I got to know Derek when we were in secondary school - he was in Flannan’s and I was in Rice. We met through mutual friends and, along with Aidan O’Grady, we just got on from the start, with shared interests in music, film, books, many cultural pursuits and an individual sense of fashion - at the time Derek had a brilliant line in secondhand waistcoats!!
We’d go to gigs in the Banner Arms and see bands like the Golden Horde. At the time, we thought it was hilarious that the lead singer, Simon Carmody, described the Banner ‘like playing in someone’s sitting room’ because the place was fully seated with no place to dance. After the gig, it was on to the Queens nightclub where we’d wait to jump around to the one song we deemed worthy of our attention. Derek didn’t drink but always put up with our drunken behaviour and sideways messin’ with good humour.
We kept in touch during our college years and even helped each other out on projects. It was always great to get his perspective on creative matters - he listened and gave thoughtful insightful comment but never imposed his ideas.
The last time we hung out properly was for Aidan’s funeral in 1996. After that, I suppose life’s stuff got in the way - but when we did meet, it was always great to see him. The last time was here in Ennis with Aoibhe just after Cole was born and he was the epitome of the young, tired but super-proud dad.
I joked with him a few years later when Cora came along that he had a gentleman‘s family which can be said that Derek was a true gentleman in the real sense of the word and there aren’t many of those around. So sad to think he has gone but grateful that I got to know him and had some wonderful times and great memories.
Cole and Cora - like you, I lost my dad at a young age so I have some understanding of what a huge loss this is for you but I hope you will take what you have learned from him with you into the future he would have wanted for you.