Warm tributes have been paid to popular Shannonbridge resident Johnny Nally who died in a motorbike crash on the Isle of Man last weekend.
There were shock waves through the local community on Sunday last as news broke that the local man, originally from Clonbonny, Athlone, but living in Shannonbridge for the past 17 years, had passed away.
He is survived by his partner Kathleen, his sons Paul and Keith, Kathleen's daughters Stacey and Natasha, his sister Angela and brother Peter, as well as his brother-in-law Pat, sister-in-law Angela, and daughters-in-law Cathy and Anne.
Johnny also had eight grandchildren: Keith's children Ryan, Nicole and Alex; Paul's children Brian and Kate; Natasha's children Sam and John; and Stacey's son Zach.
A GoFundMe fundraising page has been launched by Johnny's friends in the biker community to raise funds to assist the family with the cost of bringing him home.
At time of going to press, more than €23,000 had been raised in the space of two days, a figure that has already surpassed the €20,000 goal. Donations can be made through the page at www.gofundme.com/johnny-nally-fund.
Tributes have been paid to Johnny as a man “with an infectious smile”.
His son Paul Nally said: “Everyone says he will be remembered for his smile and his laugh. He lived life and enjoyed every minute. He worked hard and he played hard – he was always into bikes and loved getting out and about.
“He was full of life and always had a smile on his face.”
In a moving tribute on their Facebook page, Killeens Bar in Shannonbridge wrote: "We remain deeply shocked and utterly heartbroken at the loss of our dear friend Johnny. A true gentleman who was always up for a bit of craic... Johnny's infectious smile and hearty laugh will never be forgotten here in Killeen's."
Johnny was a motorbike enthusiast, and regularly travelled to road races, rallies and events throughout the country and beyond. He had been attending the Isle of Man TT event for the past 12 years.
Inspector Gavin Callow from Isle of Man Constabulary confirmed to the Westmeath Independent that an Irish man had died following a collision involving two motorcycles on Sunday morning.
Emergency services were called out at around 11:20am to Ballakillowey Road in Colby, a small village in the south of the island.
“One of the riders, a 57-year-old-man from Ireland, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured during the collision," said Inspector Callow.
Funeral arrangements had not been finalised at time of going to press, but the family have requested donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.