Thursday 23 March 2017

Dr Charles Lorigan

A much-loved doctor who served his patients with dedication and a great humanity, writes Dermot McMonagle

DR Charles Lorigan, who has died, was a colourful GP who served the people of his adopted Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, for almost half a century.

Dr 'Charlie' was born in Belfast in 1919, from where the family moved to the Liberties area of Dublin city. He attended the O'Connell School, and went on to study medicine at UCD and the Mater Hospital, graduating in 1943.

He continued his studies in various hospitals in greater Manchester, where he went into general practice in 1946.

He saw many horrific injuries suffered in the Second World War and the social ravages of post-war Britain. He contracted tuberculosis, but later completed his Diploma in Public Health at UCD.

In 1953 he married Katherine Collins and they returned to Ireland that year on his appointment as dispensary doctor at Ballyhaise.

With his medical and diagnostic ability, his energy and people skills, Dr Charlie soon developed a large dispensary and private practice.

In the mid-Sixties he was appointed physician to St Felim's Geriatric Hospital, Cavan, a role he carried out with dedication for three decades. His service to his patients was available 24/7, with the exception of family holidays to Donegal.

He continued to practise until failing health forced his retirement in 1998.

As a proud 'Liberties' man, Charlie Lorigan took to the people of Co Cavan, and they to him, like one of their own.

He appreciated the topography of Cavan and the harsh realities of farming and rural living in poorer days. He always had wellies and a torch in the boot of the car as roads were often left behind doing house calls in rural Cavan and Fermanagh.

The generosity of the Cavan people astounded him, especially those who had little and yet shared what they had in appreciation -- like the dozen eggs, the farmyard chicken, or the bag of spuds delivered to the door in gratitude.

Charlie Lorigan's fine physique and dapper appearance commanded respect amongst his peers as did his sharp sense of humour. His ability to see humour in adversity was well-known, and he always loved to tell a yarn -- especially against himself. His laughter and his many stories are still remembered within his family, by the former nursing staff at St Felim's and by his many appreciative patients.

A man of deep convictions and social awareness in an area where employment was scarce, he was a founding director of Cavan Crystal and he also served as a director of Royal Tara Bone China.

He was brother of the late Roisin Lorigan, a continuity announcer on Radio Eireann.

He is survived by his loving wife and partner Katherine, his children, Michael, Charles, Eleanor, Hugh, Paul, David and Jane, his sister Patricia and his grandchildren.

Sunday Independent

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