The news of the death of Bart Daly, one of Clonmel’s most popular figures, was greeted with much sadness.
Born in Meelick, Co. Clare in 1918, the year of the first elections to the Dail, Bart’s allegiance remained with his beloved Clare, especially when it came to the hurling field, despite living in Tipperary for more than 60 years.
He joined the Defence Forces in Limerick in 1946, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. He did his training in the Curragh alongside his good colleague, the late Jack Cosgrave, both of whom were subsequently stationed in Clonmel.
Bart served his apprenticeship as a barber in Limerick in 1940. He brought this trade with him to his army career and had his own barber’s shop at the Kickham Barracks in Clonmel. Some of the soldiers would request a small amount of hair to be cut, only to be met by the Sergeant Major and told to get themselves back up to Bart Daly!
During the early 1970s he completed a couple of tours of duty patrolling the border with Northern Ireland. Around the same time he was also involved in the fundraising drive for Clonmel’s first swimming pool, calling door-to-door to collect funds.
Bart distinguished himself in many spheres in the army. He was a talented cross-country runner and won an All-Ireland medal in 1948, as well as finishing runner-up in the Command Championship in 1951, and he was selected on the Command team every year from 1947-51.
As a bren gunner he won three Command shooting competition medals and was a member of the team that shared the honours in the Army All-Weapons Cup in 1950 at The Curragh. Proving himself an all rounder, he won the Battalion slow bicycle race at the Battalion Sports in 1952.
He served on the committee of St. Luke’s pitch and putt club and had the honour of serving as club captain, fulfilling duties such as organising competitions and cutting the greens.
Many will remember Bart as a photographer. He developed his interest when he was having his passport photo taken and said “I can do that”. The rest is history. He had his attic converted for printing photos and when colour photos came on stream he faced the challenge and produced the finest quality colour prints for their time.
He became a familiar figure taking photos of weddings as well as First Holy Communions and Confirmations. Many families would go to his house in Irishtown where his front room was transformed into a studio.
In his homily at the Funeral Mass Fr. Billy Meehan, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, said there was hardly a house in Clonmel that didn’t have a photo taken by Bart Daly on the wall.
Upon leaving the army after 31 years he joined the ONE (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen) and for more than 30 years was involved in fundraising events that supported many a charity.
Bart loved walking and on many occasions could be seen walking through the streets of the town, often stopping for a chat with fellow ex-army men. He was well known for his walk up Irishtown and across the Convent Bridge and many a worker in the former Clonmel Foods, or Chappies factory knew if they met him walking on the Waterford side of the bridge they were on time for work.
He also loved his garden, where many a vegetable was grown. He had a small allotment for growing shamrock and every year without fail brought a bowl of shamrock to St. Mary’s Church on St. Patrick’s Day.
His family are grateful to all the good neighbours and friends who called to sympathise with them on their sad loss.
The removal took place from O’Donoghue’s funeral home to St. Mary’s Church, where they were received by Fr. Billy Meehan, P.P., and Fr. Peter Ahearne. Siobhan and Mairead provided the music. Members of the ONE formed a guard of honour outside the church.
Requiem Mass on Monday was celebrated by Fr. Billy Meehan, with Fr. Bobby Power, Fr. Ailbe O’Bric and Fr. Vinod Kurian Thennattil also in attendance.
There was a military guard of honour at the church and the graveyard. The coffin was draped in the tricolour on both days. Gillian and Eamon performed the music at the Requiem Mass and a wonderful version of Pie Jesu at Communion time was spectacularly followed by an instrumental version of Danny Boy for the removal from the church.
The readings at the Mass were recited by Bart’s grandchildren Tara and Sinead. Symbols of his life were brought to the altar by son Eddie (who brought Bart’s camera), granddaughter Karen (his army record book), granddaughter Grainne (walking stick) and niece Margaret (comb and scissors). The Prayers of the Faithful were recited by his nephew Dessie, granddaugther Grainne and great granddaughter Stacey.
Bart is survived by his wife Alice; sons Eddie, Brendan and Anthony; daughter Denise; brother Paddy; sister-in-law Eileen; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, relations and friends, to whom sincere sympathy is extended.
He was pre-deceased by his sister Maisie and brother Jimmy.
The Month’s Mind Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, Irishtown at 7pm on this Friday evening, 22nd June.