Colourful Johnny always called Skibbereen home

October 27th, 2019 10:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

The late Johnny Goggin.

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SUCH was the force of his personality, and his innate intelligence, that his parents hoped they had a priest, or possibly a bishop, in the making.

The late Johnny Goggin was none of those things, but this well-known Skibbereen man certainly made an impression on everyone who knew him.

Johnny died on September 6th last and the people who gathered to remember him in his adopted town of London, as well as at his funeral service in Skibbereen, said he managed to cram a lot into his 94-years.

His devotion to his hometown GAA club, both as a player of distinction and a patron, earned him the title of Honorary Life Vice-President, but that was just one of the strings to his bow.

Before going to London to work for a Russian bank he had run the family business Goggin’s Corner, which is now The Corner Bar. For a time, Johnny had also been a member of the royal navy and sold insurance in Skibbereen. 

It was after he met his wife, Ingrid, a German woman who was working in the Eldon Hotel, that they moved, as a couple, to the UK to start a new life together. They had two boys, Ulrich and James, but both died tragically young.

Johnny Goggin was a religious man and his faith sustained him. He was charitable too, but not a lot of people knew that because his kind of giving was quiet, direct and understated.

He gave in other ways too, like his countless years of service to the Skibbereen and District London Association. It was through that organisation that he was able to help so many who moved to London in search of jobs and a better future away from an Ireland that was, at the time, depressed and in recession.

But the connection went both ways: his annual return to West Cork – including booking ‘his’ room, number 19, at the West Cork Hotel – was heralded as an occasion locally. Johnny had travelled the world, but for him there was no place like home.

On a personal level, friends said Johnny was a very organised and efficient person. He could also be over the top but always ‘in a good way.’

The funeral mass and the graveside oration summed Johnny up, but he was best remembered with lots of colourful stories in The Corner Bar afterwards.

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