The late Philip F. Ryan, Boherlahan Dualla
On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, a beacon of light was extinguished in the parish of Boherlahan Dualla. Philip F. Ryan, in his ninety third year, passed away peacefully to his eternal reward after a short illness. He had been blessed with longevity of years, had good health for most of his life and gave a lifetime of involvement to every aspect of parish life. He was a native of Castlemoyle where his family has been deep-rooted for many generations.
On graduating from St Patrick’s Training College, Drumcondra, in 1948, Philip was appointed principal of Nodstown NS at the tender age of twenty-one. He spent the next forty years teaching in Boherlahan, over-seeing the amalgamation of Nodstown and Ardmayle National Schools in 1971. Henceforth the new school became known as Scoil San Isadόir. His early decades of teaching coincided with a crowded classroom with over forty pupils from four class groups and not sufficient space to seat all the pupils at the same time. In 1972, as part of a school project, he pioneered the writing of a GAA history with the publication of the booklet “Tubberadora/Boherlahan Story”.
On marrying Kitty Barry in the late 1950s, Philip moved to Freighduff where he carried on a farming enterprise. His involvement with farming brought him into contact with the Boherlahan Co-operative Society where he became a member of the management committee and was its honorary secretary. These were challenging times for small co-operative societies. He was instrumental in over-seeing the smooth amalgamation of the local society with Mitchelstown Co-op., later Dairygold.
Philip was a lifelong member of the Boherlahan Dualla GAA Club, he played hurling and football with the club for a number of years and represented Tipperary in both codes, winning National League honours in hurling and Munster honours in Junior football. He was also selector on minor hurling teams in the late 1970’s. Philip always had a love of sport, immersed himself deeply in the life of the club and gave generously of his time and held many roles over years, both in administration, coaching, team selection and refereeing. He continued to hold such high levels of interest in the club progress, both on and off the field and held the position of Club Vice President, up to his death. Memories of the clubs Senior County Final win in 1996 will always be remembered to the backdrop of song and the joyous echoes of “Up the Boys of Boherlahan” which Philip penned for the occasion for that special day.
Philip had a creative and imaginative mind, which found expression in poetry and script writing for school shows and events connected to Scόr na Páistí. One always looked forward with great expectation to the annual Christmas school concert to see what humorous take he had on recent parish and national events. He had honed his skills in drama during the 1950s with his involvement in the Boherlahan Dramatic Society, both on and off the stage. The local community and beyond has certainly lost a treasure. His wonderful gift of words allowed him to express his reflections in verse on the rapid changes in society. Two of his poems are most memorable, one capturing the changing face of Cashel and the other his memories of going to the creamery as a young boy. The Ardmayle Heritage Society, of which he was a member, honoured him in 2019 with the publication of his poems in “Stories in Verse”.
Writing came easy to Philip. He was the local correspondent with the Tipperary Star and Nationalist for many years, keeping parishioners and those away from home fully informed of what was happening in the parish. He continued to be available for information checking and tracing connections for anyone that sought his help at any time. It was no surprise in 1987 that he was one of the co-writers of the history of the GAA entitled “Boherlahan and Dualla: A Century of Gaelic Games”. The founding of the Boherlahan-Dualla Historical Journal Society in 1997 gave him another outlet for his writing skills. He became a regular contributor, concentrating on folk memory and social history. Indeed, his last article was penned in 2018, telling the story of his uncle, Mikey Ryan.
Philip and Kitty’s garden parties were renowned for many years. All visitors were welcomed where much needed funds for various charities were raised. Visitors could admire the old machinery that Philip had restored as well as the beautiful stonework and various garden features that he had crafted.
Philip was the quintessential community person. Over his long lifetime, he gave generously of his time to enhance the wellbeing of the people of Boherlahan-Dualla and indeed elsewhere. For the new parish priest to the parish, he was a great source of wisdom, information and advice. He was one of the founding members of the Parish Council and played an active part in its affairs for over three decades and was also a lifelong member of the Pioneer Association. He was the organiser of the Parish Choir for many years even after his retirement as school Principal. His active part in the Millennium Pageant in the year 2000 and performing Percy French’s Phil the Fluther’s Ball demonstrated his continued interest and huge energy for community events. Furthermore, he played an active part in Open Air Oklahoma ten years later in 2010, another notable community event for the parish. Philip was also present for the 1916 commemorative re-enactment match between Boherlahan and Tullaroan in 2016. In all activities, Philip’s commitment was never less than one hundred percent and it can safely be said that he has few, if any, equals in terms of long and distinguished service to parish of Boherlahan Dualla. Ní fheicfimid a leithéid arís.
We express our deepest sympathy to Philip’s wife Kitty, daughters Siobhán, Caitlín and Máire, sons Seamus and David, sons-in-law Pat, Tom and Mark, daughters-in-law Angela and Caroline, his grandchildren Marie, Kate, Cora, Patrick, George, Lizzie, Anna, Philip, Grace, Donagh, Euan, Charlie, Doireann and Harry, great-grandson Séadna, brothers Dan and Tom, sisters Sr. Mary, Anna Ryan and Josephine Tobin, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.