Gerry is shown here (on the left) with Irish President Michael D. Higgins, who launched Gerry's first poetry collection in 2010.
Gerry Galvin, an extraordinary chef, gifted writer, and a much-loved and much-missed friend, passed away on Friday, 1 March. When he first came to Anam Cara as a writer-in-residence in 2002, he had recently retired from his long career as a restauranteur, first in Kinsale, where he was instrumental in turning that town into a destination for food lovers, and then at his and his wife Marie's Drimcong House restaurant in Moycullen, Co. Galway.
But I didn't know any of his history at the time. He arrived on a Sunday, and beginning on Monday, we all gathered after breakfast to listen to a pre-recorded Gerry on the radio reading one of his essays a day for the week, essays written based on some of his own poetry. On Tuesday morning (after I had served him four meals), we heard the announcer say, "The name Gerry Galvin is probably very familiar to you, but not yet as a writer. He is known as the first gourmet chef of Ireland!" I was gobsmacked (and appalled)! But Gerry in his consummate generosity assured me that all was well. His sweet acceptance of my offerings cemented our friendship, and he honoured us by preparing something wonderful for us each time he was in residence. One of my fondest memories is cooking with Gerry as we got ready for my stations mass for the Eyeries parishioners of Inches townland.
Our last visit was in Galway in April. Phyl McCarthy and I went to the Festival to hear Gerry read from his latest novel and to spend time with the poet Billy Collins and his fiance Suzannah, both of whom thoroughly enjoyed Gerry's reading. Phyl and I then spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon with Marie and Gerry in their lovely home in Oughterard...an afternoon that included lunch!!! The company and the meal were fabulous -- A treat I will remember forever.
Rest in Peace, dear, dear Gerry.
(His obituary can be found at: http://notices.irishtimes.com/24528792.)