Sunday 19 January 2020

Donal stayed real

Madam – On the day Donal Walsh was buried I wrote on a Facebook page set up in his memory: "I never met you Donal but I felt I knew you. RIP little angel." Afterwards I was thinking that was a strange thing to write about someone I had seen being interviewed once on the Saturday Night Show, had read an article he wrote for the Sunday Independent as well as an assortment of other articles about him but didn't actually know him.

On reading Brendan O'Connor's excellent article about him in the Sunday Independent it seems I am not alone as Mr O'Connor states: "This young man, whom none of us really knew but we all felt we knew." I started asking myself why is this?

Mr O'Connor in his article gives a very good evaluation of this young man and what was important to him, from the values he had, his love of life and his undoubted "gift for friendship". However I feel what people most liked about him was, as Mr O'Connor writes, "Donal Walsh showed people that it is cool to be real and to be philosophical and positive and to value your life". As Donal Walsh said recently in an open letter: "What impact could I ever make on the world if I was fake... I am me. There is no other way of putting it, little old Donal Walsh from Tralee; one body, one mind with a few other cobwebs and tales thrown in."

That is what people connected with. That is why his life and the way he dealt with his terminal illness had such an impact on people. Maybe that is another legacy he left us, the importance of being real and being true to ourselves. As Mr O'Connor wrote: "...there was a miracle of some kind in Donal Walsh's life and death."

Thomas Roddy,


Irish Independent

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