This day last year a much loved Limerick gentleman was taken from us in the form of designer John McNamara. He is still greatly missed by all who knew him.
Here is the piece I wrote for the Limerick Post at the time of his passing:
“News of the death of John McNamara this week came as a huge shock to all that knew him. Ill for just a matter of weeks, he was taken from us suddenly but will never be forgotten. This ‘gentle giant’ was a kind, talented, loving, intelligent, well-read, and witty man with a great dry sense of humour which I enjoyed so much.
John’s reputation as an excellent designer was far-reaching and he was very proud to have designed for President of Ireland Mary Robinson and enjoyed his visits to Áras an Uachtaráin. He trained in Dublin’s Grafton Academy and London’s Kingston College, then worked with top international designer Ib Jorgensen before returning to set up business in his native Limerick in the 1980s. His studio was in the basement of HSI College which was ran by his trailblazing mother Nora with whom he was very close. His brother Michael is former 2fm broadcaster and nephew Conor is also a broadcaster with the BBC.
A great supporter and familiar face at many events in the city, John was integral to the Limerick International Fashion Student Awards over the last two years which he worked on with the Holman Lee Agency, as well as the producer behind the current exhibition in the Hunt Museum, Celia Holman Lee: Style Icon, which he dreamed up for his close friend of the last thirty years and convinced her to do. Live on TV3 the morning after his death, Celia broke down in tears when showing pieces of the collection that included much loved designs that John had made for her over the years. That same day Richard Lynch of ilovelimerick gave a moving tribute on Live 95fm to the man that had become his best-friend in recent years and revealed that John was a big part of the ilovelimerick team behind the scenes.
Rest in peace John, a true gentleman, we are all the better from having known you.”
By Olivia O’Sullivan
This article appeared in the Limerick Post 18th April 2015