Tadhg Culbert would have retired on May 1st after 40 years on the staff at An Post in Letterkenny.
Over the years, Tadhg Culbert ensured the post office was always a happy place to go. He was a friendly face among the counter staff, someone who loved nothing more than a bit of craic with the customers. A chat and a laugh with friends.
His work colleagues will miss him dearly. They stood in silence on Saturday morning, heads bowed, as Tadhg’s funeral made its way slowly down Main Street before stopping for some minutes outside his former place of work.
Earlier on Tadhg’s final journey to St. Eunan’s Cathedral, his coffin had been carried by friends from a host of local organisations of which Tadhg had been a proud member.
His political friends and colleagues in Fianna Fáil carried him down the High Road before the pallbearing duties were taken up by members of Letterkenny Town Council and then council staff. After that it was the turn of the sports organisations, the Glencar Inn Golf Society, St. Eunan’s GAA club and Letterkenny Rovers.
At Upr. Main Street, the coffin was borne by the counter staff at the post office and then members of the sorting staff. All along the street, large crowds lined the pavements as the funeral cortege made its way farther down before it stopped for another poignant moment outside Blake’s Bar. Staff members and friends from Tadhg’s favourite local then carried the coffin down to Church Lane, before it was brought up to the cathedral.
The town had come to a standstill for a man who just two years ago had proudly worn the mayoral chain and was the town’s first citizen. On Saturday, that town and its people said a final goodbye.
As his friend and party colleague, Dr. James McDaid remarked in an emotional graveside oration, Tadhg had made many friends over his time in Letterkenny. He recalled him coming to Letterkenny as a 17-year-old to work in the post office and how over the years, he had engrained himself in the community, such was his outgoing nature and love of life.
Dr. McDaid recalled happy times and spoke of Tadhg’s popularity and ability to bring a smile to anyone he encountered. He also referred to Tadhg’s battle with illness and how he had managed to deal with the fact that it was a battle he wasn’t going to win. He recalled how after a hospital visit, Tadhg had asked his daughter, Lisa, not to take him home but instead go for a drive “around his constituency.” It was, Dr. McDaid said, Tadhg’s chance to have one last look around a town that will be a lonelier place without his unique presence.