Pat Purcell Papers
Michael Snoddy, 1909 - 1963.
Nationalist and Leinster Times, Jan. 1963.
Prominent Carlow Figure is dead.
The unexpected death on Saturday of Mr.
Michael Snoddy, Centaur Street, Carlow, caused sincere regret in his native
town, and over a very wide area in which he was known and respected.
A most successful business man, he
combined remarkable intelligence with a forthright and colourful personality,
and was a most efficient and helpful branch manager of the Equitable Insurance
The late Mr. Snoddy was aged 53. The
courage with which he faced and overcame recurring illnesses during a large
portion of his life won him the greatest admiration. His lively sense of humour
remained undimmed in all situations.
Born at Quinagh, Co. Carlow, he was
educated at Carlow Christian Brother's School and at St. Patrick's Training
College for Teachers in Drumcondra. In 1929 he began his teaching career at
Carlow C.B.S and was later appointed Principal at Kildavin National School.
He returned to teach in Carlow, and was
bereaved by the untimely death of his wife in 1941.
After a period of ill health he joined
the staff of the New Ireland Assurance Company in 1944. Following another term
in hospital he joined the Irish National Insurance Company and was later
appointed Branch Manager of the Equitable Insurance Company.
The late Mr. Snoddy was a founder member
of the Fianna Fail party and was later elected to the National Executive of the
Fianna Fail Party. For many years he was secretary of the Carlow Feis committee
and a member of Gaelic League Branch.
He was also Scoutmaster of the local
troop for a time.
His family was closely associated with
the Fight for Independence and were strongly nationalistic in their ideals. He
was himself, a fluent Irish speaker and had a keen interest in Gaelic Literature
An Appreciation (by Aidan Murray).
While Michael had carved out a highly
successful career in the insurance world following his illness, and it is over
twenty years since he resigned from Carlow C.B.S., to hundreds of his ex-pupils
he is the teacher who stands out most vividly in their memories, and who is
remembered still with affection and gratitude.
He treated every child as if he were his
own son, and would not yield an inch where he felt there was any sense of
injustice. His class was his kingdom; he worked himself unsparingly and defended
his own brilliant and effective methods against charges of "deviation from the
rule book" from inspectors who were inclined to stick to the "book".
They would all agree on his outstanding
ability; but Michael could not be softened by praise. It is ironical that the
very fluency and adaptability he preached in the 30s should slowly be adopted as
the criterion of the 60s.
His sudden collapse shortly after the
death of his wife shocked those of us who had been his school-friends and
colleagues. It seemed inexplicable that a man never known to be ill, revelling
in athletics, football, walking 10 or 12 miles with us of an afternoon, could be
Talking to the late Dr. McMahon one day,
I asked him could he give any explanation. He replied in one word: grief. And
therein lies the key to Mick's complex character.
Behind that sturdy purposeful, rugged
exterior there was the soul of the artist in its finest sense; the sensitivity
and sensibility he covered up in bluntness and the brusque retort.
His love of Ireland, of its language,
music, history and tradition were evident even as a schoolboy. As a teacher the
twin threads of religion and patriotism infused every aspect of his work.
What can one say of his magnificent
achievement in embarking on a new profession, and winning success which placed
him in the forefront, not only in his district but against the whole national
Despite failing health in the last few
years, he managed his office with the thoroughness and attention to detail which
first brought him to prominence in the world of insurance.
But to many of us Michael will always be
the teacher, for in adversity his iron will and the welfare and education of his
young family were examples to us of how faith and trust in God can triumph. He
must have been consoled that the talents they inherited had been so well used.
With the passing of men like Mick all of
us of his generation die a little, too. Few of us could pass to our reward with
so little to regret of our living. --- A.M.
A large cortege accompanied the remains
to the Cathedral of the Assumption on Sunday evening and again at the funeral to
St. Mary's Cemetery, Carlow, on Monday.
Members of the Irish National Teachers'
Organisation were pallbearers and together with past and present members of
Carlow Boy Scout Troop formed a guard of honour.
Chief mourners were, Mr. Oliver Snoddy (Padraigh
O' Snodaigh) (son); Mrs Pauline Murphy and Miss Mary Snoddy (daughters); Thomas,
John, and Sam Snoddy (brothers); Mrs Michael Purcell, Mrs Patrick Purcell, Mrs
Patrick Jones, Mrs Bridie Goebel (sisters); Mrs Cliodhna Snoddy
(daughter-in-law); Mr Donal Murphy (son-in-law); Fergus Snoddy (grandson) and
numerous other relatives and friends. The cortege included a number of prominent
people in public life and business.
Prayers at the graveside were said by
Very Rev. M. Coughlin, Adm., assisted by Very Rev. J. Dunny, P.P. Tinryland and
Rev. T. Waldron C.C. and Rev. J. O'Leary, C.C.
Source: Michael Purcell