s small farm, caring for his parents. The O’Driscolls were reared in the pre- Valentia Bridge days and would have cycled from Dohilla to cross by motor boat ferry from Knightstown to Renard on their way to secondary school in Cahersiveen.
The commencement of the journey involved quite a steep climb from the lowlands of Dohilla, very often not the most pleasant of journeys in a bicycle with a bag full of books on a day of wind and rain.
After the deaths of his parents, which occurred in close proximity to each other in 1970, Patrick left Valentia Island at the age of 30 to settle on a permanent basis in Dublin.
He rented the grazing of the land to John Francis Curran and in the 1980s the land was bought by Noel Lynch of Chapeltown. The late Kevin Mackey purchased the family house and it is currently owned by Paul Duff, a native of Glasnevin, Dublin.
The farm had passed through six generations of the O’Drisoll family. A good and abiding memory for this scribe is of sitting in the back of his tractor-drawn trailer with a primary school friend of the ‘60s to enjoy a spin as he travelled home from the creamery to Dohilla via the slopes of the Chapel Road.
His remains arrived from Dublin on Easter Monday night to the church of St Derarca and Teresa of Chapeltown to be met by a very large attendance of relatives, friends and old neighbours of times past. Fr Larry Kelly of Cahersiveen performed the obsequies.
Fr Kelly also officiated at the funeral ceremony on the following day in which readings were performed by Patrick’s nephews and nieces. His nephew Shane O’Driscoll read a poem of tribute, and the eulogy was rendered by his brother, Michael.
A rainy day in Kilmore did not dampen the warm homecoming accorded to the remains by the many relatives, friends and neighbours of Patrick. They remembered him as a man of unassuming, friendly and pleasant disposition. A member of one of the last native Valentia Island families to permanently reside in Dohilla, he was laid to rest among his own not far from the seagull’s cry and the awesome beauty of the place where he worked his farm in his formative years honed as a Valentia Islander. Sincere condolences are offered to his sisters Mary (Hanafin),Ann and Alice (Brady); brothers John, Maurice and Michael; sisters-in-law; brother-in-law; nieces; nephews; and many relatives and friends in Valentia and elsewhere.
Solás na bhFlaitheas dó.