Rest in Peace
Christmas Day 2020 will be remembered for many different reasons, not least the Covid pandemic that ensured a very different Christmas celebration for young and old alike.
However for the Bolger and Scott families of Mullinahone and for the residents, staff and friends of Mount Sion in Tipperary Town, the day will be remembered with great sadness at the passing of Jimmy Bolger (pictured below).
A native of Killaghy, Mullinahone, Jimmy was a resident of Mount Sion Community Residence in Tipperary Town for the past 19 years.
As a regular figure around Tipperary Town, it was no surprise to hear him described as a true gentleman, a gentle soul and a lovely, gentle and kind man, for that is exactly what Jimmy was.
I had the great pleasure of knowing Jimmy during his time in Mount Sion and his gentle nature was to the forefront of everything about him.
He loved nature, art, music and animals and took great pride in looking after the house cat at Mount Sion, who rewarded him in bringing back the offerings of mice to the front door! In difference to his gentle nature in everyday life in his youth Jimmy was someone to be feared in the boxing ring as he had a powerful punch that could leave the most formidable of opponents in his wake.
He would joke with opponents that he would take them on three at a time and with one hand behind his back!
Whatever about that part he was a boxer of considerable note and boxed with the Mullinahone Boxing Club.
During his time with the club one of his opponents was the former Irish flat racing jockey, Michael Kinane. Outside of boxing Jimmy was also a noted hurler in his youth and played corner back with the CJ Kickhams U21 hurling team (played on the first U21 team that they had in the championship), and this was recognised at his funeral when the club flag covered his coffin.
An important part of Jimmy’s life also was his time at the Cluain Training Centre in Clonmel where he was held in very high regard and had many friends.
The loss of Jimmy is keenly felt by his family and friends and also by the Mount Sion and Tipperary community. Tipperary was Jimmy’s “second home” and he was a regular on the streets of the town and in the coffee shops that he regularly visited there.
It was heartening therefore to see the genuine concern in the community when news filtered through on Christmas Day that Jimmy had not returned to his residence, having left earlier in the day. Tragically, Jimmy’s remains were found shortly after 11.30pm.
It is important to recognise Tipperary gardaí for their management of the search along with the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association, the Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue team and the Search and Rescue Dog Association for their tremendous efforts and support on what was a very sad and distressing day for everyone concerned.
Jimmy had a love of animals, nature and arts and crafts and had a great sense of humour.
He had a particular love of lighthouses and one that he made had a light shining in it on the evening of his burial as a tribute from one of his colleagues, with the message for it to guide us through our sorrow at the loss of a person that we were privileged to have had in our lives.
With Jimmy’s love of nature it was very appropriate that his brother Paddy would read a few lines at his funeral Mass that he had penned just a couple of weeks previously:
“Though a boat remains afloat, Black Island dons its winter coat; King robin rummages through leaves and dirt, With a warning shriek its mine I saw it first.
Shafts of lustrous light penetrate the haze, Thereby setting the scene ablaze; Up above a murmurmation, Merely an act of adoration;
And look a squirrel emerges from hibernation, To partake in celebration.
The heron departs majestic, Loathe to enter Jurassic; Paradox pure prophetic, Natures cure for the pandemic.”
The final tribute to Jimmy was the singing of Slievenamon as his remains left St Michael’s Church, Mullinahone and again at his burial in Killaghy.
You touched many lives, now rest easy, Jimmy.
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