Poignant memento for a man the town forgot


AN ACOUSTIC guitar rested against the end of the dark coffin in the empty funeral parlour, the sole and poignant memento that yielded any clue as to the life and times of Alan Moore.

Originally from Salford, near Manchester, 61-year-old Moore lived a reclusive existence in the heart of Wexford town, and it was there at a small terraced house on Lower John Street that his body was found on March 18th last. He had been dead for up to two months

Moore was discovered in the bedroom of the rented house after a local woman had spotted Christmas lights in the window. She alerted gardaí who then contacted his landlady, and she made the grim discovery.

Gardaí spent several weeks trying to make contact with Moore’s family in the UK, and yesterday his brothers, Stuart and Mick, travelled to Wexford for an ecumenical service at Mulligan’s Funeral Home in the Faythe before his remains were cremated.

“The people of Wexford have nothing to reproach themselves over – Alan chose to live that sort of life, and just because he lived alone doesn’t mean that he was lonely,” said Stuart, who last saw his brother when their mother died in Lancashire in 1989.

Looking a little overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy from the dozen or so mourners who came to pay their respects, Stuart and Mick spoke of how Alan seemed to have been content with his life in Ireland.

“He seemed to be happy here in Ireland – I know he travelled around a bit and he loved music, that was his great passion, he played guitar and he would sing anything,” said Mick as a local came to sympathise.

The small number of mourners lined the tiny funeral parlour to hear Church of Ireland rector Rev Ron Graham speak of how Moore had kept very much to himself before he expressed his sympathies to his brothers on their bereavement.

“I didn’t know Alan, but perhaps not that many people did, at least not closely, as sadly his body lay undiscovered for almost two months,” said Rev Graham as he began the brief prayer service with local priest Fr Michael O’Shea.

“Apparently, he wasn’t a great mixer or a great socialiser as people around here say, he kept himself to himself, but I do understand that he was a very intelligent and well-educated man and he was also a gifted musician, singer and songwriter.”

Among those at yesterday’s service was Imelda Lacey, who said she had not known Moore but had been so moved by the circumstances of his death that she came to pay her respects to him. “I thought the way his life ended was so sad – I wanted to come and I’m glad I did because it was such a dignified and beautiful service – as the Rev Graham said, all the sadness and sorrows and difficulties of his life are now over.”

After the service, Alan Moore’s two brothers, assisted by a local Garda sergeant, the undertaker, two local men and two journalists covering the funeral, helped hold the coffin before it was transferred to a hearse.