For the inshore fishing community of Galway Bay, 2016 will be remembered – not for the temperate weather, nor for the size of the catch or indeed for the occasional unusual species encountered. Instead, it will be remembered with great sadness for the untimely passing of Patsy Kelly, fisherman, Ballinacourty on Wednesday 7th September.

Fishing continuously on a full-time basis since the age of seventeen, Patsy was one of the true father figures on the Bay. Always helpful and ever in great humour whatever the weather or fishing conditions.

For a man who spent long, full days alone at sea, he was the most wonderful of friends to meet for a chat and update. His knowledge of the Bay was encyclopaedic but he also read widely and could enlighten one on many surprising and interesting topics. It was always a pleasure to meet him with his charming uplifting approach making all the time in the world available for your chat no matter how busy he was, getting ready for the next day’s fishing or landing his catch.

He was generous of heart and of time.

A meticulous approach to his craft characterised the man. A firm believer in sustainable fishing with a deep sense of the privilege that accompanies his work marked him out as a true gentleman of the sea. His fishing vessel, Loch Corrib, was neat and tidy in every way, always looking as well as the day she was launched.

Ever conscious of his personal safety, Patsy took great care in the maintenance of his vessel and gear and always wore his lifejacket. An offshore wind, an ebbing tide, a master at his work, so untimely interrupted.

Patsy was a devoted husband, father, son and brother understandably beloved by his family from whose lives the colour has been drained and for whom a pale monochrome filter casts a drab cloak now. And yet, as we remember Patsy we cannot find a better recipe for facing the future with a bright enthusiasm than the exemplary legacy of the man himself. 

Ken Kaar