The late Andy Brennan with his family who were everything to him
It was entirely fitting that the big Brennan family from Lisahully should want to include a photo of their late much loved dad Andy in the centre of his ten children, their spouses and his granchildren in any obituary or tribute written about him.
For the big hearted Andy left a legacy of love care and a mosaic of wonderful memories for all of his children.
Andy was the centre of their universe, their great guiding star who fought so magnificently against the cruel gradual dimming of his life.
As Andy Jnr said so poignantly: “Our lives revolved so much around dad. A big part of our family jigsaw is gone”.
Andy Brennan came from a family of 16 and was born in Rathmore just outside Ballyshannon in 1956 and was one of the last children to be born in the Rock Hospital and spent his early years on the Rock and went to school in Ballyshannon.
Andrew Dominic suffered early tragedy when his mother died as a young woman and the older children finished their education and went into the work force to raise the smaller children.
Andy left school to work in the saw mills in Kinlough when he was just 14.
He and his brothers Gerry and Paddy then made history by becoming the only three brothers to join the Irish Army on the same day in 1978, a short stint for the free-spirited Andy.
Andy also worked as a doorman in the Aparthotel and in Breslin's where he enjoyed driving a travelling shop around country roads which suited his witty gregarious nature.
He had a great gift of the gab, loved people, their compnay, and loved to entertain and be entertained and also loved nothing better than “doing a deal”.
Andy was also a trained butcher, a true man for all seasons. But his greatest passion was farming and darts.
And he looked after his family and his animals and always made sure his family had a right few pounds for Bundoran at the weekend.
Local GAA was also important to Andy and he managed Rockfield School GAA Primary school team from 1997-1999 where his children were pupils.
They won the Two Teacher competition in one of those years and went to an Ulster semi-final.
Andy was also a great Donegal county fan and was in Croke Park on that famous day in 1992.
He came home with the signatures of all the players for his family.
Andy Jnr quipped: “We didn't see him for a week”.
And his very hard working wife Susannah added: “I was a Sam Mguire widow. He followed the team all over Donegal.”
Andy's last GAA match was another happy day at the All-Ireland final in 2012 when he and Andy Jnr went to Croke Park.
He was in a wheelchair by that stage after contracting COPD at the early age of 43 in 1999.
Andy was an Aodh Ruadh underage mentor and took a great interest in his grandchildren who turn out for Aodh Ruadh and Erne Gaels and was a mentor with Kilbarron Utd soccer team in 1987.
Darts was a massive passion and he threw for Donaghers in Ballyshannon in the 1970's and 1980's and for the Jolly Farmers in 1999, the year he first became ill and had several trophies.
His family farm in Lisahully was a wonderful menagerie of cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep, hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peacocks and even guinea fowl.
And he taught his family (they also have it from their mother) to work hard, stand on their own two feet and all ten of his children are in gainful employment and their mother worked as a carer for many years.
He could rustle up huge stews that could last a week and went to all the marts in the north west where he was well known.
He was a great provider for his family and had the emotional intelligence to turn his hand to anything that would bring home a few pounds for his large family and could aslo turn his hand to a bit of building.
“They were his priority”, said Susannah. Andy met Susannah at a dance in the Holyrood Hotel in and around 1976 and they married in 1980.
He enjoyed a few quiet pints in a few quiet pubs and also had a great passion for Honda 50s and could belt out ballads and country and western music.
Andy was also a staunch member of the Fianna Fáil Cumann in Cloghore along with Jimmy Mulrone and worked actively for the party.
The family moved from Ernedale Heights to the sylvan setting of Lisahully where Andy was so happy in the bosom of his famly and the country that he loved.
“Everything was centred around dad. There is a massive part of our family jigsaw gone,” he added.
Andy Brennan passed away on September 6 after bearing his illness with great fortitude and he was 62.
He is survived by his wfie Susannah, Orla, Andy, Sinead, Oliver, Shane, Aaron, Cyril, Thomasina, Oisin and Leona (children); 14 brothers and sisters and grandchildren.
May he rest in peace.