Sunday 22 July 2018

Fr McNally was music man with a big heart

Hubert Murphy

A music man, a listening ear, pastor to the people. As the rains swept down last Wednesday, Tallanstown and the Archdiocese of Armagh said farewell to Fr Brendan McNally after a lifetime serving his flock.

Born in 1933 in Ballymena, Fr McNally was ordained in 1958 and so began a journey of discovery, starting in Brentwood and then seeing time in St Peter's, Drogheda, 1959 - 63, Curate, Lordship & Ballymascanlon 1963 - 76, Curate, Holy Redeemer, Dundalk 1976 - 80, Administrator, Holy Redeemer, Dundalk 1980 - 87, Parish Priest, Tallanstow 1987 - 06 and Pastor Emeritus, Assistant Pastor, Tallanstown 2006 - 08 and Pastor Emeritus 2008 - 17.

He spent recent times in Moorehall Lodge in Ardee and passed away there on November 19 at the age of 81.

Fr McNally had a great interest in music and teaching it.

He played a huge part in the development of acclaimed violinist Rita Manning from Ravensdale. She became the youngest ever violinist to lead the Symphony Orchestra of the Royal Academy at the festival hall in London when she was just 21 in 1983.

She began her interest in the instrument at the age of eight and was taught and encouraged by Fr McNally who was the then curate in the parish.

Brona Cahill was also a pupil of his. She received a degree of Master of Music in 1995 at the University of Illinois and led both the Junior and National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.

He was also the inspiration for Pat Treacy who hit the music headlines almost 20 years ago in London. She was gifted and seemed set for a classical music career, but then - thanks to busking in Covent Garden - the Hackballscross woman drew the attention of agents and released "The First Snow of Winter" as her debut single in 1999.

Aileen Dullaghan from Dundalk was another success story, going on to live in Vienna where she studied with the renowned soloist and teacher. Professor Ernst Kovacic and played all over the world.

Fr McNally also taught a number of winners of the MacArdle Music Award.

Writing last week, Fr Paul Clayton-Lea PP Tallanstown remarked, 'The parish mourns the loss of a true pastor and gentle guide whose memory is held in great affection and esteem by the people of the parish as well as many from further afield with whom he shared his love for music and the arts.

'He inspired young people and brought great comfort to those who were sick and in difficulties. May he rest in peace and may all his good deeds go with him. R.I.P.'

Fr. Brendan McNally will be sadly missed by his brother Fr. Jim McNally, nephew Ronan, niece Roisín, sister-in-law Rita, niece-in-law Joannah, grandnieces Enna and Nia and grand nephew John, relatives, friends and all his past pupils, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Cardinal Seán Brady, the Priests, Deacons and Religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh and his former parishioners.

His funeral was to the Church of St. Malachy, Reaghstown, followed by burial in Reaghstown.

Drogheda Independent