Des Mills. Rest in Peace.

19th Mar 2009

With much sadness we learned last week of the untimely passing of Des Mills, Bunagee, Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Des was a life long supporter of the IWDG, a dedicated marine conservationist, fisherman and fundraiser for the Lough Swilly RNLI.

I first heard of Des Mills in one of his early contributions to IWDG News, Issue 7 May 1994, in an article titled…”Black sails or killer whales?”, in which Des described in his “matter of fact” style an encounter with a pod of 20-30 killer whales off Kinnagoe Bay while out checking his lobster pots. On reading his account, I decided he was a person that I had to meet. Over the years I took every opportunity to drop in on him, sometimes for a chat at the end of the pier, or perhaps for a few pints in the Culdaff Arms. These visits were always a highlight to a visit in the Northwest.

Being in Des' company was not just good fun, but was also an opportunity to learn from someone with a deep and genuine passion for the ocean, its wildlife and the maritime history of the region. It was apt that we learnt of his passing while on the southern shores of the Gulf of California, Baja, a rugged place, similar in many ways to his beloved Inishowen peninsula.

Des will be missed greatly by his immediate family and the wider community. Our thoughts go out to his wife and four children. A visit to the Inishowen Peninsula will never quite be the same again. His spirit lives among those killer whales that visit the waters between Inishowen and Inishtrahull each year.

Ní bheidh a leithead arís ann.

Pádraig Whooley