Shay Warren

7 December 1956 - 28 December 2006

Memorial Cards 26 May, 2008

We are very grateful for all the kind messages of condolence for such a wide variety of family, friends, colleagues and acquaintences. If you would like a copy of the memorial card please contact

Shay's Funeral 3 January, 2007

Shay's funeral was a very sad occasion. However, it was very comforting to see so many people attend to pay their respects including old friends and colleagues. I heard so many stories about Shay from different people yesterday and they all captured him in the same light… an all round great guy.

Two things stand out for me from the funeral as making it really special:

1. The two eulogies delivered by Michael O’Leary and Keith Nixon (nephew), which summed up Shay’s character perfectly. They were very touching and we all thank you both for them.

2. Just as we arrived at the grave side with Shay and again as the priest said his final prayers, a Ryanair plane flew directly over the grave on its approach to Dublin airport. I think it was Shay’s way of saying goodbye. I think (for many, if not all of us) we will not be able to look at a plane overhead without thinking of you Shay (although, you are looking down on them now).

I, and the whole family, would like to thank everyone that attended the funeral yesterday. You all gave Shay the great send off that he most richly deserved. A sincere thank you for that.

Michael O'Leary's Eulogy to Shay 3 January, 2007

Shay Warren (1956 – 2006)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s extraordinarily difficult to find the words to say goodbye to someone taken so young, so suddenly and so unexpectedly. So rather than mourn a death let us celebrate a wonderful and fulfilled life.

Shay Warren was one of life’s good guys
- He was gentle and courteous
- He was patient and unbelievably tolerant
- He was kind and generous - particularly with his time
- He was a friend and a mentor to many of us
- He was a father, brother, partner, Son and Uncle
- He was one of Ireland’s most brilliant but unsung aviation minds.

In Ryanair, Shay kept us safe, he kept us on time. When opening new routes he went before us and when things went wrong (as they frequently do) he cleaned up after us. Shay made Ryanair the safe operation and success it is today and for that all of us, and the millions of passengers we carry are and will always be extremely grateful.

Shay wasn’t perfect. He had unbelievably bad taste in football teams. He supported Liverpool through thick and thin and let’s face it, the last 20 years has been pretty thin. When the soccer season ended he would turn his support towards that other hopeless cause…… The Dubs GAA Football team. Thankfully this kept most of his summers free to devote to the two great joys in his life, his family and aviation.

As we all know, Shay was a lifelong plane-spotter, an anorak, an all round aviation nut. - No none knows when he first stood by the runway at Dublin airport, but I’m sure it was one of the turning points in his life. What was different about Shay was that he had the vision and talent to forge a career, - not outside - but inside that perimeter fence. Shay was one of the lucky, lucky few – he did what he loved and he loved what he did.

Having joined Ryanair in Sept 1986, Shay worked in and then ran our operations for most of the past 20 years. But running Ryanair could never fulfil his unquenchable passion for aviation. Evenings were often spent with the enthusiasts on the mound at Dublin Airport. Weekends were for visiting air shows. Holidays often involved trips to the Boeing plant in Seattle or the Airbus facility Toulouse.

Shay Warren was known, respected, and much loved throughout the village that is the global aviation community. Very few Irish men have been invited into a NATO command post to oversee military exercises in Alaska or, as he did last year, to fly a MIG fighter jet 80,000 feet into space. Knowing Shay I suspect this was a pre-launch operations inspection for the new route to heaven – and so today will simply be his second visit!

There is I suspect a good reason why Shay has been taken from us so young and so suddenly. Perhaps God’s operations are a mess. He needs a really good guy to sort it out, so he’s taken Shay – the best there is. Already I’m sure, heaven is running smoother. More arrivals and departures are on time. The routings are better and the schedule will continue to improve now that St. Peter is on the “Gates” and Shay is on the radio.

I see he’s still devoting some of his spare time and attention to his football teams. Liverpool won 3 out of 3 over Christmas. Shay will be smiling. Who knows even the Dubs might make it all the way this year, with Shay directing operations from above whenever “Pillar” Caffrey and his crew are falling behind schedule?

We, his friends, come here this morning, both to mourn the passing and to celebrate the life of Shay Warren, an esteemed colleague to some, but a good friend to everyone who knew him.

To his son Paul, his sisters Maureen, Sindy, Geraldine, Pauline, Patricia, his girlfriend Marian and all his family what can we say. We know there are no words that can ease the burden of grief you bear. How we wish there were. Just know that we all share your sorrow and your pain.

Please know how deep is our sympathy for you and your family, and know that you are all in our thoughts and in our prayers.

Over 300 years ago it was Daniel Defoe who wrote:
“The best of men cannot suspend their fate
The good die early, and the bad die late”

Farewell Shay, in losing you we’re saying goodbye to not just the good, but to one of the very, very best there has ever been. Today your friends and family send you one final parting message;

“You’ll never walk alone”

Michael O’Leary
Tuesday 2nd Jan 2007

Keith Nixon's Eulogy to Shay 3 January, 2007

Good morning everybody. My name is Keith and I am Shay’s nephew. It’s incredibly touching to see so many people here to pay their respects to Shay. Although Shay was a person who didn’t appreciate people fussing about him, I’m sure he would be honoured and extremely taken aback by the presence of so many people that cared so dearly for him. I myself feel extremely privileged to be standing here before you all, providing you with an insight into the life and character of Shay. It’s difficult to know where to begin telling you about Shay as there is so much to say.

Shay was the only son in a family of 6 siblings, which I’m sure at times, was pretty tough going! From a very early age he made it clear that he wasn’t going to be hen-pecked. No makeovers, no tea parties, no gossiping or anything remotely girly! And Shay wasn’t one to gossip. Quite the contrary in fact. There was no need for him to gossip as all he ever saw was the good in people, which is characteristic, of a true Gentleman. Honesty, Loyalty, Integrity, Humour and Generosity were but a few of his many qualities.

Shay was a devoted father. He was extremely fond and proud of Paul, his only son. He was an inspirational figure to Paul and was more than just a father to him, he was also his friend. They were a major part of each other’s life and did a lot together. I once had the good fortune of accompanying Shay and Paul on one of their frequent trips to Shannon airport, to spot some aircraft. But what I did spot was an inextricable companionship between them. I won’t forget sitting there observing the banter that was flowing back and forth, between father, and son.

Shay was married to Adrienne for 14 years and I’m sure she shares our sorrow at this very sad time.

As an uncle, Shay was a man who held a special bond and rapport between himself and his nieces and nephews. He had a great wit and sense of humour, which he was able to use in such a way, that we as children could understand. This always made Shay that extra bit special to us. He had his own names for some of the children in the family, each one tailored lightheartedly to the individual; for example ‘Chewy’, ‘Sparky’, ‘Schmuck’, ‘Egghead’ and ‘Harvey duck’. I was fortunate enough to be known as ‘Jeffrey’. I think I got off rather lightly. The ironic thing is that some of these names have stuck with us to this day and this gives some indication of the influence his humour had on our lives.

Aviation, as I’m sure some of you may know, was Shay’s passion in life, and to say he was an enthusiast is a bit of an understatement! I too share an interest in aviation and I was always able to find common ground with Shay. He had such a profound knowledge on this topic, that when I would regularly see him, I would always have an aircraft related question, ready to test him. Each and every time he would accurately answer my question, right off the cuff without a second thought just like that. This wasn’t always the case though, for sometimes I couldn’t get an answer out of him. It wasn’t that he didn’t know the answer, it was that he was already outside in his car, preparing to rush home to catch up on his beloved Coronation Street and Eastenders!

Shay’s early years as an electrical engineer with Irish Shipping, coupled with his aviation hobby, brought him to the four corners of the world - Canada, USA, South Africa, Hong Kong to name a few. I think I would be here all day listing the countries he has visited, but if you name it, he’s been there. His travels also brought him to Anfield to see his favourite football team, Liverpool. Quite frankly, it has always puzzled me why Shay persisted with Liverpool all through the years, when there was an even better team, also in red, a mere 30 miles down the motorway!

As regards work, Shay found his niche in the operations department of Ryanair and he spent many happy years working there. He loved his job and lived to work, rather than worked to live. His boundless commitment and diligence, was reflected by the utmost respect and regard Shay earned from his colleagues. I’m sure they too will miss him dearly.

I just want to conclude by saying that no matter what Shay’s role was to each one of us in his life, whether it was son, father, brother, cousin, friend or colleague, I think we were all touched in the same way by his presence, love and generosity of spirit and deed, all of which can never be fathomed.

I hope I have captured some of Shay’s most prominent characteristics for you today, and I also hope I have given you some insight into the life he led. I do know that all of our feelings for Shay are intertwined and run deeper than my words can ever describe. He was a great man. I know that Shay’s memory will forever remain etched in the forefronts of our minds and hearts.

As Shay would say, ‘That’s the diddly cwa cwa’!

Sleep in peace friend.

Shay and his nicknames 1 January, 2007

I think we’ll all agree that Shay was fond of giving nicknames to the people around him. Mainly the men/boys around him as I haven’t heard of any girls that he has re-named. I say re-named because a lot of the time, those nicknames have stuck to this day and have replaced the given name of the person most of the time. Personally I was nicknamed “Chewie”. I got this from when Shay used to bring us nephews to the Shel’s football games in Tolka Park religiously every second Friday and also the regular away games. I’d disappear off to the shop at half time and come back with a handful of sweets to keep me going through the second half. There was a usual chant from the back of the crowd as I was spotted coming back from my travels, going something like “Chewie, Chewie, give us a bar”.It’s clear to see why I was nicknamed “Chewie” at the time… and I still get it these days from my cousins.

I know all of Shay’s nephews picked up nicknames off Shay and they’ve stuck to this day too and recently I heard that there was a pilot from Limerick that picked up a nickname from Shay as well. I’m sure there are tonnes more out there that have been nicknamed by Shay and if you would like to share your nickname that he gave you and maybe how you got it, it’d be nice to hear.

I found out today what Shay’s nickname was, or possibly what he nicknamed himself. It was simply “6?. He used it signing off letters, text messages, etc. Why you might ask… as I did today? Simple… what’s “6? in Irish!

Shay Warren, Father, Brother, Son, Friend - Much Loved, Always Remembered. RIP