February 18, 2007

My friend Dermot died yesterday. He was one of the most genuine, personable, friendly, and funny gentlemen I have ever known. The influence he had on my life through his music and personality could never be measured.

I invite all those affected by the life of Dermot O'Reilly to use this space to make an expression of their thoughts in this sad time. All messages can be sent to and will be posted promptly.

Roger Lockyer

Scroll down to read letters that have been sent in thus far

Hi my name is Andrew Molloy a Singer Song Writer and from Nfld originally but living in the Canadian Arctic. Ryan's Fancy is still my favourite band of all time and I did have the honour of meeting Dermot a couple of times and he was a gentleman and an amazing talent. Dermot has influenced my own music profoundly and I was shocked and Saddened when hearing the News. I send my condolences out to Dermot's Family, and to Fergus who I know must be devastated by this.
I can only say that Dermot's legacy will live on though his Fans and I myself have an infant son and he will be introduced to Dermot's Music and hopefully carry on his music through the generations that Dermot gave us over the Years.


Andrew Molloy
Dept of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries Management Sector
Iqaluit, Nunavut

St. Paddy's Day 2006 was one of the most memorable times of my life. My boyfriend Steve and I spent it at O'Reilly's Pub in St. John's. Throughout the day we met many people and some of them we will never forget. Dermot O'Reilly happened to be one of those people he touched our hearts and our souls without even knowing it. Steve has been an Irish/Traditional music fan for many years and on that day he was Irish to the core. He went to the pub with his camera, hoping to get a picture with Fergus and Dermot. By the time we got around to asking, Fergus had left to go to the next gig but we happened to catch Dermot on the run. Today on the wall of our cabin hangs an 8x10 photo of two fantastic men, Steve Stuckless and Dermot O'Reilly, this photo holds a memory we will never forget of a man who is not to be forgotten.

Sincere Sympathy and Prayers
Phoebe Warren & Steve Stuckless
Glenwood, NL

I am so sad to read, just today when innocently visiting the web page, of Dermot's passing. Such a shock to be hit with the news. Only a few hours ago I was listening to Ryan's Fancy singing Coaltown Road , and to learn his voice is heard no more, save through such recordings. My thoughts go to his family. God bless the man, clearly so loved.

Charlie Zahm

I met Dermot the first time in my hometown of Burgeo when he came there for the high school doing a musical presentation. He made a huge impression on me and really influenced my desire to become a musician. I saw him once again in St John's around '01 and was able to tell him how much he inspired me.

A wonderful man, and a great talent. I wish I could have known him better. Rest in Peace.

Craig Young
Guitarist with Terri Clark

I would like to extend my deep and heartfelt sympathy to Dermot's family and friends. It was, and always will be, a feeling of comfort, joy and overwhelming warmth that I get in listening to the great music of Dermot. A Children's Winter is one of my favourites. Growing up listening to all this great music always sounded great and listening to my Dad at house parties playing the guitar and singing along with our relatives to so many of Dermot and Ryan's Fancy's music. As an adult you have a greater appreciation and understanding for not only the melody but the wonderful lyrics. Now at 30 I find myself the one at the parties with the guitar, playing and singing these great songs. I hope I can keep this great music alive and touch the hearts of my children. Music at this stature will be around for many generations.

Sonya Oliver
(formally) North River, Newfoundland

I looked in the dictionary for the word ‘gentle’ and I found this: chivalrous, honorable, distinguished, gentleman, kind, amiable. What I’d really been looking for was a way to describe my friend, Dermot O’Reilly.

I’d found it.

John Murphy
St. John's, NL.

My memories of Dermot are flashes in time. Childhood memories of 'The Boys', three bearded Irishmen, bursting into town, with an energy that was infectious. Dermot was special for a kid of about 10 or 12. I remember him pretending to be in Britain and much to my horror driving on the left hand side of the road. There was the piggyback down the hill from my parent's home to a local store. There is the memory of Dermot trying to restring a harp on my parent's porch. I remember his wonderfully sincere and appreciative response when I showed up at his home with a case of Keith's during the beer strike of the mid-80s. I grew up on Ryan's Fancy music but only got to see the band perform live once, at a conference in Halifax. I did have the honour of seeing Dermot and Fergus play in St. John's on a few occasions. An amazing duo. The last time I saw Dermot play at Erin's a couple of years ago was magical. Ann and some of the family were there. Dermot sang all his signature tunes. His voice was an amazing instrument. This site is a wonderful memorial to a wonderful man. I find myself visiting often. Loved reading Colleen Ryan's note. And the notes about the impact Dermot had on other children, especially from his recent visit to Clarenville, are wonderful and moving.

All the best,
Paul MacNeill
Montague, PEI

Requiem to a friend named Dermot

Losing someone that meant so much not just to you but to the world of Celtic music struck a serious chord with me this past week. Worse still, since retiring to the Kootenays in the south east corner of British Columbia we are somewhat cut off from the rest of the country. A friend called Thursday to say that he read about the death of Dermot and had I heard? Since then I have scrambled to get on top of the story and finally have put some of my own thoughts and words together on Dermot and Ryan’s Fancy in general.

I first came in contact with the “buys” in 1975. “Buys” is right because nobody called them the boys. I had seen their syndicated TV show from CHCH Hamilton with Tommy Makem and decided I wanted all of them to headline the Trappers Festival Stage Show at The Pas in northern Manitoba for three nights. All agreed to come and little did I know that they were a group only for television purposes. They each did a set and then closed with the groups together. Alistair MacGillivary came along to play guitar for Tommy Makem and sit in with Ryan’s Fancy. “This is the first time anywhere in the world that Ryan’s Fancy and Tommy Makem have appeared together in live concert,” Tommy told the audience.
The “buys” were a huge hit. That particular gig started a long association between Ryan’s Fancy and yours truly.

Every year for four or five years we would telephone them at the Strand on St. Patrick’s Day and wish them all the best. We always lucked out, Irish luck no doubt, and got them between sets and they never refused to talk to us. Another time I happened to be staying at the old Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on Jarvis I believe and the boys were also there, in town to tape a CBC radio show. Dermot and I went outside to get another box of beer from the vendors and decided to sample some of it on the walk back to the hotel. Suddenly a red light flashed and a Toronto Cop decided that we were in deep trouble. Dermot, the diplomat proceeded to have a wee chat with the officer and instead of putting the cuffs on us, he drove us back to the hotel with Dermot and him engaged in a long conversation about the challenges of being a cop in a big city. By now the cop knew who Dermot was and didn’t even bother with me. We shook hands and called it a night. The Cop’s name was Joe Murphy and he had immigrated to Canada five years earlier from Dublin.

The “buys” really wanted to come back to The Pas but I had a policy of never booking the same headline act two years in a row, something we never agreed on. So after Catherine
McKinnon, Stan Rogers, Blake Emmons, Gloria Kaye it was now 1980 and time to bring back the boys, this time to headline the show and they also decided to do a tour of northern Manitoba towns with me as their emcee. It was seven days of fun and from there they were off to Disneyworld in Florida to tape another TV special. Their second appearance at the Trappers Festival was like something out of a movie. The shows were near sellouts, At one beer fest people were dancing on top of the tables it was that kind
of a weekend, In Thompson, Lynn Lake and Leaf Rapids the response was the same. It was magic, and I thought to myself the “buys” have arrived.

In 1981 they came to a rock and roll nightclub in Edmonton, Lucifer’s and by the second night the crowd had changed, and the once half empty club came to life with former
Maritimers and Newfies dancing to their music and singing along. In 1987 we came to St. John’s for a newspaper convention and I called Dermot. Both he and Fergie came over to the Hotel Newfoundland for a visit and later on we went to Dermot’s place in Torbay to meet his wife Ann and enjoy pizza before heading over to Erin’s Pub. Another night to remember and later he took me downstairs and showed me the projects he was working on including the collection of Newfoundland music and poems.We went our separate ways, but Dermot was special, hell they all were but the news that Dermot had died on February 24 hit me with a resounding thud. I sincerely hope that the music on tape can be preserved and perhaps released once again as there will never be another group like this one. And Dermot was also quite the songwriter and many times we argued which was his best piece of music. My choice still is “In the beginning” from the Dark Island album because it pretty well sums up Dermot’s whole philosophy towards life. I am going to miss him but we still have the vivid memories and the music. Last night good friends of ours the Preedy’s who were at The Pas when we were and helped with the shows, came over. We dug out some of the best Dermot tunes, and photos and cracked up some Guinness and hoisted a few in his memory. Preedys had made a pilgrimage to St. John’s in 2002 and hooked up with both Dermot and Fergie at an Irish Pub. Wish I could have been there. Cheers old friend and gad I wished I had of gotten together with you again.

Our deepest sympathies to Ann and the girls.

Uncle Hug,
Hugh and Mary Ann Johnston,
Creston, British Columbia,

I first met Dermot at the Avalon Mall Strand in the summer of 1981. I was writing an entertainment column for the Evening Telegram, and Ryan's Fancy had just released their tenth album, Dance Around This One. After chatting with Fergus about the album and receiving promotional material and so on, that good lad asked "Is there anything else?" I grinned and said, "yes, please! I'd like to meet Dermot".

And so I did! Since then I have been blessed and honoured to call Dermot my friend. From that first meeting to the last time I saw him in the autumn of 2006 when we ran into him and Ann at Middle Cove Beach on a blustery mid morning, my affection, respect, and admiration for Dermot the person, and Dermot the musician, was a constant that never wavered.

Thus when I heard on Saturday night past that Dermot had left us, I was numb with shock. I somewhat childishly thought that he would be here with all of us forever.

Dermot's music and song are so distinctively identifiable with who he was - a talent that constantly amazed and delighted; a human being whose generosity of spirit knew no bounds.

Dermot was one of those rare people who, when he greeted you and paused to chat, was so genuinely delighted to see you. He'd make you feel that your news was the most important news, that your feeble jokes were the funniest he'd ever heard, and you'd bask in the warmth of his undivided interest and that ever present twinkle, talking and laughing, before he'd move on to make the next person feel exactly the same. How truly awesome a human being he was. And how enriched my life has been from knowing him!

He is with God now, and his music and the wonderful memories will always be us.

To Ann, Deirdre, Suzanne. and Grainne please know that my heart aches for you at this time, that you are thought of with affection, that you are not alone.

Angie Tibbs
St. John's, NL

I will miss seeing Dermot at O'Reilly's. I live in Calgary and always looked forward to coming home and seeing Fergus and Dermot. Fortunately I have 12 of 13 records converted to CD and downloaded into my ipod. The greatest band ever to have and ever will grace us is Ryan's Fancy. I will miss you Dermot and your music will live on forever. I have sent a picture of my bodhran which will always be a reminder of my favorite band.

Dave Mulrooney
Grand Falls-Windsor

We think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched.
For nothing loved is ever lost and he was loved so much."

Mona and Rolf

I first saw Ryan's Fancy at the Prince George Hotel in Kingston, Ontario in the early seventies. The last time I saw Fergus and Dermot was at O' Reilly's in August of last year. To Anne and family and Fergus Millie & I send our heart felt sympathy to you and yours. He inspired so many, in such a positive way. He is still with us, he is still in us, he is not gone.

John and Millie Danby.

Lyla and I first met Dermot, Denis and Fergus when they came to Aklavik, NWT in the fall of 1976. They gave a concert at the school, where Lyla and I were teaching. Afterwards, they came to the house for a pot luck and to indulge in an ample supply of home brew. Dermot and the boys played til 2 a.m. The music was tonic for our son, Andrew, who was only 4 months old at the time. He slept through the whole evening.
I met Dermot several years later in Gander, at the Flyers Club and had a fine chat about our evening in Aklavik. I extended an invitation for him to drop out to Glovertown for a visit if he had time. The next day, quite unexpectedly, he showed up at my father's house in Glovertown and introduced himself to my parents. He spent a grand evening with us, sipping on a couple of Blue Stars and chatting with us. He took a great interest in the apple trees and gardens as dad showed him around the place. Dad couldn't get over what a fine fellow he was. Over the years he always spoke about that day with Dermot. Every time he told the yarn I'd say to dad, "Yes boy. He was a fine fellow"

Lyla and Phil Riggs

I am so sorry Ann, I cannot imagine the heart ache you must feel. You have my deepest sympathy, I will pay my respects to Dermot and visit with you when I return from Afghanistan. I will miss tracking down where he is playing, the surprise on his face when I pop in, his music, his conversation, and sharing that all mighty pint. Dermot, Slán agus beannacht leat.

Vincent Simone

Mall Bay

He was the kindest Gentleman:
It was a privilege and an honor to consider him a friend. Dermot lit up a room unlike anyone else. He had a beautiful way of making everyone feel comfortable and at home, both through his music and his genuine love for people. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the kindest Lady and her family at this time of grief.

God Bless,
Jenny and Angie Gear

Though I did not know Dermot O'Reilly personally, I can honestly say that I have felt like I have known him my whole life. Though I was born the year before Ryan's Fancy went their own separate ways, and though I did not grow up with their TV show, I am a grateful beneficiary of the legacy they left behind. As a child growing up in Bonavista Bay in the 80s, I can remember my mother singing to my sister and I on starlight winter nights. The songs she sang were Ryan's Fancy Songs "A Children's Winter", "Seven Old Ladies", and so on. Even now when our family gathers to share memories, those songs still come up. They are the soundtrack to my childhood and the sweetest reminder of a simpler time.

As I grew older, I realized that I had an interest in music. Plucking away at my father's old Fender guitar when he wasn't around, I gradually (and I mean gradually) learned how to play. And the first songs I learned? Ryan's Fancy songs of course! While most kids of the 80s and early 90s were interested in New Kids on the Block or Pearl Jam, you could find me every Saturday morning tuned in to the Irish Newfoundland Show on VOCM, trying to listen for Ryan's Fancy. The soft and gentle voice of Dermot O'Reilly would have me running to the radio to turn it up and staring daggers at anyone who dared speak during the song!

Through listening to the music of Dermot, Fergus, and Dennis, I was transported. I became so interested in traditional music that I couldn't get enough. When I entered Memorial University in 2000, I headed to the Folklore and History departments and signed up for as much as I could take! I devoured courses in Newfoundland history and culture. I completed two degrees in Newfoundland History and am now completing my PhD in the same subject. And I thank Ryan's Fancy, and Dermot O'Reilly for the inspiration. Without their careful preservation of Newfoundland music and culture, I doubt seriously if I would have ever taken an interest in anything pertaining to Newfoundland. The legacy left behind by Dermot is incredible. In the capable hands of the boys from Ryan's Fancy, Newfoundland musicians came out of their kitchens and gave their magnificent gifts to the province to enjoy. And am I ever grateful. Traditional music is the soundtrack of my life, and Ryan's Fancy songs make up a huge proportion of that soundtrack. I can remember so vividly dragging my university friends as well as my sister down to O'Reilly's or Erin's Pub to listen to Dermot and Fergus. While we were often the youngest ones in the pubs by years, my sister and I always knew ALL of the words to their songs. Even now, when we get together for a pint and some music, Ryan's Fancy songs are invariably the ones that we want to hear. Their music has given me so much. I even remember hitting Dermot and Fergus up for an autograph one time. I got my picture taken with both, blew it up to 8x10, included the autographs, and had it framed. It hangs in my office.

To hear of Dermot's passing left me feeling as if a member of my own family has died. Dermot O'Reilly did so much for the people of Newfoundland, especially those of my generation. Without him and Ryan's Fancy, I wonder what the state of the music industry in Newfoundland might be. To say thank you to a man who gave so much and asked so very little in return seems so inadequate. Dermot O'Reilly was a man who helped transform the very nature of our province by showing us that our own music was just as good as that from outside. His brilliant song writing has left an indelible mark on the very fabric of Newfoundland culture and society. While I am so very sad to hear of the passing of Dermot O'Reilly, I am also so very grateful for all that he has given me. Though inadequate, all I can say is thank you so very much.

May you rest in peace, Dermot.


Krista Lee Chatman
Edmonton, Alberta

While living in Toronto back in the 60's, my husband and I with a group of relatives and friends frequented the Windsor house and the Shamrock and Tickle every weekend.
It was at the Windsor house that I (we) first met Dermot and the boys.
We were regulars, every week. His music kept us going. Although he was Irish and we were Newfoundlander's, we identified with their sound, for it was the sound that we grew up with. We loved their music.

When they left Toronto and moved "home" we bought their music. Our family back home kept us supplied with their recordings, as Christmas gifts and other occasions. Every-time we came home for a visit, we would head to George Street in hopes of finding Dermot playing somewhere.

We finally moved back home three years ago. And I had the pleasure of seeing him play many times. I often wanted to speak to him, and ask if maybe he remembered us. My cousin and I would bombard him with requests at the Windsor house. They would be trying to leave at the end of the night and we would yell More! More! (of course with more than a few pints in us) he would always come back to leave us with one more song.
Many will miss him for sure, it has been a sad week. He will not soon be forgotten, for his music will live on for generations to come.

My deepest Sympathy to Ann and the children.

Alicia McDonald

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dermot. I have fond memories of enjoying Ryan's Fancy at the Strand Lounge in the late 60's when I was attending MUN. Over the years I have collected their music and play it often. Dermot will be sadly missed.

Myra (Bird) and George King, Placentia

To family and friends of Dermot O'Reilly,
I wish to offer my sincere sympathy to you all on the untimely death of a great person.
I first heard Ryan's Fancy at the Strand many years ago, enjoyed them immensely, and continued to go hear and see them on many occasions since.
He will always be remembered by all Newfoundlanders as a very sincere gentleman.
His family will never be forgotten, God Bess you all.

A friend

"The Measure of A Man"
Not "How did he die?" but "How did he live?"
Not "What did he gain?" but "How did he give?"
Not "What was his station?" but "Had he a heart?"
And "How did he play his God-given part?"
Not "What was his shrine?" nor "What was his creed?"
But "Had he befriended those really in need?"
Not "What did the piece in the newspaper say?"
But "How many were sorry when he passed away?"
Was he ever ready with a word or good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

The thousands of accolades are a meter to the measure of Dermot O'Reilly.
For those of us born deep in the soul of "true Newfoundland", and as such, born true to the Irish in all of us, we have lost one of our own. Having been weaned on the music of "Ryan' Fancy" since I was knee-high to the proverbial leprechaun I mourn the loss of a real believer in the adage that we all need to "sing as if no one is listening" and "laugh as if we hadn't a care." Heaven is truly blessed to receive such a soul, and all of us left behind to wonder are truly blessed to have such a spokesman for us beyond the "Pearly Gates". Rest in peace Mr. O'Reilly, our loss is surely Heaven's gain.

J. Coates

I would just like to echo the thoughts of everyone whom have express their sadness on the passing of Dermot. I had the privilege of meeting Dermot on a couple of occasions and watched him perform several times in pubs around St. John's. He truly was one of a kind and will be missed dearly.

T. Gilbert
Las Vegas, NV

We were very sorry to hear that Dermot passed away. I have most of your music, Ryan's Fancy and the two videos, 'Rigs, Jigs and Songs from the Heart' and 'Cain's Legacy'... Thanks and keep the music going I am sure that Dermot would want that ...

All The best
Garland Brake

I have been reading all these messages since the terrible day. My heart goes out to Dermot's family and his close friends. There is nothing more that can be said that has not been posted here time and time again. A kind warm gentle man with treasured talent and a sparkle in his eye. while he was with us I only hope Dermot felt a fraction of the love and admiration which has been poured out over these past few days and I hope his family can find some comfort in  all our prayers. We will raise a pint each night and remember him in our songs forever.

Jim Feehan

Well, how do i start?. I first saw Dermot at the Yellow Dory in the spring of 1997. I have always been a fan of Ryan's Fancy but never did see them live. Later that year i started frequenting another club that just opened up called O'Reilly's pub. It was there that i first heard Dermot & Fergus live and from then I hardly missed a show up until i left the
metro area in 2006. I love listening as well as playing their music. My heart goes out to Dermot's family as well as his band members and close friends. Being missed is an understatement...

Dennis Tulk
Aspen Cove, NL

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You're free at last.

New Brunswick

Dermot you touched so many peoples lives not just with your music but with the kind of person you were, mine included, you were my uncle and godfather and I was very proud of you. but I never told you that cause I think you knew their was a bit of hero worshiping going on, I have great memories of you and I will never forget the last time you came home and I had the pleasure of you staying the night in my house we had a great shindig with all the family, you were going to Galway the next day to see dad (Eddie) and Marie but of course we could not leave it there, myself ,Una and Collette went with you, we had the crack even though dad fell over the stool in the pub and cut his head  (not too bad thank god) but that didn't stop us we had the best weekend ever as we do. I will miss you always and I am so sorry I could not be there to say goodbye

Your loving niece and god daughter Rita

PS I never did get my CD but your voice and music will live with me forever goodbye and rest in peace

Michelle O'Reilly


Thank you for working so hard and giving freely of your time and talent to maintain this site, which has given so many people from far and wide the opportunity to share their Dermot stories - such an appropriate tribute to a man who delighted so much in people and  conversation. We do appreciate it.

Recording with Dermot was a right of passage for many folk musicians. With Dermot there was something positive in every take, but you knew when he said "...come on in now, lets have a listen.." that you got it right. Patience, a keen ear, respect, and a genuine love and understanding of music and people were among his many gifts. His encouragement and
passion will be sorely missed - in the studio, in conversation, on stage, over a pint.....the many stories and well wishes on this site are testament to that.

Like so many, I am fortunate to have counted Dermot among my friends.

Now that the heavenly choir has embraced Dermot as one of its own, there is no doubt in my mind they will soon be singing an O'Reilly/Holly original - if they aren't already.

My deepest sympathies to Ann and family, Fergus and family and all who grieve Dermot's passing.

Tom Boland

I so regret not having gone to hear Dermot play, just one last time. I thought he would live forever.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Karen Chafe

It is a great pleasure to say that I knew Dermot. A few years ago I spent a weekend traveling from Point May, Lamaline, Lords Cove and Lawn with Dermot and Fergus. With this small amount of time spending with them I realize what great people they are.

It is such a great lost to his family, friends including Fergus as well as the music industry. Dermot has a voice like no other. He was a very special person in that where ever he was people where always in a good mood. He will be greatly missed by a lot of people.

Susan Walsh / Cake

I first heard the music of Ryan's Fancy as a young boy sitting on my grandfathers knee as the record player played. I was too young then to realize that in the future I'd have the privilege to meet such wonder men as Dermot and Fergus.

Many a time since my first meeting with such remarkable men, I've taken in their show and each and every time, no matter my mood, I always felt light of heart and it just brings a smile to my face to remember Dermot, how at home he seemed to be on stage, how lively.

To Ann, family and all others associated with such a remarkable man, my condolences to you.

I'll always remember his genuine smile and the look in his eye.

Rest in Peace to a wonderful talented kind soul

Sheldon Crocker,
St. John's

It shows how far 3 Irishmen can go, they used there personalities and great musical talent to restore the love of Irish music in the Maritimes.

Mike O’Neill
Los Angeles California

Dear Ann, Deirdre, Suzanne and Grainne,

I was so sorry to hear of Dermot's passing. I will remember him as a warm and caring person who always showed a great deal of concern for others. Please know that you are in my thoughts during this difficult time.

Susan Hynes

Did I ever love that voice!! There are too many songs to mention that were sang by Dermot and Fergus that could give you those shivers you only get when you hear truly great music; I believe that in tandem, there is not a pair that could come close to these two! I was too young to hear Ryan’s Fancy in any type of live setting, but am sure that I would have loved seeing them on stage just as much!

I, along with friends and family who were simply fans of the music will miss this extraordinary pairing, but hope that Fergus will continue on belting them out…Fergus, I am sure that your buddy will be there somewhere, on whatever stage you decide to play, smiling and singing along with you.

My heart goes out to all of Dermot’s family and friends who will feel his loss the deepest. To many of us, when we lose someone, their voice is gone forever - I hope that you can all find solace in the fact that he has left you with the gift of forever hearing his voice through those many, many, wonderful tunes.

Erin Ryan
St. John's

So sorry to hear about the passing of a great man. Just wanted to pass along this photo of Fergus and Dermot at Don Cherry's in Clarenville. It was taken just a few weeks ago when they performed a concert for kids. My stepson and niece are present in the photo. The guys invited them up on stage to join in the song they were performing. It was the highlight of my stepsons life. He said he would never forget them, and I know he never will. Our thoughts are with you all during this sad time.

Shelly Parsons

Ann O'Reilly and Family :

I was shocked and deeply saddened upon hearing the news of Dermot's death. I would like to extend my condolences to Ann, Deirdre, Grainne, Suzanne and all the family affected by this devastating loss. I would humbly like to express my gratitude to Dermot for his unconditional friendship, for his immense contribution to Celtic music, his outstanding vocals and his brilliant smile.
But most of all a chara, your spirit and kindness you so freely extended to others. I was given a special gift just by knowing you and your family. Go raibh maith agut.
Performing on stage with Dermot O'Reilly the consummate artist was a bonus for those of us who were privileged.

Diarmuid a chara go raibh maith agut aris.
I will miss you.
Rest in peace.
Thiarna dean Trocarie.

Derek Harrington and family.

Richard Joe and Paul
Dublin Ireland.

I have never heard anyone criticize that man.
A gentleman to all.
Will be missed.

Ron Kirby

College in the early 70's meant every night at the Strand when the boys were playing. Not old enough (legally) to get in and only able to afford 1 beer for the night, my friends and I were part of the groupies that sang along to Seven Old Ladies and Good Bye Mick at the top of our lungs.It has been said that the greatest accomplishment in life is to be loved, and Dermot, my friend, you will always be loved.

Edna Turner Baker
Hearts Content, NL


It is with great sadness that we heard the death of Dermot. What a great ‘’Dub’’ even though he was from the south side.We have fond and great memories of Ryan’s Fancy from Johnny Reid's Prince Edward room to Halifax to Nenagh Co Tipp and the 4 Seasons Pub in Bolton Street Dublin where you made the Ryan's Fancy special. We know he will be a great loss to both of you. We watched CBC news this evening on the internet and saw your tributes to Dermot.

As the Irish saying goes ‘’ May he be well settled in heaven before the Devil knows he is dead’’

Best regards
Nicky and Barb Beades
Dublin Ireland

A Children's Winter

Above them all, this song speaks to my heart. I was a very small girl when I first remember my parents playing this one during Christmas Parties. Family and friends who were just like family all singing LOUDLY along! So much has changed over the years. Some have moved away, some have passed on, and new generations have started. Hearing that song always lets me feel that the people who I've loved and lost are still with me - I hope I can help my son feel those same warm, happy memories. Rest well, Dermot, your magic has touched more than you know.

Deidre Williams

Dermot will be sadly missed. He was a great friend to all who were fortunate enough to know him. His love of music & life, family & friends were plainly evident over the years.

We'd met Dermot at different events - ever since the days at the Strand Lounge. We always found him easy to approach and speak with. He certainly had the gift to make his audience feel at ease and welcome.

To his immediate and extended family, our deepest sympathies go out to you.

Ruby and Gerald Legge

Thanks for the wonderful music. You will be missed. My thoughts are
with your family.

Robyn Murphy,
St. John's

I was deeply saddened to hear of Dermot's passing. He was a wonderful soul - kind and genuine. I met Dermot through music in the early 1970s and had the good fortune to play some live shows and work on a few recording projects with him over the years. His songs are rich and classic, his bright spirit everlasting.

Patti and I send our heartfelt condolences to Ann, Deirdre, Suzanne and Grainne and families, and to Fergus and Denis and all who loved and knew and were touched by Dermot.

Gordon Quinton
St. John's

I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know the Ryan's Fancy crowd while filming the WOW special Pirate's Gold in the late 70's, and unbelievably that was well over 20 years ago. We shipped out to Ferryland every day with a CBC crew to film this little pirate story
on a small rocky island in the bay. Being only 12 or 13 years old, it was quite an adventure for me to say the least, but fairly intimidating and scary. To say that Dermot took me under his wing is an understatement. He seemed to take it as his personal responsibility to watch out for me when my parents weren't around, and many an hour I spent sitting on a rock listening to him with his guitar singing one of the endless supply of folk songs he seemed to
have stored up in his head. Just a few years ago, Fergus and Dermot came out to perform at Winterton Day Folk Festival where I spend my summers to be close to my parents. They put on a fantastic show for the few of us who braved the cold, and it was so obvious that he hadn't changed a bit in all those years between, he was that night, just as he was when I knew him as a child, a perfect gentleman.

Newfoundland music will forever be diminished by his absence, but the heavens has an angel who rants and roars!

Rest in peace Dermot
James (Jamie) Pinhorn

To Anne and Family,

We cannot begin to imagine the pain of losing someone so dear. I hope you take comfort in knowing that you shared the life of a wonderful man who touched the hearts and minds of so many. His music transcended generations, it was something that anyone could enjoy. He will be truly missed.

"One more time, for the dancers" - Dermot

Rest in Peace Dermot,
Mark Morrissey
Corner Brook, NL

I want to extend my condolences to all who are feeling a profound sense of loss following the passing of this remarkable man. A common thread running through the remarks on this site is that Dermot was so much more than his music, which is of course a tremendous legacy for Newfoundland, Canada and indeed the world. He also was loved for the quality of his soul, which exuded warmth, kindness and generosity. The combination is rare, and those who knew him were lucky indeed.

S. Alexander, Alberta

My heartfelt and deepest Sympathy to the O'Reilly families and special friends of Dermot.

One of Newfoundland's Best Music Icons has journeyed on and left a large void in our music world.

I was never fortunate enough to have met Dermot in person, however I did have the pleasure of chatting with him through a couple of telephone calls. He came across to me as a very genuine, heartwarming and sincere individual who would do anything to help another. He had such a friendly manner that I felt I had known him personally all my life.

For many years I enjoyed and loved listening to him sing whether it be on tapes/videos, in concerts, pubs (along with his friends "Ryan's Fancy"). One of my favourite songs which he wrote is "Children's Winter" which he so willingly and without hesitation permitted me to record not too long ago. From now on, every time I get the opportunity to sing it, I will remember Dermot and silently say a little prayer for him.

His music and voice will be remembered for many years to come for instilling into the hearts of all Newfoundlanders and beyond, the importance of keeping our tradition. . . our heritage. . . Alive.

To his wife Ann and his children. . . There are no words to ease the pain. . . but. . .May you find comfort in knowing there are so many others out there who share in your sorrow at this most difficult time. I'm sure his many friends (especially Fergus and Dennis) will forever keep his spirit and memory alive by the singing of their wonderful songs at many functions.

It is said "A Smile is a curve that sets things straight" Dermot O'Reilly had that contagious smile and he did just that with everyone who crossed his path!

Dermot . . . May you always sing with the Choirs of the Heavenly Angels!!!
Rest in Peace our Nfld Friend.

Judy Brazil
Trepassey, NL

My own dad, who passed away almost 14 years ago, introduced me to Ryan's Fancy music when I was a very little girl growing up in Newfoundland, and I absolutely loved it. Every time I listen to Ryan's Fancy, the music reminds me of my dad, whom I miss very much. Their songs mean a great deal to me.
We have lost an extremely talented musician. Dermot will be sadly missed by many. I wish to take this time to express my condolences to his family, friends and band mates.

Stephanie S. Lambert
Oshawa, Ontario

Hi Ann / Deidre / Susanne & Garinne
Sorry to hear about the passing of your husband and father. I'm not
sure if you remember me but I have many fond memories of sitting in the front seat
of your car riding home from school while Dermot sat in the back and insisted that I stay in the front. Ann, also I babysat your girls on many occasions when you lived on Cumberland Cres. while you and Dermot were out to one of his concerts. If you still don't remember me,I  am Dee's brother Calvin Dobbin. Once again please accept my sincerest sympathy and I will remember you always.

Calvin Dobbin

I remember the first time I ever seen Dermot O'Reilly. I was about ten years old and I seen him in the old Sobey's supermarket in the Avalon Mall. He looked like he was 10 feet tall and, to me, he looked to be the spitting image of Robin Hood. I was in awe of the man whose music I knew even as a child. I grew up to be a pharmacist and worked in a pharmacy where I would see both Dermot and his wife Ann from time to time. Every time I would see Dermot I would still be in awe of him and feel the way I did the first time I ever saw him. He was truly a wonderful and magical man, and he will be sadly missed. His music and legacy will be remembered by many in this province, and by anyone who knew him.

Rob Vail

Dear Ann and Family,
Please accept our deepest and most sincere sympathy. Our heart ache for your loss, we so wish there was something we could do to help you through this difficult time. Please know that we are always here no matter how much time may pass.

As others have said over and over, Dermot was such a special man with not only a gift of music but a gift of caring, love, and acceptance - We have all been so blessed to have known him. I really cannot remember a time in my life that I did not know Dermot. From my childhood watching Ryan's Fancy playing together with my dad and the Wareham Brothers; up to the night Lou and I got engaged and you directed us to where Dermot and Fergus were playing, thank you again for that.

Our thoughts and all our prayers are with you and all your family. Please take comfort in knowing there are so many who treasure you both.

Take care and God Bless,
Lori, Lou & Kristyan Mulrooney

We lost one of the great ones with Dermot's passing, but heaven just became a better place.
My thoughts and prays are with the family through this difficult time.

Norm Arsenault
Shediac, N.B

I first met Dermot O'Reilly when I served on the St. John's Canada Day Committee back in the early 1990's and Dermot performed at the Canada Day concerts at Prince Edward Plaza on George Street that were an important part of the event back then. It was easy to see how his incredible talent and outstanding personality appealed to so many people of different ages and backgrounds, and he contributed immensely to the concert's success. A couple of years later in 2003 I was a part of the executive committee organizing a huge RC School Boards education conference at Holy Heart of Mary Regional High School in St. John's, and I had the privilege of working with Mr. O'Reilly again, as he taped and produced via his company Piper Stock Productions the entire video of the conference including background music, landscape images, etc. It struck me during this experience that Dermot O'Reilly was one of those rare individuals, blessed with immeasurable talent, who bring something extraordinary and special to whatever they are involved in. I just felt incredibly privileged as we all did to be working with such a gifted and unique individual, and the results of his work truly made our events shine. My sincere regrets on his passing on behalf of all of us from those events who were so fortunate to have worked with him, and I thank him for sharing his time with us and making our lives better.

PD Locke

I only met Dermot once. He came to the school where I was teaching to entertain, & I can't remember the occasion - probably St. Patrick's Day. In any case, I will always remember his warm smile and his patience with the students, and how much he seemed to enjoy being there and making us all happy to be in his presence, enjoying his music. Many times I have had the opportunity to sing "A Children's Winter" as part of some entertaining that I have done, and although I always knew who wrote the song and where it came from, I will never sing it again without remembering Dermot and saying a little prayer.

Clayton Handrigan,

It is a great loss...and i express my deepest sympathy. My prayers are with you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Mary Curran & Family

My husband Michael and I, were very saddened to hear of Dermot's passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with Anne and his girls and their families.
Reading the many tributes paid to Dermot, has made us feel so very proud, that a fellow Irishman made such a vast musical impression and also touched so many hearts and souls with his kindness, humanity and humour.
My late mother RIP, always said to us, "when God calls you, all that will matter is what kindness you have shown when no one was looking and what good turns you secretly did for those less fortunate and what hearts you touched in the course of your life", in that case Dermot, God's great arms are wrapped tightly around you now and forever.

Anna McGoldrick

We have become great fans of Newfoundland music. While attending the Folk Festival last summer we ventured onto George St where we heard Dermot and Fergus for the first time. A friend introduced us to Dermot. We became immediate fans and returned home with a lovely CD. We are saddened by the news of his passing. Our heartfelt condolences to Dermot's family and friends.
God Bless

The Haufe Family
Chicago, Illinois

I too feel the need to express the personal loss I feel of the passing of Dermot O'Reilly. Growing up in Newfoundland has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. The music of Sullivan's Gypsies, Ryan's Fancy and of Dermot alone has been a big part of my childhood and the culture that I am so proud to be involved in. I spent 5 months outside of Newfoundland in 2003. I spent the majority of that time collecting Ryan's Fancy records at flea markets and playing them. It was all that kept me sane! I met Dermot at O'Reilly's one night and expressed to him how he had such an impact on my life. We had a wonderful chat. I feel a huge personal loss even though we never met beyond those conversations at O'Reilly's. The island will mourn with the families, there is no doubt. Again, my humblest and sincerest regrets.

Karen Foote

I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family of Dermot O'Reilly. I still enjoy listening to the music of Ryan's Fancy. I have two of their CD's

Wayne Collins

It is said that the measure of a man is not determined by the wealth, power or fame that he achieves while on earth but in the loving memories that he leaves behind with those that he touched along the way. Dermot was such a man; he and I crossed musical paths many times when I lived in St. John's. The first meeting was at the old Memorial Stadium where he was performing with Ryan's Fancy and I was in the back up band for Vera Lynn. During their performance, I walked to the back of the auditorium to hear the "big sound". The boys were at their peak and that night it was not just their on - stage performance that impressed me BUT the way that the audience hung on every word they sang. It was as if God had sent down his three boys for a special one of a kind performance. They communicated that night with the thousands of legionnaires who came out to see them and it was easy to determine that they well held in high esteem.

Sometime later, Dermot, some other CBC session musicians and I were together on a Saturday morning at the CBC TV studio on Prince Phillip Drive practicing some tunes for a show that was being produced at the time. I remember, Dermot had performed the night before in Gander and he was hoarse from singing all night with his two pals.. However, he didn't complain, he just worked through it like the pro he was and laid down the vocal tracks. I remarked later to some of my friends that for a star one of the qualities that he had was an overabundance of was humility. Not exactly something that you commonly find in the arts community.

One other time that I will share with all of you was at a St. Patrick's party that we played for in St. John's. That night we had quite a lineup of musicians including Dermot and after we played one tune in the opening set which didn't generate much applause, Dermot quickly turned to me and said " Hey Nels, it looks like we have an oil painting out there." Then we kicked off another tune and played throughout the night. His keen sense of wit was in fine form that night.

To you Fergus, we have never met, but I saw your heartfelt tribute to your pal on NTV and as you said we all at some time or other lose a buddy and it is a painful experience. But look at the adventure you had with Dermot; those memories will provide the fuel that you are going to require to carry on the musical tradition of communicating with your audience.

To Dermot's family, I realize that this is a tough time for you and our thoughts and prayers are with you all. God broke the mould when he made Dermot becauue he realized that he would do it right the first time around.

Nelson Giles

Well Dermot, it is 2 o'clock in St. John's. It is a beautiful Thursday here in Halifax. I suppose everyone who can, is seated in the church, with many more standing in the aisles. I am truly sorry that I could not join your family and friends today, however I wanted to drop you a note to say that you are very much in my thoughts and prayers today. It is a sad day for many people, myself included, but some how I take a bit of comfort in thinking that you are laying at the front of the church, very proud, content, and with a large smile on your face. That smile will and has touched many a life I am sure. I know we have only met on a handful of occasions, but your passing has left me with a feeling of profound sadness and loss. This I know can only speak volumes of the kind of man you were, and of the life you lived. I want to thank you for taking the time to come to Halifax with your family in October, and sharing in one of the most important days of my life. Colleen and my self cannot express how special that time was, and we will be sure to recount that day with Fionnuala as soon as she is old enough to understand.

I will never forget you. You have made my life richer, and I thank you for that.

Jeff Beanlands

'Here's to you my ramblin' boy'

Love Don Patsy, Michelle, Valda, Carl & Andrea,
The Quinlan's

To quote John Quincy Adams, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader". We have lost a leader with the passing too soon of Dermot O'Reilly. This gentleman, who embraced this island and people as his own, and who did so much for our musical heritage, will surely be missed. That he has touched so many lives and hearts in his lifetime through music and laughter is something his family and friends can be proud of. His legacy will live on. Our deepest sympathies to all. God bless.

Reg and Ellen Hodder

If you walked into a room and Dermot was in that room. You knew you had the right place. Anywhere Dermot was performing or just having a pint & chat, was certainly the place to be. Dermot had such a graceful presence and he could easily brighten up any room. Dermot's passing is going to be difficult for a large number of people. He had the personality, spirit & warmness that touched so many people's hearts., including mine. It's tough to imagine him not being around anymore, but I will tell you that the people of Newfoundland will make it certain that his legacy lives forever. It will be a very natural thing to do. Dermot will always be in our hearts & minds for many generations of people to come. His stories, music, words and our memories of him will certainly be around for a very long time, if not forever. I have been thinking a lot this week of all the wonderful memories I have of Dermot and there are so, so many. He certainly was a very special man. My deepest sympathy goes to Ann, his family, and to his closest friends including Fergus, Ralph O'Brien, Denis Ryan, and to all of his closest fans.

God Bless,
Shane Howard
Suncheon, South Korea

My condolences to Ann and the family and to Fergus and Denis and all the fans who never stopped loving Ryan's Fancy. They became the measuring stick for traditional music. There were only a few who measured up.

My family became a better family because of Ryan's Fancy; the boys brought us all together as we drove from city to town, university to pub to the Atlantic Folk Festival, to hear them sing and watch them perform. You couldn't have a table of 8 to 12 people at most of your shows in New Brunswick and some in Nova Scotia, and not finally get to know "The Boys". Their curiosity got the better of them and one night during the break, they finally came down and asked who we were. You see, we used to go to listen. Yes, we'd all have a drink, but that was incidental. We wanted to hear the music. We sang along with them, but didn't try to ousting them. We often asked them to clarify the words to their songs, as we were writing them down, putting them into our songbooks and singing them together at our family gatherings.

The Boys were pleased. We started to get to know them. One night I asked Denis if I was to organize a Folk Festival on the Kingston Peninsula if they would play. "Hell yes" he said. He gave me Brooks Diamond's name and we eventually worked everything out and had two festivals, the last one the year they retired. The first one was magic. It was around June 10th (my birthday), but the weather was like July. Here we were in an open field, a flatbed truck as a stage. Some Johnny-on-the-spots tucked into the woods and families spreading blankets and setting up lawn chairs, enjoying their picnic and listening to the finest traditional music in all of Canada. In a field at Gorham's Bluff, on the Kingston Peninsula. Allister McGillivary and Skip Keehan were with them back then.

After that event I said "I can die happy now". Fortunately I didn't and went on to enjoy the last public concert at the Lobster Shanty in PEI and the party at Jim and Shirley MacNeill's house afterwards.

About a year later my sister-in-law Janet Gorham and I traveled to NFLD to attend a newspaper conference. Dermot and Ann invited us and Jim & Shirley McNeill to a Saturday night Spaghetti dinner at their house. Later we went on to Jack Kellum's house and laughed ourselves silly watching out takes from their TV shows at Gorham's Bluff and King's Landing. Jack's wife fed us seafood chowder about 4 a.m. and then Ann suggested we should all jump in their old IH Scout and see the sunrise over the Battery (where our hotel was located). Poor Ann it was probably the only way she knew how to get us mainlanders to go to bed! After the sun came up, we all hugged, said our goodbyes and Jim walked Janet and me back to our hotel.

I was in Halifax during Tall Ships and saw all my old friends, Hal 'n Tow and Dermot and Fergus singing at an event called Drum. I didn't have a chance to say 'hi' to Dermot and the last I saw him was walking alone down Barrington Street, carrying his guitar. The same guitar he cracked at my house while singing Peggy Sue. But that's another story.

The Gorham, Leggett, MacKenzie, Colpitts and Mavis families are better for having known you, but saddened that "we will no see you again laddy".

Gone but not forgotten,

Willa (Colpitts-Gorham) Mavis
Saint John, NB

It has been many years since I lived in Newfoundland...when I was told the news it brought back with a rush all the memories of Newfoundland. And of the music and the people who played it. The Mall. The Strand. The world will be a sadder place without you, Dermot.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Judith Rae (O'Donovan)
Ladysmith, BC

I remember watching Ryan's Fancy at the Greywood at Dalhousie many, many years ago and seeing Dermot break two strings on his guitar in the middle of just one song. I couldn't believe anything like that could ever happen until I did the exact same thing during one of my performances. I know now that Dermot was playing with passion. Passion exuded from him, in all that he did, and in all the many times he lent a helping hand to those who needed
it. I feel honoured to have had, years later, the wonderful opportunity to
share the stage with Dermot at the 2000 Parade of Sail in Halifax.

He will be missed by myself and all he touched with his heart and music.

Safe home Dermot.
Dan McKinnon
Halifax, NS

Our condolences to the family and friends of Dermot; he was an inspiration to all Newfoundlanders. While not from here, his life's work promoted our heritage and values. He was a true native son. His legacy will live on in his music, family, and friends. God speed, Dermot.

Derek and Arlene Scott, Torbay

My sincere condolences to Dermot's family and to Fergus. I spent my university years listening to the boys at the Strand and have passed many days since then playing their music in my own band. Beggars Bush. And sharing a laugh and a pint with Derm and Ferg both in Gander and St. John's. Dermot's passing was a great shock and a great loss to all who knew him. He will be sadly missed on the music scene and in the circle of people who knew him. I hope we can all sing a few of his songs to remember him, especially on St. Paddy's Day. God bless you Dermot and thanks for the memories.
Terry Noonan

I am very deeply saddened by Dermot’s passing. Even though we weren't personal friends, i felt a close relationship with Dermot and his talent of music. I've asked friends of mine in county mayo, Ireland, at "mid west Irish radio" to play "Rose of Mooncoin" in Dermot’s memory. As i write, they are playin' the tune. God bless. God save Ireland!!!! God save Dermot O'Reilly!!!! God save Dermot’s family!!!!
 Niall Butt,

To The O'Reilly family & Fergus
My thoughts are with you. I had the pleasure of working with Dermot on several occasions.
As he spoke to his audiences you could hear a pin drop. His distinctive voice and humour captivated the room. His name will live on in his music.
Dermot, thanks for the years you dedicated to the music industry.
Jane Morgan

Sorry to hear the passing of Dermot O'Reilly. He will be missed by all here in Newfoundland and around the provinces.

Clementine and John Atkins
Mount Pearl.


February 22, 2007
Can't sing this morning, but that doesn't stop my heart. Listening to my heart is a 'must do' for me and a delight. The heart seems to have a lot to say about my dear friend and brother, Dermot.
Yesterday there was "This Is The Way" inspired in a quiet moment at Caul's.
This morning the following came out. It would be rather slow waltz-like with an airy feel...


What is a world without you like?
Must it be sadder than it was?
When you were here you gave to it
such a sweetness with your love.
When you were here something special
seemed to go wherever you did.
A lightness by your gentle touch.
For that was the life that you lived.

What is a world without you like?
How can we keep it the same?
If we all chose to love a little more,
and we did so in your name,
perhaps then we can keep you alive,
and no more sadder would it be.
For the world is so much richer now.
Must we lose it now that you leave?

What is a world without you like?
You'd encourage us and say, "Carry on."
"Just do your best." you'd say with a smile,
and I'll do what I can in a song.
To tell the world you have lit a fine torch,
and each of us can carry a share,
and make part of you a part of ourselves.
This way you'll always be here.

What is a world without you like?
Perhaps we are given a choice,
by lives that we live, we can keep you around,
and together we sing and rejoice.

Dermot; always will love you dear friend & brother
Terry Rielly

A Photo of Dermot and I which I treasure now more than ever. we both loved out tweed jackets. here we are posing for the new Sear's catalogue.


Just want to send my condolences and those of my wife and her family.
We fondly remember all the great times in the old LBR (Halifax) and in PEI also .
My best remembrance of Ryan’s Fancy was the last performance in the LBR when all the
Halifax groups of the day were on stage with the guys and Dermot struck up a few Buddy Hollys

Alan and Anne (McGuire) Donohoe

To the O'Reilly family,

We are very sad to hear of Dermot's passing. We never had the opportunity to meet him but dearly loved his music. Our thoughts & prayers are with you at this time of sorrow.

Dennis & Carmel Taylor
Marathon , On

I first remember Ryan's Fancy from the sweet age of six, looking at an 8 Track that my father had, entitled "Newfoundland Drinking Songs." I was captivated by the picture on the case. In the picture at the end of the bar was Dermot O'Reilly with his long shaggy hair and beard. He looked to me to be the epitome of a fun loving musician he looked cool calm and collected. Listening to recordings of Ryan's Fancy it became apparent to me that Dermot was exactly who I thought he was - a true entertainer and lover of life. I have listened to Ryan's Fancy all my life and only wish that I could have been around during their touring days.

It was just back in January when Fergus and Dermot were playing at O'Reilly's that I first met Dermot. I walked into the bar and there setting up on stage was Dermot. I recognized him instantly as the man I had always admired, with that I enthusiastically walked up to him and told him how much it meant to me to be able to be there that night to watch them play. It was a dream come true, and I told him it meant the world to me to be there that night. After the first set Dermot - God bless him - came over to talk to me. To me talking to him was like talking to the biggest star in the world. My girlfriend Stephanie who sat next to me couldn't believe the affect Dermot had on me, I was blushing and giddy. Throughout the night Dermot come to talk with my girlfriend and I, and it was a dream come true. I was so very blessed that night to have had the privilege to converse with one of the greatest musicians and gentleman ever to sing, he had a profound impact on me. It was rewarding too to find he was kind and personable, just as I had imagined.

To the family please take solace in knowing that when I heard of his passing I cried for a great man is no longer with us. I am now far far away from home and wish I could do more - for this man had meant a great deal to me even though I only meant him once. Today I put on my head phones to listened to "goodbye mick" as Dermot introduces the band and says "... and my name is Dermot Anthony Joseph O apostrophe Reilly" and I smiled and laughed as his voice and character will live forever in the music he loved to make.

God rest your soul Dermot, and I hope we'll meet again up yonder,

Russell Samways and Stephanie Spencer

Ah sure he was a great man was our Dermot, truly one of a kind, no other can walk in his footsteps. Once in a while God will take a hand full of magic and sprinkle it on someone to see what happens and sure Dermot just shined with the talent and grace that only a chosen few get to experience. What a warm man, what a legend, what a friend and how he could reach out and touch his audience, all there just to experience a wee bit of his magic.
Of all the people you meet in a life time, how many we forget, yet I only meet Dermot 3 times and 3 times we had a wee chat about life, music, friends and Ireland and he welcomed me each time like a long lost friend, that was Dermot, that was the way he was.
1982, Red Deer, Alberta, Ryan's Fancy, we talked for 10 minutes, he never forgot that, 2004, Erin's, St John's he quietly sat and watched our band play a set or two that Saturday night, aren't you the wee man from Northern Ireland he say's, say's I, I am, say's he, I thought so. What a memory he was blessed with. Sept 2005, again at Erin's, this time with Jimmy Feehan from Siochana, he say's, your back again, you love Newfoundland or what ? I say's awk sure Dermot, would ya just get up and sing your wee tune "West Country Lady" I will he say's,,, just for yourself,,, God love ya, God protect ya, Dermot.

St Jame's Gate
Red Deer

It's hard to know where to begin , how to say , how deeply sorry we are , for the passing of a dear friend , family or partner can be at times . The music that was brought forth by Dermot and his colleges , put a smile on your face and a warm sensation up and down your spine . To be a great musician , you have to really truly love and believe in the music you do and to also love to perform that great talent . This is what Dermot truly was !!!
We recently released our first CD in January of this year , consisting of NFLD traditional songs and an original of our own .This alone gives one's self that warm feeling , to know that someone can appreciate what you do .
Dermot , you will truly be missed , but never forgotten . May God bless you and keep you!
Fergus , keep Dermot's spirit alive here with you . Keep strong and do him proud , a we know you will !

The Hookey's
Port Rexton ,Trinity bay , NFLD

We are so sad to hear about Dermot. We’ve enjoyed hearing him perform through the years. Every time we’re back in Newfoundland we look for him.

He was such a great singer and such a happy man. We will miss him dearly. We send our condolences to his wife Ann, family, Fergus and friends.

Much love from Wendy, Sue, and the members of Willowgreen, from Minnesota.

I am both privileged and honored to have known Dermot O'Reilly. I have always been in awe of the man as a musician, singer and songwriter. Though a wonderful man has left this world, he will live on forever in his music. It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to a man who has been such an influence on me and my music.

Dermot, God Bless You - The pleasure of knowing you has been all mine.

Heather Cadigan

Our deepest condolences to Ann and family. Dermot was not only a most talented musician but one of the finest people we've ever known.

He has touched the hearts and souls of so many - We are blessed to have known him.

You will be missed our friend….

"Here's to you, my rambling boy"

Neil Hyde and Angela Thorne

We were so saddened to hear of Dermot’s sudden passing. My fondest memories of Dermot were from the early seventies at the Strand Lounge. Although I did not meet my husband there, we spent many of our early dates there. Our record was seven nights in a row, sitting as close to the front as possible. It was Ryan’s Fancy who sang a song for me on my 21st Birthday (legal age back then). We also introduced our friends to their music at the Black Knight Lounge in Halifax while we were visiting there.

Now more than thirty years later my daughter, while working at Bridie Molloy’s, got to know him personally and loved his music as much as we do. So Dermot gained the love and respect of two generations and hopefully maybe a third someday, as we have carefully preserved our old LP’s on CD’s. Our deepest sympathy to his wife & family and also to Fergus.

“The song may have ended but the music will echo on.”

Jo-Ann & Brian Kelly
St. John’s

I was lucky: the first show I ever saw was Ryan's Fancy at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax. I was 10 years old and I had never seen anyone like Dermot! He was pure magic, and has always remained my favourite.

A few years ago I started to visit my friend Jean, in St. John's. I was delighted when I learned we were going to see Dermot and Fergus at O'Reilly's.

Later that evening I summoned up my courage and went to talk to Dermot. He was very kind and to my delight he was still magic! He also sang both songs I requested and didn't seem to care that I was babbling like an idiot.

I have returned to St. John's a few times since, and always managed to get to hear Dermot. I have also made some very special friends in St. John's. You don't have to spend much time around folks there to discover what a deep love and respect they all have for Dermot. And the fraction of time that I was in his vicinity was all I needed to see why he inspired such love. What a truly beautiful man!

My sincere condolences to Ann, all Dermot's family and friends.

Veronica Gaetz
Halifax, NS


Fergus, Denis, & family of Dermot;

Sincere condolences on the passing of Dermot. I had the opportunity to meet and enjoy the wonderful music of Dermot (and Denis & Fergus) during the late 60's at the Strand Lounge and later during the George Street Festival on several occasions. In fact, I saw and listened to Dermot (and Fergus) during the George Street Festival in 2005.and chatted with him during a break in the program. That was the last time I saw him in person.

I will never forget the wonderful music as I have always had a passion for Irish music. And, Fergus, you guys were the greatest. Keep it up as a memorial to your friend.

To his family, may it be of some comfort to know that he is being fondly remembered during this difficult time by all who had the pleasure of knowing him either personally or through his superb entertainment. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Lloyd House
Bellburns, NL


It was very sad to hear about Dermot's passing. I fondly remember his music and songs years ago in the Strand Lounge. He will always be remembered.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Wayne Green
St. John's

I was so sorry to hear of Dermot's passing. He was truly a wonderful musician. Growing up in Arnold's Cove, Ryan's Fancy was certainly a major part of my life. I've listened to them with friends, family and even alone. Just this past October, I had the opportunity to hear both him and Fergus atO'Reilly's pub. It was just fantastic. To this day, I enjoy the wonderful recordings both new and old that bring me so much joy. Dermot, as well as
Fergus and Denis were well known in all the homes around Placentia Bay.
My thoughts are with his family and his many friends. May he rest in peace.

Lindsay Barrett
Arnold's Cove


I'm looking AT a copy of "A Portrait of Ryan's Fancy, Dark Island". It Is one of my most prized possessions. I remember sitting with Ralph O'Brien and having a drink of  "london dock" at no charge, I might add.
Truly Irish and Newfoundland Hospitality.

Niall Butt
Carbonear, NL

Growing up, the music of Ryan's Fancy brought my soul alive. I loved to listen to you and watch you on TV, and when I was old enough, to watchyou on stage. When you were given a lifetime achievement award on the ECMA's, and you performed, I stood to your attention and cried. I cried for the beauty of your voices, the memory of the past, and the pride thatI felt for you. Thank you for being a part of our Newfoundland Culture. I feel very saddened by the loss of Dermot O'Reilly

St. John's

The first time I met Dermot O'Reilly I asked if I could interview him for one of my university courses, and without hesitation he said yes. I was so nervous about interviewing someone who was known as such a legend, but after several seconds into the interview he just made me feel so comfortable that I finally managed to calm down. He not only answered my questions, but was nice enough to take me around the Arts and Culture
Centre to show me pictures of Ryan's Fancy performances and tell me many stories
about his experiences over the years. Not only did I receive a great mark on my paper, but I also had the opportunity to meet a true talent and true gentleman as well. He will be sorely missed!!

Kristy Peet,
Mount Pearl

My thoughts are with Dermot's family and his long time friend Fergus. Enjoyed your music for as long as I can remember and Dermot you will be greatly missed. R.I.P. your music will live on forever.

Jolene Ryan

A dear and beautiful man,
He loved Newfoundland,
had so many fans.

He will be that song, that lives forever inside our hearts

you will be missed,
Scott Tizzard
Calgary, AB

God blessed Dermot with an amazing talent which he happily shared with others and in doing so brought endless enjoyment to all. I did get the opportunity to chat with Dermot from time to time as well as sing and dance to his music. The world has lost an incredible man! Thank you Dermot for all the happy times you have given me. You will truly be missed by so many. Rest in Peace and may God bless your family!!!

Ann Ryan
Toronto, ON

Dermot was a great musician and wonderful person--He will be sadly missed--


Ann, children, Denis and Fergus:

Is trua liom bhur gcaill (I'm sorry for your trouble) is the terse and apt way we have here in expressing our sorrow at the loss of a dear one or friend. And Dermot's is a deep loss indeed.

It must be some comfort to you to know that so many have written to you with loving words of sympathy and consolation. Joyce and I join in that wide circle of friends and hold hands with them in memory of a songs-smith, singer, a character and funny man, loving husband and father, friend.

I borrow the words of the great Scottish song-smith, Robert Burns and apply them to Dermot: “If there’s a life hereafter, he lives in bliss; if not, he made the best of this.”

Aidan O' Hara

Our thoughts and prayers are with family .He was a great man and his legend will never be forgotten

Phonse and Jackie Haley
Lawn ,NL

 I had the great privilege of meeting Dermot O'Reilly a few weeks ago when he and Fergus O'Byrne played at O'Reilly's Pub. Not only was he a great performer, but a wonderful person as well. He talked to me for 10 or 15 minutes as if we'd known each other for years. He made me feel very welcome that night, and I enjoyed myself very much watching him perform. It's sad to see him go, but he will forever be remembered.

Justin Bowman,
Carbonear, NL

Sometimes meeting someone you have admired for years can let you down. You realize that they are not larger than life but just a person like anyone else. That was not the case with Dermot. He was a person like everyone else but he was more than that. His disarming smile, quick wit and kind manner disallowed hero worship, but the giant hero was replaced with a bigger friend.

His memory for me is one of good nature, good humour and good friends. I would not presume to call my self a friend of his but I can say without hesitation that he was a friend of mine. I only worked with him for a while and learned so much from him. When he spoke I learned and I laughed. Many times I would smile so much that it made my cheeks hurt, but from now on when I think of him I will smile but its my heart that will hurt.

Deepest sympathy to Ann and family

Perry Eddy
Edmonton, AB
(Formerly of Sunnyside)

Just a great guy who always made your day better just by coming into it. In the early years I only knew Dermot as one of the fans but even then he managed to make one feel special.

One night in the early 70s a friend and I entered an establishment in Toronto where the boys were in the middle of a tune. Dermot apparently recognized us as followers who had been in the audience perhaps more than once at the "The Black Knight" and at the university in Halifax because as soon as they finished the tune he looked over at us and smiled as he broke into "Farewell to Nova Scotia".
Of course we puffed up like peacocks and sang along A great moment for a couple of
Maritimers far from home. Over the years I discovered that sort of thing was typical.

Years later I met him when he played at my brother Scott's wedding in Trepassey, which
was a great night, but the best memory I have of him is shown in the enclosed snap.

In 1990 after Christmas I traveled to Newfoundland for New Year's with Scott and his in-laws; A few days before the big night Scott invited Dermot over to have a jar.
After a little encouragement he picked up Scott's guitar and sang "A Children's Winter" to my nephew Mhorgan who was only about six months old. Mhorgan was enthralled as
were we. It still brings a tear to my eye whenever I see the photo or hear the song.

Rest in peace, Dermot
Thom Gillis, Halifax

This is a snapshot of Dermot playing "A Children's Winter" to my son Mhorgan Gillis on Old Christmas Day, 1990 when my son was only 7 months old. To me it epitomizes Dermot's character.

Scott Gillis
St. John's

He was the root of Irish folk culture. It is because of Dermot's influence that I have vowed to myself that I have to visit Ireland at least once in my lifetime. His strong deep voice, his creative writing, his exceptional handling of guitar and mandolin, all made him one of the greatest folk artists, ever. One of the last times I saw him perform was on a stage at the Halifax waterfront during tall ships. He sang the Grey Funnel Line. The feeling, the emotion, the very heart that he put into that performance still haunts me to this day. With a lump in my throat, I simply stood in awe as that voice from the green hills of Ireland, filled the downtown and carried out across the harbour and the city. When I read on the news
that he passed, I took out my guitar and did my best to get through a rendition
of the Curraugh of little tribute to an absolute icon.
Dermot thank you for being here. The West Country is so much better for your having passed this way.

Bill Flowers

Being a self taught musician I was and still am greatly influenced by Their music. I play guitar and mandolin as well. My heartfelt Condolences to you Ann and to your Kids. I listen to their music everyday while traveling to and from work . "West Country Lady" is my Favourite.

Paul Ryan
From Spaniard's Bay, living in Lawrencetown, NS


 You will always be remembered as the Guy with the great big smile & fantastic Voice

Ann & Stewart Galloway

There are no words that could truly express how fortunate I feel to have had the privilege of listening to Dermot and his music. I will always be astonished that two men (Dermot, and Fergus) could play on a stage and sound as if there were ten instruments up there. I and my wife will truly miss the joy of waltzing around the floor to some of the greatest music the world will ever know. On many occasions as we left the dance floor we were thanked by those two fine gentlemen for dancing. The honor, however, was truly ours to be thankful for. Our condolences go out to all of his family and friends. I can only hope they take some comfort in hearing through these messages the delight and enjoyment he brought to so many people lives.


I would like to say that we have lost a great pioneer, friend and mentor... and to Fergus I know what it's like to loose a best friend, a brother... chin up my friend and play like you never played before he would have loved that.

Jeff, Chelsea, John & Renee Parsons
St. Phillips NL

Dear Ann & Family
We meet the Boys as we called them many years ago through Jim & Shirley MacNeill
we had lots of good times with them .
We were building two new Church's in Hampton New Brunswick I think it was 1981 & the Boys came & did a fantastic concert for us everybody loved them.
Dermot was a very special person to all who meet him & with a voice like no other
God Bless you all & we will keep all of you in our Prayers

Ann & Stewart Galloway
New Brunswick

It was with great sadness i heard of Dermot's passing. I first met Dermot back in 1971 in Halifax in the early days of Ryan's Fancy. He was a frequent quest along with Dennis and Fergus at our house at South West Margaree in Cape Breton. Thanks for the great memories and may you rest in peace Dermot.

David Gillis
Cape Breton Island

With the wedding of Dermot's daughter (Deirdre) and my father (Fred), and even before that, Dermot and Ann went out of their way to make my sister and I feel welcomed into the family. We were brought into their life and their hearts. The world is a sadder place with his passing. He was a kind and caring man and will be missed dearly. I am so very proud to be part of their family.

~ Andrea Leafloor

I am deeply Saddened by the Passing of Dermot. I've never met a nicer, kinder or more gentle person. What a privilege it was to have him as a friend! He is gone but I will never forget Him. If I'm lucky, I'll see Him again when my time on earth is done!!

God Bless You Dermot!!
Slán mo speisialta cara!

Frank Maher

Dear Ann and girls:
Our hearts were saddened when we learned of Dermot's death. He brought so much joy to all who heard him play and sing. Heaven will be more heavenly with his gracious presence.

To his dear friends, Fergus and Denis:
You have lost a loving friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Walter and Maureen Finlay
St Shott's, NL

Dermot was a very special man, with a very special talent, but I want to talk more about the man, than his music. When you spoke to Dermot, he was always more interested in what was going on in your life than in his own. On a trip to Liverpool some time ago (heading to Ireland to visit his brothers), Dermot kindly said he’d throw a penny in the River Mersey for me. He said I had to give him the penny myself and when I did, he wrapped it in a Sons’ of Erin business card (this was just after the release of Sons’ of Erin “At it Again” c.d.). When he returned to St. John’s he told me he’d sang “I wish I was back in Liverpool” on the boat to Ireland and thought of me. That Christmas, in the card to Ford and I from he and Ann, was a picture of Dermot’s hand, over the rail of the boat, dropping the penny in from the business card to the water! I framed it straight away and it hangs in our kitchen. This was typical of Dermot – not just to think of nice things he could do for other people, but to actually do them – I can’t think of anyone else who would have thought to take that photograph! I feel privileged to have had Dermot as a friend and will always remember him, especially his lovely smile, with much love. Goodnight and God Bless Dermot. Hope you’re singing away in Heaven with Buddy Holly, with a Guinness in your hand!

(Angela Record – St. John’s, NL)

To Deirdre, Suzanne, Grainne, & Mrs. O'Reilly:

I wish to express my deepest sympathy of losing such a charming man, your dad and husband - Mr. O'Reilly. Our lost of this brilliant man is heaven's gain. I am sure he will be singing forever among the angels of heaven. We will miss his music and his wit.

Deirdre, I still have your father's autograph that you gave me over 20 years ago, it's kept in a safe place so I will always remember him.

I found this Irish poem -

"Remembered Joy"

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all...
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life's been full, I've savoured much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief-
Don't shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

With heart felt sympathy,
Michelle Cole (Deirdre's high school classmate (1982)

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dermot. We first met Dermot in the early 1990's when we were living on Fogo Island. Dermot was performing at the Brimstone Head Folk Festival and always paid a visit on the Sunday of that weekend to the Kelly’s at Joe Batt’s Arm. There, he and other musicians played and sang for Mrs. KELLY. It wasn’t until 1998 that we met Ann when she and Dermot stayed over for a night on their way to Fogo Island to the Folk Festival. Let us tell you that it was a treat as Dermot, talked, told stories and sang while we sat around the kitchen table. Time wasn’t a factor as we were so focused and thrilled at the flow of music and the intellect and professionalism exhibited by Dermot. Since then we have sat and listened to his music on a number of occasions at St. John’s and Clarenville. In particular we remember the night we stayed with Dermot and Ann at Torbay after being downtown. Dermot keep us up all night. Guess
what the topic of conversation and music was!! Buddy Holly. With sleepy eyes, we enjoyed every minute.

Dermot has had a great impact on traditional music and is without doubt an icon in the music industry. He was admired and respected by everyone, everywhere. His music and memory will live on forever.

Our deepest condolences to Ann, family and friends of Dermot.

A great musician, A Great Human Being, A FRIEND TO ALL.

Baker & Kelly
Clarenville, NL

Mom called me Saturday morning to tell me that Dermot had passed away. I still don't know if I really believe it because, although I had only met him once, he was a legend in my eyes. I remember my family telling me stories of nights at The Strand, listening to the music of Ryan's Fancy. I believe there were times that my dad would actually take to the floor when a lively tune would ring out! When I left home to head to MUN, I remember how
excited I was to hear Dermot play at The Blarney Stone. It was my first time seeing
him and Fergus live and you wouldn't know but I was seeing the biggest act in America! To me, they were celebrities, icons of their time and their music was as fresh that night as it was back in the 70's. Ironically, it was only a few days before his death that I put in a Ryan's Fancy CD, so as to hear that distinctive voice of Dermot's and what a voice it was. I know we can't live forever but I wish Dermot could have lived for many more years
because he brought so much joy into the lives of his fans. To Ann and his daughters: I don't know you but I feel so sad for your loss. What a wonderful joy to share your lives with a man who, I'm sure, was a wonderful husband and father.

To Fergus and Denis: please accept my condolences on the loss of your music partner and friend. Your beautiful harmony has been silenced on earth but, someday, you'll meet again and what a reunion that will be!!

Sherri Leighton, Halifax, NS
(formally Sherri Finlay, St. Shott's, NL)

Anne and Girls. Our hearts were saddened when we learned of Dermot's death. He
brought so much joy to all who heard him play and sing. Heaven will be more heavenly with his gracious presence. To his dear friends Fergus and Denis. You have lost a loyal friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you .

Sincerely, Walter and Maureen Finlay,

My sincere sympathy and condolences go to Ann and family. Dermot was a gentle man.
God bless and keep you strong.

Don Sullivan
(Sullivan's Gypsies)

"The time has come to say good-bye
to an "Old Soul" that has once again learned to fly.
Listen to the wind as it sweeps the sea and land
and you will hear him and Buddy Holly with their guitars in hand."

Many men are Husband, few are Partners.
Many men are Fathers, few are "Daddy".
Many men are Musicians, few are Idols and Mentors.
Many men are Kind, few are Genuine.
Many men have Friends and Family, few Cherish them.
Dermot was definitely one of the few and I am honoured to have known him.

When I moved back to the province in '96 I began working at Erin's Pub ('97) and with little family in the immediate area at the time, Dermot and Ann, along with Ralph, Fergus, Lisa, Mark and Family made sure I was part of theirs.
Will miss our dances, our drives, our talks (especially the ones of Labrador), Halloween with Rebecca (see Ann, he handed out the treats and I have the pictures to prove it! Hehehe), the philosophy, the voice, the free spirit and that smile.
The strength and love shown by Ann, Deirdre, Suzanne, and Grainne at the funeral home on Tuesday was amazing. As well as the courage and loving spirit of Fergus. They definitely have Dermot's infectious spirit and the girls have married similar spirits if Fred is any indication.

Will hold dear the memories and music and the honour of calling him my friend.
Lots of love
Kelly Waters, John Pennell and little Rebecca.

Deepest heartfelt condolences to Dermot's family and friends and sidekicks Fergus and Dennis. Dermot has left a legacy of wonderful memories, mischievous moments and beautiful music. Dermot was a musical icon and his music and memory will always be cherished by all so fortunate to be touched by him. Farewell friend. Thank you.

Charlotte and Vince MacLean
Washabuck, Cape Breton

I am sad to hear of Dermot's passing. He was a member of Ryan's Fancy, a truly great group. I saw them play many years ago in the Gym of the Old College of Trades and Technology, they were playing for the orientation of new students. Their singing was great and I loved it. The main memory I have from that day was when they played the song, "I Never Will Marry", I remember sitting there on the gym floor and swaying back and forth to that song, even singing parts of it...."I'll be no Man's Wife...., I really believed it then; Now 27 years later, I will soon be married 27 years and have two of the greatest kids in the world; Wanda Lee & William and a Son in Law, Micheal, along with a very sweet and cute grandson- Sean- 8 years (my daughter had to have the Irish spelling). And last but not
least I have a wonderful hubby, Kirk who I wouldn't trade in, he is just great and then someday he will pass and I can again sing "I never will Marry"... but add "again". As he has been my life sole-mate. I thank Ryan's Fancy for the music. May Dermot's family take comfort in knowing that he will be missed by you and all.

God Bless,
Gloucester, On.

Ann , Deirdre, Suzanne & Grainne,

Our Thought are with you all during this difficult time.
We will always treasure the happy memories and music of Dermot’s.
I will always remember the great time I had with you all on my trip to Torbay.

Hazel and Joe
Bansha, Co.Tipperary. Ireland

Garth & Frances Cochran here. Just a short note to let you know we found out we lost a good friend -- Dermot. We've often thought of all of you and entertained hope that we might find a way to rekindle a friendship -- but not like this. In any case, we have so many good memories from (gawd) thirty years ago and more. We'll hoist a jar in memory of Dermot, indeed of all of you, and hope you will as well.

As ever
Garth & Frances Cochran

To Anne, Deidre, Suzanne and Grainne:
It is with a full heart and tearful eye that I write on this sad occasion. Dermot's passing marks also the passing of an era for all of us who came of age with Ryan's Fancy or as that wise old clown, Ray Guy christened us Ryan's Fancy fanciers.
I first got to know Dermot when he was then part of Sullivan's Gypsies and so have many long memories - memories of many late nights at the Strand Lounge in the Avalon Mall with music, fun and friends. Often times we would leave the Strand in the wee hours and head off to a house party with Denis, Fergus and Dermot. I don't think that there was ever a bunch of young people who had so much fun.
Dermot introduced me to songwriters I hadn't heard of before such as Tom Paxton, Ralph McTell, and Pete St. John. I still listen to these wonderful songs and remember that it was Dermot I first heard them from. I would surely embarrass myself by singing along with "The Streets of London" my favourite. I always appreciated the way Dermot would credit the songwriter.
In 1974 a bunch of us friends joined Ryan's Fancy on their Irish tour. It left me with lasting memories and just recently revisited some of the same spots in Ireland.
To all of you in the words of "The Parting Glass" "Good night and God be with you all"
Dermot, thank you for allowing us to be part of your life. It was a wonderful show.

On behalf of my children Marianne and Damian and the Renews Chidley family, our heartfelt condolences.

Marie Chidley
Edmonton, Alberta

Dermot was the one who turned me on to Irish music 36 years ago. I was fighting cancer and he gave me an album -- Planxty. That music got me through some pretty hard times. Our families were friends for years until a few years after we moved to Calgary (where we still got together with the band on their occasional trips west) and, as inevitably happens, lost touch after Ryan's Fancy broke up. Now he's gone -- but not our memories of him.

Ann, wish we were there to help comfort you and to share our memories with you. We had some great times (Like Dermot and Hal Andrews singing Danny Boy by the fridge) or when the mummers crashed our Christmas party. Bless you and the girls.

Dermot, I'm certain you've already found the Céilidh.

Garth & Frances Cochran
Calgary, Alberta

I grew up, quite literally, with Ryan's Fancy. My parents used to go to hear them at the Strand Lounge in St. John's, and became friends with them all; they came to our home for meals and the occasional party. Then it was my turn, when I came of age--okay, nearly of age--to go to hear them at pubs, either back in St. John's when I went to visit after we moved to Nova Scotia, or at the Agricultural College where I was a student, and where they came to play more than one roarin' good time.

Dermot was a charmer, with the gift of storytelling as great as the gift of music, and I’m sure he could sing the birds right out of the trees and make the angels weep with joy. I was so glad that he kept on making such marvelous music after Ryan’s Fancy disbanded, and that he and Fergus were lifting the rafters in St. John’s just last week. Dermot brought us as Atlantic Canadians closer to our heritage of marvelous music—he and his bandmates Denis and Fergus were advocates of our musical heritage long before it was trendy to do so.

Dermot, my friend, "Thig crioch air an t-saoghal ach mairidh gaol agus ceòl" (An end will come of this world, but music and love will endure.) It's Scottish, rather than Irish, Gaelic, but the sentiment remains the same. I'll raise a Guinness to your memory and your legacy--long will they remain with us.

Jodi DeLong, MA
Scotts Bay, Nova Scotia

Dermot, his brother Eddy and myself shared a beer together at a Pub in
Dublin. I will never forget it!

My sincere condolences,
Sheldon Dedieu / Miller's Jug

The world has lost a wonderful troubadour, a genuine gentleman, and a
man who's influence on generations of singers, players, and listeners
of traditional irish music can never be forgotten. I and my bandmates
(Muldow) recorded a cd with Dermot a few years back, and for most of
us, it was our first time in a studio. Dermot and Ann treated us like
family from the first time we entered the doors of their home. We
will never forget the endless pots of coffee and Ann's homemade
cookies and cakes! Our condolences to the O'Reilly family, to Fergus
and his family, and all those who Dermot knew and touched, both
through his music and personal friendships. Farewell and God Bless.

Johnny Graham

Ann, my thoughts are with you and the family. I was honoured to call Dermot my friend he was one of the great ones and will be greatly missed.

Rest in peace my dear friend,
Bridget Noonan
Bay de Verde

My most sincere condolences to the O'Reilly family. Dermot was the reason many of us picked up a guitar or fiddle for the first time. He has left an outstanding legacy in Newfoundland performing arts that will never be forgotten. Class act all the way! He will be sadly missed.

:Jamie Wiseman
Gander, Newfoundland

My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the O'Reilly family. Dermot's music will always be a part of us all, he will be deeply missed.

Keith Brophy
Sherwood Park, AB (Ferryland,NL)

There's good Irish Music and then there's GREAT Irish Music!
Dermot, Fergus and Denis provided lots of great music.
Back in my drinking days in Toronto they were very patient with me and
generously allowed me to occasionally sing on stage with them at the
New Windsor House.

Their likes won't be seen nor heard again!

Harry Warner

To the O'Reilly Family, it is with a saddened heart that we hear of Dermot's passing. We are truly blessed to have had such a wonderful person touch our hearts. We will truly miss him!
Joy & Peter Barfoot
Mack Barfoot

As I read through the emails and thoughts people have posted, I am flooded with fond memories of being 5 years old in St. John's, where I was born. A recurring theme I read is this man's love not only of music, and the people who make it, but his charismatic character, and his appreciation of everyone, but especially of children. I think Dermot was my first crush, at the tender age of 5! My parents met "the boys" of Ryan's Fancy during an evening out at "The Strand". My father was a pilot for EPA, and the buys were "frequent flyers" long before that term had ever been invented! Dad always had a place for one of them back in the days when the skies were a safe place to be and the crew could welcome the public up to sit in the "jumpseat" to enjoy the flight from the cockpit. The visits to the Strand became a common social event for mom and dad, and then there was the 3 am spaghetti fests at our home on Winnipeg street after the pub closed. I would wake to everyone laughing and having a great time, and I remember sneaking out to the kitchen on more than one occasion to say hello - Dermot would always take some time to chat before I was sent packing back to bed. He became fondly known by me as "hippie", because I had never really known a man with long hair as he had back in the 70's, and I thought that was a good name for him! I remember being at his and Anne's home on one occasion when Grainne, his youngest, was just a baby - she had the sweetest little baby grin, and I was quite sure she was just a chip off the old block!
With my dad being a pilot, we moved frequently, and eventually settled in Nova Scotia. Dad continued to see the boys on his flights after EPA became CP Air, and we never forgot them, their music frequently played all weekend in our home - we had every LP they ever recorded. I was a fan of Irish music when it was really not a very cool thing for a young kid to do. I wrote to Dermot when he recorded "Brand New Song" and told him how much I loved that tune - it made me happy just to listen to it and kept my toes tapping - he reciprocated by sending me their songbook, signed by all of them - it is a treasure I will always cherish, dog eared and with it's binding falling apart. We connected up with them again when they played at the Nova Scotia exhibition in the early 1980's, and Dermot and Fergus came to spend the night at our place while Denis was taking time with his family. What a hoot we had - I don't remember any instruments being played, but I do remember a lot of hysterical laughter - the boys were in awe of my father's rather robust vegetable garden, and the fact that he grew flowers (nasturtiums) that were "edible" - I can still vividly see Dermot with a huge pile of these leaves sticking out of his mouth as he tasted them for himself! I can also see them laying in the long green grass of our lawn, playing with our dogs and just enjoying the country air and the break from their schedule. On that same visit, the next morning my father cooked the boys a big steak breakfast before they hit the road - my dad was a fan of somewhat "rare" beef, and when Dermot cut into the delightful morsel, he hastily handed it back to my dad and asked "Ivan, can you cook this?" Great memories are those. I had the opportunity to see Dermot and Fergus several years ago at O'Reilly's in St. John's when I was traveling there on business - Dermot was there in his little vest I remember him always sporting, and singing better than ever - I ran up and reintroduced myself as a grown up, and still got the bear hug I remember getting when I was a kid. I told him of my dad's health issues, and sadness flooded his eyes for his old friend.
So, today I shed a few tears - for the loss of Dermot, a talented musician, a sweet, funny and kindhearted man. Ironically, today is also my late father's birthday. Dad would have been 75 today - we lost him to Alzheimer's in June of 2005. My thoughts are of them both tonight, and of what they must be chatting about at their reunion - the world has suffered a loss with the passing of these two men, but I am sure that heaven is an entertaining place with them there.
God bless you Dermot - rest in peace
blessings to Anne, Deirdre, Suzanne, and Grainne

Kelly Marcoux (nee DeLong)
Stewiacke, Nova Scotia

Dermot O'Reilly was a singer/songwriter and musician extraordinaire. A tremendous loss to our music community, Newfoundland and Labrador and the world in general. His memory will live on in his music -

A Children's Winter
Candlelight and Wine
Labrador Song
Mist Upon a Morning

I never met Dermot but whenever I hear his music, or that of Ryan's Fancy, it gives me a feeling of joy. There is something so familiar about all the songs that I sing the words without ever having tried to learn them. The wonderful lilt to his voice and twinkle in his eye will be sadly missed. My condolences to his family, Fergus, Dennis, and his many close friends.

Trudy Veitch

Dermot's family and Newfoundland have lost a great person.
Having first seen Ryan's Fancy at the Strand in St. John's many years ago, fell in love with their great music and humour.
He will be sorely missed by his family and the people of Newfoundland.
My condolences to the O'Reilly family.
The great doors have been opened for you Rest In Peace

Chuck St. George

On behalf of Celtic Connection, I wish to send along our sincere condolences to the family and friends of a true gentleman, our friend Dermot. As a young lad, just 15 years old, I was lucky enough to share the stage in the various venues of our downtown core...Great Big Sea, Connemara, Manchester Run, Fine Crowd, The Punters, just to name a few...We all
had many things in common, but two in particular. First, a love of Irish/Celtic music. Second and more important, on top of our love of the music, we all shared an admiration of one special individual, Dermot O' Reilly. He is one of the few people I have had the pleasure of knowing that I cannot ever recall seeing anything other than a smile upon his
face. You will be sadly missed but never forgotten. We are blessed to be able to smile and remember such a wonderful entertainer, husband, father, and ambassador. Godspeed Dermot...

Scott Graham

We shared a lot of memories. Glad I had that great laugh and chat with you and Fergie on February 15th. Thanks for the music and friendship.

Codladh go sámh a chara,go dtí go buailimid le chéile arís!
ó Gary Kavanagh.

I would like to thank Dermot for sharing part of his wonderful life and personality with me, and all of Nfld. I was a follower of Dermot for the past decades and today I'm sifting through old VHS tapes as I've collected a lot with Dermot and his friends. I have him and Stan Rogers singing in a kitchen, and it's always been one of my favourites.

The last time my brother was home from Toronto we went to George St, two nights in a row to listen to Dermot & Fergus and he promised to sing "West Country Lady" for us, which he finished the night with and was the last song we heard him play.

My deepest sympathy to his family but I'm sure he will live forever in your hearts, as he will in mine.

Gerry Murphy,
Long Hr

I’ve decided to send my thoughts and prayers in this form as it looks like I won’t be able to make it home for Thursday, which upsets me greatly. I spent most of my teenage years weaned on the music of Ryan’s Fancy. It wasn’t until the age of nineteen that I picked up a guitar and began to learn the songs that would later become a part of my own repertoire week after week. I was in total awe of Dermot as my buddy Harry and I would catch his performance at the Blarney Stone on George in the early nineties. To record my first CD at Dermot’s studio in Torbay in 1997 was nothing short of a dream. I developed a wonderful friendship with both Dermot and Ann over the months and years that followed; my wife and I have visited them on a couple of occasions while home for Christmas; on any vacation home our favorite evening out was to catch Dermot at Erin’s; one of our fondest memories of our wedding was when Dermot performed at the church. So many wonderful memories - I can hardly type this letter for the tears in my eyes.

As a personal tribute to a beautiful man and unparalleled inspiration I started my performance last Saturday night with “Mist upon a morning” - I had to keep my eyes closed just to get through it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ann and the O’Reilly family.

God bless you Dermot, you will never be forgotten.

Dave and Suzanne Anthony,

Although we had never met Dermot, we would like to express our sincere sympathy to his family and friends.

Theresa and Len Bungay
Admiral's Beach
St. Mary's Bay

It was always a privilege to go watch Dermot play, whether it be at O' Reilly's, Erin's, Darry's or Bridie's he always gave 100%, and no doubt the drink certainly went down a lot quicker watching him perform. I never knew him personally and only quickly chatted with him a few times but that was enough for him to leave a great impression on me. All the best to his family and friends.

Shane Croft

It was with huge sadness that I heard the news of Dermot's passing. My parents were friends and fans of Ryan's Fancy and it was more than once that "The Boys" spent an evening in our kitchen in St. Johns, and once again when we moved to NS. Dermot was my first "love" when I was about 8, and my sister and I called him "Hippie". We loved his hair!
I remember a hilarious walk in our woods with Fergus, Dermot, Dennis and Allister MacGillivary- remember Dermot and Fergus both trying Nastursium leaves out of our garden, ("You eat those?!?) and being brave trying my father's fabulous, but very rare BBQ steaks.
I still have, and play, every Ryan's Fancy album made.
He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched through song and story, and I wish him peace, and to his lovely family- my most sincere condolences. There's more music in Heaven today, and a little less on Earth, due to his passing.

Rest in peace, Dermot.
Heather DeLong,
Nova Scotia

To the O'Reilly family

We are very sad to hear of Dermot's passing
I have always felt that Ryan's Fancy have brought our culture back to us and have inspired other singers to do so, his memory will live in all of us.
I have a copy of his visit to Best's Harbour in 1982 with Pat Byrne and the rest of the boys from Ryan's Fancy, when they played on the wharf of our dear friends Frank & Millicent Best, who have passed on as well.
I watched it again today, in his memory and marveled at the wonderful spirit of this man.

Please accept our condolences
Betty & Carl Hooper
St. John's, NL

One of my favorite past times when I was a younger 20 something was to enter the talent night at Erin's Pub. Quite often it was hosted by Dermot. During these times Erin's was like our living room and my friends and I would often have a pint or two with Dermot, Ralph, Jim Joyce, and whoever would talk to us. Dermot knew we loved the music and he would sit and talk and listen to us.

One of the more un-nerving things I have done was to perform, "Candlelight and Wine" while Dermot was in the audience. He came up, smiled, and said, "That was a real good job!" I will never forget  that!

I was transferred to Corner Brook in 95. Irish music was not heard of in the bars, but, was well listened to by the people on their Cd Players,etc. I was at a party and they had Ryan's Fancy playing, and I said, "I know the guy singing, it's Dermot O'Reilly." They didn't believe me. I thought it was funny, so I called 722-1916, Erin's Pub. Low and behold
Dermot happened to be there. I got him on the phone and he spoke to the crowd at the time in Corner Brook. That was awesome.

He was appreciated all over, his music is dateless, his smile heart warming, and his interest in every person he met unbelievable.

Dermot, I am ever so proud to have known you.

Rest now.

Rod Priddle


Dermot was  instrumental in producing our first Cd "Passage" which we partially recorded in his basement studio at "Piperstock Productions". during that time we got to know and love Dermot as a loving, patient man whose calm demeanor was an encouragement for us to forge ahead.

He was not critical but a positive force for us all. We were younger than but he could see a future with us. He attended many of our functions and was at our first CD launch with his wife Ann. Ann would provide a lunch for us, or a cup of tea into the late night hours at the studio. She was a loving wife and took care of all of Dermot's needs.
Dermot was also at our Christmas show at O'Reilly's, he and Fergus O'Byrne had come in at the end of the set as they were preparing to begin theirs.
They were both very complimentary of the group, how much we had grown musically and that the "little" ones were still there and well able to keep up, was blown away by Maria, Robyn and Brittany's voices and the individual solos, etc, group harmonies, it was a heart-felt love of theirs to share with us and a respect of what we have accomplished in 14 years.

Dermot will be missed by all of us, the St. John's community and the George St. Scene- he was a weekly regular at O'Reilly's

God Bless you Dermot- we'll miss you! Rest in Peace

The Celtic Fiddlers

I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to Dermot's Family and friends. Although I have only spoken to Dermot once or twice he always took the time to stop and say a heartfelt hello. Ten years ago, I heard Dermot play at Erin's pub for the first time and I have been a devoted listener ever since. I moved away from home four years ago, and each
time I return for visit, I have always made a point of heading down to O'Reilly's and listening to Dermot and Fergus play. I did so this past Christmas, and cherished every moment. When I heard of Dermot's passing, I was playing and singing some Newfoundland tunes with friends. We stopped for a moment and raised a glass to a man whose music will sound for generations to come. I can think of no better tribute than to continue the musical legacy that Dermot, Fergus and Dennis brought to our hearts and lives. Dermot, your music and actions spoke volumes of the what it means to be a true Newfoundlander. Although your guitar has fallen silent, it will play on in our hearts forever!

God bless Dermot and may your soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace, Amen.

Mike Bidgood,
St. John's NL

My deepest sympathy to Dermot's family and friends on his passing. He was a wonderful person and will truly be missed.

Mildred Speer
Winnipeg, MB

Well Sunday marked only the third time in my life that I can recall shedding a tear... and of those three times, two were the result of Dermot's profound effect their music has on my life. I honestly could not hold them back in 2004 when himself, Fergus and Denis stood up on stage and chilled me to the bone with their beautiful, captivating harmonies after receiving their Lifetime Achievement Award.
When a friend told me of his passing Sunday, I refused to believe it and went immediately to the Internet where countless clips of the news confirmed it for me. I sat there flashing back to where I'd heard their music.... all Dad's albums, the festivals, the small gigs... it is a way of life for countless Newfoundlanders who were fortunate enough to grow up with their music in their homes.
Isn't it weird when you can feel so upset over losing someone you don't even really know? Every year I'm home I go see Fergus and Dermot play somewhere, and they never disappoint. Their music makes you long to be living back home.
I'll never forget one night @ O'Reilly's in 2001 when a huge crowd of my Mom's family, home for a visit, were taking in his show and he announced a song dedicated to me as I was returning back to Alberta in a couple of days. It was West Country Lady... the most beautiful song ever written, and it had long been my favourite tune prior to that night... even more so after that. Hearing him and Fergus perform it live was amazing. After the song I shook their hands and Thanked them both, and I could just tell that this is what they were all about..... genuinely making people happy with their music.

I know my children will know their music and they'll always know their roots.

Dermot, may God Bless you and welcome you Home.
To his wife Anne & his children.. God Bless you all, and thank you for sharing this wonderful man with the world.

Todd & TerriLynn Mercer
Fort McMurray, (AB)
(formerly of Whitbourne)

I am certainly saddened by the news of Dermot's' passing.
My Dad Don Parker first introduced me to the music of Ryan's Fancy around 1971 when the boys were playing the Black Night Lounge in Halifax. I was too young to see them perform there but quickly became a fan when their TV show started & rarely missed
a show. In the late 70's & early 80's I had the privilege of attending some tapings of the show.
When the band broke up I kind of lost track of what the three were doing but heard Fergus & Dermot were still performing around St. John's & Denis was doing the odd show in Halifax.
Then just a few years ago when the tall ships were in Halifax, I wondered down to the Dartmouth waterfront & lo & behold about 18 guys were up on stage singing Sea Shanty's. Well let me tell you what a performance. One of them was Dermot.
During a break I was in the beer tent ordering a beer when next to me a familiar voice said I'll have a Keith's please, I turned around & said I've got to shake the hand of the man who sang "Chastity Belt". Dermot stuck out his hand & said "Now there's one I haven't sung in a while!"
On Sunday night I was at the ECMAs & had a chance to speak to Ron Hynes who told me the CBC were giving him about 16 seconds to say a few words about Dermot & Ron was having a hard time firstly trying to overcome his grief at the lost of his friend, & secondly how do you properly honour someone like Dermot in just 16 seconds. Well the bottom line is you can't. But Ron went on & gave a heart felt statement which touched us all. So next year it is up to all of those who read this to call the producers at the CBC to make sure that a proper tribute is arranged at the next ECMA's in Fredericton. Once again we have truly lost a great soul & a fine musician. Right now, at this very moment he's probably playing in the greatest band ever, flanked by John Allan Cameron & Dermot's own idol from his early years Buddy Holly.
God bless you Dermot from one Nova Scotian who was touched by your music and your soul.

Dwight Parker

To Ann, Deirdre, Grainne, Suzanne and Families.

Just to let you all know we are thinking of you. You are all in our prayers and our thoughts.

Claire, Paul, Clare and Paul Flanagan.
Dublin, Ireland.

He was a legend before his time, an even bigger legend during his time. Now, with the sad and painful passing of our friend, he will remain a legend.

Celtic music first caught my interest around 1992 and has never let go since. When I first became interested, it was the magic of the instruments that set the hook – the overpowering gut-feeling the fiddle brings, the dazzlement of the fingers running across the frets of a mandolin, and the chest-pounding vibrations from a deeply struck bodrhan.

As the love for the music grew, and as the appreciation of the lore attached to it matured, came an unexplainable pure love for everything that is Celtic/Traditional Folk Music. It became much deeper than a song with a cool fiddle riff in the middle or a rapid increase in tempo as it got crazier near the end. The music now had the ability to deliver emotions – pride, sorrow, and the overwhelming feeling of pure happiness. No performer have I ever seen nearly as capable of delivering this complete package – performance after performance – as Dermot O’Reilly.

No matter how much you felt in love with the music; no matter how in love you ever were or ever became with it while listening and watching him perform, you could always see inside his heart and know that he felt the same, even more-so. When he opened his guitar case up, he willingly opened up his heart night after night.

I have always been able to talk with and, from time to time, play a tune or two with some of my favourite Celtic performers. Those nights when you have a few extra pints of courage in your system, a conversation with a few of them seems like the perfect idea. But with Dermot, the feeling of awe and wonder would always overpower me to the point I would just sit and watch him as he left for the evening.

It remained that way until one night, I knew I just had to let him know how much of an impact he has had and is continuing to have on my life and my music. I approached him after his set was complete at O’Reilly’s Pub, and as I chatted with him, the topic of the 2005 benefit concert surfaced. I told him how I had no other choice but to drive in from Gander for that night, no matter what the circumstances. Instead of shaking my hand or patting me on the shoulder in thanks, he dropped his guitar case and gave me a heart-felt hug and said “Thank you – that means a lot to me. That concert helped me through a very difficult time in my life.”

I stood there in wonder at the fact that once again, he opened his heart up to show his feelings – something he has been doing for all of us ever since he arrived on our shores. It takes an incredibly huge heart to begin with to touch as many hearts as he has.

Now I must say to Dermot – Thank YOU – for your music, your influence, and for your love of life and everything about it. We will miss you while we’re here, and we will see you when we’re gone. We’ll give you a toast over our next pint. You will always be remembered.

Jim Bragg,

A legend, a Newfoundland icon, left us this weekend. Dermot's legacy will live on forever in our great province and throughout Canada and Ireland. The last time I watched Dermot and Fergus perform I was lucky enough to be sitting close enough to them during one of their breaks to share a pint with them. This is a memory that will last forever. To
Dermot's family, his legendary partner Fergus, and the large circle of musicians that knew Dermot as a friend, I offer my condolences.

"And she hopes that tomorrow will kindly attend to the bountiful
sea, and the land and her people will always be free"

Steve Smith
Long Cove, NL

I became an instant fan/friend of Dermot when I first met him performing @ The Light/Harbor& Tickle many years ago. His music always kept you connected to your roots & his talent, humour & friendly acknowledgement of your presence at his performances always left you with a warm feeling. I feel honored to be at his final show on Friday night. His passing will leave a void in our lives but we will cherish the memories. To Ann, the girls & their families also Fergus O' Byrne & Ralph O'Brien my sincere sympathy.

Anna Power

 I had a great childhood growing up in Dublin with you Dermot. Memories flood back of us doing the "boxing the Fox", a little bit of mitching from school and having great fun in the valley. Another time we bought a car together - a very old car - £20 - a very old ford prefect - lots of money in those days. We had a great time fishing, cycling, cricket and making sure we did not upset our big brother Tom or he would break the stumps and that would be the game over. Remember one night we saw the heather burning up the Dublin mountains, so we decided to go and investigate the fire. Unfortunately, we were roped into putting out the fire. Its amazing what two pints of Arthur will do for you. We lost our light, anyway and when the fire was put out we had to make our way down the mountain in the dark. I heard manys a great quote from you but this one was the best of all - At 2 o'clock in the morning struggling down the mountain wet and cold Dermot , but this time you quoted JFK, President of America "its not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country" and I would not repeat my answer to you. !!
Thinking of you at this very sad time, Fergus.

We were always great buddies, and you will be missed so much. I am so proud to have you as a Brother.
Eddie, Galway. Ireland.

To Ann and all the girls, you are in our thoughts
Tom and Rose, Gay and Patsy, Eddie and Mare and all the O'Reilly Family in Ireland.

Dermot's music and the music of Ryan's Fancy hand a profound impact on
my life. There were countless times that their music made me realize
how fortunate I am and how the simple things in life are often the most
important. Dermot's music celebrated the life history of so many and I
am so honored to have taken the time to have listened.

I would like to take this opportunity to send my deepest condolences to
his wife and family, Fergus, Denis, and all of his dear friends.

You will be missed dearly in so many ways,
Kirk Wiseman

Watching the East Coast Music Awards and hearing Ron dedicate his song to Dermot made my heart sink. I worked at O'Reilly's Pub for a short time and had the pleasure of hearing Dermot and Fergus play, as well as share a few pints after hours. What a great man - full of stories, smiles and genuine heart. Candlelight and Wine is a favorite song for my wife and I, and since she is from Saskatchewan, she appreciated and knew how lucky she was hearing it live a couple of times during visits to the province.

The music landscape will be missing a large piece of the foundation. The Province will be missing a great person who brought smiles to everyone he met - whether he knew them or not.

Cheers to you Dermot - I will have a pint for you

Leigh Fitzpatrick
Regina, SK

I, like so many other fortunate people, have the honor and privilege to say Dermot was my friend. And what an honor indeed. What made Dermot so special was simply that he always had time for his admirers, always had that sparkle in his eye, and was as true and genuine a person that you will ever come across. A big nod of his head as he recognized you entering a pub, that big "why hello" as he approached you and that magical voice that touched so, so many people.

My memories of Dermot are many. Sharing a drink in between sets at Erins, listening to his words of wisdom and enjoying his very unique wit and humour. Watching and listening to him and Fergus perform virtually non-stop for hours in my fathers rec. room in 2002 for a party honoring my fathers 60th birthday. Working in conjunction with him and Fergus as I arranged some gigs here on the Burin Peninsula in Lawn, Lords Cove, Point May and Allan's Island. Four shows in two days and two wonderful nights, again in my fathers rec. room, lasting long after the curtains closed on the shows. And how can I forget Dermot finishing up for the night at the Blarney Stone then coming upstairs to Henrys Haven for "one more pint" before going home.

Over the last little while my girlfriend Stephanie has also gotten to know Dermot and she, like so many others, just found him so genuine, so honest, so real. Dermot, you leave with your family and countless friends a lifetime of good memories and a legacy that will not be matched. My heartfelt condolences to Ann, your three daughters and to Fergus and his family as well.

For me personally, going downtown will never again be the same but your laughter, your smile, the gleam in your eyes and your voice will live on forever.

Jimmy Rogers & Stephanie Edwards

Lawn, NL

Me and my husband always remember when Dermot used to perform at Drake's pub in Lab. City. He would hang with us in between sets and grace us with his outstanding personality and memorable presence and humor. I also remember him being shocked of all the hot wings me and my husband used to eat!!. We could sit and listen to him for hours, and did!! He is a musical legend, and will be remembered and sadly missed.

Marlene and Mike Thompson.
(Niece of Boyd Warren Chubbs (fellow musician/artist/good friend) of Mr. Dermot O'Reilly)

My wife Heather, not being what you would call a big fan of traditional Newfoundland music, and I attended the Rankin's show on Thursday night. As we made our way to the main gate, a man carrying a guitar on his back approached ascending the stairs of Mile One. I held the door as Dermot walked in, and I remarked "Geez, Dermot O'Reilly must be opening tonight". As we carried on thru the doors, she said “That is the man that brought me back the Heather"... Dermot O'Reilly brought you back Heather? I replied. With a puzzled look she replied "that man, that you held the door for, used to come into the gas station (she was manager), he would take off his hat when entering, and put it back on when he left. Him and his wife Ann when on a trip, and when they came back he brought me back a stem of Heather, she said. I replied “Dermot O'Reilly, from the Sons of Erin, and Ryan's Fancy went on a trip to Ireland and Scotland and came back with a flower for you. "I knew he played in a band around town, but I remember him as the nice Irish gentleman that brought me the flower and who loved his wife Ann.

A legacy is not created by what you do in life but how you are remembered by others, and Dermot O'Reilly with always be remembered in our home as a true Irish gentleman.

Nick Hynes & Heather Gordon

I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to Dermot's family and friends for the loss of a great man, musician and friend. I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Dermot whilst working in St Johns (Clovelly Golf ) about 7 or 8 years ago. As an Irishman new to the Rock, he was very good to me and was always there to point me in the right direction.
Many the nice pint of the black stuff did we share down in O'Reilly's, My Brothers Place and indeed in Clovelly's club house. He used to say “ One of these days young Doherty, I’m actually going to come down here and golf! “ and it became a standing joke as every time he’s drop in to me for a pint he’d say the same thing.

Himself and another absolute gentleman, Fergus O Byrne did me a huge favour and played the very first gig in Clovelly…and what a night it was. The audience that night were given a treat I’m sure they’ll never forget.

Since I left St Johns in 2001 I’ve had the pleasure of returning for a holiday with my wife Caitriona and we met up with Dermot again for the usual pints and later enjoyed his wonderful music in O Reillys. Caitriona was bowled over by his smile, his kindness and of course his music. During their conversation it emerged that Caitriona was working with Dermots niece in Aer Lingus in Dublin and it was here we got the terrible news about Dermots passing on Saturday.

I’ll never forget you Dermot. Thanks for being there for me, thanks for the memories and thanks for being one of the worlds last true gentlemen.

“Slan go Foill”
Kieran Doherty,
Dublin, Ireland


Snowman, snow house,
Hey, play with me;
Shake the snow down from the tree,
Games once played by you and me.
Snow is softly falling


Forever loved and always remembered by everyone you touched

I am a thousand winds that blow; I am the diamond glints on the snow. I am the sunlight that ripened grain; I am the gentle autumns’s rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush, Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft star that shines at night.

If Tears Could Build A Stairway (Dedication to Dermot)

If tears could build a stairway  And memories were a lane

We would walk right up to heaven  And bring you back again.

No farewell words were spoken  No time to say goodbye

You were gone before we knew it  And only God knows why

Our hearts still ache in sadness And secret tears still flow

What it meant to lose you  No one will ever know

But now we know you want us  To mourn for you no more

To remember all the happy times  Life still has much in store

Since you'll never be forgotten  We pledge to you today

A cherished place within our heart is where you'll always stay


Thank you Dermot for your songs and laughter, that warmed our hearts and rekindled our spirit.

B Dillon,
St. John's

I would feel a lump of sentimental, but entirely heartfelt like the music, pride arise in my throat every time I walked into a venue and heard Dermot O'Reilly sing his beautiful lyrical tribute to Torbay, West Country Lady. Personally I knew Dermot from making song requests at his gigs, the scatter conversation at Folk Festivals, and also loosely through my family. Dermot took the time to answer questions I had about old Torbay and relatives I didn't know and what those early years were like for him as an ex-pat Irishman living in Newfoundland. He would cross his arms put his chin into his chest and chuckle a little before starting in on a story, a good sign an amusing anecdote was imminent.! Next time I'm sitting on the breakwater in Tapper's Cove and the summer sun sparkles on still waters down in the bay I'll hum a line or two for you buddy.

Bryan Manning Jr.

Dermot was a fine man and musician I will miss him being around.


I met Dermot and his lovely wife Ann at the Airport in St. John's a couple of years ago and finally had a chance to tell him how much both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed his music . We went to see Ryan's Fancy perform many times in the early years at the Strand Lounge and to this day always marvel at the wonderful harmony of those three gifted musicians , Dennis , Fergus and Dermot .
His memory will carry on in the music he helped promote in so many ways .
Thank you to his family for letting us enjoy his music , God Bless You all .

S. Feaver

I first met Dermot only a few years ago through my friend Roger. Although it was only a quick encounter I though, what a nice fellow.
I have always enjoyed his music over the years and grew up watching Ryans Fancy on TV, but to talk to him seemed so naturally easy.
The next time I met him was at the Arts and Culture Center for the Tommy Makem concert. He called me by name and talked to me like I was an old friend, then I was introduced to his friend, Tommy Makem.
I did not know Dermot very well, but I think I can speak for anyone who had the good fortune to chance upon his company, be it once, twice, or many times, Dermot was a genuine, friendly man whom once you met you certainly would not forget him.

With deepest sympathies to the O'Reilly family.

Vince Walsh

God love ya, you darling man. You gave so much joy to so many people, I know there will be a big shindig above to celebrate your arrival. Peace be with your family at this time. I am sure you will all meet again.

Peace Out, B.

I did not know Dermot personally but he was a great singer and I think I heard him back in the early eighty's he will be missed by all who heard his music and Ryan's Fancy.

Elizabeth Hall,
St. John's

Although I never met Dermot, I always admired his music and what he did for Folk Music in Newfoundland. He will always be an inspiration to me and I'm sure to other young performers as well..

Mike Batten

What a sad day, February 17th, 2007 the day the music died, again.

Ches and Claudia Drodge

Was very saddened to hear of Dermot's passing. I first met Dermot in 1972 while he and the boys were playing a gig at the Wabush Hotel. Since then I have had the pleasure of hoisting a few with Dermot on my occasional visits back to the rock. His demeanor and infectious personality have always given me great joy and pleasure anytime we would meet. His recollections of the time we spent together in Wabush always amazed me. Dermot, my friend, you will be missed.

Jerry Hawkins (formerly from Buchans)
Winnipeg, MB

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dermot O'Reilly.

Dermot was as good a friend and musician as one could find anywhere. I watched with huge regrets as Ryan's Fancy disbanded back in the eighties. Now it is with great sadness that we have to realize that Dermot is no longer with us in this life. With sad fondness, I say good-bye to Dermot who lives on through his music and the memories.

Gordon Maclean
Piano Player
Port Hawkesbury, NS

It was with great sadness that our family learned of the passing of Dermot. Our sympathies go out to his wife Anne and three daughters Deirdre Suzanne and Grania.

An Irish blessing comes to mind that seems fitting and goes...

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

God bless
The Roche Family
Middle Cove , Newfoundland

To The Family and Friends of Dermot O'Reilly,

Music touches all of us and through the years all of us were touched by Dermot's songs and his music. During the 1970's all of us were exposed to a very talented trio "Ryan's Fancy". During those years the boys traveled all around our Province and most of us got caught up with these three young musicians.

Dermot, you will be sadly missed by all of us.

Deepest sympathy to his wife Anne and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Kevin & Mary Walsh

Marystown, NL.

It was just a few months ago I called Dermot on a whim and am I ever glad I did.
I told Dermot how much I appreciated his music and songs through the years.
I also got a chance to see him in Cape Breton about a year and a half ago in Belle Cote.

My deepest thoughts to Dermot's family at this time.

Francis Mac Donald Jr,
Inverness, Cape Breton, NS

I am speaking on behalf on Dermot's many fans. I never had the honour to know Dermot on a personal level but he still touched many lives. He was one of the few authentic Irish musicians living and performing in the province. He simply can not be replaced. I feel a strong sense of grief thinking about the loss everyone will endure especially those closest to him.

Dermot will live on in the hearts of many. He will continue to speak to us though his music. May God bless him and his family.

Dan Carroll

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dermot O'Reilly. The first time I met Dermot was 30 years ago on the wharf in Branch. I was ten years old at the time and he greeted me with a handshake and a pat on the head. I have been a fan ever since. I most recently heard Dermot perform at Mile One Center just two days before he died. His music has always been a part of my life and will continue to bring fond memories of a man who is such a
rich part of our culture and heritage. I am reminded of an old traditional Gaelic blessing;

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your face and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

My sincerest condolences
Walter Nash

I was not a friend of Dermot's but an admirer from afar. I was made aware of Dermot's music in 2001 when I visited Newfoundland for the first time. Candlelight and Wine and West Country Lady captured me right away. We've been back to Newfoundland every year since for vacation and in the summer of 2005 I had the pleasure to spend Canada Day with Dermot and Anne and a bunch of other's at the Cook's BBQ on Canada Day. I found myself sitting next to Anne at one point and had a lovely conversation with her. The love between the two of them was obvious as she worried about him and he reassured her he was fine, It was his first "public appearance" after his bypass operation.

The guitar was passed around and anyone who wanted to, sang whatever they wanted. Some a capella songs were sung but the most magical moment of the evening was when someone handed the guitar to Dermot. He had recently had a quintuple bypass in the winter and was just getting back in the swing of things. Tonight’s songs were his first public singing appearance since the operation. What an honor! I think the Irish musicians there were surprised when every Newfoundlander (and some of us who were not) sang West Country Lady along with him. Putting a guitar in his hand was a dangerous thing this evening as he sang many more songs before he passed it along – among them being Candlelight and Wine, Heave Away and Black Velvet Band. It was great to hear him again and to see him taking such delight in singing for us.

His love of music and singing shone through that night and the other times I saw him performing at Erin's Pub. Not only Newfoundland, but Canada and the world has lost a great man. Hugs to Anne and the children. He was loved in the USA too, by those who were lucky enough to listen

Anne and Vic Tenaglia,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I was very saddened to hear of Dermot's passing. I've been a friend of his for many years and worked alongside of him on many occasions. He was a true professional in all aspects of the music industry and A gentleman that was second to none. He has left a legacy on the people of NL & Lab, Canada and the world through his music and gentle personality. He will be sadly missed by many. My condolences go out to his family.

Glenn Hiscock. 

I was saddened to hear about the loss of such a fine man. Although I did not know him personally, but I know a lot of people who did know Dermot and spoke fondly of him. I did however meet him a number of times and developed a great deal of respect for him and also Fergus. My friends and I would listen to Ryan's Fancy albums all of the time and then came the CD's. From the first time I heard "Rocky Road To Dublin", I was hooked. My friends and I would even listen to the tape's that we done off from record to cassette and listen to them while we trained for the Regatta. Then we even approached Dermot and Fergus @ O'Reilly's Pub one evening along time ago and told them how we used to listen to them while we trained. We bought them pints of Guinness and in return bought us a round. Not being a musician myself but realizing the impact that him, Fergus and Denis has had on the music industry in Newfoundland Labrador speaks volumes. I hope for the next generation of young musicians they will know and learn about the legacy that Dermot has left on us all. From the first time I heard Ryan's Fancy as a little boy in my parent's house I was hooked. And in closing, I did seen Dermot and Fergus last Thursday afternoon @ Mile One Centre doing a sound check before the Rankin's...I was busy working and enjoying their tunes as always...You will be missed Dermot...Hats off to you!!!

God Bless the O'Reilly Family
and Raise the Parting Glass For Dermot

Chris Abbott
St. John's

I first saw Ryan's Fancy at the Baccalieu Club in the early seventies when I was a young fellow of seventeen years. They made a big impression on me. Dermot was playing an Ovation guitar at the time and he sure made it sound good. As a singer and entertainer his songs had a lasting effect. I'm originally from Bay-De-Verde, I know they use to visit there. My condolences to the family.

Vincent Woodrow
Courtenay, BC


I started playing in the Celtic music scene at a very young age and the first few times I encountered Dermot and Fergus I was somewhat star struck.
I had the privilege of getting to know Dermot when he produced our album, "Poverty's Arse". Although we were young, inexperienced and financially limited, he embraced us and made us feel worthy of his time and efforts. I quickly learned that he was one of the most genuine and down to earth people you could ever meet....Patience was definitely a virtue of his. I sang "Never More My Green Valley's" about 50 times before I got it halfway
decent enough to put on an album....Some of the best cups of tea I ever had in my
life were at Dermot's house while recording that CD. That was one of the most memorable times in my life.

To Ann and the O'Reilly family, my deepest condolences. To Fergus, my sympathy for the loss of a great friend. I hope you continue to do what you and Dermot did best....entertaining and making people smile. Your voices will linger on. To the entire music community, we must pay tribute to a man with great heart and amazing talent.....he will be missed.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all
God Bless
Priscilla Dalton of "Fine Crowd"

My first memories of music involved Dermot and others playing in our living room. The O'Reilly family were neighbours of mine when I was a child and living on Cumberland Crescent in St. John's in the 70's. Coming forward 30 or so years, I was fortunate enough to share my connection to Dermot with my wife Andrea, a Californian, after see him perform in St. John's this past June. We walked into O'Reilly pub on a Friday night not knowing he was playing. I knew the voice before I saw his face. Dermot's voice will live long in my memory.

John Clouston
San Leandro, California

To have lived this great life doing the things that made him happy, is a feat in itself.
To have the kind of effect this man had on everyone he met, is unmeasureable, and something the rest of us can only dream about attaining. I met Dermot on several occasions because of family connections with the Kelly's, and he always had that same twinkle in his eye and down to earth attitude that made him so special, to everyone he met. He will always have a place in everyone's heart that met him, and I wish to send my greatest condolences to Ann and her daughters. Never forgotten.

Gerry Baker

Anne and 'children', Fergus and Denis:
My thoughts are with you and, even at this great distance, you remain close to my heart. I remember with great fondness the days when we saw you regularly, and I remember your kindness in hard times. I will raise a parting glass to Dermot tonight and remember Ryan's Fancy's singing of that too. You have been important people in my life and that of my children, andDermot will always have a special place in our hearts and memories.
May Dermot rest in peace ­ as I am sure he will.

Rosemary Ommer

At this time, I’d like to express my deepest regrets to the family and friends of Dermot O’Reilly. As anyone knows who had the pleasuring of making his acquaintance, he was a gentleman in the truest sense, with a wit and humanity that touched us all.

We mourn the loss of a great friend and kind soul, one whose musical legacy will outlive us all.

Michael Chafe,
Bay Bulls / St. John’s

Dermot was a personal friend of mine. He was a great entertainer and a super human being. Our condolences go out to Anne and the family. He is probably teaching the Angels to sing Piper Stock Hill now.
God Bless Him. May his gentle soul be at rest. Our prayers are with his family.

Max and Jean Taylor
Torbay, NL

Dear Ryan's Fancy,

I am deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of your colleague and friend Dermot O'Reilly. We offer our deepest condolences to you and Dermot's family on this sad occasion. He will always be in our thoughts and prayers. May he eternally rest in peace.

RIP, from his cousin Phyllis Byrne, husband Vincent and family
Dublin, Ireland.

Dermot my friend I will surely miss you I remember when I moved to Newfoundland how you Ann and your children treated me as one of your family; may you rest in peace. Condolences to Ann and the girls.

Gloria ODonovan,

To A gentleman with a giant voice and a devilish glint in the eye.
Never seen without causing a smile. Safe trip, Dermot. God Bless.

Mark Critch

I can't think of anyone else who has had such an impact on traditional music in Newfoundland as Dermot O'Reilly. Ever since I was a little kid growing up in my little house by the bay listening to the rich tunes of Sullivan's Gypsies and the Sons Of Erin on the old record player all the way up through to the many Ryan's Fancy albums, to countless nights at O'Reilly's Pub I've been listening to Dermot sing the songs of my youth and my home. I can't think of anyone from my little community, or the Island as a whole who has not been touched by the wonderful music of  him and his bands. His passing marks the passing of a legend, and the passing of a musical legacy that will leave its pure, simple, and
heartfelt sound ringing through the memories of Newfoundlanders for generations to come.

From the arms of your friends to the hands of our Lord. You will be sadly missed and kindly remembered. May you Rest In Peace Dermot.

John J. Foster

We express our sadness at the passing of Dermot. He was a great artist and a super human being. His legacy will live forever. To all of his family may God Bless You.

Max & Jean Taylor

Dermot spent hundreds of hours at this desk. He brought us many recordings of local talent. We will miss you Dermot, I am Glad I had the opportunity to record there under your guidance and I am very glad to say I knew you. God bless you, Dermot
We will miss you

Peter Barfoot


My husband and I have know the boys for 30+ years. My husband knew them in Halifax and I knew them in St. John's from the Strand lounge where my nursing classmates and I hung out. We were there by 2PM always when St. Patrick's Day rolled around because we didn't want to miss their annual gig. Little did I know in those days 1970-1973 that I would meet my husband and they would sing in church for our wedding and then jam all afternoon at our reception at the old Hotel Nfld. As, well, the day we announced our wedding, Dermot sang Buddy Holly tunes all evening while I joyously celebrated the up coming wedding. To Dermot's family, Denis, Fergus and their families, our sincere condolences on Dermot's passing I am sure he is singing with the angels now and wondering what all the fuss is about. We will miss him.

Judy and Fred Carpenter,
Truro NS

To the O'Reilly family,

Sorry for your loss. Dermot O'Reilly was a very talented singer and was well known as well as respected for his work. Its a major tragedy what happened to him. He will always be remembered and never forgotten. God bless you and your families through this rough time.

Jennifer Dobbin.

Dermot , has left us ,but his music will outlive us all. I have followed Ryan's Fancy since 1970. I got to know Dermot when I moved back to St. Johns for a year, & every trip home after I always went to see him perform. We are all blessed to have the honour of hearing Dermot perform. Going home will never be the same for me. I am so saddened by his passing& sure hope one day to see him perform on the highest stage of all. Rest In Peace My Friend .

Eileen Careen Voisin

I could hardly believe my eyes on Sunday when I read that Dermot had passed away. I can't say that I ever knew him personally, but I had been in his presence a number of times at Erin 's while sharing a drink with friends. He has left a legacy with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that can never be matched. I know he will be dearly missed by those who were lucky enough to be his friends. And by those of us who were touched by his music.

May he continue to play with the Big Band upstairs.

God Bless,
Barb (White) Reid
Fort McMurray, AB

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dermot O'Reilly. He was a wonderful man and extra special musician and song writer. I especially loved his song Candlelight and Wine. I first heard Dermot sing this song at Erin's pub many years ago, and I have loved it ever since. Dermot was indeed an icon in the Irish Newfoundland community and will be sadly missed. We are all better for having known this wonderful man. Rest in Peace.

Loretta Corcoran

Dermot O'Reilly

He Was inspiring To us all.
He Created our sound and paved the Road
on which all artists walk today.
There will be Beautiful Sounds in Heaven This Day.
Untill we play again, You will be missed .

Your Friend,
Terry .B .Parsons,
Bell Island NL

We had just seen Dermot at the Rankin Family show last week, I so happy that I had the chance to see him do what he does best one last time. It made my night when he came on stage.

Forever a fan of you & Ryan's Fancy
The Jackson's 

Our condolences to Dermot’s family and friends.

We have always enjoyed the music of Dermot as far back as when he played with Ryan’s Fancy who were in instrumental in bringing back traditional music to Newfoundland . We thank him for that.

In closing , Dermot was a good man and a master at his trade and we will all raise a glass for him and may he be a half hour in heaven before the devil knows he’s dead / Good bye Dermot .

Bill and Nina Greene

When I attended Morris Academy, in Mount Pearl, there was a group of 7 boys chosen to sing on 'Skipper & Company'. I was one of them. We sang several songs and performed quite well. Shortly after that performance, our music teacher called us together and told us that we would be appearing on the Ryan's Fancy Show. We were so excited. We sang a song and Don Short, a classmate, sang a beautiful solo. Then, of course, I recited a little rhyme:

When I was a little boy just so high (I hold my hand so far above the stage)
Mommy use to beat me and make me cry
Now I'm a big boy, mommy can't do it
Daddy takes the stick and goes right to it

We all quite enjoyed it. The show felt magical. The seven of us sang along with the boys in the group and the sound was heavenly. Dermot O'Reilly sang 'A Children's Christmas', and I remember singing along with him. After all these years, I remember how it felt. 'A Children's Christmas' has been a favourite of mine ever since. Thank you Ryan's Fancy, and thank you Dermot O'Reilly for the music you brought to us. You'll never know how much you've meant to so many people. God bless.

Glenn Clarke

I never missed a show into The Strand when Ryan's Fancy was there and in later years I watched their TV show and still, in the past few years, went to see Dermot and Fergus whenever they came to Lab City. I do have all their albums and I have been playing them all weekend. It may sound strange but it's like I have lost someone special.
Rest in peace Dermot.

Baxter Reid
Labrador City

I heard of Dermot's passing on Sunday, Feb. 18. Funny thing is, the day before that I had dug out all my Ryan's Fancy records (I think I have them all, including Live at the Black Knight) and was listening to a few songs and reading some of Dermot's lyrics. It felt really nice to get reacquainted with his writing and his voice. I was very saddened the next day to
hear he had died. He and the lads have always been a huge inspiration to me, particularly now as I am pursuing my own musical projects.

Dave Curtis,
Brighton, Ontario

I have so many found memories of watching and listening to Dermot (and Fergus) at O'Reilly's and other venues. I can't even imagine going to O'Reilly's and not hearing his sweet voice. I only knew Dermot from these occasions but he always had a moment to take a request and hear for the 100th time how he was my favorite singer/songwriter ever and only HE could sing West Country Lady in my heart!
I had the fortune to hear and see Dermot one final time at O'Reilly's last Friday night (Feb 9th) as I walked into the New O'Reilly's who should be on stage but Dermot and Fergus. I am sure My friend and I gave Dermot a little chuckle as we swayed to Candle Light and wine, the only 2 people on the dance floor! Dermot u will live forever through your beautiful music, we will never forget u!

Renée Warren

Sorry to hear that this fellow got away. I was shocked, as a lot of other people, of the sudden passing of Dermot O'Reilly this Saturday. I don't think that he realized how much of an impacted that Ryan's Fancy had on the revitalization of Newfoundland/Irish music. Those of us who can remember those great nights at "The Strand Lounge" when it was standing room only and everyone sang along like it was the natural thing to do. There was a built up energy that wanted to be released and they came at the right time and make us aware of this great music. For over the last 30 years I have enjoyed this music and have seen the growth of the local talent within the province that was looking for this little push or encouragement. We have seen the growth of this music on a national and international scene and I don't think we have reach the pinnacle yet. Today, there are more young people involved than ever before. I see in the school when students are asking about the roots or background of this music and their interest is genuine. In these few short lines I have tried to do justice to the impact that Dermot had in this area and to say Thank You for those countless nights that I have and will continue to enjoy this music. You are missed

Bob O'Keefe
Paradise, NL

I was heartbroken to hear that Dermot had passed away.

I feel so fortunate to have had the pleasure and privilege of calling Dermot O’Reilly my friend. Not only did I admire this wonderful man for his tremendous musical talent, but his quick wit and humor, and his lovely, gentle nature left a lasting impression on me.

We were in attendance at O’Reilly’s on Friday night and I’m so happy I had the chance to hear his beautiful singing and to talk and laugh with him one last time.

I will dearly miss our weekly Friday night chats at O’Reilly’s Pub.

Melanie Kavanagh
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland

I met Dermot almost 30 years ago while I was working at the strand lounge in the Avalon mall and he of course he was playing with Ryan’s fancy and a nicer man you will never meet and a voice like that you will never hear again, Ryan’s fancy and the staff at the strand lounge became as close as any family I have ever met, and even after we all went our separate ways in the 80’s somehow I always managed to drop in to different bars to have a listen or a pint with our friend Dermot, this or any other St. patrick's day will not be just the same, you will be missed my friend.

Your friends,
Paddy , Louise , Kristen , and Tony Keating.

As in Harry Warner's tribute, my wife and I and close friends were regular patrons of the "New Windsor House" where Dermot , Denis and Fergus always gave the best and memorable performances in the late '60's early 70's.

The picture in the Toronto Star today made time stand still (taken in 1983), is how we first remember them.

G o ndéana Dia trócaire air!

Russell & Marcia Watson
and Charlie, Marie & Joe McNally where 'ere they may be.

Well Fergus,
What a difference a couple of weeks make. I'm trying to imagine the sense of loss you must be feeling. But you know, you must and most probably do, consider yourself very fortunate to have had such a great friend and colleague at your right hand for practically a lifetime.

When I watched you guys perform and otherwise just hang out you portrayed without even a conscious effort, an aura and disposition that is the envy of most and a measuring stick by which public personalities in these parts, are judged.

To watch and be amazed at how you guys embraced this place and and have gone out and represented us as a people and a culture that you have become such a significant part of.

I, as a representative of just one of many groups that you guys have come to know and recognize, would like to thank you. Getting to share that night in Clarenville with you and Dermot along with Bob and John, was without a doubt "the hilite" of my "not so distinguished" amateur musical life. I will never forget it.

Please be assured that our thoughts and prayers are withyou and Dermot's family at this time. Through his music and our vivid memories, Dermot will live on.

Sincerely yours - Gene Mercer

Dermot your songs will live in all of us. Rest in peace my friend, I will miss you.

Bob O'Donovan

Dermot O'reilly was a true gem in the music industry. I only had the good fortune of speaking with him on one a house party a few years back. But he impressed me with his wit, honesty, integrity, & genuine personality. There was no BS about this wonderful man. Obviously I knew him from Ryan's Fancy & his other musical projects, but to actually get a chance to chat with Dermot certainly made a lasting impression on me as a musician & as a man.
And even though my musical path was not the same as Dermot's I was heavily influenced by the music of Ryan's Fancy, like so many other Newfoundland musicians.
In an industry that is so much about pretentiousness Dermot was the real deal.
He was one of a kind & he will surely be missed.
My thoughts & prayers go out to his family & close friends.
Rest in peace Dermot,
Damian Follett

It was with great sadness I heard of the passing of Dermot. I really enjoyed the music of Ryan's Fancy. I have quite a few of their records and still listen to them once in a while. My sincere condolences to his wife and family, we'll remember you in our prayers.

Danny Hughes,
Ashcroft, British Columbia.

My heart goes out to Dermot O'Reilly's Family and to the band Members, Fergus O'Byrne and Denis Ryan who have lost A Musical Icon, whose music will never be forgotton. How can we forget all those years of the music that the Band provided us in the most important era of our musical history! Bringing to mind, that outstanding weekend, when Ryan's Fancy accepted the Dr. Helen Achievement Award at ECMA 2004 in St. John's, and joined with their fans, during a musical week-end that we will be in our hearts forever.
May Dermot O'Reilly rest in peace.

John L. Gavin
Music Promoter
Atlantic Seabreeze

I remember Dermot from when I was a little girl. Playing guitar with Fergus or Ralph in my parents living room, and when I was older and able to go to places where he performed. He helped bring Irish music alive for me. I know my whole family will miss him greatly and I just wanted to express my deepest sympathies for his family.

Margaret Carew (nee. Hodder, Oliver's daughter)
St. John's NL

Well there is not much to say, except he will be missed deeply, but he will live on through the music for years and years to come. Deepest condolences to his family ...

Ed Harris

I Farewell my friend, this news today of your passing has left me deeply saddened. St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and I was so much looking forward of coming to St. John's to hear you play like I've done so many times before. I will always remember our little chats down at O'Reilly's in between sets. You have inspired my love and appreciation for Irish folk music, and it was just this weekend I was listening to your songs 'West Country Lady' and Goodbye Mick'. I will always remember and cherish you Dermot. And I have always listen to and always will the music you sung with passion and love. I'll miss you

Glen Moore

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Dermot's passing on Saturday. His unique voice and style made him a giant presence in Canada's music community, but his kindness and thoughtfulness were what endeared him to those whose lives he touched. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Jean Knowles
St. John's

I was so sorry to hear of Dermot's death. I never met him personally, but was always a fan of Ryan's Fancy. My children enjoyed their music. It made me happy to know that because of Dermot and people like him Irish and traditional music will live on.

S Mulrooney

One of our earliest childhood memories is of Dermot, Fergus, and Denis jamming at home with my parents Paul Delaney and Rosemary Ommer and other folks, like Johnny Cameron, while a blizzard blew outside – in St John’s , winter ’72. They had finished playing at the pub in the Avalon Mall and came up to Cumberland Crescent and played all night. These are terrific early memories. Dermot is my brother Ken’s godfather.

I haven’t seen much of Dermot and Anne over the years, since I live in Toronto – but I remember my last visit to their home (’98) and when I saw Dermot and Ann at O’Reilly’s a year later, when I stopped by with my stepfather Chris Palmer and Colleen O’Toole. I wish I had visited again.

I send my love to Anne (who took such good care of Dermot), Deirdre, Suzanne & Grainne. Dermot will not be forgotten.

Catriona, Andy, Ken, and Keith Delaney
Toronto , ON

To Anne and the O'Reilly family,
So sad to hear of Dermot's passing. My thoughts are with you in your time of sorrow.

Harry Martin

Just turned on open line with Bill Rowe and he announced Dermot's passing. I am so saddened to hear this. Ryan's Fancy feels as much a part of me as Newfoundland. Please, accept my condolences !!!!!

A Great Loss !!!!

Audrey Fisher


My condolences for Mr. O'Reilly's family. What a loss. He will surely be missed by all.

William Kluckow
(son of Phyllis Ryan).

I first met Dermot over 10 years ago on Fogo Island at the Brimstone Head Folk Festival. I was to perform after Dermot did his set. Of course I immediately went to meet this man that I had only heard on the radio, on LP, and even 8 track. He was tuning his guitar backstage when I approached him. He looked at me with a smile, shook my hand and introduced himself as only Dermot could do. I'll never forget that day.
Since then I've had the pleasure of being in his company time and time again. Weather it be on stage or off, at his studio, or just having a pint at the Pub with his wonderful wife Ann, with whom I send my deepest sympathy and regards to her and her family.
I haven't been around the city for the last little while so I haven't had the chance to speak with him since Old Christmas Day 2005. Little did I even think that this would be the last time we'd ever talk again.
But like everyone that had the pleasure to meet Dermot, or have been to one of his shows will never forget him.
He will never be forgotten, as fellow musicians, friends and family, we will make sure of that.
Rest Peacefully my friend.

Jamie Hancock
St. John's NL

I moved to St. Johns, Newfoundland in June 2004. Being a big fan of  Stan Rogers a friend of mine brought me to O'Reilly's pub to introduce me to some of the local music. I walked in and saw Dermot O'Reilly playing The Streets of London. That moment changed my life. I went home, unpacked my guitar, downloaded the lyrics to Streets of London and learned it. I have learned to play many songs on my guitar since then and I have even learned how to play the tin whistle and the bodhran. However Streets of London is still my favorite song and I still think of Dermot every time I play it.

Thanks for the inspiration...

Luc Beaulieu
St. Johns Newfoundland.

Part of the magic of Newfoundland has gone. How lucky we are to have known him.

Leslie-Anne Stephenson

Dermot O'Reilly was indeed a very special man! I had the privilege of knowing him for many years. It was a very sad day when a close friend of his and mine called me to tell me of his passing.. When I was a little girl growing up in Ferryland on the Southern shore I was first introduced to his music through a Sullivan's Gypsy album that my father Jimmy always listened to. Both my dad and I learned many songs from this album With an Irish background and a strong Love of culture, heritage and music we proudly listened and learned these songs. During the early ninety's I recored an album with two other girls Juanita and Jeannie and I will always remember how proud Dermot was of us , he always
encouraged our musical talents and made us feel a part of that musical circle. Since then I have married and have children of my own and am passing on to them a love of music and culture. Every time I would run into Dermot or Ann they always took time to ask about our lives with a genuine interest. Many good times and chats we had when I had the pleasure of working at Erin's Pub for Ralph. It was an honor to know Dermot. he was kind, loving, gentle and authentic, and had a wink and a smile that made us all feel special. Sometimes his words were simple but so profound. He had a philosophical wisdom and shared it so humbly and gently. I watched him perform at the Rankin's concert on Thursday night.
Ann; I am truly sorry for your loss . To Dermot's kids you have been blessed to have Dermot for a Dad and to all the people whose lives he has touched be thankful for the world is a better place because of Dermot O'Reilly.

Rhonda O'Keefe Arsenault

I believe that God's holy orchestra will soon be playing a few familiar
reels... thanks to Dermot. A great teacher, a gentle soul. He will be

Jennifer H.

I was saddened to hear that Dermot had passed away, I've been a fan of his music for years. I actually had the privilege of seeing him Thursday night as himself and Fergus opened for the Rankin Family and they, as always, were spectacular . My condolences to all of Dermot's family and friends. A lot of people knew and loved Dermot and for that he will be sadly missed, but forever remembered. Rest In Peace Dermot.

Wendy and Tom

I never really knew Dermot but he has a presence that makes it feel like I had for years. Every year I come home to Newfoundland I make a point of taking as many of my family and friends as I can find down to O'Reilly's, not so much to see the featured band but to see Dermot playing the early set. He was truly an icon of traditional Newfoundland Irish music that transcends all generations and never goes out of style. He's a part of our rich history and will truly be missed.

Neil Collins
Vancouver, BC

Well what can we say? Dermot was an icon, a legend, and he will never be forgotten. We’ll always remember just what a great person he was. He was one who always would have time for a chat or a laugh. His music and that of Ryan’s Fancy has had a great impact on us and still keeps us company up here in Saskatoon . We will miss you Dermot. Slan go Foill.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Anne and the family during this difficult time.

Trevor Halleran & Jennifer Shea

I was saddened when I heard that Newfoundland has lost one if its music icons, he was a great influence to everyone who enjoyed good music, he was deeply respected and admired not only by the music industry but everyone who witnessed his great talent. Dermot you will be missed.
Rest In Peace.

Justin Samson

I'm saddened to hear of the news about Dermot. I knew him and Fergus for mean years, as they're acquaintances of my father for a longer period of time.
Many times when I visited St. John's and O'Reilly's pub, the two men were playing. I saw them in early Dec. 2006 at O'Reilly's, after a NL Brain Injury dinner theatre. I usually go hi, shake their hands and put in my request, which they always played. This time, as I walked towards their stage after their set, Dermot called me by name, called me over and asked if my father was in the province or gone to Florida.
I enjoyed these little encounters we had and felt proud to know him.

Craig Dunn

Being a fan of Dermot’s for many years, I feel privileged to have heard his last performance on Friday night at O’Reilly’s, it is a memory I will treasure forever. He will live on in the hearts of everyone who has heard his music and seen him perform. Thank you Dermot for being a special part of our lives.


We were very saddened to hear of Dermott's passing. We have been fans of Ryans Fancy & Dermott O' Rielly since the early 1970's. Watching Dermott & Fergus perform or listening to their music in our living room was always a quailty way to pass time. We feel very lucky to have seen Dermott & Fergus this past summer performing at O'Riellys. We had friends visiting with us from NWT & I remember telling them "You are listening to Celtic & NL Traditional music at it's best." We will remember the interest that Dermott always showed in you & your background while chatting to you between sets.Our condolences go out to his family & to the music community in NL.

Ed & Geneva Penney
La Loche, SK
(formally )Green's Hr,. NL

For the past decade, I have gotten to know Dermot O'Reilly more and more. Beyond being one of the greatest songwriters and musicians in our province's history, he was one of the warmest and kindest people I had ever encountered. I was fortunate enough to have seen Dermot on Wednesday evening, only days before he passed away. Dermot's family and friends, particularly his wife Ann and his dear friend Fergus, are in my thoughts and prayers. I will miss Dermot. But I know his legacy will live on. Rest in peace, my friend.

Steve Kent

I had the privilege of seeing Dermot and Fergus play the Saturday prior to Dermot’s passing. The set was delayed for a while as Dermot was adamant that the equipment was not set up to his liking. Despite the small pub nature of the setting it appeared that Dermot was reluctant to start until he had the sound just right.

After both he and Fergus had played one of my favourite songs ( Kilkelly , Ireland ) I spoke with Dermot briefly and thanked them for keeping that song in their repertoire. I actually said, “Don’t let it die” (of course not knowing what was to come). Dermot seemed genuinely pleased that I appreciated that song for what it was (a very dark and gloomy tune) and stated that he would “Pass it on to Fergus”.

He will be missed.

Shannon Grouchy
St. John’s

Dermot, my friend, you will be sorely missed. I do not think you realized how very deeply you touched the lives of all of us who shared in your music and your friendship. Yesterday, I felt such a deep sense of loss - today that the reality of it has sunk in, I remember and cherish those all too few times we enjoyed together - on George Street, but most especially those times in Lawn where we came to know and appreciate you and Fergus best. Know that your music will live on as a lasting memorial to you. Our sincere condolences to Ann and her family.

Jim and Ellen Rogers

My sincere condolences to Dermot's family and friends...We lost a great one with Dermot's passing. Heaven is now a better place. Dermot's legacy will live on forever.

Norm Arsenault

We were deeply saddened when we received the news on Saturday night at our family home in Newport, Co. Tipperary Ireland of Dermot's passing. He was an old family friend and fellow band member of my uncle Denis Ryan of Ryan's Fancy. I had the pleasure of meeting Dermot myself at Denis's daughter Colleen's wedding in Halifax last October. What a guy! Fantastic musician and person. We played a few tunes together that night and had great fun. My father Seamus who would have toured around with Ryan's Fancy when they played Ireland had some great stories to tell of his experiences with Dermot, they should be documented! Our home was their home when they came back to play the Irish tours and what an interesting and exciting place it must have been.

You will be missed!

Kenneth Ryan
On behalf of The Ryan Family Of Cully,
Newport, C.of Tipperary

I knew Dermot since before Ryan's Fancy in the days of Sullivan's Gypsies at the Airport Hotel in Gander, that gives you an idea of my age group, I traveled to Halifax to see Ryan's Fancy play their first gig at the Brass Rail and then all over Eastern Canada. The Finnegan's Wake parties we held for the passing of E.P.A. were some of the better I have attended.
I knew Dermot through his ups and downs and always regarded him as a brother so lets say farewell and raise a "Parting Glass".

Frank Brennan

I have known Dermot a number of years. He was a close  friend of the entire Kelly Clan.
We had the privledge of having Dermot live and unplugged on a yearly basis. During the Brimstone Head Folk Festival, the Matriarch of our family would prepare enough food to feed an army, Dermot and Anne were always in attendence. For some reason, he always looked at me as being a little girl. My last memory of him was at O'Reilly's, him telling me how old I was starting to get and us laughing at it over a beer. And of course, him laughing at me for being such a big fan!!!
Oh Dermot, You'll be missed by us all.

Thank you,
Melanie Kelly

My husband, Tom, and I were sore of heart when we heard of Dermot O'Reilly's passing yesterday morning. Our son is living and working in St. John's at present, married to a St. John's girl - we've visited O'Reilly's Pub numerous times, and could imagine Dermot and Jimmy up on the stage there. The mention of his name brought back many happy times, going to see Ryan's Fancy play (twice) in Saint John, NB, when we lived nearby. We purchased their song book at the second concert (what do you call it when you feel part of the group?), and each of the "boys" plus Allistair McGillvray signed the inside cover. Dermot wrote something I can't translate - maybe someone can do that for me -- he wrote "Shainte [I think] Azus saol Fae [something like a t, maybe?] h. The others wrote in English - leave it up to him to be original and use his gift..... When we were talking with the group I wanted so much to say something profound - all I could think of was "thank you for your music" (with stars in my eyes, I know). We have most of their albums and I often find myself humming one of their songs, these days "A Children's Winter" is tops (especially suiting as I'm home on a snow day from school today). Peace to you, Dermot, and our thoughts to all family and friends, of which I learn are numerous. Thanks for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts and memories of a very unique and special man.

Ann and Tom Wetzel
Grand Manan, NB

I saw him open for The Rankin Family on Thursday night at Mile One Centre, It was a treat to see Dermot and Fergus perform together and I am truly privileged to have been apart of this wonderful event. I will remember it always. It is a sad day for the music industry.
Neil Cooper

I was so saddened to hear of Dermot's passing. Aside from the fact that he was a first class musician and performer, he seemed to have a smile for everyone and there was always a twinkle in his eye. Through his music and his good humour he spoke to people across generations. His influence on Newfoundland Culture and on those who had the pleasure to spend time in his presence can never be measured. He was, and forever will be, one of my favorite musicians.

J. Howell

I'd like to reflect the thoughts of my great friend and webmaster of this site in saying what a wonderful man Dermot was. I too quickly became friends with Dermot immediately after meeting him, as did most. He was that type of person. If you met him, he was, indeed, your friend.

I'd like to wish his family well, and hope they take comfort it the fact that the hearts that were touched by his gentle ways, are indeed many.

Rest In Peace my friend,
Harry Ingram.


Just a few years ago I got stuck in St. John's due to a storm that shut down the most of the Avalon. I got sick of the four walls of my room at the hotel and braved the storm and headed to O'Reilly's Pub on George. Not many patrons just an older guy sitting at the bar who I decided to get talking to.

So there I was the day before St. Patrick's and this guy who introduced himself as Dermot got on the stage and sung his set and dedicated it to Chad from Grand Falls-Windsor, the friend he just met.

Goes to show how friendly this man was and listening to that set showed me how talented he was. I then recognized him through his voice.

God bless you Dermot, and condolences to your family, and your band, and to the music industry.

From your friend you met once.

Chad Haggett
Grand Falls-Windsor

So sad to hear of Dermot's passing yesterday. I can honestly say his music, and in particular "Candlelight and Wine" have had a profound effect on the course of my life. You see, the first song I ever played and sang to my wife was "Candlelight and Wine". Even today whenever I take out the guitar it's the first song she requests. I'm convinced that if that lovely song had never written we wouldn't have made it past the second date. I told Dermot this story last winter when he was kind enough to sit down and have a few pints with me and my friends between sets at O'Reilly's. His broad smile brightened up our table.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam, may he rest in peace.

Brian Feltham

I seen Dermot O’Reilly and Fergus O’Byrne opening for the Rankin Family on February 15th at Mile One Centre. I was totally amazed by their talent. I have heard of Ryan’s Fancy before but never seen them in concert. When Dermot O’Reilly sang A Children’s Winter, it gave me chills. He has an amazing voice and I will guarantee you that my children will grow up listening to this beautiful talent. My condolences to the family of Dermot. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Leslie Woodford

My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dermot.

I first met Dermot while Ryan's Fancy was performing in the Cape Breton Area. As a Celtic fiddle player, originally from Campbell's Creek on the Port au Port Peninsula, It wasn't long until I wound up in session with them. I admired Dermot's voice and his ability to compose songs. He was also a very adept guitarist. When you played with Dermot backing you up on guitar, he always had your back, so to speak, if you veered slightly off key. He also had a good sense of humor and he would often amused audiences with it.

Ryan's Fancy are to be commended for the effort that they put into preserving traditional music in Atlantic Canada as well as promoting local artists. Farwell to a good friend and a superb musician.

Mac Campbell
Port Hawkesbury, NS

A true legend and Icon of Traditional Irish Newfoundland music and culture. I remember playing many Dermot and Ryan's Fancy songs during my time as an announcer with VO-FM (Now K-Rock) on Sunday mornings many years ago. Dermot will be fondly remembered and deeply missed. My sympathy to the O'Reilly family, his legacy will live on through those who pursue their passion for true traditional music in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Tony Miller
Mount Pearl, NL

We were very saddened to hear of Dermot's passing . We are left with many happy memories especially all the great Cape Breton house parties in years past . Although we hadn't met a lot over the past few years when we did meet it was always great to reminisce about friends and happenings . Knowing of the high regard that Dermot was held by so many will be some consolation to his family . So long , old friend .

Frank and Mary Mac Innis,
Creignish , Cape Breton

We were very fortunate to have Dermott make his home here in Newfoundland. He was wonderful, talented and spirited and he will be sadly missed. He brought so much to this rock. Good-bye and thank you Dermot.

Maureen Reddigan

I was sad to hear of Dermot's demise. I met him on several occasions when I worked with CBC television in Corner Brook, and on other occasions later. He and Dennis and Fergus were friends of my brother Al Pittman. I'm sure if Al were with us today he'd be raising a glass as high as he could on behalf of Dermot. I'm sure they'll meet again on the other side. My sincere sympathies to his family and friends. He will surly be missed by everyone who knew him. But his love of music will live on forever in the hearts and souls of everyone who had the pleasure of his company and his music.

Gord Pittman.

I visited Newfoundland in 1991, when I was 9 years old, on a family vacation with my parents. (We're from Connecticut.) While there, we bought a CD of All The Best Folk Music of St. John's Newfoundland, which included "West Country Lady" by Dermot O'Reilly. That quickly became one of my favorite songs; indeed, for a couple of years, I considered it my very favorite song in all the world. The lyrics are so poetic and beautiful, and to this day the song makes me nostalgic for the beautiful isle of Newfoundland. (My parents and I visited again 10 years later, in 2001, and I hope to return with my wife someday.)

Anyway, I just wanted to pass along my condolences to Dermot's friends and family... and my profound thanks to Dermot for producing such wonderful music. May he rest peacefully in a place where the summer sun always sparkles on still waters down in the bay.

Brendan Loy,
South Bend, Indiana

When Ryan's Fancy ended back in the 80's we lost the greatest Irish Folk Band in North America, if not the world. That band had everything - and then some! Now we have lost the greatest Irish Folk solo balladeer in North America - if not the world! Dermot O'Reilly had everything - and then some! He had a perfect speaking and singing voice for his genre. He had confidence, charisma, wit and a perfect stage presence. A very talented musician - more so than many may realize. Listen to his guitar intro to Streets of London, or his magnificent mandolin accompaniments to the Ryan's Fancy ballads. He was also a fine songwriter - for example, A Children's Winter, Brand New Song and West Country Lady. Dermot had the stage presence of a world class performer and was second to none. He could be a master jokester on stage and a deep philosophical thinker off stage. We have lost a giant. Sincere condolences to his family and close friends.

A. Noftall

Soli Deo Gloria

Last night, I curled up in bed on a bitterly cold Toronto night, I was listening to some music and Ryan's Fancys "The Wild Goose" came on. It's one of my favorite songs right now, but I noticed last night, it was moving me even more deeply than usual. I couldn't explain it, but I could really sense the true meaning of the song, with its lament "It's time for to go with the wild goose." Now today I know why. My mom just called me from home and told me Dermot passed away yesterday.

Lyrically, "The Wild Goose" coveys so much and it's Dermot who sings it so beautifully:
"At the last portage, when I'll pack no more
Let me fly with the wild goose high over north shore
With the wild goose, the wild goose
High over north shore and I'm going home."

Bless you Dermot, for your grace and wisdom and talent. You have touched us all.

Stephanie Power
Toronto, Ont.

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Dermot. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my life. My sincerest condolences to Ann and all the family. I last saw Dermot at the Arts And Culture Centre and he greeted me with a heart felt hug for a friend he hadn't seen for a while. We chatted for a while had a joke and then said so long. little did I know that this would be the last time I would see Dermot alive. Now I feel numb and my heart feels like it weighs a ton. I have lost a friend. God rest his soul.

Randy Collins

I got the news this morning regarding Dermot's passing yesterday. I was at a loss for words. I had the pleasure of seeing Dermot every Wednesday night after my shows at O'Reilly's Irish Pub. There was always a magic about him and Fergus when they performed on stage together, like each time was a new time, never looking like they had performed their show so many times before. That magic will live on in my memory forever. Dermot was such a genuine man who always made me smile. My love and prayers goes out to his wife Ann & family, to Fergus and to all his close friends, which were many. Dermot, thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with the world. You will hold a special place in my heart forever. You will truly be missed.

Denielle Hann

I have had the honor and privilege of knowing Dermot for over 34 years... My children grew up on the music and friendship of "Ryan's Fancy". The music and times - unforgetable. We are all in disbelief and shock. Our hearts and prayers are for you Ann and your family.. for Fergus, Irene & Fergus , for Denis and family, for all of you whose hearts he touched with his friendship and his music. Dermot you will be missed my friend.... God Bless you !

Beverly van't Kruis & Richard Smith
Sheryl van't Kruis & family
Bill & Mel van't Kruis & family
Nina & Harold Slade & family

It is a sorrowful day for music when Dermot died, I met Dermot, with Ryan's Fancy, many years ago when they did a gig in Revelstoke, BC, even before that I enjoyed the records of Ryans Fancy and still do.
My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dermot, he will be missed.

Gene McDonnell,
CFBX Kamloops

I was fortunate enough to have attended the Ryan's Fancy reunion show at O'Reilly's Pub in 2004 (one of the greatest nights of my life) and one of Dermot's final performances, opening for The Rankin Family on Thursday. That night was particularly special, because
it was unexpected and unannounced. Himself and Fergus got up there in front of a couple of thousand people and it was magic, as it was whenever I heard Dermot and Fergus sing together as of late.
Dermot was more than a great musician, mentor and songwriter, but also a great man. I've seen him perform numerous times, and one thing about him was that he always had a smile for you when he recognized who you were. His songs like Candlelight and Wine, and A Children's Winter were striking in their sublety, but still powerful enough to make an
impact with all who heard them. I find it still a little hard to believe that I won't be able to hear that voice anymore live, and sadder still, most of his recorded work is out of print and
unavailable to those new fans who have been so impacted by his musical legacy. However, despite that, O'Reilly will be remembered by all of us music lovers as a man who lived to perform the songs that made such an impact on him, whether they were from Gordon Lightfoot, Allister MacGillvray or his very own, always with a smile and a wink that made you feel special every time you heard him sing.
That is the legacy of Dermot O'Reilly. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Kevin Kelly
St. John's, NL
Senior Editor
The Newfoundland Herald magazine

I have a lovely memory of Dermot O'Reilly from the 1970s, when as a child I saw Ryan's Fancy in Sydney.
My sister, who loves Ryan's Fancy, brought me to the show. After the concert, Dermot was last arriving for the band's autograph session. He burst into the room and took my shocked sister for a little dance while singing Rocky Road to Dublin.
He was very kind as I stammered (literally, I had a bad stutter) my appreciation of the music as he gave his autograph.
Dermot, along with Denis and Fergus, helped spark my lifelong love of music, Celtic and otherwise. His voice and music rings on.

John McPhee

A number of years back I spent a few nights in St John's. He played all the old Ryan's Fancy tunes I requested. It was wonderful. When I walked into the pub he was playing in the second night he immediately kicked into the tunes I requested the night before...and dedicated the closing tune, Tom Paxton's Rambling Boy, to me. I was hoping to catch Dermot perform sometime this summer, but alas. At least I have the memories and a photograph with him.
RIP Dermot...

Ryan O

Dermot was cool…. I had the amazing opportunity to travel with the band when I was 13…..well,ok, maybe it was just that my dad, Denis was IN the band and just happened to have me tagging along on a summer trip to Ireland, dropping me off at my grandparents farm while the band was touring and recording one of their T.V specials. Along with my grandparent Mai and Jimmy Ryan and my uncle Seamus we managed to travel a good part of Ireland showing up at most of the venues Ryan’s Fancy were playing. Maybe I didn’t appreciate the traditional music at that point in my life it wasn’t COOL to me….what was cool was Dermot always taking time out for me, an annoying little kid ,to play his guitar and sing Buddy Holly songs for me. THAT was COOL!!!. He introduced me to all of that rock and roll and I LOVED it!!! He even made me cassettes after that trip of all these new songs….. he fueled my passion for music, and always made me feel like I counted…he was a true musician. He was passionate about his music.

This past October my husband Jeff and I had the immense pleasure and honor of having Dermot and Anne join us at our wedding. My dad asked Dermot to join him to sing the Tiree love song at our ceremony. It was beautiful.

What was a huge treat was Dermot’s impromptu jam session at our reception….he had the place rockin!

I think everyone that was there that night feels the gratitude we feel in having had that special night with Dermot. Such a cherished memory. All of my love to Anne, Deirdre, Suzanne & Grainne……my NFLD family.

Colleen Ryan

I met Dermot O'Reilly when I was just a young girl in elementary school. I was living on Fogo Island at the time. Year after year, the Sunday of the Brimstone Head Folk Festival, my Grandmother Kelly would put on a scoff and invite all the musicians to her house in Joe Batt's Arm! This scoff would turn into a massive kitchen party that went on late into the evening! Each year Dermot was sure to be there. He sang songs, played his guitar and told stories.

Since the days at grandmother's house, Dermot and I had become very good friends. Those once a year meetings with Dermot had become an almost daily event, with his smile getting bigger and that hug getting stronger every time! He knew just how to make me laugh.

Dermot touched the hearts of many and had a unique friendship with each and ever person he met. He was a wonderful person, a great friend, mentor and a legend. Dermot will be missed, but will remain forever in our memories and our hearts.

My condolences to Dermot's family at this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle Baker

I was truly saddened to hear of Dermot’s passing and wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his family. I just wanted to say that Dermot had a remarkable impact on anyone who met him or just listened to him play.

I met Dermot at my Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary, where he and Fergus performed, and instantly became a huge fan. Since then, I have made it a point to go wherever he happened to be performing. Although I am only in my mid 20’s, I can honestly say that I will forever consider Dermot O’Reilly one of my favorite musicians. He is truly a Music Legend.

Cindy O'Brien

Dermot's passing hit me like a ton of bricks. A mutual friend called me Saturday and 1 pm and told me so I wouldn't hear it from the media. I wasn't a super close friend of Dermot, but I knew him, we spoke every time we saw each other, chatted and the like, same for his lovely wife Ann, who made such a nice fuss over our baby when she first saw her. Dermot and I always spoke when we saw each other, as I said. He lived in Torbay, as I do, and I
always passed his street on the way to work. I can't remember really how I met Dermot, I always used to be at Erin's pub and through knowing some people met Dermot and just got to know him that way. What always struck me about Dermot was while many other musicians seems to be very aware of what they did in music, sometimes to the extent it gave them a big head, Dermot wasn't like that, and if anyone could act like that based on their career, it was Dermot. But nope, Dermot was just this likable man who played his guitar and sang his songs. I recall someone told me that when asked when was he going to give up singing in the pubs, he said why, I'd just be home playing and singing.

My idea of a perfect evening out was to hit wherever Dermot was playing, have a pint and listen, then have quick chat when he was on break. Dermot had a regular gig with Fergus at O'Reilly's Wednesday and Friday night. Sadly, I hadn't been down for quite some time due to work and the new parent responsibilities. I wish I had of went.

My buddy Craig, who works in Yellowknife, and I made it a point when he came home to go see Dermot play. As always, Dermot sounded great and would have a great chat with us. He always remembered who people were and would ask about people in your family. Just a real gentleman. His genial nature is what I would like to emulate.

Dermot came to my wedding, which was great. I remember him being charmed the DJ played some Buddy Holly, cause Dermot loved Buddy Holly. "Oh, my favorite!" he said to me when it came on. Dermot would play some Buddy Holly in his set now and again. We all sat at the bar after and Dermot bought me a pint. I have pics of that too. As it turned out, Dermot was the only one who took pics of my wife and I having our first dance at
the wedding, so getting those pics was a great thing. He had taken a ton, and I got them all, D. O'Reilly photo written on the back of all of them.

When I had my little girl he couldn't make the christening party, but called up one day to see if he could drop by. He came by with his wife Ann. Ann had knit a beautiful cap and coat for my little girl and brought me some Apple jelly she made herself. We chatted and my little girl Erin just smiled at Dermot the whole time he was there and charmed the socks off him, he was just great with her, smiling as much as she was. I'll be sure to let her know she met this great man.

At a benefit at Erin's Pub a few years ago Dermot and Ann were at a table and I was at the bar having a pint. Dermot's video Rigs, Jigs & Songs from the Heart was a door prize and I won it! I looked over and Dermot looked very pleased I won it, gave me a wave, and signed it for me with a great inscription. Even though I knew him I still felt silly asking him to sign it, but Roger, who runs the Ryan's Fancy website, had it done. It meant a lot to me and means way more now.

The benefit for Dermot in 2005 after he had his bypass showed how much everyone loved him. The place was packed, awesome NFLD talent showed their love, and much money was raised to help Dermot while he couldn't work, which was just a great thing.

While I knew about Dermot from his past in Ryan's Fancy and loved their music, I never met him until 7 years ago. I knew Dermot as a friendly grey haired bearded man who was a real gentleman who enjoyed his pint and playing guitar. I didn't know anything about other musical dealings he had in his studio and such, I just liked Dermot cause he was a hell of a nice man, and his Ryan's Fancy past just never clicked with me cause that wasn't the
Dermot I met, I just got to know him as a good man. I'm really sad he's gone, I'll miss him.

Cheers Dermot.
Shawn Fulford

I was stationed on Bell Island back in the 70's and to get a break we used to travel to St. John's and visit the "MALL" - One place in particular was extremely popular on Saturday afternoons "The STRAND". It was exceptionally wonderful when Dermot and the boys played. We would sing along and boy what a time. Great musician, great memories, absolutely great times. He will be missed.

Tim Hoban
Miramichi, NB


I first met Dermot a couple of weeks ago in Bonavista.Although it was my first time seeing him live he talked to us as if we were old friends.He was a great talent and will be missed greatly.

Keith & Doreen Strickland

I was so saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Dermot O'Reilly this morning. For me, it was sort of the end of an era. He was one of those people who you expected to be around forever. This day was a long one for me as a floodgate of memories were opened and a lot of fond thoughts came back. Growing up in Newfoundland, the music of Ryan's Fancy was a staple in our household. We couldn't wait for the shows to come on to see where they were this week and what songs they would be singing. I remember well when they came to St. Lawrence and did a show there and spoke to some of the old miners on the east side (they're all gone too now) and played soccer in the meadow. As I got older, and went to MUN, a highlight on weekends was seeing them at the Strand. They really knew how to get the crowd going with their powerful voices and excellent harmonies. As time passed and the group went their separate ways I used to see Dermot a lot at Erin's Pub (my home away from home) while I was between trips at sea. It was great just sitting back, sipping Guinness and listening to him. We had a good few conversations between sets and a good few laughs. The house I later moved into at Calvert was a gathering place for the boys (so I was told) when they first came to Newfoundland and made trips up the shore. We talked and laughed about the reaction of some of the older folk there when they first saw these "strangers" with long leather coats and even longer hair descend on the North Side. The legacy that he left in instilling pride in our music will never be forgotten. His golden voice may be silenced in life but will live on in our hearts and memory. My sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends on the passing of a great entertainer and fine gentleman.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Jack O'Rourke


I first heard about Ryan's Fancy back in the 70's from my brother who bartended at the old NGEA club on Torbay Road. (That dates me!) I have loved their music ever since. In the late 70's or early 80's they were guests at a variety concert being held to raise funds for a new Anglican Church in our community. My husband and I sang a couple of Ryan's Fancy songs. We were so nervous we forgot they were in the audience. What an awesome feeling when we realized they were sitting up front watching and listening to us!

Sylvia Trowbridge

Very sorry to hear of Dermot's passing we loved his music very much.

Bill & Mary O'Neill
Fermeuse N.L.

Just two weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Dermot O'Reilly for the first time . My 11 year old son Christien was to perform with him in his show at Don Cherrys, Clarenville. I noticed Christien and Dermot in conversation throughout lunch . Dermot impressed me that day not only with his music but his genuine interest in Christien and his musical talents. I
later asked Christien about his conversation with Dermot. He left him with words to live by. "If you play a musical instrument , you will never be alone, you will always have a friend ". Those words will be forever remembered and certainly passed on . Here is a picture from that day.
With deepest sympathy,
Rita & Christien Barron


Never had the pleasure to meet Dermot, but through his music felt like I knew him for years.
Absolutely love his music, part of the best Irish band ever!
Condolences to Dermot's family and friends especially Fergus and Denis.

John-Paul Leon
Calgary (former caper)

I had always loved Ryan's Fancy and especially Dermot. My life was complete when he asked me to dance at the Holiday Inn in Sydney in the early 70's. His personality certainly matched the sparkle in his eyes---he was so funny and entertaining; a very, very nice man. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Joan Pettipas

Dermot was a great friend and colleague. He always gave me pleasure in his presence. Lets raise our glass to Dermot
He will always be with us.

Neil O' Grady
Carbonear, NL

A golden voice is silenced the angels is happy now Rest in peace Dermot all of Nfld loved you You will never be forgotten ..

Your fan (ken )

So very sad to hear about Dermot's passing he will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to his wife Ann and Family. Also condolences to his long time band member and friend Fergus.

God bless,

Cindy and Daniel Russell

I am truly saddened on the passing of Dermot O'Reilly. He was a kind, friendly, down to earth man. He always took the time to stop and chat with me when and where ever I ran into him, be it at the local mall, on the street or at one of his gigs. I will miss him, my deepest condolences go to his family during this sad time.

Paul Nolan

I was saddened when I heard that Newfoundland has lost one if its music icons, he was a great influence to everyone who enjoyed good music, he was deeply respected and admired not only by the music industry but everyone who witnessed his great talent. Dermot you will be missed.
Rest In Peace.

Justin Samson

On Friday night past, along with my son and daughter in law, I had the good fortune to enjoy the music of Dermot and Fergus at O’Reilly’s.

I am glad now that we shook hands and I told him then “I love your music ”.

To his family, may you find consolation in the great happiness many experienced from his talents, friendship and generosity.

Deepest regrets,

We met Dermot in 1975 in Goose Bay, Labrador, when his group "Ryan's
Fancy" performed during a 'beer strike". Who could have imagined that
some 32 years later, our youngest daughter, Kelly, is a good friend of
the O'Reilly family. Just this year at New Year's Eve, we all met at
Kelly and John's in Torbay for a lovely dinner.

Dermot, the "last Run of the Bonavista" will keep your memory alive for
us. We watched it last night in your memory.

Thank you for the wonderful music and the wonderful memories.

Anne, our thoughts are with you and the girls. Find solace in the
memories of your wonderful husband and father.

David & Jeannette Waters

What is there to say when someone like Dermot O'Reilly leaves this life. It goes without saying that he will be sadly missed.
My family and I have known Dermot since Ryan's Fancy did their CBC show from the wharf in my home town of Branch in the mid 70's. We loved Dermot then and we love him still. My family grew up listening to the music of Dermot O'Reilly and loving it.
It was not only his music we loved, it was Dermot the man as well. It was the Dermot who loved Ann, his children and his grandchildren so sincerely. It was the reflective Dermot who one night at the Blarney Stone said to me ' You know girl, at the end of it all we'll only have our memories. Be sure to make yours before it's too late'.
Dermot will be in all of our memories forever.
Our most sincere sympathy to Ann and the O'Reilly family.

Ernestine & Tom Power

I'd like to pass on my condolences to everybody who had the pleasure of knowing who Dermot was. Either as a family member, friend or fan we're all feeling the great loss of such an inspirational man. I've listened to him, Fergus, and Denis for years and have performed some of their songs, most recently "West Country Lady" (written by Dermot) at a benefit concert for the Red Cross a few nights ago. The closest I came to meeting him was in the doorway of O'Reilly's Pub last summer. I was going in, and he was leaving. We shook hands and said our hellos. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to have a pint and carry the conversation further. His legacy, which will live on, says enough.

Dermot, we all love ya, and you'll be greatly missed.

Steve Chaulk

Up until I turned 19 and was able to see Dermot perform live at O'Reilly's, the name Dermot (or Irish music for that matter) meant little to me. But since then i have found a huge respect and love for Irish music, and I'd like to say that without Dermot I may have never began to enjoy the amazing experience that is Irish/Celtic music.

Thank you and rest in peace Dermot

Paul Howell


I would like to send my sincere condolences to you for the lost of a great icon. I am 46 years old & have been listening to Dermot's music since i was a small child. May you all gain strength from all the great memories you have attained from having known such a wonderful person. God bless you all. May he rest in peace.


Ted Murphy.

My condolences go out to Dermot O`Rielly`s family. Dermot was a true friend and a genuine and enthusiastic human being. His songs touched me deeply. He will be sadly missed. God Bless.

Todd Hearty

We were so saddened to hear of the loss of a man who has been a big part of the music industry in Newfoundland for so many years. Our thoughts are with his wife, Anne and family. We will forever celebrate his life and music and the amazing contribution he made to
the province's cultural landscape.

Stephen & Debbie Ryan
St. John's, NL

To say that Dermot will be missed by a lot of people is an understatement. I've watched Dermot and Fergus play since I was a child and have been sneaking into bars just to hear their music. When I drove home from Alberta last year, the very first song I played as I entered Torbay was Dermot's well known West Country Lady. It would just give ya a good feeling to be home. Dermot & Fergus are an inspiration to many of us. Even thought i've never met Dermot, He has always been an influence in my life and the reason why i play an Irish instrument (bodhran). The downtown scene will never be the same. but the memories will always be there. I wish my son could've had the chance to enjoy it the way I did.

Gord Waterman

Dermot, you were an inspiration to our band and a role model for all
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. You will always be remembered and
forgotten. We would like to take this opportunity and send our deepest
condolences to his wife and family, and all of his dear friends. Rest

Greeley's Reel
Upper Island Cove, NL

Dermot was a lovely man. We only knew him in 1972 for 6 months in St John's - but we got to know him quite well - and he was a joy to be with. We spent many a lovely evening in his company. We send our deepest sympathy to Ann and the family and of course to Denis and Fergus as well.

God Bless Dermot!

Ian & Kathleen Maley

I never knew Dermot, but I certainly felt like I did.

Whenever I play a Children's Winter on feels like listening to an anthem of culture.
He will be missed.

Paul Cole

I never met Dermot O'Reilly in person - just talked to him by phone a few years ago when I ordered his video RIGS & JIGS & SONGS FROM THE HEART. So sorry to hear he has passed away - he and his music will be missed.
Boyce Hart

Just yesterday I finally got around to going through my Mother's photos, sorting & scanning them. It's something I'd been putting off since she passed a little over eight years ago. Among those many memories was the attached Polaroid, from a day many years ago when I was still a boy. It was summer in New Brunswick, and we were having a party on a boat on the Saint John river after finishing the shoot for the All On a Summer's Day special at King's Landing. I don't think Mom ever found out that it was Dermot who pushed her into the water, though she may have suspected. It was a glorious time that, as was the shoot for the Christmas show, and those experiences have always been near and dear to me. So I'll be tipping a glass to Dermot today, and thinking of you all.

God bless,
Warwick Learning

I had the pleasure of meeting Dermot in august 2006. I was asked to emcee a benefit concert on Bell Island for the food bank and Dermot was one of the entertainers. As I am a musician, I was in awe of Dermot from his reputation, this quickly turned to respect once I talked to him and found him to be a very down to earth and extremely friendly man.I t is a huge loss for Newfoundland music and music in general. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Jason Howard.

My condolences to Dermot O'Reilly's family and his many, many friends.

Dermot and I occasionally communicated about Ryan's Fancy [1970-1984]
and the songs the trio popularized in Newfoundland and Labrador. I will
miss his inquiring mind.
Below is the Ryan's Fancy Listing page from GEST Songs of Newfoundland
and Labrador. It includes a couple songs Dermot wrote himself.


God bless you, Dermot. I knew Dermot in the good old days in Toronto's "New Windsor House" where he and Dinny and Fergus kept us well entertained. A kind, lovely man. He will be missed. G o ndéana Dia trócaire air!

Harry Warner
Salt Spring Island, BC

We've lost a great songwriter, entertainer, inspiration and an advocate of preserving our rich heritage. His legacy will endure......Rest in peace Dermot.

Bruce Mesh

I am so saddened to learn of Dermot's death. The world won't sound as sweet. RIP beautiful man.

Shawna MacDonald

Very sad to hear of Dermot's passing. I have enjoyed his music so much.

Marie Wiseman


Dermot will be missed. Lets carry his legacy onwards.

Shannon G.

So very sad to hear about Dermot passing away. It was always a special treat to chat with him or listen to him play and sing. I've said it a million times that I felt like all my troubles got washed away just listening to him, as part of a group, duo, or solo... even if only for a couple of songs. I'm sure his soul is already in heaven, and he will be very sadly missed by so many people. My prayers are with his family now to give them the strength to get through this. So I'll raise a glass to you today, Dermot!

Juanita Lidster

My sincere condolences to Dermot's family and to Fergus and Denis. My memories go back to the Strand Lounge on St. Patrick's Day in 1974 and 1975, as well as many other pubs. On St. Patrick's Day you had to get there early - we went at 11:00 in the morning to get a good seat for the Ryan's Fancy show starting at 8:00PM. Standing room only does not describe the place.

The band was made up of such nice people, no egos and all wonderfully talented.

I'll always remember Dermot doing Elvis, or anyone else he wanted to do for that matter.

We will all miss Dermot.

Don McKinnon

Sad to hear of the passing of Dermot in today's paper. Back in the 70's, while in high school my brother's and I got hooked on the sound of Irish music and this band was one of the best. All the best to Dermot's family and friends as they come to terms with his death. Thanks to Dermot and the boys for all the great tunes.

Gary Schmidt

Dermot O'Rielly
(1942 - 2007)

On February 17, 2007, our good friend Dermot O'Reilly passed away at 64 years old. He is survived by his wonderful wife and three beautiful children.


O'Reilly lauded for warmth, humour and talent at funeral

Hundreds of people filled a small church north of St. John's Thursday to pay their final respects to a folk music legend.
- Read full story


O'Reilly left legacy in his songbook, friends say

'His songs are timeless, and just beautiful,' colleague laments
- Read full story


Dermot O'Reilly: Ryan's Fancy member

Dermot O'Reilly – musician, producer, songwriter, pioneer, mentor and one-third of the legendary Celtic folk band Ryan's Fancy – died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack.
- Read full story

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