Terry O' Morain, 1913 - 1966

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

Terry O' Morain


Transcribed by Michael Purcell

Nationalist and Leinster Times. 29th August 1966.

Death of Well Known Personality.

Carlow people were shocked and saddened on Monday to hear of the untimely death in a Dublin hospital of one of the town's most colourful personalities, Mr Terry O'Morain.

A Dublin man he came to Carlow in 1941 as Health Inspector to Carlow County Council - a position he held up to the time of his death.


Terry, who was aged 55, was renowned all over Leinster as a most talented amateur actor and producer and was a frequent adjudicator at Drama Festivals.

In 1945, he and a few friends founded Carlow Little Theatre Society and from that time on his devotion to this group never waned. He held every office within the Society and was generally looked on as the person mainly responsible for its many successes and achievements.

At Easter this year, the Society celebrated its coming of age by re-staging with almost an entirely different cast one of its earlier successes, Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars".

One of the few people who remained from the earlier production was Terry O'Morain as Fluther Good. This was possibly his greatest role, in fact in the opinion of Ria Mooney, the well-known Abbey producer, Terry was the best Fluther Good since Barry Fitzgerald.

Irish Plays.

His acting was forceful and inventive and he was a complete master of technique. He excelled in Irish plays especially those about Dublin life and he was at his best in O'Casey's plays.

Other notable roles of his included Joe Keller in "All My Sons", Ben in "The Little Foxes", Dovetail in "Home is the Hero" and Joxer in "Juno and the Paycock".

Another great interest in Terry's life was Carlow Arts Council of which he was Secretary for many years and was on the Executive Committee up to the time of his death.

He was head of the Welfare Section of Carlow Civil Defence and was on the Carlow Old People's Committee. He was Chairman of Carlow branch of the Irish Local Government Officials Union and was in charge of the Field Ambulance section of the Local Defence Force during World War 11. He continued as Lieutenant with the F.C.A. until 1954.

A large number of Carlow people, representing all sections of the community travelled to Dublin on Tuesday for the removal of the remains and on Wednesday for the funeral to Glasnevin Cemetery.

Terry is survived by his wife, Nancy, sons Fergus, Niall and Rory, sister and daughter-in-law.

An Appreciation.

by Seamus O'Rourke, Editor of The Nationalist and Leinster Times.

Terry O'Morain is dead. The hard reality of that simple fact shocks us and its significance will take a long time to permeate to the hearts of all who knew and loved him.

Is it possible that he will never again make us laugh and cry as he did so many, many times in his Little Theatre roles. We are shocked at the thought.

Terry was part of us - a part of Carlow, even though it was his adopted town, and a very large part of its cultural life.

He was a man who dreamed and who brought many of his dreams to life.

As a founder member of Carlow Little Theatre Society he brought to Carlow people a love of the Theatre. As a lifelong active member he also helped to bring the best of Irish theatre and world theatre within the reach of us all.

One of his most cherished dreams was to "play Shakespeare in the people's park" -- "the stage is there" he would say "and Shakespeare was written for the people -- they will love it if only they get the chance".

Terry O' Morain was a young man.

His fifty-five years rested lightly on his shoulders, and when he spoke, particularly of the things he loved, his enthusiasm fired everyone even those who thought some of his dreams outrageously ambitious.

This quality of youth was particularly noticeable when he was among young people. Few people called him mister for long. He became simply "Terry" - but in doing so lost no dignity, but rather gained in stature and personal appeal.

For as long as I knew him I never heard him deprecate or talk small of anyone. He was too big for that, too understanding, too conscious that all have faults - and he would be the very last to say that he himself was perfect.

Terry was a man who "got involved" in the best sense of the word. When he joined something or started it, he stuck with it all the way. Ask any of his friends in the many societies of which he was a member, but above all in the Little Theatre Society.

All will remember with the deepest affection his loyalty and enthusiasm, his wit and kindliness and his life-long dedication to the arts.

May the God of all love and beauty take him to His heart; may He console his family who were so justly proud of him and may his memory long be honoured by the people of Carlow to whom he gave so much.

S. O'R.

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