Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral in Derry this morning of broadcaster and historian Mickey McGuinness.
The mourners were led by Mr. McGuinness’ wife, Detta, and his eight children.
Mr. McGuinness - a well known figure in sporting, musical and cultural circles in the city - passed away on Thursday last after a short illness. He was aged 78.
Speaking at Requiem Mass at Saint Patrick’s Church in Pennyburn. Rev. Micheál McGavigan described Mr. McGuinness as a “true son of Derry.”
“Michael was a sincere, warm and loving soul who was open to everyone,” he said. “He was, without question, a true son of Derry, whose legacy in this city will endure for many years to come.
“To Detta and his beloved children and grandchildren, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather... Even though his dying was expected, even though he was at peace as he passed, there is a sense of loss, a feeling that there is unfinished business yet to be completed.”
Mr. McGuinness was, said Rev. McGavigan, a “faithful friend and a companion in life to countless people: work colleagues, extended family, musicians, historians and footballers.
“Derry has lost a great ambassador,” he said. “Michael was one of those people with a huge heart who had room for everyone.”
Love of family, said Rev. McGavigan, was, above all else, Michael’s number one priority.
“Michael and Detta’s life together was lived in harmony and peace - marked by a richness that material possessions or money cannot buy. A love of family, patiently and generously raising their eight children and instilling in them his own values of honesty, sincerity and good humour.
“Fulfilment for Michael was not found in wealth but in his passion for music, in trips away with the Christian Brothers’ Choir, in sport where he was a gifted footballer, and in putting his able mind to work researching Irish history and culture, contributing extensively to our local history here in Derry.
“The many friendships that he formed through these passions have endured, giving rise to many a night’s party where Michael was always the first there and the last out.”
Rev. McGavigan said Mr. McGuinness’ “open mind and young heart” saw him embrace people from all walks of life with a “genuine love and concern.”
“Michael was an intensely alive person, wonderfully whole, and certainly his life gave glory to God... The gratitude we express today for him will surely go beyond the family and friends gathered here.”
Mr. McGuinness is survived by his wife, Detta, children Deirdre, Aine, Donal, Michael, Brian, Maeve, Una and Kathleen.