Lives Remembered

Tommy McGoldrick: Accomplished painter, fine musician and entertaining storyteller

Tommy McGoldrick working on one of his rural Irish landscapes

CO Antrim artist Tommy McGoldrick was a man of exceptional talents.

A fine musician, an accomplished painter and an entertaining storyteller, he was in truth a gentleman in every respect.

In his earlier years he was also reputed to have been a fine shoemaker.

I don’t think I would ever have encountered him had I not taken up a suggestion by the ‘Glens artist’ Charlie McAuley that I meet Tommy and have a look at his work.

Now I was no fine art expert, more a run-of-the-mill enthusiast, yet one who liked or didn’t like what he saw.

My first visit to Tommy got me ‘hooked’ on his particular style and pleasant portrayal of life in a rural Ireland that had almost disappeared.

'Stopping for a chat' by Tommy McGoldrick

His genial personality and the hospitality of his good wife Mary ensured continuous visits over the years.

In fact I have in my possession the very first painting he ever executed. Such was the generosity of the man.

In the intervening years I watched with great pleasure how he had grown as an artist from those early days in the mid-1980s when he took the plunge and became a full-time painter.

He attributed his style to an influence created by another great Irish artist, James Humbert Craig, whom he had often watched execute his en plein air rural Antrim scenes.

And he gave thanks also to Charlie McAuley for encouraging him to bring his work to a wider audience.

Born in Magheraboy near Rasharkin, Co Antrim in 1930, Tommy was a ‘people's painter’ with a unique ability of capturing Irish life, both past and present, for the appreciation of present and future generations.

His oils and watercolours - for he was proficient in and equally at home with both mediums – gave us all an insight into many aspects of Irish life, be it in his own Co Antrim, or the Donegal mountains or the wild Atlantic coast he loved so well.

Near Errigal by Tommy McGoldrick

Away from the easel he was a musician of high regard having won the All-Ireland fiddle championship on two occasions.

And it was a joy to hear him perform in his own home when the mood took him.

He gave also of his time and his God-given musical talent to help many others along that difficult road to being accomplished fiddlers through the many classes he conducted.

Recognition for his work as an artist is to be found in collections throughout the world.

His exceptional Irish ‘landscapes’ are housed not only in Ireland but also in Canada, the Middle East, USA, Australia and many parts of Europe.

Cottage at the foothills by Tommy McGoldrick

They are also appreciated by such celebrities as Mick Jagger and Daniel O’Donnell and in many corporate collections including the Doyle Hotel Group, Aer Lingus and the Bank of Ireland.

Tommy has left many fine paintings as testimony to his talents. His music will live on too.

But most of all he has also left, to those who love music and art, many lasting and much cherished memories as well.

Tommy McGoldrick died 88 in Rasharkin on March 22.

He is survived by his wife Mary (née O’Kane), sister Mary and family circle.

Michael Drake

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Lives Remembered