Funeral of Derry born priest/author

The late Fr. Walter Hegarty OP.
The late Fr. Walter Hegarty OP.

The funeral of Derry born author and priest, Father Walter Hegarty OP, whose debut novel was one of the first to be set in Derry during the ‘Troubles’, took place in Greencastle yesterday.

Father Hegarty (89), who died in Galway, was buried alongside his late wife, Molly, at St Mary’s, Ballybrack.

The father of six - himself the youngest of nine children - was originally from Chapel Road in the Waterside.

He was the author of three novels, ‘The Price of Chips’ (1973), ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’ (1975) and ‘An Age for Fortunes (1979).

A former bank manager, Fr Walter joined the Dominican Order in 1981, seven years after his wife died.

Previous to this, he worked as a financial consultant and a banker.

In ‘The Price of Chips’, Fr. Hegarty - late of St Mary’s Priory, Galway - also describes growing up in Derry in the 1940s.

Published in 1973, the writer said of his rites of passage book: ‘It’s a specific viewpoint, and I hear so much rubbish being talked about the North that I felt that a book like this, specifically about Derry, was needed.’

Fr. Hegarty is survived by his children Maura, Denise, Marese, Walter, Trish and Vera.

The following extract is from Walter Hegarty’s first novel, ‘The Price of Chips’:

Carlisle Road on a Saturday night! The paseo. Girls in threes and fours and fives, parading in their best clothes, arms linked, along the footpath. The boys, prowling, watching, choosing, making bold forays, confrontations.Voices raised, singing, laughing, arguing.

Bosco was there with Eddie Carlin and Jack O’Dea. They stood outside Reid’s furniture shop, lounging against the wall, dragging on cigarettes, motionless but alert.

‘There’s three. Come on! The blonde for me!’

‘I’ll try the dark one,’ said Bosco.

They crossed the road and stood on the footpath, boldly waiting. The girls stopped.

‘Out of the road! What do you think youse are doing? You don’t own the place.’

‘I seen you before. The Rialto, maybe?

‘You could have. I don’t remember. You’re easy forgot.’

Bosco cornered the dark one.

“What’s you name?’

‘Sadie! What’s yours?’


‘Bosco! What kind of a name is that?’

‘It does me alright. People don’t forget it, nor me either.’

‘Gimme a chance. I’ll try to forget you.’

‘Aw, come on! A bit of fun won’t hurt you. Chips in the Continential, maybe? If we can get away from this lot, I can afford it.”