The King of Toraigh, Patsy Dan Rodgers, has died.
Mr Rodgers, who was 74, passed away at Dublin’s Mater Hospital following a long-term illness.
Patsy Dan, or Patsaí Dan Mag Ruairdhrí, had been born in the inner city region of Westland Row in Dublin in 1944 but was adopted and brought to Tory island aged just four.
He soon became part of the island community and so grew a love for an island which he promoted around the globe.
A traditional musician who loved speaking the Irish language, Mr Rodgers was a true ambassador for the remote island which has a population of around 150 people.
Visitors to the island were often met by the King who welcomed them in Irish as they made their way up the steps of the pier.
Mr Rodgers was also one of the many self-taught Tory painters whose primitive artwork is hailed around the world.
He became friends with renowned artist Dr Derek Hill who set up the Tory School of Primitive Art on the island.
Patsy Dan’s work featured in galleries around the world and his last exhibition was held in Donegal this summer to celebrate his fiftieth year as an artist.
He became King of Toraigh in the 1990s when the children of the last King, Padraig Óg Rodgers, asked him to accept the honour of their father and become King.
He campaigned against proposals to relocate islanders to the mainland in the 1970s and 1980s, he fought for better transport links to Toraigh and for further development to promote employment and tourism.
He was a renowned musician and was awarded an honorary Master’s degree by the University of Ulster in 1997.
In a book published this year by Dr Art Hughes titled Rí Thoraí – From City to Crag – Patsy Dan Rodgers, the King said that he was very happy deep down that he came to the island and he said he “thanked one thousand times over the people of Tory for being so kind to me and for the recognition they afforded me in nominating me as King of Tory”.
He is survived by his wife Caitlin and their four children.Tags: