For those of us who knew him, he made an everlasting mark in our lives. In his day he truly was larger than life. His contribution to our society was truly immense and we will never forget him.
Will we ever forget those sayings: “you better believe it”, “No lie for me”, “the road to no town”, “everyday is a school day” “show me your friends, I'll tell you who you are”, “the apple never falls from the tree”, “no show without punch”.
Conal was without question Ardara’s greatest ambassador, whether mingling with the elite in the Hilton in London, Dublin or New York. Conal spoke with such pride and passion about Ardara. He brought many visitors to Ardara more than any marketing company and Conal could mix with the best.
When he came back from Garrison to take on the role of head chef in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel in the 1960’s, it was a big task. There was no history of food at the Hotel then.
Conal quickly changed that and the Nesbitt Arms Hotel became a mecca for food in the North West. If you hadn't booked, you simply missed out. Conal Haughey well and truly brought the buzz to Ardara that remains as a mark of respect to him to this day.
When we called them Connie & Nessa, he called them Mr & Mrs Molloy, when we called her Fionnula, Conal called her Dr. Fleming. He well and truly respected the art of chivalry. He was from that lovely era.
His special friends are so many, but I must mention a few and there was the Bibi period, there was always Bridie Gallagher and Mother Teresa in London and of course Peggy Dell. There was the fun days with Fr Clarke and the banter in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel with Rev. Scott Harte and the yanks Ann & Al all those lovely families like: The McHughs from Dublin, Mr Baird, George & Myrtle, the McKennas from Monaghan and the Hartes and the McKeowns from Mullingar.
Conal was a religious man and had great devotion to blessed Charles later St Charles who he always considered cured his Cancer. His ability to deliver a witty remark or rebuke was famous and many a person got one side or the other or sometimes both. Ardara is often praised for its “feel good factor” and without doubt Conal Haughey put that “feel good factor” in Ardara and from that many of our great festivals and events developed. We in Ardara owe a lot to Conal Haughey. We will miss him. We will miss him on the “Glider” outside Bridies or holding court in the Heritage Centre or on the road with his lifetime special friend Kathleen.
Conal travelled extensively throughout the world and passionately advertised Ardara everywhere. He loved “Dub” and London and he always had special stories on his return. But we all worried about him as he made his final trip to his favourite spot New York as he often said “the city that never sleeps”. Conal went to New York and enjoyed that trip but knew it was his last
Conal passed away at 2.00 am on Thursday 28th April in Killybegs Community Hospital, was waked at home at that special address “Ardara 4” and was buried after 11.00 am Mass in the Church of the Holy Family, Ardara on Saturday last after a beautiful Service by Fr Johnny Moore. Patsy and Nora lovingly cared for Conal throughout his life and we extend sympathy to Patsy, Nora and all his Family and Friends.
“Tigím, Tigím, Tigím”, we will miss you so much Conal
God Bless you.