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Michael 'Mick' Gillis (1962-2019)
Another year barely begun and another death to mourn. 

This time it is our dear friend Mick Gillis - one of nature's gentlemen, one of the finest and most generous men one could ever hope to meet.

A gifted conversationalist, Mick could listen too. His advice was always sound, and he rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. 

Mick hid his gifts well, however, always deferring to others as the 'experts'. But he was, in the truest sense, a fine historian himself, specialising in the American Civil War. his Knowledge of this conflict was encyclopedic, and his enthusiasm for the subject never faltered.

Mick worked for some time in the National Labour Museum and Archive, and became enthused about Labour history also, thus rounding out his knowledge of the early 20th century's revolutionary history.

To sit with Mick for an hour (or many more!) and discuss any of these facets of history was always a privilege and pleasure, and I shall miss these chats - I learned so much from this gentle man.

Mick shared his love of Ireland and her history with his children, in particular his daughter Liz - now a renowned historian in her own right. She is another member of the Kilmainham Tales stable of authors, having written "May 25 - battle of the Custom House 1921". But she has written another 7 books for Mercier Press and is to the forefront of that generation of young historians which is bringing a breath of fresh air (and honesty) to the study of Irish history.

Mick was a wonderful father and mother to his children - I know, because they told me so. He raised them single-handedly, and made sure they were raised correctly. He imbued much of himself in them, yet did not stifle them, and allowed them each to be original, creative and capable of thinking critically for themselves. 

Mick had every reason to be proud of what he achieved in his all too short life. He deserved more time, but alas it was not to be.

His funeral was a testament to the man, his influence ... and his legacy. Even Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Nial Ring was present, something, perhaps, Mick would have died to see :-).

I am proud that Mick allowed me to share even a little of his time. That time was wonderful, and is now a chest of treasured memories. 

(Above) Mick GIllis with his daughter Liz, author and historian, on her wedding day.

None of this makes it any easier to say goodbye, and our thoughts, prayers and sympathies are with his children, who knew Mick better than any of us, and whose loss is incalculable.

Ar dheis Dé go mbeidh sé go síorraí, i measc na naoimh agus na laochra.


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