TRIBUTES have been paid to Tommy McVitty – a man who spent much of his formative years in the industrial school in Baltimore – following his death on Sunday, May 3rd last.
Tommy was born in Dublin in 1934, and his death, at the age of 85, will be mourned by all those who knew this mild mannered, gracious, and sociable person.
It was shortly after his First Holy Communion that Tommy was sent to the Baltimore Fishery School – a place where life was hard and food was scarce.
He left the school in May 1950, and went to work at the Whooley Farm at Lissaclarig for five years – a time that became a sustaining and constant point of reference for Tommy throughout his life.
London, however, beckoned. There, he worked in a variety of catering jobs before he came ‘home for a holiday’ in the mid-1990s.
A chance meeting in Ballydehob set Tommy on a new path: it allowed him to become reacquainted with West Cork.
His subsequent yearly visits ended in 2008, when Tommy came home for good and was fortuitously accommodated at one of the flats provided by the Skibbereen Geriatrics Society at Upper Bridge Street.
For the past 12 years, a friend said: ‘Tommy’s whole life was singing with session musicians at the Corner Bar; singing with the choir at the Cathedral; and traveling everywhere on buses, especially the 237 to Cork, and the 252 to Kenmare and Killarney.’