Skibbereen historian Pat was ‘one of nature's gentlemen'

March 5th, 2019 12:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Pat Cleary

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As a mark of respect to the late Pat Cleary (right), Cleary’s Pharmacy at Main Street in Skibbereen, closed for a time on Thursday.

The closure of the shop, owned by his son Dan, was but one expression of a wider sense of loss. Not only was Pat highly regarded as a history and geography teacher at St Fachtna’s De La Salle, he was tremendously well-liked too.

Pat, who was from Brade in Union Hall but lived at Market Street in Skibbereen, was greatly respected as a historian. He was, in fact, one of the pioneers of Famine studies in Skibbereen and much of what is now known is based on research that was originally carried out by him.

Pat was a founder member of the Skibbereen Famine Committee and, as an active member of Skibbereen De La Salle Past Pupils Union, was the key driver in the research and production of the popular pictorial books, And Time Stood Still.

On Tuesday, February 26th, Pat, who was in 70s, passed away after a short illness, and left behind many who will be grieving his departure, including his loving wife Vera, and his sons, Dan, Jerry, Pat and Stephen. One of Pat’s friends told The Southern Star: ‘To know Pat was to respect him. He was admired for the unstinting manner in which he gave to his community, as well as his quiet dignity, his unassuming air, his gravitas. He was one of nature’s gentlemen.’

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