It is with deep regret that we record the death of Gerry Cribbin, of Tooraree, Ballyhaunis. Gerry was a well known and respected local historian who, for many years, spent most of his spare time exploring highways and byways in search of interesting and unusual sites and stories. Through his research he had accumulated a vast store of knowledge and was an authority on the history, folklore and archaeology of County Mayo. From 1996 to 1998 he attended N.U.I.G. as a mature student and graduated with an Honours Diploma in Archaeology. His other great passion was Irish traditional music and he was a familiar figure at the various fleadhanna held throughout the country.
Gerry loved his home town, Ballyhaunis, it was the centre of the world as far as he was concerned. He was involved in several organisations there. He was closely involved with the Waldron Clan activities; he was the P.R.O. for the Annagh Magazine and contributed several historical articles to it. He was one of the first people to suggest the erection a spire on the local church and was a member of the committee that accomplished the task as a Millennium Project. He was very saddened by the closure of the Augustinian friary in the town and kept an ‘unofficial eye’ on everything to do with that ancient site ever since its closure. He was also a valued and popular member of the Mayo Historical & Archaeological Society.
Gerry was a most approachable and likeable man and gladly helped the many students of history who came to pick his brain. He was always generous with his time and forthcoming with his help, and placed little value on possessions. The esteem in which he was held was evidenced by the great numbers of friends and neighbours who attended the funeral services. The Geography Department of Manchester University was represented by his long time friend, Prof. Mike Robinson who made the trip from Manchester to be present. Representatives from various archaeological societies, as well as the National Museum of Ireland (Country Life Division) also attended.
A message received from Prof. Finbar McCormick, of Queen’s University, Belfast’ summed up Gerry very well “Gerry was a true gentleman and great enthusiast for local history. He was also, and most of all, great fun and great company.” What better epitaph could anyone have?
In a short piece such as this, it is impossible to pay adequate tribute to the man and his many achievements, but each of us who knew him will have our own happy and abiding memories of him. .
Gerry will be sadly missed by his brothers Tony and Jack, sisters in law, nieces and nephews, and a wide circle of friends.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.
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