Limerick fashion designer John McNamara dies aged 55

Well-known designer passed away on Thursday night following short illness

Mr McNamara worked with top international designer Ib Jorgensen before returning to set up business in his native Limerick

Mr McNamara worked with top international designer Ib Jorgensen before returning to set up business in his native Limerick

 

Tributes are being paid to a “true gentlemen of” Irish fashion, Limerick designer John McNamara who passed away on Thursday night.

The well known designer died following a short illness at the age of 55.

Mr McNamara trained in Dublin’s Grafton Academy and then London’s Kingston College.

He worked with top international designer Ib Jorgensen before returning to set up business in his native Limerick.

Mr McNamara was a son of the late Nora McNamara, a pioneer in Irish women’s education who set up one of the country’s most foremost secretarial colleges, High School International, in Limerick in 1951.

A brother of former 2FM broadcaster Michael McNamara, he was also an uncle of BBC Sports commentator Conor McNamara.

One of his closest friends was Irish style guru Celia Holman Lee and he was the brainchild of her recent exhibition: Celia Style Icon currently running at The Hunt Museum.

“John had hundreds of friends that loved him in so many circles, not just in fashion. He played bridge, he used to cook, he had so many friends and was a true gentleman. We are all just devastated,” Celia said on Friday.

“We were friends for over 30 years. I would never have done that exhibition without him and he held my hand the whole way through.”

Ms Holman Lee broke down on TV3’s Ireland AM show on Friday morning when she was asked about two of the dresses in her exhibition that John McNamara designed for her.

One was a ribbon and lace fabric from the 1980s which she wore for her 40th birthday.

“This is rather beautiful and its always going to be treasured for the rest of my life- this particular one, I wore this at my 40th birthday,” she said before breaking down.

John McNamara was very involved with the ILoveLimerick campaign and tributes have been pouring in on the group’s Facebook page with many posts mourning the loss of a “true gentleman”.

A message posted on the Facebook page last night read: “We lost an integral member of the ILoveLimerick team today...We will never be the same without it.”