Friends celebrate Colie’s life with unique legacy

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Salthill man Pat Coleman died on December 19, 2022, following two years of severe health issues that had altered his life completely. But although he had been seriously ill – and had to have both legs amputated as a result of his condition – his death had not been expected.

In fact, Pat’s many friends in Galway had raised funds to allow him to live independently, following the loss of his legs and as he dealt with the cancer for which he was also being treated.

Sadly, he never needed that money. Just a few weeks after moving into a specially designed home in the city, Pat (Colie to his many friends) died.

On Tuesday night – a year to the date since his death – those friends from the worlds of music, soccer, literature and further afield gathered in the city’s Crane Bar for an evening in his memory.

They also used the occasion to announce a series of events, to be financed by the money they had raised for him. He never got to use it so instead, it will be used to honour his memory, explains one of those mates, Salthill man Dara McGee.

Colie was a man of many parts. Born in Mayo but living in Salthill since he was just a few days old, he loved literature and, as a youngster, he read Kavanagh, Behan, Beckett and, above all, Joyce, whom he particularly admired.

The trained electrician was a big film fan. For many years, he worked in the city’s Omniplex Cinema as a projectionist until that position became redundant about 15 years ago with the arrival of digital. However, Colie didn’t remain idle. The then manager of the Galway Arts Centre, Páraic Breathnach, knowing of his love for literature and arts, secured him a FÁS placement in the Centre, where Colie worked happily for some years.

Then he was diagnosed with throat cancer and, while being treated for that, other health issues arose, says Dara.

“He had a tough few years,” he says simply.

Late last year, a few weeks after moving into his new house on the Headford Road, Colie went to the Galway Hospice for respite care to help him rebuild his strength. He never came home. His health deteriorated and he died two days later.

Pictured: The late Pat Coleman.


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