The Late Tommy Watson, 15 Castleview, Castleisland, Co. Kerry

The late Tommy Watson pictured after he dropped off his last school-bus group of students in Scartaglin in March 1998. ©Photograph: John Reidy 12-3-1998
The band ‘Misty’ in their finery at Kerry Airport on the occasion of the first Ryanair flight from London in May 1989. Included are from left: Ger Boyle, Tralee; Tommy Watson, Castleisland; Johnny Moriarty, Tralee and band leader and Castleisland native, Noel Keane. ©Photograph: John Reidy 23-5-1989.

The death has occurred of Tommy Watson, 15 Castleview, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

Peacefully, on November 14th 2020, after a short illness. Surrounded by his loving family, in the wonderful care of the Muckross Ward and Palliative Care teams at University Hospital Kerry.

Beloved husband of the late Kit.

Sadly missed by his loving daughter Marie Porter, son Brendan, son-in-law Denis, daughter-in-law Victorine, his adored grandchildren Joseph, Richard and Mary, Joseph’s partner Michelle, sisters: Bridie, Jomae and Pat, brother-in-law Colin, sister-in-law Agnes in Chicago, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and his many life-long friends.

May His Gentle Soul Rest In Peace.

A Seriously Accomplished Musician

As a seriously accomplished saxophone player, Tommy Watson (87) was involved in the musical life of his community and county over an enduring passage of decades from the 1950s up to recent years.

During an outstanding afternoon session at Castleisland Community Centre in the run-up to Christmas 2004, Tommy teamed up with Máire Begley O’Shea on piano accordion.

The music they made on that bleak mid winter’s day had a mercurial, magical quality of other times and it reminded many of the clients there on that occasion of the true sounds of the original ballrooms of romance – and they told them so and Tommy explained the composition of sounds and the  technicalities involved.

A Break in the Music

During a break in the music Máire, a Radio Kerry ‘Kingdom Céilí’ presenter at that time, asked Tommy about his experiences and origins in the music circles in and around the county.

Tommy, who played, tenor saxophone, clarinet and drums, surprised her by revealing that he played with the Castleisland based Paddy Breen’s Island Swing Band in the mid 1950s in her father’s dance-hall in Baile Na mBoc in West Kerry.

Hundreds, if not more, couples will have happy memories of Tommy’s involvement as part of their wedding band over as many years.

Top-of-the-Town Neighbours

He teamed up with talented top-of-the-town neighbours, Florry and Frank ‘Doc’ Hartnett, Paddy ‘More Power’ O’Connor and Jackie Drew in the late 1950s / early ’60s Frank Hartnett Band and, more recently, he played with Noel Keane’s band ‘Misty’ for all manner of occasions from weddings to landmark celebrations at Kerry Airport.

Tops of the Town, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, day care centre CD launches and any occasion that left an opening for a bit of music, Tommy was asked and he obliged.

Ever Dependable Taxi Driver

As an ever dependable taxi driver, the mechanically gifted Tommy was always there for his solid core of Mass going, weekly shopping clients from his Castle View base at the top of the town.

He drove underage Gaelic football teams to and from games in neighbouring parishes and more than once wound up in the role of umpire or linesman and psychiatrist on the way home when the occasions demanded.

Soon after Minister for Education, Donagh O’Malley’s brave and famous solo run introduced free second level education and transport for students in Ireland in the mid 1960s, Tommy Watson found himself as one of the first squad of free school bus drivers.

School Bus Driver for 30 Years

He took up this role on the morning of Monday, September 2nd 1968 and he delivered his final consignment of young passengers safely to Scartaglin just short of 30 years later, on the evening of Thursday, March 12th. 1998.

Tommy Watson was one of those people who was many things to many people but, more than anything else, he was a gentleman in his dealings with all. May God be good to him.

Private Family Funeral

A private family funeral will take place for Tommy with his Requiem Mass at 11am on Tuesday in Castleisland parish church.

This will be followed by burial in St. John’s Cemetery, Castleisland.

The Mass will be live streamed on

Family flowers only please. Donations, in lieu, to Palliative Care c/o Tangney’s Undertakers.

Cortège on Main Street on Tuesday at Noon

Please note, the funeral cortège will depart his daughter Marie’s residence in Castleview at 10.30am on Tuesday morning, on route to Castleisland Church and will depart the church at 12 noon approximately and travel up the Main Street, on route to St. John’s Cemetery.

Date Published: Sunday 15th November 2020. Date of Death: Saturday 14th November 2020.

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