A brand new portrait of Father William Murtagh, as painted by local artist Padraig Lynch, was unveiled at Ardee Credit Union this morning (Saturday March 7), as to celebrate one of the founding members of Louth’s first and oldest Credit Union.
His nieces Michelle O’Reilly, Anna Laverty and Dara Murphy (pictured above) were on hand to unveil the stunning portrait painting in the Credit Union building in the town, alongside Ardee Credit Union chairman Conor Thorne.
Among those also in attendance at the unveiling was Ardee Credit Union CEO Niall Lambert, director and founding member Paddy Callan and current directors Karen Duffy and Martin Whately, as well as former staff members Marian Foley and June Roche and committee members including Rita Duff, Noelle Douglas, Jim Harmon and James McMahon.
Father Murtagh passed away in September 2017, aged 98. He spent 19 years in Ardee between 1958 and 1977, where he was senior curate and helped to set up both the Legion of Mary and Ardee Credit Union in the town.
Fr Murtagh was ordained in 1944 and spent time in Dunleer, Beragh (Tyrone) and Faughart before arriving in Ardee. He left to become parish priest of Clogherhead in 1977 where he stayed for 40 years, later as an assistant pastor.
Father Murtagh was one of the founder members of Ardee Credit Union in 1962 and was later made an Honourary President. His portrait will hang downstairs, in the main area of the Credit Union where it will be available to be viewed by members and the public.
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Speaking at the unveiling, Martin Whately reminisced fondly about Father Murtagh and said when he was around, “You didn’t volunteer, you were volunteered.”
“He did great work,” he added.
“He always kept up contact with the people of Ardee,” Anna Laverty said. “He was nearly 40 years in Clogherhead but he never forgot the people of Ardee. Sadly, there’s so many of them not here today. He really would be delighted. We really appreciate it. Padraig captured him very well.”
Padraig Lynch, born in 1936 in Ardee, is a well known painter in Ardee and beyond. He gained a degree in History of Art from UCD (University College Dublin) and studied under George Collie RHA. A former primary school teacher, he worked as a teach until the last 1980s when he retired and focused on his painting full time.
His work focuses mainly on landscape and still life painting. He has exhibited widely, including with the Royal Hibernian Academy and his work is held in various public and private collections. He was unable to attend today’s unveiling due to illness.