Home News Community Tributes pour in for Laois seanchaí and champion of the Slieve Blooms

Tributes pour in for Laois seanchaí and champion of the Slieve Blooms

The late Mick Dowling, seanchaí, hurler, tour guide and champion of the Slieve Blooms

Tributes continue to pour in from all over the county for the late Mick Dowling. He was 82.

The much respected Camross man was founder of the Laois Tour Guides devoted his life to promoting his native county and in particular his beloved Slieve Blooms.

He was one of the original members of the Slieve Bloom development Association, Laois Heritage Society and later Laois Tourism, the Laois Tour Guides and Laois Leader. He was among those instrumental in establishing the Poet’s Cottage in Camross.

He had a great way about him, retained an encyclopaedic knowledge of the lore and landscape of Laois and was a cracking story teller in the seanchaí style.

He generously shared his wealth of stories and insights and was constantly looking out for ways to promote Laois for visitors and tourists.

“Our inspirational Chairman and founder Mick Dowling left us last night. A true blue and white Laois man whose love and knowledge for Laois and in particular the Slieve Blooms was awesome. We will forever be in his debt for all he shared with us throughout the years. May he roam feee among the heathers of his beloved Slieve Blooms,” the Laois Tour Guides posted on their forum.

Roghan Headon of Midway Ireland Tours wrote: “Rest in peace Mick Dowling, a gentleman, a known historian, a folklorist, a sportsman and very proud son of Laoighis. His knowledge of his old stomping round in the Slieve Blooms was unbelievable.

“I always enjoyed his company. Féadfaidh sé a bheith ina luí I síocháin.

On the sporting front Mick could handle himself as well and was the winner of six county senior hurling titles with Camross. Ironically, as an era draws to a close one of his Camross compatriots, Fint Lalor who is also being buried tomorrow morning (Saturday).They hurled alongside each other on the victorious Camross teams of 1959 and ’63.

Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan also paid tribute. “I am deeply saddened to her of the passing of my friend Michael Dowling.

“I’ve known Mick all my life. He was a champion of rural development, rooted in Camross. He was an expert on local history and heritage. In many respects he was Laois’ own seanchaí. My sympathies to the family and community in Camross.

Mick Dowling pictured with fellow tour guide Roghan Headon, who was among the many to pay tribute to the Camross man for his wealth of knowledge on the county which he generously shared. Pictured here at the Ridge of Capard in his beloved Slieve Blooms.

The Laois Heritage Society in a post said that the county has lost a great advocate for heritage in the Slieve Blooms and surrounding communities.

Another colleague, Elaine Loughman posted on her Facebook: “I can’t say how much I am going to miss this amazing man, Mick Dowling. What he didn’t know about Laois wasn’t worth knowing. His love and enthusiasm for anything to do with Laois inspired us all.”

May he rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements

Michael (Mick) Dowling, Derrycarrow, Camross, Co. Laois. Died October 11, 2019 (suddenly) at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise. Predeceased by his sister Ann (Deering), brothers Fint and Paddy. Deeply regretted by brother Denis, sister Rita (Higgins) England, aunts Peg (Fitzpatrick), and Nora (Lowry), uncle Jack Phelan, nieces, nephews, extended family, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.

Reposing at Burke’s Funeral Home, Mountrath, on Sunday evening from 7pm, with Rosary at 9pm. Removal on Monday morning to St. Fergal’s Church, Camross, arriving for Requiem Mass at 11am, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

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John Whelan has been a journalist, commentator, columnist, political analyst, campaigner, politician and publisher ever since he was 17. Having been Editor of the Leinster Express, Offaly Express and the Leinster Leader he has also contributed extensively on a number of issues to all of the country's flagship titles and programmes including the Irish Press, The Irish Independent, the Star, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday Business Post, The Sunday Times and Prime Time. He is founder of Communicate Ireland a PR, public affairs, event management and media services company. He is the author of the popular camping blog, Vanhalla - Camper Heaven.