Man believed to have been dead for months remembered at funeral as ‘a lover of the arts’

Mark Watters (61) lived alone and was found dead in his Castletownbere, Co Cork flat earlier this month

A man who died in his west Cork home, and was not discovered for up to six months, was remembered by his son and siblings as a highly creative individual with a talent for the arts and a love of nature at his funeral on Friday.

Mark Watters (61), who lived alone, was found dead in his flat at the Courtyard, Castletownbere on May 9th. There was an unopened card with a December 18th post-stamp which led gardaí to suspect that he may have died before Christmas.

Officers began preparing a file for an inquest after a postmortem confirmed Mr Watters died from natural causes. His body was released to his family, who held a service in his memory at Ringaskiddy Crematorium in Cork Harbour on Friday.

Mr Watters’ son, Samudra, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, recalled seeing his father on November 15th last. He said he had spent much of the two-month visit to west Cork with Mr Watters, whom he described as “authentically infectious”.


“I had spent two months in west Cork where we spoke daily, reliving our special memories and cultivating our relationship to its former glories. We gave each other closure and this is the most important thing I have ever done,” he told mourners.

“My father had a beautiful mind ... The way he saw the world was outstanding, his ability to transform the hardest into the hilarious and the worst into the most comforting showed an understanding of social dynamics and empathy unparalleled by any entity I have ever known.

“His logic and his eccentricities allowed him to control his fate ... his deep analysis paired with the correctly formulated combinations of words, actions and timings would allow him to access worlds that others but dreamed of visiting.”

He added: “But unfortunately, with all cerebral gifts lies the responsibility to control them – the cost of his perception and awareness was alienation and he willingly paid the price. He was my biggest inspiration, an encyclopedia of tales of experience and I have no doubt his imprint will remain.”

Mr Watters moved from Dublin to Allihies in west Cork more than 30 years ago. He is survived by Samudra, his daughter Grace and his three sisters, Virginia, Rosemary and Elizabeth, who shared some memories of their youngest sibling.

Elizabeth said her brother was born in Oxford, England on January 9th, 1963, which was “the winter of the big freeze”. He was rushed to hospital with a life-threatening condition soon after and she recalled tiptoeing through snow with her two sisters to see him through a hospital window.

She recalled their brother as “the toddler with a cheeky grin speeding on his tricycle, the joyful child and mischievous tweenie who knew how to charm, the rebellious teenager pushing boundaries, the young man writing plays and acting parts and a successful film script writer”.

Elizabeth described Mr Watters as “a lover of the arts ... and a man who loved family, broadly defined, and extended to all those he loved, the loving father to Samudra, his soul mate to the very end, his son Tiger whom he mourned and his daughter Grace, whom he deeply missed.

“The lover of nature, the mountains and sea, the hermit he chose to be. His three sisters only allowed to care for him from afar. He now watches over us in the embrace of loved ones gone before with true peace and spiritual calm. To Mark, whom we loved, we say a sad goodbye,” she added.

The service concluded with the sound of Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic and its closing lines: “And I wanna rock your gypsy soul/Just like way back in the days of old/And together we will float/ Into the mystic.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times