Paddy Dooley, Olympian, passes away


Paddy Dooley (82) was born in O’Connell Street, Limerick in 1926.  He was educated at the Model School and CBS Sexton Street, and later at UCD.  As a youngster his lifelong interest in rowing began while rowing and coxing rowing clubs on the Shannon. 

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At UCD, Paddy quickly established himself as a top class oarsman and sculler and was part of the first ever UCD crew to win the IARU Senior Eights championship in 1947.  The following year, UCD repeated the feat with Paddy as stroke and captain.  That summer he had the honour of captaining his Irish eight at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.  When he returned to Limerick after college, Paddy continued to coach at different levels in the sport.

Paddy married Noreen Gardiner from Borrisokane, Co Tipperary, in 1954 and has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  Tragedy visited Paddy¹s life in 1980 with the sudden death of Noreen in a car accident, but he faced up to the difficult challenges in the following years with characteristic bravery and dedication to his young family.

In 1993, Paddy knew once more great happiness when he married his current wife, Gerry Regan, and he lived a very active and happy retirement in the village of Garrykennedy on Lough Derg.

In business, Paddy is best remembered as being the proprietor of the Bedford Row-based Dainty Dairy retail and bakery business, which he ran with his late brother, Jimmy, for many years until the early 1980s.  Later, he went on to found the catering business that still bears his name, Paddy Dooley Catering, which he sold and retired from in 2000.

In retirement, Paddy returned to active involvement in rowing and founded the Limerick Masters Rowing Club and also became a key official of Castleconnell Boat Club.  His proudest moment in recent years was the opening, in May of this year, of the major renovation of the Castleconnell boathouse, a project in which he was the prime mover and fundraiser.