Moving tribute to a wonderful Donegal Town man

Huge crowds at funeral of the late Joe O’Rourke

Matt Britton


Matt Britton


Moving tribute to a wonderful Donegal Town man

Members of St Vincent de Paul form a guard of honour as the remains of the late Joe O'Rourke leaves St Patrick's Church, Donegal town this morning.

Huge crowds attended the funeral Mass of the late Joe O’Rourke at St. Patrick’s Church in Donegal Town this morning which was indeed a testament to the respect in which he was held, not only in Donegal Town, but throughout the North West.

The late Mr. O’Rourke passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday last surrounded by his family in Aras Mac Suibhne in Mullinasole.

The Mass was celebrated By. Fr. Willie Peoples PP who was assisted by Fr. Seamus Dagens, Fr. Danny McBrearty, Fr. Frank McManus, Fr. Herbie Bromley and Fr. Rory Brady.

Joe O'Rourke with his wife Louie pictured overlooking Donegal Bay.

Welcoming the large crowd to the church Fr. Peoples said, “Joe O’Rourke was well known for his charity and kindness. He helped so many people in need, people that we might never hear of. He helped people keep their dignity with his own humility through his work with the St. Vincent de Paul and his own private visits.

“Charity is a virtue and a virtue that Joe used well.”

Fr. Seamus Dagens in his homily told the congregation,”Today we all join together in celebration of Joe’s life but also pray for consolation for his family.

Joe O'Rourke in younger days.

“Joe was blessed with a long and fruitful life reaching  the age of 83 years and in all that time retained the gift of faith which he received as a child.

“He met his wife Louie in 1954 and married soon afterwards and had a large family of five children and 10 grandchildren. He had a superb business acumen owning three businesses in the town - Foodland, the Four Masters Bookshop and a large Cash and Carry and wholesale business.

“Joe has good sense - when he decided to retire he stuck to his convictions and passed the baton on.

“He was a deeply religious and caring man  - his religion did not end after Mass on a Sunday afternoon. He carried it with him at all times.  He was a very non judgemental person and spent 60 years in the St. Vincent de Paul with his friend and neighbour, John Murphy.  He  helped many people but that was always in a very private manner - he never sought the limelight, he just went about things in his own way.

“In latter years  his health deteriorated but like the man he was he bore his illness with great fortitude.

“We will always remember Joe as he was - his existence is now on a new shore in communion with God. The Lord has said, “There are many rooms in my house” - there is no doubt that Joe is already well settled in one of them.”

As his remains left the Church on his final journey, to St. Agatha’s Cemetery in Clar for burial,  a guard of honour was formed by members of the St. Vincent de Paul.

Joe is survived by his wife Louie, sons Phillip and Colm, daughters  Marie, Michelle and Stephanie and a large extended family and many friends.

May he rest in peace.