Seán O’Donoghue (1958-2019), RIP
– Deep-Sea Diver, Author, Poet, Native Freeborn Irishman –
We were saddened to receive the news that Seán O’Donoghue passed away suddenly, on Tuesday (8 October). Our condolences go out to Seán’s surviving family including his brothers, Paul, Kevin and Brendan and his sister, Trish. We knew Seán for a comparatively brief period in his life but, it was memorable acquaintance.
Seán was the author of two volumes, including Native Freeborn Irishman, published just this year under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher. In a collection of poetry, prose, family and other photographs, he tells the story of how “a deep-sea diver was influenced by the actions of General Michael Collins and others, from tales told to him at his father’s fireside.”
Born in Dublin’s Ballymun, close to where he was living when he died, his career as a deep-sea diver took him to many far-flung corners of the world, including Miami, Florida and Sarawak in Malaysia. It was, indeed, an interesting career but also a dangerous one. In July 1988, when the Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea went on fire, Seán was part of the recovery mission and toppling operation. It was a traumatic experience and one that he frequently returned to in his writings and memoirs. Four years before, he had a near-death experience under the same Piper Alpha oil rig. He wrote about it in a piece called Ripples, for which he won first prize in a competition organised by the Association of Speakers Clubs for the north-east of Scotland, in 1992.
Upon retiring from diving, Seán worked, for a time, as a financial consultant and in other jobs, living at times in Scotland and various parts of Ireland. He also became involved in causes and community efforts that he had an affinity with. He spent six weeks working at an orphanage in Romania, in 1993 – an experience that he describes in moving terms. Seán was passionate about many things in life but, it was a passion born out of a keen intellect and sharp insight. An ability to see the lighter side of life and find courage and strength in adversity shines through in his writings.
Seán cared deeply about his country but he did not see Ireland as an entity distinct from its people. Upon publication of his book, Native Freeborn Irishman, he pledged 10% of the profits to the Peter McVerry Trust, to assist in its work for the homeless. Copies of Seán’s book are available to buy online and, the share of the proceeds normally received by the publisher will be similarly donated on this occasion, as a mark of respect to Seán and the legacy that he leaves us with. Anyone who wants to know what Seán thought and felt only has to look to his writings.
Funeral details are available online.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam