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Saturday 19 October 2019

Billy was a proud Wexford man

On a quiet rural road in north Clare last Wednesday a Wexford flag flew at half mast. It marked the gateway to the long, winding entrance to Kilawinna cemetery, where another Wexford flag had been placed on the graveyard wall. The flags were to mark the final resting place of a man who, despite having spent almost 40 years living in the parish of Crusheen, Co. Clare, had remained a very proud Wexford man.

Billy Walsh, a native of Ballintatron, Taghmon, died at University Hospital on Galway on July 21. He was son of the late John and Catherine Walsh.

He left Co. Wexford in the 1960s and travelled from county to county following the major construction projects of the day. One of those was the building of a new road from Ennis to Gort in Co. Galway. It was while working on this site that he met local girl Brid McNamara. The couple later married and he spent the rest of his life living in Co. Clare raising three daughters, Caroline, Denise and Veronica.

While he was fully involved in his adopted county and was a great supporter of all things Clare, he remained very proud of his Wexford roots.

He was a regular visitor to his native parish over the years and it was fitting that one of his last trips outside of Co. Clare was to return to Taghmon in May to attend the Month's Mind Mass for his brother Kevin. Two weeks later he was hospitalised with serious illness.

Billy had a passionate interest in Gaelic games, particularly hurling, and travelled all over the country following county and club teams. He followed both the Wexford and Clare hurling teams with equal interest.

He also had a love of the land and was noted for the quality of his gardening and vegetable growing. At his funeral, celebrant Fr Ger Nash said Billy had come from the great cereal growing fields of Wexford to settle in the land of Clare, a county not noted for its tillage. However, he had adapted his talents to maximise the potential of his surrounds and had grown great produce on his lands.

Since his retirement from Clare County Council in 2007, he devoted his time to farming, a task he had divided with his council job for many years.

However, family came first for Billy. He was a devoted husband and adoring father. Speaking at his funeral Mass his nephew Ger Walsh said he was extraordinarily proud of the achievements of each of his daughters and was never happier than when he was relating another chapter in the story of their lives to family or friends.

He was pre-deceased by his brothers Paddy and Kevin. He is survived by his wife Brid, daughters Caroline, Denise, and Veronica, son-in-law Will, sister Carmel French of Davidstown, Enniscorthy, sisters in-law Anna Walsh of Taghmon, Anna May McNamara of Clare and Bernadette White of the UK, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

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