WITH RESPECT, artisan Tommy Quigley had the distinctive gait of a gentleman.
He ambled with authority, was always a dapper dresser and had an admirable grasp of the English Language.
He was a terrific conversationalist and, inevitably, had a particular topic well researched.
He was never argumentative, usually composed, but he did fight his corner, if perhaps the verb ‘fight’ may not be apt when talking about the TQ I admired and always had huge respect for.
He was quietly spoken, very witty and more often than not his contribution to any impromptu debate oozed common sense.
It is as a connoisseur of the art of painting that most of us will remember the man we called Mr Quigley until we got to know him well.
He will be revered forever and a day in his native city.
Tommy was a respected elder in an extraordinarily talented family of craftsmen and women.
He followed in the footsteps of another man of the brush, his father Joe.
Quigley family members have been renowned painters for generations, not because some said that they were good, great or magnificent but because their brilliant, oft very intricate design work was in a class of its own, world class many would opine.
Super sign-writing was to the fore in a repository of knowledge that made the Quigley name extra special.
Yet, it was in the former Regent Cinema that I first met Mr Quigley.
I was a cub reporter in the Kilkenny People Newspaper and among my weekly tasks was to preview the films in the city’s Savoy and Regent Cinemas and a quaint collection of rural cinemas, in the ago movie homes that were more popularly referred to as picture houses.
The task involved calling to the Savoy and Regent to collect blurbs of coming movies.
Previewing was perhaps overstating the exercise as I didn’t get an opportunity to see a film before offering any opinion.
A TRINITY OF WISE MEN
The truly interesting part of the project was meeting a trinity of wise men called Paddy Healy, Tommy Quigley and Anthony Hogan.
Their Savoy counterparts were Jackie Parle and Johnny Barry, he of local radio and Irish country music fame.
The former was a trio that ensured that the projection box or booth of the local silver screen was always a hive of industry and expectation.
Getting material on films was never a case of calling in, collecting the blurbs and heading back to the office.
It was an experience.
It truly was an adventure, often, I would suggest, more entertaining and exciting than any big screen offering.
Paddy, Tommy and Anthony had an enlightening range of views, ideas and suggestions that would have sat comfortably in most newsrooms.
Visiting the Regent was never a chore.
It was an education.
I loved the regular hop, skip and jump from High Street to William Street Gardens, a branch of our city’s main thoroughfare.
SO PROUD OF SIBLINGS
Tommy Quigley and his wife Gretta were so proud of their siblings.
Their Thomas’s Square family home had to be a vibrant place of open and frank discussion.
The common bond was love, love of each other and of other major interests such as pipe band music and Republican ideals.
A man of style and integrity, Tommy will always be remembered as a Quigley patriarch of straight talking and togetherness.
It was my pleasure to enjoy the company of his late brother Liam over the years, also his son Tommy, another real gent.
He is survived by his wife Gretta; sons Joe, Patrick, Thomas, Canice and Seán; daughters Ellen and Catherine; brother Stephen; sister Veronica; grandchildren Thomas, Margaret, Eoghan, Lucas, Alex and Dane; son-in-law Aidan; daughters-in-law Majella and Mary.
He was predeceased by his parents Joe and Ellie; brothers Seán and Liam and his sister Philomena.
Tommy passed away at Archersrath Nursing Home.
May he rest in peace.