It was with a great sense of sadness and loss that we record the passing of Vincent (James V) O’Connor, BE, civil engineer, ‘Myrtle House’, Crossford, Ardmore and formerly of Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

Vincent was born on January 25, 1945, and was reared in Cappoquin, Co Waterford.

Vincent attended Lismore CBS and later Pallaskenry Salesian College. He graduated with an honours BEng degree from University College Cork in 1967 and later completed a HDip in environmental engineering.

Vincent (James V) O’Connor, January 25, 1945 – April 17, 2022

Emigrated to Canada

As a newly qualified engineer, he sought out opportunities in Canada,where he emigrated in 1967. His first post-qualifying experience was working as a site engineer on a potash mining plant in Saskatchewan. He subsequently moved to Montreal and took up an engineering position with Canadian Pacific. While in Canada, he kept a keen eye on developments in Ireland.

He returned to Ireland in 1969 and was appointed site engineer with ESB, working on the pumped storage hydroelectric scheme at Turlough Hill, Co Wicklow. This was an innovative project during 1960s Ireland and is highly regarded as one of Ireland's most significant engineering projects to this day. 

Turlough Hill, Co Wicklow

Concerns about the impact of the scheme on the scenery at the Wicklow Gap led to a number of changes during the project. For example, the siting of the transmission lines that would connect Turlough Hill to the electrical grid was a matter of some controversy.

Objections to the lines, planned to run from Turlough Hill to the village of Hollywood, came from several quarters. It was decided that they would run underground from Turlough Hill for 1.6 kilometres to preserve the view at the Wicklow Gap.

To this day, the Turlough Hill hydroelectric scheme remains the only such scheme in Ireland. Vincent valued his work greatly and enjoyed his contribution to its successful completion.

Extreme weather conditions

His experience of extreme weather conditions in Saskatchewan served him well in his work on Turlough Hill.

Following completion of the Turlough Hill project in 1973, Vincent had a distinguished engineering career working with both Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council before their amalgamation.

In Waterford City Council, Vincent was member of the Roads department and was responsible for traffic management, which included street and road maintenance. He implemented many improvements in the street network in the city and its environs.

Skill in negotiating with councillors and the public

When Vincent moved to Waterford County Council he worked in the Housing, Main Road Grants, Road Design and Roads maintenance departments.

He was area engineer in the Ardmore area for many years where he was responsible for a considerable road network, water main networks and associated treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants. His skill in negotiating with councillors and members of the public came very much to the fore in this area.

Vincent was a quiet and unassuming person who was always held in high regard by all his colleagues. He was always willing to share his extensive engineering experience with his fellow workers and he mentored many younger engineers with whom he worked.

St Declan's GAA club, Ardmore

Vincent had a real passion for hurling, he played on University College Cork teams and later with Ardmore GAA and spent many afternoons watching his beloved Déise hurlers play. He had a great interest in horseracing and enjoyed going to race meeting such as Galway, Aintree, and Cheltenham to name but a few.

In retirement, Vincent kept up to date with the latest developments in engineering in Ireland. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and being actively involved in their school and sports activities. He was a loving, caring and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. 

Ar dheis Dé go Raibh a Anam