In loving memory – A tribute in words and music to Sheila Geoghegan

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

With heavy heart we report the passing in Ireland of Sheila Geoghegan (née Murray), mother of much-respected travel retail figure, Duty Free Global Founder & Commercial Director Barry Geoghegan.

Sheila passed away peacefully on 19 April at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, a victim of COVID-19.

Sheila was a loving mother to her sons Niall, Barry and Conor and will be deeply missed by them; her brother Brendan and sister Ethna; her grandchildren, Ben, Max, Sean, Dylan, Alannah, Murray, Finn and Sarah; her daughters-in-law Orla, Vanessa and Julianne; the family of her deceased husband, Michael Geoghegan (a great pioneer of the duty free business – having been one of the original Aer Rianta management team who left Ireland on a six-month consultancy to help Dubai’s Department of Civil Aviation create a duty free business in 1983 – which led to the establishment of Dubai Duty Free); cousins, neighbours and friends.

Just before Sheila passed, Barry, having to wear full personal protection equipment, was able to visit her one final time. He sang to her, one of their favourite songs, Raglan Road – a well-known Irish song put to music by the late Luke Kelly of the Dubliners from a poem written by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh (the title refers to Raglan Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin).

It’s a beautiful song, also recorded variously by such musical luminaries as Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Mark Knopfler, The Chieftains and Mary Black.

As a special tribute to Sheila, and as our statement of sorrow, condolences and love to Barry and his family, we asked a group of Barry’s closest friends in travel retail to each read some lines from Raglan Road.

One of those friends is Jess Howells, Founder of UK company Well-Noted, which specialises in business writing, project management & travel retail marketing. Her husband  Jon is a professional drummer and online session musician. Jess and Jon offered to set the end result to music, which they have done to beautiful effect.

Rest in Peace Sheila Geoghegan.

[Vocal arrangement and singing – Jess Howells; Guitar and Dulcimer – Toby Howells; Bodhrán, percussion and Irish whistle plus recording and producing –  Jon Howells

[Narrators (in order of appearance): Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free; David Spillane, Global Travel Retail Sales; Nathalie Roelands, Duty Free Global; Martin Moodie, The Moodie Davitt Report; John Sutcliffe, Aer Rianta International-Middle East Board Member and industry veteran; Dermot Davitt, The Moodie Davitt Report; Catherine Bonelli, Paul & Shark; Jonathan Holland, Jonathan Holland & Associates; Nadine Heubel, Heinemann Americas; Patrick Nilson, Haleybrooke International; Lara Plaza, London Supply; Jess Howells, Well-Noted; Carmel and George Horan, formerly of Dubai Duty Free; KK Mui, Kai Tak Cruise Plaza; Breeda McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free]

Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I passed along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay
Oh I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint without stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own dark hair and her own name there, like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly, my reason must allow
That I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day

Sheila more recently with Barry and Orla Geoghegan and their sons Sean, Max and Benjamin
Sheila with her then young sons (left to right) Conor, Niall and Barry)

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