Michael Purcell <email@example.com>
Willie Ellis / Mary Boles.
by Michael Purcell -- Willie Ellis was grandson of Mary Boles.
All Willie's uncles and brothers were interested in our history,
over the years many of their articles were published in the
Nationalist and Carloviana.
A ten page
article "Memories and Musings" by 90 year-old Frank Ellis was
published in the 2006 edition of Carloviana.
Frank had published the
article in booklet form, he gave me a copy shortly before he died
Willie Ellis tribute by Martin Nevin.
grew up with the Old Carlow Society, now the Carlow Historical and
Archaeological Society. His father, John was a founder member way
back in 1946. His brothers John, Brendan and uncle Frank all
contributed to the welfare of the Society over the years.
Willie was a
member for almost 40 years and from his earliest association was
regarded as one of the stalwarts of the Society.
In that time
the hidden treasures of his beloved county became well known to
him and we all enjoyed the many evenings when he delighted us with
illustrated talks on his latest findings and the many changes
which had overtaken us almost by stealth through the years in our
towns, villages and countryside.
In a quite
and unassuming way , Willie continued the tireless labours of
Donal Godfrey in the work of research and preservation through the
medium of coloured slides. To him must be credited the greatest
collection of photographs and slides of unusual features, early
stone structures, buildings, holy wells, changes to the
neighbourhood, streetscapes, etc. of Carlow county.
Most of his
Sundays were spent in pursuit of such items to compile a centre
piece for "Carloviana"
under the heading County Carlow Miscellany which was a much hailed
feature by our readers for almost a quarter of a century.
But this was
not his only contribution to our journal. He left his distinctive
stamp on the layout of not less than twenty editions. The cover
pictures and design were typical examples of his work and they
speak for themselves. He wanted Carloviana to be a credit to the
Society and Carlow.
he was always at hand to provide from his vast library, a
photograph to further illustrate and enhance a particular article.
He had a keen eye for an historical anniversary and could be
counted on to lend his pen to same. To his credit, recently
deceased members were always recorded.
knowledgeable about County Carlow and was much sought after by
students of history. His names completes the bibliography of many
a thesis with a Carlow theme.
our county with a special quest always found themselves in the
company of Willie, who without fail, would professionally guide
them in their search.
personal from museums, universities and the Office of Public Works
were well acquainted with his knowledge of the local scene and
would call on his expertise when needed.
well known and respected throughout the county by all interested
in the heritage and history of Carlow. Through his many contacts
he travelled the narrow, winding roads to awkward places in this
county, often times in a 4 x 4 of a fellow enthusiast, to look at
and record a piece of rock with unusual markings, a Mass rock,
standing stone or to capture something historical that was about
to be removed from the landscape.
He was a man
of integrity and principle who brought the highest standards to
all aspects of his work.
years before he passed to his eternal reward he had been working
diligently on a book "A Pictorial Aspect of County Carlow" with a
view to having it published. This may yet come to fruition.
In his Will
he donated his collection of photographs and slides to the care of
Carlow County Library and some of his library of books to St
a committee member (he preferred always to work in the background)
he was made an Honorary Member in 2002 in recognition of his
contribution to the Society.
It must be
recorded that many aspects of our heritage and history would have
gone unrecorded but for tireless efforts of Willie Ellis. Always
on the lookout for unusual findings, I'm sure Heaven will be no
Willie Ellis died 22nd July 2007