The recent tragic death of Liam Rohan, Annegrove House, Shanahoe shocked and saddened the entire community.
Liam passed away at the Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore as a result of a farm accident. Married to Bridie for 46 years, they have 4 children, John, Anne Marie, Mary Clare and Brian.
The Annegrove farm was tillage and drystock in the early days.
But Liam saw his future in dairying and went on to establish a pedigree friesian herd.
With his two sons John and Brian they have been working a high yielding dairy farm since 1975.
Always alert to new ideas, he had a great love of learning more and never stopped trying to improve on his knowledge with the modern way of thinking.
The farm has been used several times by Teagasc to demonstrate modern farming methods.
Liam represented the farming community as a member of the Avonmore/Glanbia advisory committee at local and regional level and also as a member of the Council of the society where he was very outspoken on issues that affected farmers.
A Champion Ploughman, Liam graced the ploughing fields at the highest level.
He started ploughing in 1959 where he won his first title, the All Ireland U21, promoted to senior grade in 1960 and went on to win many All Ireland titles.
At National level he represented Laois for many years, winning no less than three Irish Senior Stubble championships in 1967, 1971 and 1984.
He represented Ireland 4 times as a competitor, 1982 in Tasmania, the south coast of Australia, 1985 in Denmark, 1987 in Austria and 1988 in Iowa, USA.
His willingness to impart his knowledge in the field, led him to being appointed coach-manager to the Irish team that took part in the World Championships in Germany 1978, Northern Ireland 1979, New Zealand 1980 and Wexford 1981. Out of a total of 9 medals to be won, the Irish team brought home 6 from New Zealand.
Liam went on to adjudicate ploughing matches and became an active member on the NPA board. He was known for being very fair as a judge.
Liam was a man who easily made friends and he had many in the ploughing world where he was well known all over the country.
At parish level he was a tireless worker as Fr Kelly the local PP will testify.
Both Liam and his wife Bridie were always there to help him. He was proud to be a Shanahoe man and did a lot of work at local level, an active member of many clubs and associations, such as the tidy towns, the Hall committee, whist drive, choir and helping to maintain the local cemetery.
A great friend to neighbours who were ill, he was a regular visitor to Abbeyleix District Hospital.
In 1986 he chaired the public meeting that elected the Shanahoe Community Alert Committee. The following week he was elected chairman of that committee, a position he held up until his death.
He later played a leading role in setting up the federation of Community Alert Committees, and was its Chairman for the first five years of it existence.
Liam was a great organiser and an inspirational leader who led by example, and won the respect and loyalty of all who worked with him.
In everything he did he set a standard that would be difficult to emulate.
In his younger days he was very involved in Macra na Feirme, and was a prominent member of the Abbeyleix branch.
It was here he developed another of his great skills, public speaking. He became involved in many debates and public speaking competitions. Once again he made lifelong friends in Macra na Feirme, and afterwards as a member of Abbeyleix IFA.
He was a talented welder fabricator and fixed many things for friends and relations and his workmanship is seen all around his own farmyard.
He also made a miniature diet feeder for his grandson in 1999 because he couldn’t buy one. Among his many talents was the ability to divine water wells where he was always accurate with predictions on strength and depth of each well.
Liam was also a lifelong member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and founder member of the Shanahoe Branch where for over 40 years he was involved in organising the annual pilgrimage to Knock.
When the sad news of his death broke, people were stunned as he was still very active and had so much more left to give.
To those who knew him he left an impression that will always remain.
The huge crowds that came to his wake, removal and burial at Shanahoe cemetery bore testimony to the esteem in which he was held.
A bright star has gone from our firmament.
May he rest in peace.
Deepest sympathy is extended to his wife Bridie, children John, Anne Marie, Mary Clare and Brian, his sister Maura, his 7 grandchildren, Rory, Roisin, Ella, Emma, Cathal, Killian and Julie, Sons in law, Aidan and Brian and Daughter in law Norma and extended family.
Months Mind mass for Liam will be held in St Bridget’s church, Shanahoe at 12 noon on Sunday 22nd July.
C.C. & M.I.
The tears were shed, as by his bed we said our last goodbye
So many hearts were broken, grown men were seen to cry
The news it shocked the countryside, no one could comprehend
Why Liam was taken from us he was everybody’s friend
Perfection was his middle name, on that we all agree
The work of his great skilful hands is plain for all to see
He touched so many people’s lives, in his kind and gentle way
One felt that he was sent by God to do His work each day
The time that he was ploughing king, we all recall with pride
The Pride of Laois and Shanahoe, the Trophy by his side
His modesty and humble ways, his fame it did not change
Liam remained the Liam we knew, everybody’s friend
An honour and a privilege that Liam he came our way
I find it hard to understand why God took him away
So let’s look up and talk to him and ask him for to pray
That God will let us join him, when we’ve lived our final day