Appreciation Tom Clarke
On the 31st March 2021, at home and in the loving care of his daughter Miriam, John Fahey passed away peacefully at the tender age of 84 years.
John had been a member of the Ayrfield Men’s Shed (AMS) since 2015. In that same year the AMS visited Glasnevin Cemetery, and as we reached the grave of Michael Collins, John stood by the grave and sang the Lament for Michael Collins. This was a joy to behold, A capella, but that was par for the course with John - a trained singer since college days. John loved to sing and never held back his wonderful gift, as you all know well. What we didn’t know at that time was that our Hon Sec. had sung for Presidents of the USA - this man from Killaloe, in County Clare. Other forums will no doubt be paying tribute to John, and his very varied career.
John came everywhere with the MS. except when he was in San Francisco visiting family. John brought to the MS his willingness to assist at every level and quickly was appointed Hon. Sec. and kept a ledger sized folder with all the minutes of meetings and AGM's etc. Many of you who read the Ayrwaves will have read John's regular piece on the comings and goings over the years.
Some time ago, we took a little barge trip on the Royal Canal on a barge specially adapted for passengers. Now this was no cruise liner, but it gave John the chance to act as captain of the aircraft carrier. Captain Fahey navigated a safe course for us gallant crewmen through the stormy waves which threatened to engulf us, but the ripple of the waves caused by bathing ducks was no bother for our gallant captain! The moment we all had been waiting for had come: we had to turn the ship around in the narrow waters of the Suez Canal. But first some rum, aka tea and biscuits, compliments of our ship's master and general factotum, Jenny. There was no time for a snooze after lunch; no it was straight back to turn the ship. This didn't faze our gallant captain as he set about his task with ever more vigour. Turning of the ship involved a lot of toing and froing, you could hear the cries of “hard to port”, “ahoy there”, “weigh the anchor”. “hoist the main sail”, “dar she blows”, “shiver me timbers”, …”has anyone a camera?” It was like the gun fight at the OK corral, as the crew drew from their holsters all sorts of mobile phones. Suffice to say that this was a very memorable outing with the AMS which John really enjoyed. After a lunch and some reminiscences it was back in the cars with our adventure completed; we were ready for the journey home. John seized the day; he really enjoyed that trip as he had some of the folklore of when the barges ruled the waves.
Quite recently we had the pleasure of John's company in a Zoom meeting .with Ayrfield Men’s Shed. John had been enjoying the sunshine, sitting outside in the back garden, while Miriam worked the oracle to join the meeting with identity numbers and password etc. AMS had a special place in John’s later life, and AMS is all the stronger for his contribution to our success. As a student at teacher training college, John took part in the college production of Maritana, an Irish ballad opera, and we all remember those “Happy Moments” that we were blessed to share with you, our very dear friend John Fahey. RIP.
Appreciation Bill Cantwell
In 1975, my Family and I arrived from Cork to the Parish of Ayrfield as the foundation stone for our church was laid. During mass sometime later Carmel, John’s wife, asked me if I would like to join the choir on Sundays. The choir consisted of 6 other men and Carmel providing the music. After the mass she introduced me to her husband John and a great friendship developed and continued to the end.
It was difficult to speak of one without mentioning the other.
We often assembled at their home on Tonlegee Road to rehearse our selection of hymns for the following day. I suppose this was his professional side wanting everything to be right. They gave of their time so generously to all matters related to St. Paul's Parish. John was so proud of his daughters who of course would be subjected to our singing probably too often.
John, as those who knew him, had a great tenor voice and very versatile, as we used to sing in Irish, English and Latin, and John was so happy to add a verse of Silent Night in German at Christmas time. The Carol Service wouldn’t be the same without John getting everyone to join in singing Feliz Navidad in Spanish and English.
John will be sadly missed by his Family and numerous friends. I am sure that his generous soul will be rewarded in Heaven.
I respectfully extend my condolences to John’s daughters and extended family.
“May He Rest In Peace”