The unexpected death of Gerry Bracken has come as a great shock to his family, to his neighbours at Westport and Murrisk, and to a large circle of friends throughout the country.
Gerry, originally from Co. Kerry, was an agricultural scientist by profession and his work took him to many parts of Europe and Africa. Latterly, he was employed in Lesotho before finally returning to work in Ireland.
Since his retirement he continued his foreign travels and visited many countries including Egypt, where, because of his interest in Early Christian religions, he visited St. Catherine’s Monastery (of Burning Bush fame) in Sinai. He was befriended by members of the religious community there, and had several discussions with them concerning the possible Egyptian influences on the Early Irish Christian church. He returned to visit them on occasion.
On the home front his great interests were archaeology, boating, vintage cars, old radios, flying and aerial photography, and his work in the latter field has graced the pages of several newspapers, and academic publications.
He visited the many monastic islands off the west coast of Ireland and made wonderful plaster-casts of the various crosses he found there. Perhaps his greatest project was the study of the Bohea Stone; he spent several years observing the sunrise and sunsets at the site without success. Finally in 1990, he went out on the evening of the 24th of August, St. Bartholomew’s feast day, and traditionally the first day of the harvest in Ireland. There he saw what has become known as the Rolling Sun Phenomenon at Bohea, when the setting sun appears to roll down the side of the holy mountain before going out of sight behind a ridge. Since then, many hundreds of people have witnessed the happening, and were awed by it. The event is observed again on the 18th of April, a date which would seem to mark the start of the planting season, perhaps an indication that the Rolling Sun spectacle is in fact a Bronze-Age agricultural calendar. He also studied a stone row alignment in Killadangan, which is a Winter Solstice alignment. He has contributed articles to learned journals and has lectured at home and in Britain. He was a familiar figure on the island of Islay, a place he visited many times because of his interest in the Kildalton Cross and other Early Christian monuments. He often spoke of his fascination with the Scottish outpost and it's people, who welcomed him as one of their own.
Gerry Bracken’s passing will be lamented by his many friends who will miss his company, his charm, his boyish enthusiasm, his zest for life, and the friendship of one of life’s great characters.
“I've lived a life that's full, I've travelled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.“
To his wife Ann, his sons and daughters, and to the extended family, we offer deepest sympathy on their sad loss.
Beannacht Dé ar a anam