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Dunmore East
Dunmore East is a small fishing village on the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from the city of Waterford. It sits on the western side of the Waterford Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in Wexford.
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland


Words from his sister Netti

Fran was born in England but came to Kiltorcan House Farm in Ballyhale at the age of three,

where he had a very active life, with the highlight of every year being his firework birthday

party, where people came from far and wide and filled the paddocks to watch our father's

wonderful display.

Fran had a wonderful childhood, with every summer spent in Dunmore East swimming,

sailing and enjoying endless amusements with his many friends.

Highlights were days spent on Stoneycove and his first solo

swim to Goosey Rock; I still remember his shout of delight.

As teenagers we left Ballyhale and moved permanently to

Dunmore, where Fran helped his father set up a boat

rental/repairs business (including the purchase of a red

speedboat which was the love of his life and made him the

most popular boy in Dunmore!). He was so proud and happy.

Many of his friends today were peers of those years, including

his wife Jo.

Fran then left Ireland for Cheshire, where with a school friend he set up a transport company,

transporting various commodities around England including Cornflakes and “Our Dogs”

magazine. On occasions when I visited Fran, I was transported around in a very smart and

elderly sports car, which was always breaking down (much to his delight as he loved tinkering

with engines and had hours of fun covered in grease). His years in England came to an end

when they decided to sell the business.

Fran suggested a round-the-world trip. He had done the research! We only needed £750 for

the ticket and a dollar a day as professed by the books he had. Typically, without further

thought I jumped at the offer so off we went for 9 months. We travelled through Africa,

Seyschelles, Sri Lanka and South East Asia to Australia, mostly by land; highlights included

being attacked by a giraffe, getting stuck half way up Sygria, being bitten by ants, falling off a

bicycle, trekking with a Hill Tribe, nearly dying of some mystery virus on Kosamui, and

meeting and embracing wonderful exotic people and their lives. We finally arrived in

Australia, where he spent the next 12 happy years.

Landing in Darwin, where we met up with our sister Gena and stayed on a 16.5 thousand

acre cattle ranch where Gena had set up a melon farm and was living in a shack. Fran set to

turning her three-walled shack into a cement floored 4-walled house/shack! We had such fun

doing it. We then left to drive around Australia in a very old Holden station wagon, which

constantly broke down in weird little settlements where many new friends were made, and

Fran became Frank as Fran was a sheila's name!

Eventually, Fran settled down on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, where he spent

many years as maintenance manager and was very proud of his desalination plant, which

created fresh drinking water from sea water. When he asked his horrible sisters what we

thought of it, we looked at each other and said awful; his response was it must need

adjustment and rushed off to spend another happy hour making it taste great!

Fran's love of children started in Australia, where he became surrogate uncle to our friends'

children (who were all under 6); he spent many happy hours creating sand castles, dams and

playing in the sea. He never got bored and was usually dragged away for a beer.

Fran loved to tinker with machines and was introduced to computers on Heron, where this

great love of his commenced. He set up a whole administration system for the island and

monitored his water consumption on one of the original computers. He luckily was able to use

this love to help people both in Australia and Ireland.

In 1993, we both came back to Ireland, and Fran sadly to take over Dad's business when he

died suddenly. Since then he has worked very happily with the South and East Fisherman's

Coop and has been Dunmore's oil man, becomeing an integral part of the fishing community.

Since returning to Ireland Fran has married the love of his life Jo Teesdale and adopted her

son Alex as his own. Much to my amusement, when asked “how are you” his response was

always ” fine and Alex or Jo has …..” He was so proud of them both.

I have been told many anecdotes about Fran and how he touched so many lives, but I

suppose the most touching were from Alex's friends who were also friends of Fran, which is

unusual in a Dad.

Fran was a larger than life personality; his laughter or voice would echo around the harbour.

After the tall ships' race where he and John Colfer guided the visiting tall ships up river, he

could be heard from the cliffs shouting joyously “follow me”; one of this happiest days!

His happiness with Jo and Alex shone from his face; his love of Dunmore and all his many

friends from all walks of life was remarkable, yet his family saw him as just dependable Fran,

our mainstay, our Mr Fixit. I don't think Fran saw himself as anything very special; his many

achievements were unsung, especially his last and greatest: reaching the top level in “War of

the Worlds” computer game, which was incredible and rarely achieved world wide.

These are just a few highlights of Fran's remarkable and far-too-short life. He will be sorely

missed by his friends and family.

Fran Cobden