It was with deep regret that the Bagenalstown community learnt of
the death of William (Bill) Dillon, of 44 Eastwood, Bagenalstown, Co
Carlow., poet, historian and writer, who died on December 17, 2004 aged
56, after a short illness.
A native of the town, Bill was the son of Mary Dillon Kinsella and
the late William Dillon of Kilcarrig Street. He was fond of out-door
activities and enjoyed swimming, hill-walking and cycling. He enjoyed
good health for most of his life up until his illness.
At the age of 15, Bill joined the Irish Guards regiment of the
British Army in 1963. He completed his cadetship in Surrey and passed
out at the top of his class.
During his military career, he did tours of duty in Canada,
Africa, Cyprus and Aden in Yemen, where he lost some of his comrades in
heavy fighting. He completed numerous courses with the British Army and
on completion of a course on small arms with the highest score, he was
promoted to sergeant even though he was still only a teenager.
Bill also took part in the Changing of the Guard ceremony at
Buckingham Palace and did guard duty at Buckingham and Kensington
Palaces and Windsor Castle.
He bore a scar on his lip, a reminder of the time he served in the
Paratroops Regiment and ended up in hospital badly injured when his
parachute failed to open during a jump.
In 1971 Bill joined the Irish Army and was stationed in Kilkenny
and the Curragh Camp, where he served as a military policeman.
In 1972, he married Margaret Farnan of Kilkea, Co. Kildare, and
the couple spent their first years of married life living in the Curragh
Camp. He left the Irish Army in the 1980s and the family returned to
Bill’s military career was followed by a time in the Fieldcrest
towel factory in Kilkenny, where he worked for a number of years up
until the factory’s closure. He then secured a position with Tanco
Engineering Stores and, in more recent times, was employed by Hawk
Security and then Dan Whelan Engineering Works in Dunroe, Borris.
A lot of people will remember Bill as a fine local historian and
his talents in this area were much sought after. He completed a lot of
valuable research on Carlow families and events, some of which was
His work on transcribing tombstone inscriptions was highly valued
by students of history and genealogy. The Fieldcrest Collection of
Tombstone Inscriptions and Maps was published under the pseudonym
Reynolds Fieldcrest and this covered dozens of burial places and
graveyards throughout the county.
Bill was a familiar sight on his “High Nellie” bicycle as he
travelled around the countryside recording and transcribing material. He
was a member of Carlow County Heritage Society and also a member of
O.N.E. The Huge crowds that attended his removal and funeral bore
testament to the high esteem in which he was held. For those who mourn
him, the words of his poem "Final Rest" will be of some comfort:
- "Weep not for me , in my final rest
- I am happy -now at peace
- Go - my friends , leave me be
- I sleep
that sleep ,so much longed for ,
- Leaving , softly tread
- Disturb not my slumber".
Bill was predeceased by his daughter, Natasha, father William and
sister Marian. He is survived and deeply mourned by his wife, Margaret,
sons William (Dublin), Sean (Barrett Street) and James (Eastwood);
daughters Marian (Dunroe, Borris) and Margaret (Pairc Mhuire); mother
Mary Kinsella and stepfather Tom (Curranree); brother Sean, nephew
Thomas, grandchildren Natasha, Megan, Chloe, James, Oisín and Heather.
He is also mourned by his aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, neighbours
and a wide circle of friends.
Source: Nationalist 7th Jan. 2005.
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