On Sunday, August 14, 2016 the sudden and unexpected death took place of Mr. Eugene Breen of Lismalore, Brookeborough. 

Eugene suffered a massive heart attack just outside Belleek, driving on the road between Bundoran and Brookeborough, two places that he called home in different ways down through the years. He was 69 years of age.

Born on April 27,1947 in the townland of Carrickaheenan, Eugene was the second youngest son of Patrick and Kathleen Breen. With four brothers and four sisters, he was part of a large family group that had scattered to different parts of the world over the decades. Eugene though stayed at home in Ireland after finishing his studies in Saint Mary’s Brookeborough, and assisted his father Patrick to run the family farm in his teenage years. 

Later on he learned his trade as a digger driver with Clarke’s Quarry before opening up his own drainage and civil engineering business in the 1980s. This business was one that had great success, north and south, and made Eugene a well known figure throughout Fermanagh and beyond. He had a reputation as someone who worked hard, showed generosity above the call of duty and treated everyone, including his team of workers, as he would like to be treated himself. 

Despite this success in business, he never lost touch with his roots and was known as a very down to earth member of the local community who played an active part in the local cultural life. He was also a very family oriented person and greatly devoted to his wife Maureen (Gallagher) who came from Foglish, Fivemiletown.

The couple met in the late 1960s and they got married in the summer of 1971 in Saint Joseph’s Chapel, Coonian. At first Eugene and Maureen lived in a townland up near The Knocks area of Fermanagh, but then moved to a house in Lismalore, Brookeborough. They had four children – Paul, Christine, Martin, and Colin – and then eight grandchildren in later years – Stacey, Niamh, Christopher, Marty, Matthew, Eva, Isla and Sofia, who was born exactly one week after Eugene’s death. 

Outside of his interest in work and family, Eugene also had a great passion for Irish culture and traditional music. Like his brothers John, Mike, Willie and Pete, Eugene inherited the gift of music and was a good singer and renowned accordion player. He was always one of the first people called up on stage to perform at weddings and parties because he had a special knack for singing songs of a humorous nature. He was also very fond of listening to music on the radio or the television alongside a range of other interests.

He loved reading newspapers and keeping up to date with current affairs, especially local politics. Every morning he would go to the shops and collect the regional papers and never missed his midweek readings of both of Fermanagh’s local papers.

It was also a source of great pride for him that, in the past few years, he was fortunate enough to attend events such as The Spirit of Northern Ireland awards where he got to meet many local dignitaries and celebrities. He had his picture taken with a number of these people and was very proud to tell his stories of the events.

But as a very down to earth person, he was most at home taking part in local community events such as the regular 45 Card Drive held in the parish over the autumn and winter. In his younger days he had also been a very talented darts player and was part of several local teams that won competitions and awards in the pubs of Brookeborough, Maguiresbridge, Lisnaskea and further afield. He kept up this love of darts even after his playing times finished and had been to numerous events and competitions down through the years in this sport, including a couple in London in recent years where he got to meet some of today’s big stars.  

Aside from this he was a man of great religious conviction and rarely missed Mass, attending up to several times a week at the local St Mary’s Church in Brookeborough, and sometimes at The Graan in Enniskillen where he liked to go and see his friend Fr Brian D’Arcy. 

Eugene and Maureen also did a lot of travelling, including visits to their relatives in New York and England on many occasions. In more recent years they had started to spend more time in Bundoran, where they had stayed on the Saturday night before Eugene’s death. Though he travelled all over the island of Ireland in the past few years and months, Eugene always liked to stop off in the town by the coast where he was a regular visitor to the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and fond of walking the Rougey Cliffs on the east side of the town.  

Despite reaching his 65th birthday in 2012, Eugene had kept active these past few years and it was a great surprise to family, friends, and community that he passed away so suddenly.

The amount of people who passed through the doors of the family home for his wake, and then the large crowd at his funeral in Saint Mary’s Church on August 17, was a testament to the level of esteem he was held in the local community and further afield.

Eugene will be sorely missed by his wife Maureen, children, grandchildren, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers, sisters, entire family circle, the local community, and all those he knew.