Bicycle-drawn hearse brings cycling advocate on his last journey

Paddy Cahill made films about cycling and Dublin’s architectural legacy

Paddy Cahill’s brother Conor cycled his coffin to Glasnevin Cemetery in a bicycle-drawn hearse. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

Paddy Cahill’s brother Conor cycled his coffin to Glasnevin Cemetery in a bicycle-drawn hearse. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

 

Paddy Cahill was a passionate cycle advocate and a filmmaker who combined the two to telling effect during his lifetime.

On Monday he made his last journey through Dublin’s streets on a bicycle-drawn hearse having died at the age of 44 after a long illness. In accordance with his dying wishes, his brother Conor cycled his coffin to Glasnevin Cemetery. Dozens of other cyclists followed behind as the cortege made its way through the city.

Starting in 2012 he made a series of short bicycle documentaries with Philip de Roos, a Dutch blogger and a fellow cycling advocate.

The two were a familiar sight to Dublin’s cycling commuters. Paddy had a specially built front carrier on his bike which he sat on to film other cyclists as they went about the city, while his colleague did the pedaling.

Each month, they uploaded a new cycling video to the site cyclingwith.com. Interviewees ranged from architectural historian Ellen Rowley to performance artist Amanda Coogan and the former mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen.

“We’re really interested in people’s stories. There is something about cycling that promotes a gentle pace to the conversation. The city becomes another character which in turn affects the conversation,” Mr Cahill told The Irish Times in 2013.

“There are loads of good reasons to cycle for society and the individual but I don’t cycle for health or environmental reasons. I cycle because it’s the quickest, most convenient way to get around and it makes you happy.”

The result was a series of films on the website. He also made films about Dublin’s architecture particularly the work of Herbert Simms, the history of Liberty Hall and in 2019 about our love-hate relationship with pigeons.

Mr Cahill made films about Irish art and architecture. He was described by architecture historian Emma Gilleece as “the most humblest of men” who “faced his illness head on with the same dignity and wisdom far beyond his years as seen in his documentaries.

“Paddy was a true champion of the underdog, challenging our perceptions with a beautiful gentleness that yet pulsed with his passion for the endurance of these buildings and their stories.”

The Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar tweeted: “The board and staff of the Irish Film Institute are deeply saddened to learn of the death of the filmmaker Paddy Cahill. Paddy directed many fine films about the art and architecture of Dublin. We send our heartfelt condolences to Paddy’s family at this sad time.”

The Dublin Literary Award added: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Paddy Cahill. The teams had the pleasure of working with Paddy over the years - a lovely person you could trust immensely.”

Mr Cahill is survived by his wife Jonia, his parents Tony and Catriona and his other sibling Pamela.