Farewell Wexford historian Nicky Furlong

By Dan Walsh

The death has occurred of Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Furlong, (93), Drinagh, Wexford, who enjoyed a distinguished career as an author, historian, playwright, lecturer and journalist, to name a few of his lifetime’s involvement.


Born in 1929, and an only son, Nicky grew up on his family’s farm at Mulgannon and Kellystown, Drinagh, with his father also owning a pub on Wexford’s Main Street, where the stories he heard and the many characters he met during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, inspired much of his later writings as a newspaper columnist, author of many books, and playwright and scriptwriter for radio and television.

Amongst his achievements were 19 books including the ‘County Wexford in the Rare Oul’ Times’ series. Nicky himself was immortalised as the subject of ‘The Wexford Man – Essays in honour of Nicky Furlong’ edited by Bernard Browne and published by Geography Publications in 2007.

His writing career started as a freelance journalist in the late 1950s. He became a columnist with the People Newspaper Group under the pen name Pat O’Leary, a weekly column that was hugely popular. In 1995, he became a weekly contributor to the former Echo Newspaper Group, writing the Furlong at Large column.

He was also a columnist with The Irish Press and Irish Farmers Journal and a contributor to Biatas, the Journal of Irish Sugar Company. He wrote three plays on the Irish revolution directed by the great Tomás Mac Anna of the Abbey Theatre in the 1960s. He wrote television scripts for Hall’s Pictorial Weekly with Frank Hall on RTE television.

Nicky was renowned as an historian and he wrote, lectured and broadcast on all aspects of the 1798 Rebellion and was prominent in the organising of commemorative events in 1998 – the bicentenary of the Rising.

Nicky Furlong’s contribution to the preservation and promotion of Wexford’s history, heritage and existence is immeasurable. Thanks for the memories, Nicky; and we are all so grateful that the writings of a legend will live forever in the archive and the libraries and in the homes of so many families across the world.

AUDIO ADDITION; NICKY FURLONG talking to DAN WALSH at the New Year’s Day launch of 1798-1998 at Enniscorthy (Dan Walsh Audio Archive)

FAMILY NOTICE; Furlong Nicholas (Nicky) – (Drinagh, Co. Wexford), March 21, 2022, beloved husband of the late Mairead and brother of Ina; sadly missed by his sister, nephew Patrick, nieces Blaithin, and Trudy, grand-nephews, grand-nieces, nephews-in-law, nieces- in-law, relatives and friends. Rest in Peace

Reposing in Mulligan’s Funeral Home, The Faythe, Wexford on Thursday from 6 o’clock until 9 o’clock. Removal from the Funeral Home on Friday at 10.15 am to St. Martin’s Church, Piercestown for Funeral Mass at 11am. Burial afterwards in Piercestown Cemetery.

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