Dear Dave

Photo by Olli Hauser
Nancy Spains, Cork circa 1996


R.IP. David O’ Mahony


Feb 14th, 2024


I heard Sebadoh’s ‘Soul and Fire’ on WFUV driving upstate Friday night. Was that only Friday? I thought of you. I always think of you when I hear a song you introduced me to. Which is more often than would seem possible. You were a little older and had an electric guitar and a small amp. And you could play. We knew nothing but you didn’t care. Or if you did you’d indulge us. You had cousins in London, Lemonheads and Pavement vinyl, Nirvana on MTV. Your mother, Kay,  read books voraciously and drove a red and white 2Cv. Your father Denis,  knew all about computers before we knew what computers were. Effortlessly cool, the lot of ye. 


Cork – 1993  – Play, Record, Pause


We put egg cartons on the shed walls and made a whole lotta noise in there. If you lived within half a mile of Meadowbrook, you know the egg cartons didn’t work. “Check this out”.  The latest band found somewhere impermanent and unreliable on the dial. Dave Fanning. No Disco.  The Whumanz on White street, what was that place called? De burca’s? The Forum. Connollys of Leap. Later ‘anomie’ on Barrack street. Rehearsing in Nancy Spain’s. And opening for the Sultans in Henry’s. You were cool. 


Photo by Olli Hauser, Nancy Spains, Cork 1996 ish


Cyprus -2000 


You came to Cyprus. Myself and Dara were working there. I remember meeting you at the airport when you came and walking by the ocean at dawn. You singing the  Sid Vicious version of ‘My Way’ at karaoke.  The bewildered English and German holiday makers loved you too. 


You dislocated your shoulder yawning one morning on that trip. “My shoulder’s popped Nially”. They lost your shoes at the hospital. We found them again. They popped your shoulder back in. The x ray had a perfect typo. Name: David O’ Manic.

Manic Street Preachers- Motorcycle Emptiness


NYC 2015


I was hosting some Big City Folk event at Caffe Vivaldi in the Village the night you were arriving. I had my eye on the door the whole time, telling everyone “My friend Dave is coming.” When you finally walked in you got a round of applause. I was so happy to have you over for a week and half. We were living in Brooklyn then. Like yesterday and a lifetime ago. 

We spent a few nights upstate. I’m just chronicling here. Putting some treasured memories in a shoe box lest they ever attempt to escape. 


Catskills, NY – Oct 2015


The Tall Ships Race, Cork, 1991


Somewhere in between Italia 90 and the Celtic Tiger the Tall Ships came to Cork. One hundred boats from bygone days sailed on up the harbour. My parents had friends down to Crosshaven to look out at the majestic spectacle on the harbour. 

I feel like we walked into the village and played arcade games and almost missed it but didn’t. You wrote your initials on the lifebuoy  pole by Bull Rock ‘DOM’ . was sad to see it eventually gone what seemed like  decades later. 


Dave O’ Mahony was here. And we were all the better for it. 


I don’t remember not knowing you. I refuse to not know you now. I could go on and on. So, I will. 

Anomie, Cork, 1996 -ish

L-R Chloe, Dave, Justin, Me

Photo by Olli Hauser


Waterside Quay, Cork- 2004 ish


We never think we will forget the things we forget.  I’m fairly sure it was 2004 we lived together in Waterside Quay but I’m not entirely certain. 

A ground floor apartment. You coming in through the window. Billy, yourself and myself . The Tuesday challenge, write something new. Listening to albums at home and heading to the Brog. 


Dave and my sister, Emma laughing in Cork


Feb 18th, Grief at 30,000 Feet


I lost  a dear friend 

I put down the phone,  closed the bedroom door

I crumpled on the floor 

‘Till my little girl called “hey dada I’m bored”


I am luck I am broken I am I am 

The curious  dry patch of a wet road

There’s a big loud  pain a coming 

For now I’m numb as stone 


I know less with each passing day

‘Till  one day I will fade 

Back into the fabric of time 

From whence I came 


I thought I knew sorrow

A passing anvil casting shadow


You slipped out the back door 

And now I can’t get back to sleep 


It cannot be true it can’t be 

It cannot be true yet it is

It cannot be true it can’t be 

It cannot be true yet it is

Myself and Dave, Glanmire, Feb 2023



Somehow I’m on a plane

Eating a sandwich “my perfect cousin

Put in my hand

A brown paper bag 

All the fixings and a napkin 

And for reasons unknown 

It’s this attention to detail 

That makes me well up

People are so good 

When the shit hits the fan

Some people are so good


My brain is doing something very strange 

Like I’m on pause 

Like I’m the platform and my thoughts are a train 

Rattling by 

We can look back but

We can’t go back.



Oh I’m gonna miss you 

Carry you in my shirt pocket

In my mind every step that I’m walking  

Keep my hard heart from stopping 

You’re here in this bar-chord you taught me 

This melody I’m drawing 

The sun rising up on the 

Meadowbrook dawning 


Bouncing back off the back 

Of the church wall

You can’t be gone

You can’t be .

No more gone 

Than my cheek bone

For you are the 


Of so many of

My memories

And what are we

Except our memories?


He is and he isn’t. 






Time and space between the news and the plane. 


In between, I went to Vermont I played two beautiful gigs opening for the superb John McCauley of Deer Tick in Manchester, Vermont. Snow falling softly on the motel car park. Like the beginning or end of a movie. Driving back later listening to a short story abruptly interrupted half way through when the radio lost the station. Just like that..


It’s very picturesque. And fucking freezing. I joke with Anthony that I’d rather be warm and looking at a picture of it. I wouldn’t though. No. I’m grateful to have somewhere to be and something to pour my hurting soul into. . Kind people and silence. 


The motel is perfect. Spotless and quiet. Adding to the surrealistic feel of the past few days. The key sticks in the door. The sound of the heat wakes me up. My sleep has been brutal since you died. Variations of a theme. Waking up and momentarily thinking it is all a bad dream. 


I couldn’t find the venue the first night. The satellites gave up on me. Make a u turn. Take the third exit on the roundabout. Make a u turn. IT took me 46 minutes to drive a 9 minute drive. In the end the host had to meet me in a CVS. That’s a first. 


I’m on the plane now. So it must be real. Stopover in Iceland. Rain and photographs of volcanoes. 


Feb 21st – Plane  back after the funeral


Your father and your brothers spoke so lovingly and proudly of you. Justin mentioned the parka, the school bag with the band names already graffitied on, Madonna on the tin whistle. Denis talked of your love and knowledge of Art and going on holidays. Your love for your nephews and nieces.  Evan about how funny you were and so much more. How your niece always insisted you carry her to the car. How we would have to carry each other now.  The priest had seen us play as Anomie. Fr. Pat also quoted the Smiths and Abba. Your love of art. Your smile. You on the bike. Your musical recommendations. Everyone mentioned those. A string quartet Davey, playing Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms”. And people from all parts of your life. Loving you and consoling each other.  I sang Seagull and had the sad honour of helping shoulder your casket. I am grateful I could be there as you were always, always, always, always there for me. 

Later in Ringaskiddy: The Manics, the Beatles and Massive Attack. God help us all.



March 8th, 2024

I see you in my dreams most nights. I hear your voice clear as a bell: “Nially!”. If I ever called you David, you would reply, “Niall-id”. A million little things. There are places I can go to be sad. I’m telling everyone about you. People are so good when things are so bad. We miss you Dave.




Myself, Neil Cremin and Dave – Glanmire, Dec 2023



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  1. Eamon on March 11, 2024 at 9:34 am

    What a lovely dedication to a soft and beautiful soul.
    Dave will never be forgotten and will always be Meadowbrook as much as the Strand, as much as the cul-de-sac, as much as Robin, as much as the flood in 2012.
    No airs or graces, no arrogance, just a humble acceptance of what is.
    I’m sure he is smiling and singing your (praises (and songs) on the other side.
    Keep his memory alive in your words Niall.
    God bless

  2. Denis Mahony on March 12, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    Wonderful writeup of my son Dave. . Thanks Niall..

    • Niall Connolly on March 18, 2024 at 9:55 am

      I am glad you liked it Denis. I will be talking about Dave and thinking of him forever.

  3. Justin Bourne on March 19, 2024 at 1:35 pm

    Lovely words, Niall. Everyone should have a Dave in their life. I’m glad you had Dave in yours. He sounds like a legend. I’m so sorry for your loss. x

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