ONE of Bantry’s most beloved sons, Dr Denis Cotter, has been fondly remembered following his death last week.
Throughout his life, Denis – who celebrated his 70th birthday last September – loved Bantry, and Bantry loved him back.
For 43 years, he served the town as a GP, but he was also a respected historian, author, and mentor to the young players at Bantry Blues GAA Club.
In the words of one of those players, his friend and ‘best man’, Damien O’Neill described him as ‘irreplaceable.’
‘Lots of people called him “The Doc”, said Damien, ‘but to us – those of us who are now in our late 40s but knew him from the age of 18 – he was always Cotter.
‘Cotter was like a father to all of us, and his passing is not only a massive loss for us, and his family, but also the people of Bantry.
‘The whole of West Cork used to go to him. He had patients all the way down – from the Beara Peninsula, over to Ballingeary, and out to Schull.’
His health in recent times wasn’t great, but it didn’t stop him working. Damien said: ‘You could get Cotter seven days a week’ at his Newtown Surgery.
‘You couldn’t put words on the level of sadness in Bantry,’ said Damien.
Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy – a patient and a friend – said Denis was ‘an incredible diagnostician and many people owed their lives to this legendary man.’
Sally McKenna, who called Denis her ‘dear dear friend’, said: ‘His love for our community knew no bounds. We are diminished by not having him to turn to.’
Dr Cotter showed that love by writing several successful books in the Bantry – My Home Town series – the proceeds of which were donated to Bantry General Hospital, Bantry Hospice Project, and other local charities.
His love of Bantry was second only to the love he had for his family: his wife Lesley, his daughters Annemarie, Marguerite, Elizabeth, Helena, Emma and Lucy, and his siblings.