Following his death on December 31 in his 89th year, the funeral of the Reverend Gerard Philip Irvine took place in The Priory Church, Killadeas, on Saturday, January 4 when the Service was conducted by a close friend, The Revd. Canon Alastair Graham, Rector of All Saints Parish Church, Mullingar, and the Bishop of Clogher, The Rt. Revd. John McDowell.

Philip’s father, Capt. Gerard M.F. Irvine, emigrated to America where he married. Philip was born in the Methodist Hospital, Philadelphia, and spent his early life in New York City and New Jersey, before returning to Fermanagh in 1939.

After graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast, he went on to train for the Ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church in Coatshall, Edinburgh.

After his ordination he was the Curate in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, thence he moved to St. John’s Church, Malone, Belfast.

Thereafter he moved to be Chaplain to St. Mary’s Home in Dublin, and finally as Assistant Priest at St. John the Evangelist Church, Sandymount, Dublin, where he remained until his retirement.

Philip moved to a Nursing Home in Killucan, Co Westmeath in 2015 where he passed away peacefully following a long period of ill health.

In his funeral address Canon Graham spoke of how Philip’s ministry was distinguished by his humility and gentleness, and he captured the essence of Christian living we find described in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians: “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” and he concluded “May he rest in peace and rise in glory”.

The Revd. Philip Irvine was scion of his branch of the family who were extensive land owners in Fermanagh and Tyrone since settling here in the early 17th century, much respected as representatives for and having a long connection with both the Killadeas district and of County Fermanagh.

The family remodelled their home then known as Rockfield, Killadeas, in the mid-19th century, and Revd. Philip’s grandfather was largely responsible for the re-construction of The Priory Church at Killadeas in the early 20th century.

Throughout his long lifetime Philip Irvine maintained a close interest in the maintenance and care for the family’s extensive agricultural estate at Killadeas.

Their Manor House was requisitioned as an important wartime HQ in the 1940s, and much of the Estate’s shore land too provided a very strategic base for the Royal Air Force to patrol the North Atlantic.

On return of those parts of the Estate to the family in the 1950s they determined not to live in the Manor House again; it was sold and is now the well-established Manor House Country Hotel.

Philip continued to spend some time on the Estate at Killadeas for many years, earlier with his widowed mother, and after her death so long as he was able to do so.

He was always keenly interested in retaining the traditional farming, forestry and sporting aspects of his rural Estate, together with the interests of those who were connected with it.

A particular concern too for him was to respect and maintain the importance of the location of the Estate in Fermanagh, and its vital environmental importance on the shores of Lower Lough Erne. There his 19th century ancestors had established competitive sailing on its waters and, by example, their rules for the sport were widely adopted and still applied today.

Happily, the Lough Erne Yacht Club, one of the earliest Sailing Clubs in the United Kingdom, for many years past still launch from the shores of his Estate at Killadeas.

Philip was laid to rest after the Service in the adjoining Churchyard where many other members of his distinguished family also rest.

He will be very fondly remembered by his loving niece and nephew Sally and Michael and the family, and by Parishioners and Clergy of the Parishes in which he ministered.