Last week, on 27 February, the Irish vintage and classic machinery scene was saddened to hear passing of Tommy Shannon, Killeshandra, Co Cavan.

Tommy was known throughout the country for his long-serving machinery dismantling business which he built up over more than 50 years, the first of its kind in Co Cavan and surrounding counties.

Tommy was born and raised in the townland of Creenagh just outside the town of Killeshandra.

From an early age he cultivated a love for the tractor and with this love, his dismantling business grew and flourished on the home farm.

In an era before the internet and for more than five decades, many thousands traveled to his "Aladdin's cave" nestled in the rolling drumlin countryside of rural Cavan. It was here that half shafts, cylinder heads, hydraulic rams and every part under the sun was sold and bartered, with advice and problem solving thrown in as well.

The townland was a final resting spot for many machines, with brands like Muir-hill, David Brown and Hymac and the many golden oldies that now sadly are confined to the history books.

Each customer was met with a smile and friendly chat, and in a time before health and safety, Tommy directed you as to where you would find your part to solve your problem!

I can just imagine Tommy at the “Lords” table now in deep discussion with Henry Ford, Harry Ferguson, Joseph Cyril Bamford and other greats of the agri-engineering industry, telling them of the good and bad points of their inventions.

After selling the business in the early 2000's, Tommy continued his love by manufacturing machinery and restoring the odd tractor from his house on the shores of Derry Lough. Vintage ploughing and visits to shows all over the country took up his time, as well as buying the odd machine. As Tommy once said, "he gets more of a thrill from buying than selling".

Tommy Shannon competing in the Junior Class at the National Ploughing Championships 2012.

Interestingly, he also took up another hobby in recent years. Instead of land base machines, Tommy turned to flying machines, achieving a license to pilot a little plane so he could travel and view his native country from the sky – a story he was interviewed about on local radio last October.

The final curtain of his machinery life came down last October, when illness forced his decision to sell his vast array of collectibles. As anyone acquainted with Tommy knew, he took great pride and joy in his collection and therefore wished to spread his pride with fellow enthusiasts around the country and continue the love for generations to come.

Finally, I will finish off by saying that Killeshandra, famous nationally for butter and once famous for its nuns, but unknown to himself, Killeshandra was also famous among the machinery and farming circles for Tommy Shannon.

On behalf of all Tommy’s customers of old and the agri-machinery fraternity, may we extend our very sincere sympathies to Shannon family and close relatives during this time. May he rest in peace.

– Damien Burns and Gary Abbott