Club Membership

John Ryan - Memorial

The late John Ryan 1936 – 2012 ++728

By Jerome Hogan

John Ryan formerly of Balally and latterly of Holy Cross, Co. Tipperary, died at the end of May.  Born in 1936 into a farming family, John was the eldest of six children, four boys and two girls.  The family home was in Liscrea, Bouladuff, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. He attended the local National School in Bouladuff and afterwards Thurles CBS.  John often mentioned to me the great start he got in that local national school and spoke particularly about a female teacher from Kerry who didn’t stand on ceremony but gave the children a good foundation in the basics of the three R’s. John’s family had an agricultural contracting business and John, as a young man, played a major part in running the business.  He became very adept at operating farm machinery and that skill stood to him during his lifetime.  In the era before combine harvesters John had a threshing machine on hire to the local farmers and also delivered beet by truck for C.I.E. to the local sugar factory in Thurles. 


It wasn’t all work though for John.  He took time off for recreation also and in 1961 he met a young nurse from Coolderry, Co. Offaly.  Maura Dooley worked as a nurse for a while in Nenagh Hospital.  John and Maura were married in 1964 and lived in Tipperary until April 1965.  At that juncture a decision was made to come to Dublin.  They lived for a time in Terenure and in 1967 they bought a house in Balally.  Eventually, they had four children – Tadhg, Micheál, Siobhán and Eoin.  Balally was the family home until John and Maura decided to retire to live in Holy Cross. John lived out the last few years of his life in his beloved Tipperary, not too far from his native shore. In Dublin, John spent the first few years of his working life with Dublin Dairies and then in 1970 he became Transport Manager for Gambol Simms Steel.  When, in 1980 the company moved to Lisburn, Northern Ireland, John started up his own courier business and retired from this in 2004.


John’s family meant everything to him.  He was very supportive to them all and took great pride in their achievements.  He was a great provider and could turn his hand to anything, especially if it was anything mechanical. John was a wonderful person to have as a friend.  He loved company and socialising.  He could hold his own in any company and liked nothing better than to get into a good argument with friends.  He didn’t suffer fools gladly and he was a master of the quick put-down.


John had a lot of interests outside of his family and work.  His love of things Tipperary and Tipperary Hurling especially, knew no bounds.  For many years he was on the committee of the Tipperary Association in Dublin.  I had the pleasure of his company on many trips to Croke Park, Thurles, Cork, Killarney and Limerick where big games, involving Tipp, were played.  He also, of course, had to acknowledge Maura’s Offaly.  His interest in sport was widespread.  He enjoyed horse racing and made many trips to Cheltenham.  He followed the Irish rugby lads to Cardiff Arms Park and Twickenham on occasions also.  And, of course, anything got to do with cars took John’s interest too.  He used to follow the Circuit of Ireland Car Rally as a backup to his late brother Paddy who was taking part.    When John moved to Holy Cross he purchased a Silver Shadow Rolls Royce.  He joined the Vintage Club and had four or five years of Vintage Rallying which he enjoyed very much.  John had a great interest in politics in general but especially at local level and had many friends and contacts in that area.


When Naomh Olaf GAA Club was founded in the early 80’s John took a great interest in its affairs.  He was a great supporter of both hurling and football.  He served as a Mentor for a while with a hurling team.  He also served on Committee and, in general, he played his part in making the club such a success.  When John left Balally to live in Holy Cross he left a void in the club and his company was sorely missed around the clubhouse.


John’s health had been failing for the last couple of years.  He was taken great care of at home by Maura especially and Micheál and the other members of the family.  He passed away quietly on Thursday May 31st.  He was waked at home on Friday evening and his remains were brought to Holy Cross Abbey on Saturday morning for Mass and burial afterwards in the cemetery adjoining the Abbey which is a beautiful old building and a former Cistercian Monastery, dating back to the 11th Century. The esteem that people had for John and his family was reflected in the big crowds that turned up on both days to show their respects.  People travelled long distances to be there.  Twenty seven members of Naomh Olaf GAA Club formed a ‘Guard of Honour’ after the Mass on Saturday wearing the club colours.  John’s life had gone more or less full circle.  He was back again in his home territory.


Bhí John an-bhródúil as gach rud gaelach, as an tir, as na daoine, as na cluichí agus as an teanga dúchais.  Is minic a chuaigh sé agus a chlann ar saoire go dtí An Daingean, An Ceathrú Rua agus Tir Chonaill, áiteanna a bhfuil an teanga le cloisteáil.

Tá cara iontach imithe uainn.  Go mbeadh suaimhneas síoraí aige i bhflaitheas Dé.  May John rest in peace.


The Ryan Family provided wonderful hospitality over both days of the funeral, both at home in the house and in Young’s Restaurant in The Ragg, where over 200 people sat down to a lovely hot meal.  It was much appreciated.


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