I have very fond memories of Derek during my teenage years in Ennis. He tolerated my cure head faze and we had many a great chat over a glass of orange juice in Dillinger’s in the market. I always remember him as part of the trio, Spike, Fagan and Eamon. They were the cool, arty, music guys who were most definitely in the cool category but so sound as well. Derek was always so gentle and easy going with none of the pretentiousness of many of the lads his age. Chatting about Derek over the last few days when we heard the tragic news, Eamon reminded me of a funny story. My sister Helen and I were only allowed to go to Féile in Thurles at the time if we stayed in a B&B. Not a bad compromise we figured until we met the Bean an Tī who had holy pictures in every room and doused us in holy water before venturing out. We were in Boarding School in Thurles at the time so we reckon mum got the recommendation from the nuns! Well, one night, kind, chivalrous Derek walked us back to the B&B and came up for a chat. He snuck out in the wee hours of the morning and we were petrified he’d wake up Mrs O’Brien who’d surely daub us in. Our relief on his discreet exit was short lived when he turned up ringing the door bell the following morning looking for his wallet!
Our deepest condolences to Derek’s wife and children, his parents, sister and extended family and to all his friends and colleagues. He will be deeply missed. Sending you all strength in these difficult days.