Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

“The craic was 90” at Terry’s ‘living wake’

by Diarmúid Pepper

How many times have you been at a funeral or a wake and thought to yourself:  “If only they could be here right now to see the great send-off we’ve given them”.

Well, what if that person could be there for the send-off and to see the affection people have for them?

It’s a concept that is growing in popularity and which came to Lislea over the weekend for the ‘Living Wake’ of Terry Murphy.

Terry ran the famous Shebeen in Lislea for many a year, which later became the popular Santa’s Cottage at Christmas.

On Saturday night, Terry had a Living Wake in that same venue and around 500 people came out to ‘pay their respects’ to him. 

Living wakes, often called living funerals, can be anything the person in question wants it to be. It can be formal or casual, a big event or an intimate gathering – a final chance to say goodbye. 

In Terry’s case, he had plenty of food and drink and all concerned said “the craic was ninety”. 

John Egan is a friend of Terry’s, and he spoke to the paper about the living wake: “We went over last night from 8 until very, very late. It used to be a Shebeen years ago, and he wanted all his old friends and everyone he knew to come along. Every room was full of music and craic. The man himself was there and in good form.”

John had never heard of a living wake before, but said it was one of the best night’s he had. 

“I would say myself, I have never heard or seen one of these before. But I would say it was one of the best parties I have ever been to. When you go to a wake, everyone can be in bad form, but it was completely different last night. 

“I would completely agree with a living wake. A lot of people couldn’t take it, but I think it is a great thing. That man woke up this morning knowing he is loved by so many and got to see his send-off. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t go for it, but I think it is a great thing. He hasn’t long to go and this was a wonderful send off. We all had a drop of drink and wonderful craic.”

Terry’s auntie, Tess Carr, also spoke to the paper, and wasn’t long in the door from the Shebeen when we called!  She too has been converted on the idea of living wakes. 

She said: “The crowds there last night, with all of his best friends, the craic was ninety. I think it’s a great idea; there were story-tellers and all sorts of people at it – a fantastic night.”

Living wakes may seem like a rather odd idea, but in Terry’s case, it seems to have made perfect sense.