Mike Nolan obituary


My pal Mike Nolan, who has died aged 86, was one of many founding members of the Bristol Irish Society when it was created in 1989.

The society introduced collectively numerous present Irish associations across the metropolis, and Mike was its first treasurer because it started to organise annual cultural festivals, Irish language courses, dance classes, stalls promoting books and music, and lectures on Irish tradition and historical past.

He was additionally chair of BIS when, one autumn night in 1993, two males, one in every of whom was a member of an Orange Lodge, burst into the society’s dockside headquarters brandishing pickaxe handles. In a frenzied sectarian assault, they beat him badly. Mike was severely injured and his assailants each obtained lengthy jail sentences. Afterwards he was sturdy in his condemnation of sectarianism and careworn the society’s non-political, non-religious outlook. “To me the reply to bigotry is dialogue,” he stated.

The son of Ivy (nee Reed) and Cyril Nolan, Mike was born within the Indian capital of Delhi and introduced up in Lucknow, the place his father was an inspector on the railways. The household had its roots in Eire, and when India gained its independence, the Nolans moved to Cork, the place Mike attended Christ the King (Coláiste Chríost Rí) faculty.

Whereas apprenticed to the Irish Electrical energy Board he labored on the native Morrogh’s Woollen Mill, the place he would wink by way of the window at Mary Donovan as she inspected bales of fabric for imperfections. Mike was quickly escorting Mary to dances on the rowing membership in Blackrock.

Having certified as an electrician, Mike moved to London to pursue work alternatives and began night courses to grow to be a draughtsman, which led him to be employed within the Cricklewood drawing workplace of the plane producers Handley Web page. When Mary joined him in 1961 they married and settled in Kingsbury, north-west London, an space with a big Irish inhabitants.

A switch to John Laing Development took Mike and Mary to Frenchay in north Bristol, and over the following years Mike labored for numerous different corporations, together with Vic Lawson Associates and Mercury Communications, whereas Mary took posts within the NHS and have become a seamstress in an area hospital. With their 4 youngsters they moved in 1986 to the Fishponds space of Bristol, the place Mike turned one of many founding members of the BIS.

He remained lively within the society for a few years, and deposited its recordsdata with the Bristol Archives in 2023. He additionally supported the society’s successor organisation We Irish, which continues to organise cultural occasions within the Bristol area.

Having retired from Cable and Wi-fi as a senior constructing companies engineer in 2000, Mike was capable of spend extra time cultivating his backyard and the fruit and greens of which he was so proud.

He’s survived by Mary, their 4 youngsters, Kevin, Paul, David and Susan, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


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