The late Packie McGrath
The tranquil streets of Ballyshannon echoed to the sounds of hundreds of motorcycles on Sunday last as they gathered to bid farewell to one of their own - a truly great friend - who sadly lost his life on Thursday last in a traffic accident outside Cliffoney.
Packie McGrath of 7, Benildus Avenue in Ballyshannon was a highly popular man and a great lover of motorcycling - wherever his friends gathered he could always be seen sitting down chatting among them about his hobby - on the Diamond in Donegal Town on a Sunday or over in Ballybofey on a Wednesday evening - the Ballyshannon man was everpresent.
Packie also took part in many fundraising activities and was a regular participant in the annual Sandra’s Run organised by Rosie and Jim Boyle. On Sunday morning last Rosie had organised a large convoy of motorcycles to assemble on the Diamond in Donegal and travel to Ballyshannon to escort Packie to his final resting place.
Born in Derry
Born in Derry, the 67 year old moved to Pettigo at a young age and then to Ballyshannon when he took up employment with McNulty’s Quarry.
Packie, firmly established in Ballyshannon, went on to join the Defence Forces and after a short posting in Athlone, returned to serve at Finner Camp. During this time he served on three overseas peacekeeping missions in the Lebanon with the Defence Forces.
Love of family
Apart from his love of the motorcycles Packie’s greatest love in life was his his family. A friend said, “There were only two things in life that Packie really cared about his family and his two wheeled friend. No matter where you met him these were the two main topics of conversation. It is an awful shock to us all and to his family - he has departed life much too soon.”
At his wake there were hundreds of people through the door of the always welcoming family home, all remarking on Packie's love of life and his children and family.
A huge crowd attended his funeral mass in St. Patrick’s Church in Ballyshannon afternoon on Sunday last which was concelebrated by Fr. Cathal Ó Fearraí, Fr Dermot Burke, Fr Herbie Bromley, Fr Jerry Carroll, Army Chaplain, and Fr Thomas Keoghan, PP Kinlough.
Over one hundred motorcyclists accompanied Mr McGrath on his final journey to St. Mary’s cemetery in Cashelard where he was laid to rest.
He is survived by his wife Christina; son Shane; daughter Caroline; son-in-law Dessie McNamara; daughter-in-law Deirdre; grandchildren Megan, Eva, Jack and Shauna and a wide circle of family and friends.
May he rest in peace.