My name is Brendan O’Mahony. I met my wife Margaret when working in Aer Lingus. We married in 1969 and moved back to my home town and bought a Travel Agency. We had four sons, Fintan, Conor, Kevin and Brian – all Liverpool fans ! Fintan is a teacher, Kevin in Managing Director of Clonmel Travel and Brian works at the IMI in Sandyford. Conor studied languages at UCD and spoke fluent French and Spanish. He got a Masters degree in Portuguese from SalfordUniversity. In May 2004 he joined Pfizer in Dublin.
The world changed forever for our family on July 25th 2006. Conor had gone to play football. He returned to his apartment in Bettyglen and died from SCD. He was 32. When Conor was small his favourite question was ‘what if ? It wasn’t until after college in UCD, that ‘what if’ changed to ‘why not?’ and this new perspective on life allowed him to travel the world. But he was happiest when he was sitting in the family Nissan Sunny (with six on board) ‘navigating’ on driving holidays through France and Spain. Singing along to ‘Is it Raining In Paris Tonight’ by Bagatelle.
In 1995 he spent the summer on a scholarship at the the University of Lisbon and he left home to work at Whirlpool in Dublin in 1996. He spent five years in their Spanish and Portuguese financial sections. He left Whirlpool in 2002. He then took a year off and travelled round the world chronicling his travels weekly in the Clonmel Nationalist. He joined Xerox in 2003 and he was chuffed when he was headhunted by Pfizer when they opened their new European Financial Shared Services Centre in Dublin in 2004
One of his colleagues, who was bereaved, wrote on his Mass card: ‘On my darkest day, Conor’s smile lit up my life’. Just when it looked like canonisation was on the cards his manager at Pfizer told how they had a swear box in the office and they had put it on Conor’s desk for his convenience!
When he took off around the world his father and mother made him promise that he would not bungee jump as they considered it too dangerous. He kept that promise about not bungee jumping but he had a ironic and perhaps even a fatalistic view on life. In his last article from abroad he informed all and sundry, including his unsuspecting parents, that he had signed 14 waiver forms during his trip round the world, absolving the organisers of liability in case he was injured or killed. He referred to the forms as ‘send the bits to Clonmel forms’
Conor is back home now, Clonmel was always home. He accomplished a lot in his short life. People will tell you that time will heal our loss but it doesn’t! We are still learning to live with it. Conor’s fourth anniversary co-incided with Holy Year 2010 in Santiago de Compostela. I walked the Camino Ingles in Conor’s memory and raised funds for CRY. In 2012 the book Forever Young commemorated the Camino walk and Conor’s Round the World journey and the proceeds went to CRY.
My first contact with CRY was with Lucia Ebbs n 2010 and she has been a constant support to our family since – thank you Lucia.
The importance of the work done by CRY is inestimable. It’s life saving. Our three boys and our six grandchildren have benefited from screening at CRY. And it’s my hope that many other will continue to benefit from their service