Belfast Telegraph

Daughter of Tyrone Guthrie founding director in tribute to father after sudden death

By Victoria Leonard

The heartbroken daughter of a Belfast-born founding director of a centre for creative artists who died in a freak accident at his home in the Catalan Pyrenees has said her father left an "indelible mark on the world".

Andersonstown-born Bernard Loughlin (68), who was the first director of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Co Monaghan which he ran with his wife from 1981 to 1999, passed away after an accident involving a dumper at the end of last week.

He will be laid to rest in a secular funeral service conducted by author Michael Harding at noon tomorrow, followed by burial in Farrera, Catalonia.

Paying tribute to her father, Maeve Loughlin said that the grieving family felt they were in a "surreal alternative universe".

"We are jumping between the realisation that he has gone and feeling he is going to come out of the garden at any minute," she said from her parents' home in Spain.

"It is shocking for us to lose him in this way - it is unbelievable and unfathomable, and it is going to take a long time to even accept that it is reality.

"He was the fittest 68-year-old I knew. He was so content in his gardens and on his mountain.

"I will remember my dad as the funniest, strongest, most resilient, most wonderful, most loving man in the world. I know that he is hugely respected and loved and will be remembered for the impact he made on the arts community in Ireland, for all the people he brought together and all the creativity that was made in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre."

Ms Loughlin described the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Annaghmakerrig retreat which her father ran with her mother Mary for 18 years, as a "labour of love".

"He has left an indelible mark on the world, and so much of a legacy in all that he has done that he will remain with us all," she said. "For generations to come, his impact will be felt."

The centre was the first cross-border project between the Arts Councils north and south, bequeathed to the state by English theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie as a place where artists could come and work in peace.

"The only other stipulation was that they had to eat dinner together each night," Ms Loughlin said.

"My dad and my mum brought it from a house covered in dust, which had been empty and abandoned for 10 or more years, and built it up.

"My dad dug back the gardens and created a lot of the landscape, which is part of what the artists love, with his own hands.

"My mother is an extremely talented seamstress and interior designer, and she restored and enhanced the building. Many artists said it was like coming home, like they were the mother and father of Annaghmakerrig, and all who stayed there were part of a big family."

In addition to his daughter and wife, Mr Loughlin is also survived by his son Eoin (39).

Irish President Michael D Higgins extended his sympathy to the family. He said: "Bernard was the first director of the centre in Monaghan that served as cradle to so much of the finest work in recent decades. He was not merely a great host to all those anxious to see the emergence, or the finish, of a piece of work, he was a source of inspiration and a fine artist in his own right.

"Sabina and I would like to offer our deepest sympathy to all those who knew and loved Bernard."

Belfast Telegraph

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