It was quite appropriate that the remains of the late Bobby Molloy were brought on their final journey to the music of Galway Bay.
For a man who loved sports of all kinds, but who had particularly excelled in the water, it was a fitting tribute to the former Minister for Defence and Mayor of Galway.
High profile current and past TDs, including Micheál Martin, Eamon Ó Cuiv, Brian Cowan, Noel Grealish, Frank Fahey, and Micheal Kitt, joined members of local government and many friends and admirers on Wednesday afternoon in paying their respects at Galway Cathedral.
In silence, the coffin, draped in the Irish tricolour, was led in before noon by his sons, Daragh and Donncha, brothers, and other family members. It was not until the bells rang out for midday that the organ was sounded, and Bobby Molloy’s neighbour, Pat Lillis, sang How Great Thou Art.
Speaking on behalf of the Molloy family, his eldest child, Sinéad, said that her father had enjoyed a long and fulfilled life.
“Those that knew him, knew him as kind, straight-forward, warm, always calm, and caring. As one of his good friends said after he passed away: ‘he was a good talker, and a great listener, and he always gave sound advice.’”
She said that her dad grew up in Salthill, one of eight children, and was an exceptional sportsman; he was delighted to receive a letter in his teens addressed simply to: Robert Molloy, Athlete, Galway.
As a ‘Jes boy’ he took up rowing, which, of all the sports he played, was to be his enduring passion, even into his university years.
“Despite his recent health challenges, whenever he met anyone involved in the sport of rowing, his eyes would light up and he would proceed to recall every bend in the river and every race,” his daughter said.
“He loved Connemara, and the islands off Connemara – he had a deep affinity with the people of the area. He spent many of his holidays with his grandparents in Clifden, and always felt at home there. He was a Gaelgeóir and loved the language.
Once when Sinéad remarked at the high support for him in the polling stations of Aran he replied: “Why wouldn’t I? Didn’t I dance the feet off every woman on the island.”
She said that her dad met Alzheimer’s Disease with dignity and grace, as with all challenges he had faced in his lifetime.
“We feel blessed that he knew us right to the end, and continued to live life as fully as possible.”
Members of Galway Rowing Club, along with former crew members from the Jes and UCG rowing clubs formed a guard of honour outside the Cathedral, and City Council members in their robes walked ahead of Bobby Molloy’s remains as they were taken to the New Cemetery, Bohermore.
Robert Molloy is survived by his wife Phyllis; children, Sinéad, Sorcha, Daragh, and Donncha; sisters, Pat, Marie, Adrienne, and Margot; his brothers, Gerard and Michael; seven grandchildren, in-laws, Susan, Linda, and Enda, and other close family and friends.
For more on this story, see the Connacht Tribune.