One of the distinct fixtures in the town of Ennis, Paddy Haren has been laid to rest.
Paddy died unexpectedly on Friday at University Hospital Limerick. News of his death was met with immense sadness with a multitude of tributes flowing in online for the Kilmaley native who became such a fabric of Ennis town after purchasing a house in Summerhill following his retirement.
A gifted carpenter, Paddy worked as a foreman with the construction firm McAlpine in the United Kingdom. His work took him all over the world and Paddy was involved in the building of the Channel Tunnel, the bridges at Disneyland in Paris and also the Living Bridge at the University of Limerick ensuring that his talent was witnessed in many countries.
Regularly spotted along O’Connell St in the county town, Paddy was noted for his strong cups of tea, his devotion to his faith, his smoking and his gentle nature. Train users also enjoyed the occasional song from Paddy while travelling from Ennis to Limerick.
He was born on October 21st 1944 as the eighth of eleven children, attending Kilmaley NS before beginning his working life at the age of eleven at the Kilmaley Co-Op store, then starting at Fawl’s Bar and later emigrating to the UK aged sixteen.
Speaking at his funeral mass in St John’s Church, Kilmaley, his niece Bridget highlighted the esteem he held within the construction industry. “He was a mathematical genius and had an incredible brain that allowed him to bring life to most complex construction designs which led him to travel all over the world and work in projects such as the Channel Tunnel the bridges of Disneyland Paris. He had a wonderful reputation as a hard worker and an intelligent man. Not forgetting his family, Paddy assisted his brothers Martin and Mick in getting their first start as independent sub-contractors”.
Tributes online affirmed Bridget’s view that “Ennis has lost a great character”. She added, “After his retirement, Paddy bought a house in Summerhill and enjoyed his walks around the town, he became a character around the streets, he had a great affinity for people and the chats. He could trace any family, any date and any history, he loved to converse on a wide variety of subjects from poetry to hurling, he would always tell Martin’s wife Mansie that Mayo would never win an All-Ireland. He always wanted to know where you were working and would tell you to mind your job”.
Fr Martin Blake outlined how Paddy’s work allowed him to experience new places and cultures. “He was one of the people of Ennis who stood out, you always saw him in Ennis,” he stated. Fr Blake described Haren as a kind and patient gentleman, “he had many friends in Ennis and Kilmaley. The people of Ennis were very kind to him and looked out for him always. He was a great person, the family was number one for him”.
Micheál Malone of D Barber Shop was among those to pay tribute to Paddy. “He was a regular visitor to my shop who loved to chat and trace about county Clare and talk about political affairs in the world,” Malone recalled. A photograph from John Kelly taken in August of Paddy resting on a bin while smoking in Ennis is praised for excellently capturing the man but also inspiring many people to pay their respects online.
His funeral mass ended with a rendition of Jim Reeves’ ‘This World is Not My Home’. Paddy’s loss is deeply regretted by his brothers Michael, Martin and John, his sisters Mary, Chrissie, Betty, Veronica, Ann, Jane and Pauline. Paddy will be fondly remembered also by his sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews relatives and large circle of friends.