June 21, 2014
I was familiar with Eddie during my student days at NCAD and later got to know him when I became a member of staff at the college. He was interested in everyone and everything and because of my association with Ballina and the River Moy, when we met, we usually talked about fishing. Not that I know a whole lot about fishing (practically nothing actually), but it served as the appetiser for conversations that could go off in any direction. Everyone that met and knew Eddie liked him immediately. Before he retired in April 2013, as a personal parting gift, I spent the morning with Eddie taking photos to mark the occasion. I guess I knew that life at the college would be a little less colourful in his absence. It was a relatively relaxed affair, I didn't dictate ... we simply chatted and I took photos. On the day, he was his usual colourful self. We talked about many things, including his wife Patricia who was very ill and subsequently passed away a few months later. He talked about his retirement plans and his ambition to interview all the artists from the NIVAL database. Later, I gave Eddie one of the prints from the shoot. He expressed a preference for a black and white print and I duly complied. He later told me that Patricia was very fond of the image and this pleased me greatly. A short time after the shoot, I heard that Eddie was unwell. Patricia passed away in February this year and at the funeral I noticed a drastic change in Eddie. It saddened me when I remembered the plans he discussed with me. Still, he said his health was improving ... it wasn't. Eddie joined his beloved wife Patricia in May. It was hard to believe how someone so apparently strong could fail so quickly. I didn't get the opportunity to speak to him before he died but in a way, I'm happy to remember him as I'd always seen him when he leaned against the book shelves for a friendly chat. There have been many tributes to Eddie in recent weeks, this is mine. For those that knew him I hope this photo does justice to his memory. Gone but not forgotten.