Larry Lynch was the oldest and most respected man in Annaduff Parish when he died, at home in Gortinty House, on New Year’s Day 2013. A really strong man and a hard worker, he was honest and forthright and called a spade a spade. He was an excellent neighbour to all and you could depend your life on him.
Larry was born on 27 March 1916, at Doora townland, close by Lough Boderg. His parents were Mary Kate Wynne from Corratterriff, Eslin, and Pat Lynch. His first job was on the railway. He started at the age of thirteen. As a youngster, he loved to row across the Lough to dances in Kilmore, Co Roscommon. He did not play much football (but,his sons and grand-children certainly did). Young men of that time thought nothing of cycling, in groups, to matches in Cavan or Roscommon Towns. In 1936, he and a big crowd went, by train, to the All-Ireland Football Final in which Mayo defeated Laois by 4-11 to 0-5. Leitrim’s Packy McGarty was his all-time football hero. He was joint treasurer of Annaduff GFC in the year 1937.
In 1943, he and some of his siblings moved to Gortinty House. He was fond of playing card games such as Auction Fifteen and Twenty Five. Master Lane, Drumsna, often came for a céilí and to play cards. He was very exact about leaving for home at a certain time of night. Larry often put back the clock by an hour or two and the Master would be so engrossed at the cards that he failed to notice. On one occasion, he was many hours late going home.
In January 1953, Larry married local girl Vera Farrell, from Aughintass. There is a photo in their house of those who attended their reception in the Castle Hotel, Mohill. In the self-sufficient years of the 30s, 40s and 50s’each household kept and killed a pig or two. To be able to kill and bone a pig was a great skill. The leading man at that was John “The Gent” Lenihan, father of Pat “X”, Mullagh. Larry helped as an apprentice and soon he was doing the job in his own right. This adept skill was put to good use when he worked as a trimmer in Lyons Western Meats, Dromod, from 1966 to 1994.The reason he stopped working (going on 79 years) was because his wife Vera was ill. He was heart-broken when she died on 13 Jan 1995.
He was as good as a vet and helped neighbours when calving cows were in difficulty. People brought cows long distances to his Aberdeen Angus bulls. He was an expert on the bogs and a powerful sleansman in Corrig Bog or in McNulty’s of Clooneagh. He was a strong supporter of Fine Gael and took part in the IFA blockade of Rooskey Bridge, in 1966, to demand proper incomes for small farmers. He had no time for irrelevancies. At a public meeting in the old Annaduff Hall, about 1989, some people were disrupting the start of the meeting. In a loud voice from the door, he said “What did we come here for? Will ye stop the nonsense and get on with the meeting”. His reprimand had the desired effect and those present were galvanised into action.
Larry had a great interest in history, especially that of Drumsna and its surrounds. He was well regarded as a story-teller and had facts and figures to back his statements. He was witty and had a lovely sense of humour. His grand-daughter, Áine, once came home with a lovely new pair of shoes and when he saw them he said to her “And did you get them both in the one shop?”He supported Annaduff GAA, but a close second came the achievements of Eslin Club. In recent years, he really got into snooker, as shown on TV. He got very unwell in the year 2000 and spent some weeks in Sligo General Hospital.
His long life can be attributed to many things. He lived a simple and quiet life, full of helping others. He never smoked and would take a drink at a big occasion, like a wedding. He took two boiled eggs per day and the one for breakfast had to be a duck egg. His physical condition declined in the past six months, but mentally he remained very sharp to the last minutes of his life. He even recalled the old saying that “A green Christmas makes for a fat graveyard”.
At Larry’s funeral, Fr John Wall PP paid due tribute to the great care given to him by his son and caretaker, Pauric, and by other members of his family. That great care, undoubtedly, contributed to those extra years of joy and happiness. People, such as Larry, are rare and their lives and times must be marked with appreciation. May our good friend Larry rest in well-earned eternal peace.
Our deepest sympathies to his sons Pauric, Micheál and Lar, to his daughters-in-law Rosaleen and Rose Mary, to his six grand-children, brother-in-law Paddy, many nephews and nieces and to a very wide circle of relations and friends. He was a joy to call in to see and he will be sorely missed by all.