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Tributes paid following tragic death of music legend Barry Lynch

Barry Lynch

Tributes have been paid to a music legend and former Portadown school teacher following his sad passing earlier today (Tuesday).

Barry Lynch, who was loved and adored by people near and far, passed away in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast following a tragic accident earlier this month.

Barry taught at Drumcree College in Portadown for years. He lived – and played regularly – in Moy but was originally from Pomeroy.

He was well-known in music circles and none more so than in Armagh itself. While his music endeared him to many, it was his unbridled zest for life that set him apart.

Most recently, Barry had been involved with the Armagh Rhymers who led tributes to a man with an “encyclopaedic knowledge of music”.

“Heartbroken doesn’t seem to cover how we are feeling today at the sad passing of our esteemed colleague and dear friend Barry Lynch,” they wrote.

“Barry has been the very fabric of our work in recent years, and it is hard to imagine a world without him in it.

“His encyclopaedic knowledge of music, impeccable style, contagious laugh and of course that glorious moustache, brightened our days. Rhymer Annie June Callaghan referred to him today as a ‘lighthouse of a man’ and we can think of no truer words; a beacon of strength and a shining light in this world.

“The outpouring of love from friends, audiences and colleagues in recent weeks is testament to a man who touched the lives of everyone he met. We join them in sending our heartfelt sympathies to his wife Siobhan, Jayne and Hannah his beloved daughters, wee Cormac the apple of his eye, his siblings and all his family and friends. We are richer for having known him and treasure every moment we had, may he Rest in Peace.”

Armagh musician Sárán Ó Machail paid a truly touching tribute to a man who “held a very special place in my heart”.

“To me, he was the exact definition of a gentleman,” said Sárán. “His smile would light up a room; his voice could fill a room with power yet with warmth; and his accompaniment could sweetly blend into a session.

“The first session I ever played at was with Barry Lynch in the Auction Rooms when I was about seven years old.

“The late Aidan Prunty had invited me to play a few tunes, and Barry openly welcomed me into the session. Although the speed was remarkably slowed down as I was only a beginner, Barry insisted that I join in and play.

“In recent years, Barry joined the Armagh Rhymers. He put a lot of passion, energy, and enthusiasm into their performances in order to make them the best they could be. Barry’s latest big journey with the Armagh Rhymers was a six-week tour around Germany, which he loved and enjoyed.

“Over a year ago, I started attending the Tomney’s session at every available chance I got. Every time I arrived, I was greeted very warmly by Barry, who thanked me at the end of each night for coming.

“Barry was very encouraging to me, and when Barry was in a session he made sure that everyone could participate and play a tune. He looked out for people, and his caring nature portrayed the gentleman that he was.”

He added: “I could write all day about Barry Lynch and what he meant to me and other people. I found out about his tragic accident when I went into Tomney’s session the day after it happened. I had been looking forward to a few tunes with Barry, and I was shocked and lost for words when I was informed about it. Barry’s passing has left a gap in the local music industry, and I know he will be remembered for his many achievements through music, education, and much more.”

Lurgan musician Declan McKerr described Barry as “the most vibrant, positive, talented and interesting man I’ve ever known”.

“He has left us all with the best memories….My heart bleeds for the Lynch family. Thank you Barry Lynch!”

Barry John MacNeice, the owner of Tomney’s in Moy where Barry regularly played described him as a “true gentleman and legend that will be sorely missed within the local music scene and further beyond”.

Said Barry: “His legacy will live on through all those he inspired to follow his musical journey and those who had the pleasure to meet him.

“Our condolences to the Lynch family from all at the Tomney household.”

A funeral notice described Barry as the beloved husband of Siobhan, dearly loved father of Jayne and Hannah and dear grandfather of Cormac.

Funeral from his home on Thursday to St. John’s Church, Moy for 11am Requiem Mass. Burial afterwards in adjoining cemetery.

Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu, if so desired, to ICU Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast c/o P. Quinn & Son Funeral Directors – 68 Scotch Street, Dungannon.

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