Tuesday 22 January 2019

Tributes paid after death of ‘King of Toraigh’ Patsy Dan Rodgers at 74

The musician and artist became the Donegal island’s best-known resident.

King of Tory, artist and musician, Patsy Dan Mac Ruari, who has died aged 74 (Artur Widak/PA)
King of Tory, artist and musician, Patsy Dan Mac Ruari, who has died aged 74 (Artur Widak/PA)

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to the “King of Toraigh Island”.

Patsy Dan Rodgers has died at the age of 74 after a lifetime spent on the Donegal island.

Patsy Dan Rodgers with his accordion in 2010 (Julien Behal/PA)

He was a musician and artist who became the tiny settlement’s best-known resident.

He had lived there from the age of four and campaigned against Government efforts to resettle islanders on the mainland.

‘King of Toraigh’ Patsy Dan Rodgers (second right) leads a protest over the island’s ferry service outside Leinster House in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

President Higgins said: “All those who love Irish culture and language will have been greatly saddened by the death of Patsy Dan Rodgers, known as the ‘King of Toraigh’ and widely respected as an advocate for Ireland’s island communities.

“His love for Toraigh Island and its people was evident in his art and his campaigns, and he was an outstanding ambassador for the island in all its welcoming diversity.

“Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to his wife Caitlin and their four children, to the entire community of Toraigh Island and to all those who value Irish culture.”

He was elected king in 1993 by his fellow islanders and welcomed visitors to the island, also known as Tory, which has a population of around 100.

Press Association

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