Willie Meighan - Mr Rollercoaster Kilkenny has passed away

Much loved 48-year-old loses cancer battle

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Willie passes away

Willie Meighan and his bride, Aisling Hoy, after getting married a few weeks ago

Willie Meighan's death at 48 years of age this morning has had a profound impact on many people in Kilkenny and far beyond.
The wonderful, joyous, happy-go-lucky owner of one of the country's few independent record shops, Roller Coaster Records succumbed to serious illness at his home in the city at 7.45am surrounded by his family and by the love of his life, his wife of just a few weeks, Aisling Hoy.
Willie Meighan was one of the few people in this world who liked everyone and was above all, a tolerant person.
He was a major part of the reason for the success of the Roots music festival of which he was a board member. The gigs he organised were always well populated while his discos, with him as DJ, were a must for any one of his generation.
A month ago,  after he got the bads news on his cancer, he asked people to share any good moments they enjoyed with him and within hours, there were over 1,000 responses on Facebook. That gives you an insight into what people thought of him.
Willie Meighan  had a special gene which made him cool to be around and great company.
He put people before profit, said things we all felt but hadn't the guts to say and lived life to the full, bringing many, many friends, along with him.

Willie started working in the Top Twenty shop in 1990 having early done work placement there when he was attending CBS secondary school. It was his dream job. He was managing it within a few months and, in 2003, he took it over with Darragh Butler (formerly of the band Kerbdog) and they renamed it Rollercoaster. 

Willie didn't really consider people who came into his store on Kieran Street as customers, they were more like his friends.
Many of those who bought records there said it was like going into a pub, because you were always bound to meet up with someone with similar musical tastes and it was this special atmosphere, camaraderie, a place where people could just came in and chat.
In an interview before he died with the Irish Times, he said that developing relationships with customers in a business where all the action had moved from Main Street to online was easier said than done.
“It’s corny, but we’d consider a huge amount of customers to be friends too and would hope the feeling is reciprocated. We’ve got a ridiculously loyal bunch of customers and I certainly think there’s a much greater awareness of shopping local in recent times. 

"The community ethos of record stores is very much alive and well and the ones still standing are those that always went about their business the right way," he said.

After he got sick last year, he received a great boost when the soccer team he supports, Ipswich Town FC, sent him a birthday card signed by their manager, Mick McCarthy.

He never played much hurling but all his friends did and when Dicksboro won the senior hurling championship in October, team manager and close friend, Mark Dowling along with former manager, Richie Mulrooney (Willie's first cousin) brought the cup to Willie's house.

And on the day of the final, Mark Dowling drove down to Waterford University Hospital with one of the official team jerseys which Willie wore while watching the match with another close friend, Shane Prendergast.