Larry Forristal R.I.P.
Larry Forristal – First Parish Priest of Rivermount:
Larry Forristal was mentioned yesterday when some of us chatted at the AGM (ACP). Today I announced at Mass that he had died. There was a collective gasp. Larry was/is remembered with great affection here in Rivermount Parish. He was the founder of the parish. He lived in the bungalow (where I now live). He was involved in the building and staffing of the three schools.
He spearheaded the building of the church.
As some of us chatted yesterday, I said that I hadn’t been in touch for a while with Larry. It reminded me that I should ring him or visit him. Larry loved to chat. His phone calls lasted a long time. His mind was razor sharp and he could recall the history of the parish and all the people in the community. I was always impressed and surprised at how he retained the story in his mind. He was also very knowledgeable of the history of the Augustinians in Australia. He knew much more than I did.
Larry was a big man and a strong man. He was also fearless. His strength, directness and fearlessness was much in evidence in those earlier days. It was also very necessary. This community owes so much to Larry.
At Mass this morning, it was remembered that he was made President of the local Rivermount Boys’ club (soccer). Some of us smiled at the idea of Larry (a Kilkenny man and a rabid GAA man) being the President of a soccer club.
Larry loved to hear of everything that was going on in Finglas South. I regret that I didn’t manage to keep in touch with him as much I would have liked. He said to me forcibly one time: “I should have stayed as parish priest at Rivermount.” He meant it. All the administrative distractions of being a bishop weren’t to his liking.
On Monday we gathered the staffs of our four schools (as we do each year). It is an occasion to thank them for their work and to encourage them. It is also a time to share with the new teachers something of the history and aspiration of the schools. This year, we invited the first principals to talk about those faraway and early days. They used such words as – care, heart and stamina. They were magnificent. The affection and commitment was extraordinary. Jim O Shaughnessy, (Mary Conroy couldn’t be present), Conor McCarthy and Dave Carter spoke. The new teachers heard the challenge and the very meaning of ethos. They heard of the difficulty but also the importance of total commitment, Godliness and love to work here. The First Principles of the First Principals were very special.
They shared the same outlook and heart as did Larry Forristal. They made each other in this place. We are humbled and very grateful.
Seamus Ahearne osa
Good morning Seamus,
You may not remember me but I still hold dear a lovely letter you wrote long years back when your fantastic niece finished her marketing education with us in DIT. She and I stayed in touch for a good number of years after but unfortunately I have not had a chat in the last 5 I suspect. I finish up here next year and intend to make time to catch up with my stand-out students when my daily commuting days are done. I am now 36 years married to Brendan Cuddihy and therefore have been lucky enough to have had Larry in mine and my children’s life a little longer than that as he is Bren’s uncle.
Everything you have said above is true and I can add to it by saying he was a wonderful family man, always interested in, and mindful of, each and every one of his extended family. His memory for their birthdays, likes and dislikes, achievements and setbacks was phenomenal, right up to the last (35 minute!) phone call I had with him in Gowran Abbey two weeks ago.
There are many great-grand nephews and nieces in the clan now and he remembered and loved them all. I almost felt embarrassed talking with him each time as his recall was so much better than mine!
I hope things are good for you and yours and that you will look back on your time in Finglas with the same happiness as Larry always did. Perhaps our paths will cross in the future, I hope so,
keep well, Laura