Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Daniel O'Donnell, Eamonn Holmes, Barry McGuigan among famous names paying tribute to Father Brian D'Arcy

Fermanagh is saying goodbye to one of its best known and best loved priests this week.

Father Brian D'Arcy will leave his post at the Graan Monastery in Enniskillen at the end of August to live and work with the Passionist community in Tobar, Crossgar.

The 72-year-old priest, who was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2's Wake Up To Wogan for 20 years, is also a writer, newspaper columnist, broadcaster and played a huge role in the local community and the spiritual life of Enniskillen.

Now Norther Irish celebrities, sporting stars and local Fermanagh figures have paid tribute, revealing what Father Brian D'Arcy meant to them in a video put together by The Impartial Reporter.

Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell thanked him for always being there in times of need.

He said: "I want to wish you luck, but more than that I want to say thank you for all your support and kindness to me and my wife over the last few years."

Former Armagh Captain and GAA commentator Jarlath Burns said Father D'Arcy had been a peacemaker, negotiator, straight-talker, broadcaster, Chaplin, darling of the congregation of the doctrine of the faith and leader. He jokingly added: "He was loved by bishops everywhere, he was a man of courage, truth and of course disobedience."

RTE Radio presenter Ryan Tubridy portrayed him as "one of the good people of Ireland' and "one of the good souls".

He said: "It is always a pleasure to speak to and interview him, on air or off air.

"Father Brian D'Arcy is one of my favourite people on the island of Ireland. They are lucky to have you, whether it's a room of three people or a church full of souls."

Northern Irish broadcaster Eamonn Holmes described Father D'Arcy's  life as a very special vocation,  adding that a lot of people depend on him. Advising the Priest to have some 'me' time, he said:

"This is a different phase in your life so embrace it. Have some 'me' time. Be good to yourself and you have to be good to yourself because if you're not you're not going to be there for other people, and too many people depend on you, including myself."

I can only wish you the best of luck in life because if anyone deserves it, it is you. Eamonn Holmes

Boxing legend Barry McGuigan said he had a significant impact on his life and helped him through some "pretty serious stuff".

"You were behind in the dressing room with me when I fought, and prayed with me before and after. You have been a fairly big part of my life so I want to wish you a huge success." 

Mickey Harte said he was sorry to see the Priest leave his native county. The Tyrone GAA manager thanked him for his support through a difficult time in his family's life.

I want to thank you for how supportive you were to me and my family, for both your practical and prayerful support when my daughter Michaela died in 2011. We will never forget it. Mickey Harte

A man of the people, Father D'Arcy is an avid football and GAA fan. Retired teacher, Harry McConkey says he will never forget the wonderful chats they had about the sports but most importantly, the time school children were invited to the Graan to play.

Mr McConkey said: "The most important thing of all I want to say is thank you so much for the time you gave to the local children. The fun and the craic we had out in the Graan with yourself and the lovely hospitality will stay with the children and me for the rest of our lives."

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