Eddie Banks died recently. A native of Lancashire England, he came to live in New Village, Oughterard, about 14 years ago.
He was a keen angler and had fished in many parts of Ireland before coming to Oughterard. Like many before him, he fell in love with the place, and when he was able to establish a home in New Village he told friends he considered himself the luckiest man on earth to be able to live in such a beautiful place on the shore of the finest fishing lake in the world.
Angling, not killing fish, was Eddie’s passion. He was an expert fly-fisher – wet and dry and occasionally, the dap. He was a conservationist. Like others, he had many concerns about the lake – pollution, zebra mussel, fish stocks. He rarely kept a trout. His practice of ‘catch and release’ was well known.
In his time here Eddie became very involved in angling and boating affairs. He was the secretary of Oughterard Anglers and Boatmen’s Association for five or six years and, as anyone who knew him would expect, he carried out the functions of that office in a most diligent and efficient manner. He was also a member of that most worthy committee, the Regatta Committee, which revived the Baurisheen Regatta after many years.
Eddie had a very positive attitude to life – enthusiastic, fun loving. He loved company, particularly meeting friends at lunchtime on the lake. As the saying goes – ‘his glass was always half full’.
In July last, Eddie was diagnosed with cancer. It was a particularly aggressive type of cancer. He fought it bravely. As his condition grew worse and the treatment and medication more severe, his wish was to come home to New Village. He never made it. The cancer won. He died on 9th December.
Eddie will be missed by his many friends here in Oughterard. His funeral service has taken place. As he requested his ashes will be scattered by the islands on the lake he loved on a suitable day when the new fishing season opens.
To Eddie’s wife Hazel and son Mark, we, again, extend our deepest sympathy.