THE funeral has taken place of a former UlsterHerald journalist whose work in the newspaper coincided with some of the darkest days of the Troubles.
Celsus Starrs, who was 71 and originally from Clanabogan, died on August 15. He had been ill for some time.
After finishing his studies at the then new St Patrick’s High School, Mr Starrs, immediately began his employment with the ‘Herald’ as a reporter in the mid 1960s.
Over the next two decades, he helped cover many of the major news stories of the time, including the emergence of the Civil Rights movement, the first early impact of the Troubles in the Omagh area and the weekly routine of Omagh District Council meetings and court hearings.
A colourful character who had a keen ‘nose’ for a story, Mr Starrs worked first under UH editor, Paddy McGill, and then his successor, Teddy Quigley.
As well as his journalistic work, Mr Starrs was also a popular local figure with a keen interest in music and dancing.
He was involved in the Omagh Boys and Girls Club, was one of the first officials with the Drumragh Sarsfields GAA club, which was formed in 1972, and at one time was vice-chairman of the Omagh Darts League.
Mr Starrs was also a keen soccer player, and appeared for the UH XI whose annual games against the Tyrone Constitution team took place during the 1970s and into the 1980s.
In 1972, he scored a goal as the UH won 4-3 in the game played at Mellon Park.
Mr Starrs moved to Co Donegal in the 1980s where he became an employee of Hugh Tunney, owner of Classiebawn Castle at Mullaghmore.
During the following 20 years, Mr Starrs turned his hand to a range of trades as the occasion demanded and he became a well-known and popular figure in the Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Sligo areas.
Over the years, he also kept in touch with family and friends in Omagh.
Mr Starrs had lived in recent years at St Bridget’s Terrace in Bundoran, and died at Sligo General Hospital.
He is survived by his partner, Jean Brown, sister Marian (Doherty) Bundoran, brothers, Malachy, Jerry, Sean, Paddy and Charlie and a large circle of family, neighbours and friends.
He was pre-deceased by his brother, Brendan.