Notes of condolence from friends and family (originally posted in 2002):
I am very saddened to learn of the horrible fate of Gwen. What a terrible shock for everyone who knew her. I had the great pleasure and priviledge of meeting Gwen many times during the summer of 1999 when she appeared at Epcot with Lord of the Dance. She was a very friendly and sweet and very classy lady. She will be sorely missed by everyone who's life she touched.
I will keep her and all of her family in my prayers.
Please accept our sincerest condolescences to your family at this sad time. We were lucky enough to talk with Gwen during a visit to Epcot in 1999 and she was a wonderful performer but a wonderful, sweet person to take the time to talk to strangers.
We wish you all the best for the future. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with you.
-Sally, Howard, Colin and Hannah Sanders.
Condolences to Dennis, to Oliver and Anders, and to Maggie and Michael Sale
and Emma, Richard and Paul in the loss of their beloved Gwen. May her spirit
live on in those she loved, and in those who loved her. God bless you all.
To the family and friends of Gwen Sale:
I remember first seeingGwen at the Fox Theatre in Detroit in May of 2000 when she appeared there with Lord of the Dance's Troupe 2. She was such a welcome addition to the troupe! Gwen will remain in my thoughts and prayers and I know she is now in God's special care.
And for Gwen's family may God's angels go before you, walk beside you, and stand behind you. May they shelter you from harm, keep you safe and warm, and hold you in their tender loving care.
With my most sincere condolences,
Brighton, MI USA
Im so sorry for your loss. As a fellow fiddler, I am also at a loss. The world lost another great one. Heaven will have another musician.A friend from the celticcafe,
I cannot find words to adequately express the shock and
sadness I've felt since hearing of Gwen's passing. I had
the pleasure of seeing her perform and spending some time
with her two years ago when Troupe 2 was in Tempe,
Arizona. Gwen was a beautiful person in every way and her
warmth, graciousness, and generousity touched me
My love and prayers are with Gwen, Dennis, her sons, and
Gwen, thank you for the insights and laughter we shared. I
shall miss you very much.
My deepest condolences to Gwen's family! I belive that souls never dye, they just goe to the next level. She will be watching you and loving you from there!
May God watch over you in these hard times!
Gwen brought much joy and beauty into our lives. I grieve her passing but cling to the belief that love and beauty live on and her spirit is forever part of the Universe. Her performances on stage brought standing ovations. Her gifts of creativity and love enrich us as we mourn. Deepest sympathy to her family and friends as they reach for understanding of such a tragedy and loss. May we all find some peace and solace in the love she gave which will never be lost.
Courage. Gwen's love and legacy lives on in those who knew her. She will always be near.
I will always remember the wonderful smile, how very talented and beautiful
she was and always will be through her children. My prayers are with her
husband, children, family and friends. May the Good Lord be with you and
give you the strength to go though this time. God Bless and take care.
My name is Lauren and I'm 16 years old. I just want to let you all know how
sorry I am about Gwen's death. I have met her twice in the Spring of 2000 and
she made me feel like she knew me forever! She has really touched many lives
and will never be forgotten. I hope to make a tribute to her on my website. I
wil give you the address as soon as it is finished. My thoughts and prayers
are with you.
Love always and forever,
To the family and friends of Gwen,
Please accept my deepest sympathy on the death of your beloved Gwen. I
did not know her personally, but was moved by her beauty and energy in
her performances of LORD OF THE DANCE. She will be missed by so many.
-Susan Shaughnessy Sewel
Please accept my sincerest regrets for your loss at this time. Although, I
only met Gwen a few times, I always felt immediately welcomed into her world.
That warmth is a rare gift. Gwen will be missed by everyone who her
Last Sunday May 6, 2002 my daughter Rose and I spent three hours
playing, and talking with Gwen, it was our first visit to the Sunday
session in Arlington Heights Illinois where Gwen plays. There were only
six of us at the table. Gwen sang us a song and engaged my daughter Rose
(16 years old) who also plays the fiddle. She asked Rose to play a tune,
Rose played the "Oak Tree" Gwen joined her. Gwen sat at the end of the
table, she sipped on a coffee between sets and helped me as I struggled
to remember the name of a tune. She told us of her planned trip to
Hungary and then on to Ireland for the Fleadh. We ended the three hours
with a set of two reels, "pigeon on the gate" and "the wise maid". Gwen
gave Rose her address and phone number and asked us to stay in touch. At
one point during the afternoon I sensed Rose was getting tired and I
asked her if she wanted to go, "No Dad, I am learning." Our thoughts
are with Gwen and her family.
-Sincerely, Michael Duffy
Dennis and family,
Most of us can only imagine what all of you are living at this time,
though I'm sure some of us have experienced a loss of this depth. Gwen's
goodness, and your goodness, will cause her to live on with all of us who
knew her and know you.
Please know you have many souls around the world to share this burden,
and call upon us if you need.
I pray all of you can find the peace here that Gwen has found where she
Condolences and prayers of support,
I will never forget the first morning I say and met
Gwen that Summer in Miltown Malbay. Her beauty was
immediately disarming, and when she smiled the sun
shone even brighter. Her love for her children was
always readily on her lips, and to watch her and
Dennis fall in love was a joy. She was a firey
vibrant spirit, I will always remember her with
laughter, warmth and gratitude at knowing her. My
deepfelt love to Dennis, her precious boys, and her
family. she will always be close by.......
I have never known anyone who laughed with more abandon, loved more deeply, or embraced life with more joy than Gwen did. More than that, she shared her life generously with those she loved. She said to me once, "oh, you know me, I love everybody."
In the midst of the great sorrow I feel for Dennis, for her sons, and for all of us, I'm still endlessly grateful for the time I had with the wonderful Gwen. Some people just leave the world a better place.
My deepest condolences to all of Gwen's loved ones. At times it seems
that God takes the best people to Himself before we are ready to part
I was just playing a tape of the Epcot shows from 1999 for my 1-year old
granddaughter. She was entranced by the fiddling as I was when we sat
in the seats for seven of the first 8 LoTD shows there. Gwen is even
more creative and multi-talented as shown in her beautiful tribute bio.
I will say special prayers for her at Mass tomorrow.
-Pat DiCarl (an original "Flathead")
I am so sad to hear about Gwen. I was her fiddle partner in Lord of the
Dance for a month. In the short time that we lived together, I came to love
her and admire her. She had such a beautiful way about her. There was a
steady peacefulness in her eyes, and she had a gift for making others feel
good about themselves.
She had a cup of tea ready for me every morning as I got out of bed...and
this was after she had gone for a walk, practiced the fiddle, and wrote in
her journal. I was inspired by her. I loved hearing her stories. She
spoke of her childhood in Africa, her love for her two sons in Scotland; she
made me a believer in magic when she spoke of meeting her husband Dennis,
whom she called her soul mate.
In sharing the stage with her, she would help me with anything before she
thought of herself. She shined on stage, and her smile encouraged me to do
my best. She had such spirituality, and a beautiful heart. I remember the
night before I left Gwen- we went for dinner and a walk, and talked about our
lives for hours- I called a friend at home and said that I had spent time
with a very special person. I was so blessed to have encountered Gwen in my
life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, and all who
she touched in her short life.
We cannot find words in order to express our feelings.
Please accept all our deep condolences!
-Fabio Rinaudo and Birkin Tree
To the family:
I`m just a fan of hers. It is very sadden to hear of someone so great as Gwen was. She has shared so much for everyone one way or another. She will be deeply missed. There are not many people of her talent and devotion to her work will fill her shoes.
It is very hard on the family. Especially the children. They will always ask why her? Gwen will always be in our hearts and prayers for the rest of our lives and especially the families lives. She will be deeply missed by all.
Dennis & Family: Words are so inadequate at such a time. I did know of
Gwen, although I never had the pleasure of meeting her, or hearing her play.
But I do know Dennis, and I can only try to imagine what he and the family
are feeling now. All I can do is to offer my heartfelt sympathy for your
great loss, and to let you know I will remember her, and all of you, in my
Like everyone else, I would like offer my heartfelt condolonces to Dennis, and the rest of Gwen's family. I met Gwen at sessions at Healy's near Chicago. She managed to tolerate a struggling musician with a smile, and een taught me a few tunes that remind me of someone quite special. Thank you Gwen.
My deepest sympathies to you at this shocking loss. Treasure the brief but wonderful memories.
I pray that the Lord brings comfort to your heart.
-Fr. Jack Clair
I wish that life wouldn't do these things to kind, funny, positive people.
I first met Gwen when she was co-hosting a session at the Hidden Shamrock
Pub here in Chicago back in 1997 or 1998. I was a really inexperienced
uilleann piper at the time and was way out of my depth playing there (or
anywhere else), but I felt welcomed anyway and that meant something to me.
To Dennis and all of Gwen's loved ones, please allow me to extend sincere
condolences. You are not alone in your sorrows and I wish you all well.
I met Gwen in Clonmannon, Co.Wicklow, Christmas 2001 and within a day I was telling her all my deepest secrets and worries. She just came across as such a warm and caring person and I spent hours talking with herself and Dennis as they turned an otherwise hectic recording session into one of the most relaxing, enjoyable and memorable few weeks I have ever experienced. Of course it was never too serious thanks to her sense of humour and most conversations would end with "ach away an' shite" as only she could say. I was so shocked and saddened to her the news and I offer my deepest sympathies to Dennis and the rest of her family.
She created a huge effect on me in a very short period of time and she will always be one of my fondest memories.
So sad this news of Gwen. Though I never met her I am sure she was the
light in your life Dennis. I have no idea what I could do to ease you
pain but if there is, I am at your disposal for any and all relief.
Kieran O'Hare has my number. My prayers are with you.
My most heart-felt condolescences to the family, husband, children and dear friends of Gwen Sale. It truly saddened my heart to hear about her untimely death. I met this very gracious, talented and lovely lady at EPCOT in the summer of 1999. I have some fond memories of her tossing those beautiful brown curls around on that EPCOT stage and listening to her play. She will be missed, I'm sure, by all who knew her, and by me.
If you deem the following worthy, you may post it on her tribute site, but it is not necessary. I send this to her family, friends and loved ones. This has helped me through many troubled times with deaths in my immediate family; father, sister and brother. I hope that you may also find some peace reading it.
TO THOSE I LOVE AND THOSE WHO LOVED ME
When I am gone, release me, let me go ~
I have so many things to see and know.
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears.
Please, be happy we had our years.
I gave to you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have shown,
But now it's time I traveled on alone.
So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must.
Then let your grief be comforted with trust.
It's only for awhile that we must part.
So bless the memories within you heart.
I won't be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near ~
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you, soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile, a hug and "Welcome home".
My deepest condolences. My name is Sean Sutherland, and I just met Gwen two weeks ago in Detroit at the Fleadh. We had a wonderful time playing tunes in the hallway of the Doubletree. I was shocked and saddened when I heard. I didn't know Gwen well, but i can tell you I'll never forget that night and I won't forget her. God Bless.
Gwen came once to a women's drawing group I used to go to. Her figure
drawing was as beautiful and powerful as her fiddle playing. I met her when
she first came to town and played at the Hidden Shamrock on Sundays. In my
mind's eye, she is sitting in front of the big window, with the sun behind
her, telling a joke and laughing. She was such a light and still is.
-Terri Guise, Chicago, IL
To Dennis and all of Gwen's family and friends:
We never met Gwen, but from what others have told us, she must have
been very special indeed.
Gwen's sudden passing puts us in mind of these lines from a favorite
"The rainbow comes and goes /
And lovely is the rose /
The moon doth with delight /
Look round her when the heavens are bare /
Waters on a starry night /
Are beautiful and fair /
The sunshine is a glorious birth /
But yet I know, where'er I go, /
That there hath passed away a glory from the earth."
Thoughts of Gwen, as the poem concludes, "lie too deep for tears."
You have our deepest sympathy.
-- Earle and Nancy Hitchner
I only met Gwen once or twice, but one night stays in my memory to this day: About three or four years ago, Gwen was playing in Washington DC with Lord of the Dance, and Dennis also happened to be passing through town for a concert with Martin Hayes (who hadn't yet landed). Dennis told a couple of us that Gwen played fiddle and was keen to have a tune, so, on an off night for Dennis, and late enough for Gwen to make it after her engagement, we organized a session for a few folks who knew Dennis, but hadn't yet met Gwen.... it was in a pub directly across the street from Ford's Theater....
To say that Gwen lit up a room with her beauty and personality hardly does justice to her memory, but, as much of a cliché as that is, it happens to be true. Not only was she playing wonderfully that night, but she was always ready with an encouraging comment or a humorous aside. Also there that night was her fellow Lord-of-the-Dance musician, accordionist Moira Egan, and the two of them made some fierce music altogether, and it didn't take any time at all for the locals who had gathered to welcome Gwen and Moira into the fold, and vice versa.... we all had a nice tune and a few good laughs besides... just a perfect session and a very sociable gathering. And, as is routine in our extended community, Gwen and I hadn't talked for two minutes before we realized we knew several people in common, and we had a nice chat about our mutual friends.... please allow me one more cliché: we had only just met, but I felt as if I'd known her for years.
Dennis, all of our thoughts and prayers are with you now, and if it's any consolation, keep in your mind and heart just how much joy Gwen brought to everyone who ever met her; also, please know that all of us are grieving with you, and we are all here to help you through this difficult time.
With love and condolences,
I am so sorry to hear about the sudden passing of Gwen. I was never fortunate enough to see her live on stage but I still know that just like allt he other members of the troupe...she was special. She travelled around the world spreading the joy and happiness of Celtic music and touched thousands of people's hearts. We all know how much Celtic music can lift your spirits and music is essential to the LOTD show, therefore she had a huge part in it. Although never having met her, I believe Gwen did what she wanted to do and had a passion for more than anything and was a perfect example of what Michael means when he tells us to "follow our dreams". It takes a very special person to do that. I will keep all of you in my prayers today. Gwen's music will live on, in our hearts and memories forever.
Dennis, Our deepest sympathy go out to you at this time.We were saddened to learn of Gwen's tragic death.
-Anne and Joe Burke
Very saddened to hear the news from Harry Hughes. With our deepest sympathies.
-Barry and Jackie Taylor
I am so saddened to hear of the sudden death of Gwen. I met Gwen in 1997 in
Feakle - she introduced herself to me as having stayed in 'our house' in
Milltown Malbay during the Willie Week - I hadn't been there that year. I
met her many times after that - and spent some lovely times with her in the
summer of 2001 - but then in December of last year we went into Clonmannon
studio to record a new CD - Dennis was producing and asked would I mind if
Gwen accompanied him - of course the answer was absolutely yes - knowing
what a postive effect she would have on all of us and how right I was. It
was the happiest time with Alastair, Dennis, Graham, myself and Gwen. She
cooked for us - she ran errands for us, she played her fiddle for us, she
messaged our necks when it was needed, she talked and listened and drew
pictures of all of us. When it came to choosing artwork for the cover
Graham suggested Gwen do a drawing, knowing she would do the CD justice and
sure enough she drew a most beautiful painting and while we were at it she
included the sketches she had drawn during the actual recording. It was
her first CD cover and it was the first CD Dennis had produced and they were
both so proud of their work and of ours. I'm so glad I spent some time
with one of the most beautiful girls I've ever met - she lit every life she
touched. My deepest sympathy to Dennis, her children and her family - and
to all those who like me, are suffering her loss.
Dennis I am so sorry to hear gwen has tradjically left us, she will be missed by everyone who ever had the pleasure of meetinbg her, I will pray for you both and hope you can get through this like she would have wanted. I am here with Jackie Moran in Belgium recording an album Gwen was looking forward to hearing and who would have been one of the first to hear it. We had some great tunes together and great craic and I feel nothing but sadness and regret that we never met sooner godbless you.
-Aidan Burke (London, England)
Maybe they are not stars
but the eyes of our loved ones
to make certain
we are happy.
We are so very sorry.
-Brad, Cynthia & Evan Armacost
Though lovers be lost love shall not
And death shall have no dominion.....Dylan Thomas
One of the things that amazed me when I first met Gwen, years ago, and I asked her about it, was how the heck did she roll such perfect little cigarettes? I'd never seen anything like it! I was in awe! But I remember different kinds of things about her because I am not a musician. I mostly remember many Monday nights at Martyrs' talking quiet girltalk with Gwen, she rolling those perfect little cigarettes and me rolling up silverware in napkins for the night. The male customers would often ask me who she was and I got very used to saying "see the guy on stage? With the guitar? Don't hold your breath." She was gorgeous and mysterious and I always thought she had a more interesting life than I did, but all she ever did was ask me about me and all the places I'd been and my plans for the future-but that was exactly the way Gwen was.
(former Martyrs' waitress)
Dennis, Sincere condolences from Billy and Carmel Jones and family from Newton Stewart in Scotland. I believe that you and Gwen first met in our home and I am very pleased about that! I had the privilege to be present at the ceremony in Tynron in Dumfrieshire on Sunday and was deeply moved. Peace and Love to you all in these difficult times.
I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Gwen's
untimely death. My deepest sympathies to Gwen's
family and friends. I knew Gwen when she was in her
last few years at High School. I was always amazed at
Gwen's talents - she excelled in everything she did
from music and art to academic subjects. Gwen seemed
so mature for her age and looked out of place in a
school uniform! I also remember Gwen's cheeky,
baby-faced smile which captured everyone's hearts!
My thoughts are with you all.
Coffs Harbour, Australia
I want to send my sincere deepest sympathy to Gwen's children, Dennis and her 2 children. I had the privilege to meet Gwen in Las Vegas. I am a dancer in Troupe 3 and met Gwen through her many passes in Las Vegas. She was a beautiful, gifted person who inspired me to keep up with a journal I was getting bored with. To this day I keep it with me everyday. You will always be in my prayers......
-Patrick Campbell ( LOTD--T3 )
Gwennie will always be with us in our hearts
we all loved her
We all had good times playing music and the craic
was mighty at the Tynron sessions at Kev and Gills.
Gwennie spent her childhood around the beautiful hills
and countryside around Tynron
Where she now has been set free.
We pray for all family and freinds
to give you strength and comfort
We all loved her dearly
-Paul and Dianne Newman
My prayers are with you. You have given me endless amounts of joy listening to your music. Since hearing this terrible news I have kept you in my thoughts and I know that your friends here in town will be a great comfort to you. Those of us who have not had the joy of knowing Gwen will come to know her through your music. May you find comfort and peace.
Hi Paul and Maggie
Like many people in Dumfries I was very shocked to hear about your loss. I only met Gwen a couple of times when she stayed at your flat in Glasgow Maggie, so did'nt know her as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you both and your family.
Take care, Lesley
I just heard the tragedy about Gwen.
Although I never see her performance,
I was so shocked by the new.
I am sorry I don't really know how do express my sadness and regards in English,
but, I truely pray for Gwen and Gewn's family..
I recently had the oportunity to see Lord of the Dance in Kansas City, and though I never had the chance to see Gwen performing, this news really shocked me, I'm some sort of new fan of the show and Michael Flatley, I'm sure she was the most talented violinist the show could ever had, I pray for the family and friends, and for the people in the show, that The Lord Jesus Christ give you peace and rest to your troubled souls for such a sad event. God bless you all.
Paul, I had the pleasure of meeting your sister once when she visited you
with her children at the project in Dumfries. She was an inspiration, please
accept my condolensces at this very sad time for you, your family and Gwens
friends. Stay in touch.
Mandy, Brian, Craig and Kelly Hughes.
To Dennis and Gwen's family I offer my deepest sympathy. I only met you both recently at a music party here in Chicago, and later at a restaurant I was working at, but you both seemed very happy together, and she certainly seemed very lovely. I am very sorry for your loss and shall remember you all in my prayers.
Sean Colledge Chicago, Illinois
To Gwens family. My sincere sympathy. She was truly talented. I got to know
Gwen very well in Biloxi, and we had many deep conversations. She also played
the violin a no. of times in church for me. I will always treasure a portrait
she did of me. Gone but not forgotten.
FR. Pat O'Shaughnessy, Biloxi , Miss
That phone call from Jimmy Moore on the afternoon of May 8th sent such shock and horror through me that at this time I still find myself wrestling with the reality of this tragic event. I shake my head literally every day and think this can't be so. To Maggie, Dennis, Gwen's children and family, my most profound and deepest sympathies. Gwen was a beacon in an increasingly dark world. It was a joy to know her (as even my doggie will attest) and she will be greatly missed. God willing, she has found her heart's desire.
Love to Dennis, Maggie and Michael, Richard, Paul and Emma, Oliver and Anders.
The picture is of the Chicago Ceili Band at the Fleadh in Detroit. Look at her extended family! Four generations of Irish musicians, all having fun together. A huge family. All grieve.
Angels come now and then to touch our lives and remind us how important it is to love each other and glory in the creation of music and art, the things that make us alive. They act like people, do all the good and bad things people do, but in soul they are angels. They make you want to play. Their memory becomes a part of you, what you give to others who give to others....
My heart which lifted when I saw and heard Gwen play now breaks upon
hearing of her loss.
With incredible daughters of my own, only a little older than Gwen, and
they with kids of their own, I can truly imagine the anguish of you, her
parents, husband and children. I pray that courage may carry you on,
and, with time, that serenity may make bearable your grief. May her
spirit always be with us.
i live in gwens hometown here in scotland and im sure im speaking for everyone in saying she will be sadly missed.. when i now visit the local village store i will always look up to tynron doon and think of gwen.. alison..
She was a wonderful musician, it's a terrible loss. As a fiddler I feel very sad. I cannot find the words to express myself . I just hope time will ease the pain and sadness from your heart. Please accept my deepest condolences .. She will be in my prayers.
It was a sad and shocking thing to read of Gwen's death in our local paper. I was once one of her art teachers at Wallace Hall Academy in Thornhill. At that time she was the best I had taught. Since then and even though many years have passed, I have never taught better. She was very accomplished, also good natured. It was a tremendous pleasure to teach her. She had a great enthusiasm for life and Art. I was delighted to hear that she had gone to Glasgow School of Art, and felt that it was only natural that she should develop her talent there. We met accidentally and infrequently after that. The last occasion was a few years ago, she was standing in Queen Street in Dumfries. After we exchanged greetings and caught up on each other's lives, she cheerfully asked me about jobs in Art teaching. As always it was an enjoyable meeting, for she had great charm. What a marvellous person she was.
My deepest sympathies to her family.
Dear Dennis and Family...I just heard the news a day or so ago from Liz Carroll about Gwen and I still can't believe something like this could happen. Cathy and I and all the Asheville crowd here are all deeply saddened by your loss, and ours too. Even though I only met Gwen once she struck me as one of those great personalities, with courage and wit and would have to be to keep up with you. If you ever want to get away to the country for a bit of peace and quiet please think about coming down here for a bit - you're most welcomed anytime - and if there is anything I can ever do to help, please don't hesitate to call. There is no sense at all in this kind of loss and I wish you all peace as you make it through the days ahead.
Gwen apparently has completed her misson on this level. She is now a level
above us Earth-bound souls, and is breaking trail for the rest of us. She's
not gone, only someplace else.
Many prayers and blessings,
Gwen touched my life briefly and unforgettably, I was so sad to learn today of her accident. I remember her as beautiful, open , honest and so creative. I can never forget the delightful experience of sitting at her kitchen table with a large pot of tea, designing jewellery she was to make for my wife. The beautiful pieces that resulted are noticed and admired every time it is worn and will endure for ever. The wonderful thing about Gwen was that she let me believe that I had designed it.
Hi from Scotland
I have included pictures that capture some of the joy and emotion that led
up to Gwen's ashes being released from the top of Tynron Doon - a steep
sided hill overlooking Penpont, the village where Gwen grew up.
Unconventional to the very end, Gwen's ashes were not dispersed gently in
the breeze. The urn lid was opened, and the open vessel was rolled down the
steepest slope. As it gathered speed, large plumes of ash billowed from the
urn. Suddenly, Alex (Gwen's ex-husband) Oliver and Anders (her sons) chased
down after the urn, running and rolling down the very steep slope until they
reached the place where the urn had come to rest.
From the top of the hill to where they now stood, a white-grey path of ash
marked Gwen's final mad dash of joy.
In one of Gwen's many poems and personal entries into her journals and
notebooks, she had drawn a rough sketch of Tynron Doon.
Her final words on the page - "I like it up here - I never went to come
From a proud big brother.
Hello the world and beyond--or as Gwennie always said as I answered
I am sitting here in Gwennie's chidhood home in Penpontwaiting
for the last candle to burn out. It is nearly Midnightexactly a week
to the hour that I received the call from Dennis that our friend,
lover,wife mother,sister and daughter had responded to the pressing call
to be elsewhere-no change there then!-(And now the candle has gone out!
Not within my presence, as I had just gone out for a few seconds to
acknowledge the moment and on my return,with plenty wax left in the
dish, became gradually aware that the flame had gone..Considerate to the
Three hours ago in the company of a very dear friend,Jean, I went to
the bridge over the river which runs through the village and tossed
flowers and good malt whiskey into the Scaur,a triburary of the river
Nith.I am too Scottishto sharecopious amounts with the
local salmon but as Gwen introduced me to the "Water of Life"when she
lived in Islay six years ago, I thought it a suitable libation! And there
we have it! Even when it came to experiencing our national drink, my
daughter was light years ahead of me!
Yes it's sad. It's bloody sad and I have swung through the whole
gamut of emotions from disbelief, anger and sickening despair.But the
growing feeling of quiet joy and rightness which started many hours
before her death, has never wavered. I was being gently prepared and
when the news came I was ready for it. If truth be told, I have been
waiting for this for more of half of Gwen's short but vibrant
life ever since she started to hitch lifts intrucks to visit her
first boyfriend at the age of fifteen. Anyone who knew her would know the
futility of gainsaying her! It is my feeling that Gwen quite literally
outlived the limitations of a normal human life. She was no saint and full
of conflicts and self doubts but also overflowing with energy, vitality
and exuberance. As I read all your beautiful and comforting contribitions
to this web-site...( Oh the wonders of modern technology!)-....I am
increasingly convinced that as her mother,I experien!
ced a very tinyfacet of that life-force and when the totality
of it is considered, it becomes overwhemingly apparent that it could not
be contained in a single life on this material plane. Since
her release, we have all been imbued with her energy, insight and love. I
was speaking to Kev Bailey, her erstwhile "Dad" . He and his wife
Gill played a significant part in Gwen's formative years when I was off
the planet. Despite appearances, he is payed by the Region to teach
the sciences to children so he can't be completely mad!He confided
that, as he approached her Gathering in the village church, he could
hardly contain the smile that was threatening to split his face!. It is no
surprise to me that she would choose to visit Kev thus, but also to
encourage this normally shy and self-contained manto share his
experience with me and others at the risk of having hisreputation as
asane member of the community ,questi!
oned!-Only A senseof loving
mischievousness could be behind it! I could literally fill this entire web
to the point of boredomwith repeated stories of similar but
inidually unique experiences of evidence thatGwen is more
accessible to us now than she everwas before.The difference
being that she is now unfettered by the limitations of time,
place,finances or conlicting interests andor
I give you all as much as you need of my beautiful Wild
Childconfident that the more you take of her, the more she will
grow. The new dawnhaslong arrived and I spent a few treasured
moments in the tiny backyard she so loved.It is alive with
thevibrant coloursof themany flowers you sent her
contrasting with the sprinkling of pure white ashes at the base
ofa tiny Japanese Acer tree. The Wreaths were placed on the graves
of village people Gwen knew and loved and in particular
theVictorian grave of a family of young children who died within a
very short period. She arrived home in a very angry state one
day when she was eight years old, filled with the injustice of the story
told by that gravestone!
The house is now full of the normal sounds of my grandchildren
preparing for school, smells of breakfast and the arrival of yet more post
from across the world .My dear friend Jean is about to add to the total of
thousands of miles that have been flown ,driven,trained
,bussed,walked and climbed on Gwens behalf over the last week. Her
two boys Oliver and Anders have set off on a journey to Orkney with their
beautiful Dad Alex-believe me they are in the best of hands. Dennis
is already high above the Atlanticand I plan to follow him
soon for Gwen's Gathering in Chicago in June. Gwen,s deathhas swept
away the petty conflict and indifference which separated all who
knew her and even I approve of the non-renewable energywhich has
been expendedto get everyone here. The resultant pollution will be
more than compensated forby the goodwill ,connections,creativity and
contacts which will flow from
these human sharings. Please give generously to the Creativity Fund
established in her name at her old school in Penpont and still attended by
I also must leave soon to return to Glasgow with my beautiful
daughter in law Florencia who wishes to return to Islay where she spent
some magic days with Gwen only a few short weeks ago.So let me finish -for
the moment-with an insight given me by Gwen the night before she left
Scotland for the last time. I trust it will give you the comfort and
consolation it affords me-especially at those moments
whenI am tempted to "wallow" before I get a resounding-"don't
even think about it"- in my ear. I have been absent from my work as a
social worker since Febuary in a black fugue of inexpicable grief and
despair which would sometimes engulf mein body-retching
sobbing. I explained to Gwen that I had no motivation or desire to
re-visit long-past hurts and traumas which I felt were long resolved. Her
answer bewildered me at the time but now makes complete sense and I leave
it with you."Mum, what makes you think that it is something in
the past that you are grieving for? It could just as easy be something in the
future which by the time it comes, the grief will be over and you will be
able to laugh!".I have never laughed so deeply or joyfully in my long eventful life enriched with four children and eight grandchildren as I
have done the last few days. I know it is neither Denial or Hysteria but a
deep seated belief that at some level, Gwen knew and accepted what had to
happen and gently prepared each of us for the inevitability and rightness
of it. I received a very clear instruction to convey, at the right time,
to the driver of the car which killed her physical self, that there was
nothing to forgive.
And so dear friends the world over , I leave you in the confident
knowledge that you will continue, through this miraculous means, to
sustain my family and me with stories of fun ,laughter and insight that
you have shared with my beautiful wild child so that we might get to
better know this beautiful woman and free spirit who so graced all our
lives. Bless you all for being there for her in the myriad way you each
were and now are present for us.
Dear Dennis--I got the news about Gwen in Baltimore, when Laura Risk
called her answering machine in Montreal. All this week I've been
reading the notes on her memorial site, too stunned and melancholy to
write anything myself, but it's finally heartening to see the outporing
of grief and affection coming forth from all over the world. She was
such a dear person, Dennis. One of the bravest and loveliest beings I've had the luck to know. All week I've been coming back to a line of James
Stephens: "Indeed, everything in her quiet world loved this girl. . ."
Now that, by one of those cruel tricks that our language is prone to,
she is suddenly thrust into the past tense, it's all I can do to resist:
no, she is dear, she is brave and lovely. All those attributes that she
shed so abundantly into this world will stay with us and keep us
company, even in the loneliness she leaves behind (and for all her
wonderful gifts of friendship she also had a loneliness about her, which
was inseperable from her gentleness and sensitivity and from the need to
pursue an artist's life). It all flows into the music that was so much a
part of her spirit, and because that's the well at which you met, you'll
meet there again often.
Love to you, and to all those who were dear to her,
I would like to offer my hopes and prayers to Gwens family in this sad and trying time.I went to Wallace Hall with Gwen and always loved her art as well as her creative ability which seemed to come from heaven . She was always the life and soul of the party , with the ability to make people fall in love with her gift. I lost touch with her after school but never forgot her. through mutial friends i heard where she was living, her family and her career and thought to myself "that sounds like Gwen!!" Iwould like to offer her friends and family my deepest condolences
" HER CREATIVE GENIUS LIVES ON "
I met Gwen at school we were in the same year. I had the pleasure of listening to her play at Mr.Baileys house one evening I went there with a neighbour. Her musical and artistic talent left me lost for words, she was truly brilliant. I have kept the memories of that night with me since then over 15 years ago I still rememember the amazing drawing she did of the lane outside it took her less than 10 minutes but it was so detailed. I always thought of Gwen as very much a free spirit and in music you will always keep her memory close to your hearts.
I'm so sorry for your loss
Sorry to read about Gwen in the (Dumfries) Standard. I knew her whole family when I lived in the area when I was secretary of Dumfries CND (1980-84), and given the background she was brought up in I was not surprised to learn what a rich and fulfilling life she had led. I recall a few convivial evenings with Mike and Maggie (her parents) in Penpont, and I'm sure they must have been very proud of her achievements.
My thoughts are with the family
David Main, Edinburgh, Scotland
She's flying free where she would want to be and boy did she fly
Gwen Glennie gwendoline gwennie
In our hugs and in our tears
Always near Forever here
To Dennis and all of Gwens family,
Heart felt condolences to you all. I was brought up in the South West of
Scotland and knew Gwen from a relatively early age. Gwen always had a smile
and a tune for everyone. She will be sadly missed.
Peace and love to you all,
Aaron and Claire
All we do is but the building of fires against the darkness; Some burn very
bright, to show the rest of us the way. And now, a bright and beautiful fire
has gone out. I am truly sorry for your trouble.
Dan Maguire, Cherry Hill, NJ
Life Must Go On . . . A Navajo Prayer--
Grieve for me, for I would grieve for you. Then, brush away the sorrow and
the tears, life is not over, but begins anew. With courage you must greet
the coming years to live forever in the past is wrong and can only cause
you misery and pain. Dwell not on memories overlong, with others you must
share and care again. Reach out and comfort those who comfort you; recall
the years, but only for a while. Nurse not your loneliness; but live
again. Forget not, remember with a smile.
I did not know Gwen personally but am still saddened when one as young as
she is taken away. My sincere condolences to her family and friends, may
she rest in peace.
We offer our deepest condolences on the tragic death of your beloved Gwen,
who must have been an amazing person, touching all who knew her with her
talent, love, and spirit. As with our friend Joe Derrane, we never had the
pleasure of meeting Gwen, and now we feel the loss even more no longer
having the chance. Know that our hearts go out to you. The next air is
for Gwennie and her family left behind.
Gary and Max Newman
Colins parties, Kev and Gill's in Tynron every Hogmanay, Newcastleton,
Rothbury, Girvan, Tubbercurry, Miltown, ... the list of our annual and
periodic meeting places where we played tunes, drank and had great craic
goes on and on. Gwen came to both our wedding parties - one in Lancaster
and one in Dundalk. She was the first to play tunes at the Lancaster
wedding, and cleaned up the house and cooked dinner for us when we had
hangovers after the Dundalk one (which lasted four days). There was the
precious time Gwen lived with us for a short while before taking the job
in Armagh, and came back to stay periodically before leaving for Chicago
... we called our second bedroom "Gwen's room" for ages afterwards until
it became "Eoin's room" when Eoin was born. My last memory of her was
the both of us sitting at our table in Ravensdale playing laid-back
tunes when I was six months pregnant, drinking whiskey (for which she
considered me very wild). We both loved her dearly. Dennis, our hearts
go out to you. You are brave beyond words to bring her home to Tynron
All our love, Beverley, Michael, Eoin and Rowan Feely,
Co. Louth, Ireland
When I was on top of the mountain where Oliver , Anders , Alex and Dennis
hurled your forward in the here after , I closed my eyes to be with you
and the only sound was of the wind and a curlew....
Later on ,as I walked back from the hall at your celebration ceili , a
curlew followed me ...
Yesterday , back in Ireland and out on Lough Corrib to clear my head , the
only sounds was of water lapping on the boat and curlews overhead....
This morning the toothbrush, You and Dennis gave me winked at me..
You are now everywhere for ever.
May your love spread and comfort all who knew you and will miss you for
ever..." This too will pass........"
Travel safe and fly high ,
bye for now,
We never had the pleasure of meeting Gwen, but treasure our meetings with you, in Canberra. We cannot begin to understand how you and the family must be feeeling at this time, but know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Les & Vi
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Gwen's family & friend. I know she will be greatly missed by all who loved her.
For a spirit who is flying free this may help those who
are left with their feelings: God bless you all.
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
love and best wishes Sally
I was fortunate enough to share my school days with Gwen at Wallace Hall Academy. I
am glad that she went on to fulfil the enomous talent, she obviously had back then.
She was always kind, generous and great fun to be with. Her genuine warmth and
consideration for others shone through in her engaging personality.
Such a tragic loss.
It's not often I am lost for words, but that happened today when I read of
Gwen's death in the pages of the local newspaper.
I knew Gwen while at Wallace Hall Academy and enjoyed many good times in her
company. She was truly a special person.
My thoughts are with all of her family,
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sale,
My heart is with you and the children. Please accept my prayers and
I have only known Gwen a few months, playing with her at the Sunday session
at Peggy Kinanne's Pub in Arlington Heights, Illinois outside of Chicago. I
considered myself lucky for the times I was able to play and visit with her.
Thank you for a wonderful girl.
just a Chicago school teacher and week-end bodhrán player
Denis and Gwens family
I was very saddened to hear of Gwens tragic death, taken all too soon, - a terrible shock. I had the pleasure of having many tunes with Gwen when I visited Chicago in March this year. She was such a lovely and talented person, always bright, laughing, upbeat, a lovely fiddler and talented artist, who immediately made an impression on all around her. She came to all the sessions, even on the Sunday when we chased back and forth across Chicago to fit in three good sessions. When we weren't playing together she was sketching me playing, and those sketches are treasured. My deepest sympathy and condolences to all. 'Solas na bFhlaitheas Dí' . . . May she enjoy the light of Heaven.
Antóin MacGabhann (Tony Smith)
Please accept our sincerest sympathy on the tragic loss of Gwen, What is wrong with the world that such a beautiful vibrant person can meet such a fate? All we can do is turn to each other and weep. If there is ever anything we can do to help please let us know. You are in our thoughts.
Brian and Gay in Sligo
Dennis--I can't tell you how terribly sorry I am for your loss. Please know that you are in our hearts and that your love for your Gwennie will remain a light for all who witnessed it. You have my deepest sympathy.
I was lucky to have met Gwen on a couple of occasions, each with Dennis and
both times in Chicago. It was great being in their company,they were such a
happy and devoted couple and meeting them would instantly put you in good
form. Gwen was a real live wire with a sense of humour to match, very
Scottish really. She always had a good word to say and showed great spirit
and passion about music and life.
I have met Dennis at various music gatherings,festivals,concerts,sessions and
even the odd airport here and there and we have spoken many tmes about many
things but he would always include Gwen in these conversations. I suppose it
is through these that I feel I knew Gwen better than I actually did. I can't
even start to imagine what Dennis and Gwens families are going through at
this terrible time .
I never got to hear Gwen play the fiddle, though I'm told her music resembled
herself in a lot of ways, creative,lively,spirited and beautiful.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
Kevin and Tracy Crawford.
Dennis, Maggie, Alex and sons
So much has been said in these messages its hard to add to them. All I can
say is that I will miss Gwen dearly, especially her music and vitality. She
was one of the few that loved to play Shetland and Scottish music, amidst
the usual frantic sessions of speedy Irish reels. I'd always seek her out
when at Tynron, along with Nick Spencer, to join in playing the rare
treasured melodies, often till the early hours.
Although I didn't see her much over the years whilst she was in the states,
every meeting at UK festivals was a joy, and every time I was ready to
leave, she'd say "Tommy,do you remember this one", and another delightful
set was started.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all
No way I can express in English what's impossible to say in any language. My deepest condolences. Hope we meet in heaven.
Felip Carbonell, from Dervish
Mallorca, Spain - Sligo, Ireland
To Denis and Gwen's family,
I cannot believe such a tragedy has taken away this beautiful young woman who we all loved. My heart goes out to you all, especially Denis. We only met up with Gwen the night of our concert in Chicago this March. She showed us some sketches she had made during the show and I was amazed at her talent which just came so naturally. Her constant smile, her humility and her warmth will remain.
So sorry to hear about your loss, my thoughts are with you all
(used to stay in Penpont)
To share music is an uncommon pleasure, to share love is an uncommon treasure.
All our love,
Bob & Mary Blinn
Mairead called to let us know of your terrible loss. May you find comfort in
knowing that there are friends, new and old, that will keep you and Gwen's
entire family in our prayers. As the folksong says...
Had we never loved sae blindly
Never met--or never parted
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
May the sound of her music (An Fhidheall) and the lilt of her laughter
Fill your heart with gladness,
That stays forever!
Our deepest sympathy,
Terry Rosch & Lee Snyder
Glenview, Illinois (USA)
I am very shock of the horrible fate of Gwen, though i never saw her to perform in the show. But i think she so love for Irish music and was a wonderful performer.
I cannot find words to adequately express the shock and sadness, but now i hope
God bless and protect to her Family and friends.
I will pray to you Gwen Sale.
keep love and smile, she don't want you heartbroken.
a blessing from Taiwan
Dennis and Family,
I just heard the news--my heart grieves with all of you. My thoughts and
prayers are with you.
"Come away, stolen child, to the water and the wild,
with the fairies, hand in hand.
for the world's more full of weeping,
than you can understand.." W.B. Yeats
Dear Dennis and Family:
There is not anything I believe that can speak to such grief. You and Gwen
have touched a world wide community bringing much joy with your music and
yourselves. Know that you are held in all our hearts.
Jim and Bets
I am so sorry to hear about Gwen ,i went to school with her at Wallace Hall
when we were at school Gwen would often call in for acoffee at my house in
kirkland .Gwen and my mates had great fun together and it was a pleasure to
be in her company. My thoughts go to her family . be strong
My deepest sympathy goes out to you Dennis and the family. I have met Gwen
only twice, but was immediately and deeply touched by her spirit, vibrant
energy, talent, wit, wisdom warmth and stunning beauty. I thought about her
often since. It is a terrible, shocking loss. I will never forget her.
Tina Eck, Washington, DC
Our dear Maggie and family
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We hope this poem brings solace in the knowledge that your beloved Gwen will always be with all of you.
Dina and George Palattiyil
The Rose Still Grows Beyond The Wall
Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God's free light:
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetnes day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shone a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice length,
And unfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before.
And it lost itself in beauties new.
Breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fall?
Nay, let us faith and hope receive,
The rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide,
Just as it did in days of yore.
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore.
Hi. I'm really bad at these kinds of things, I usually put my foot in my
mouth, and I don't have much "right" to be so sad, because I only got to
hang out with Gwen, or as I call her: The Blonde Goddess on the Fiddle, I
only got to hang with her for 2 short weeks in Biloxi. Her physical amazing
beauty was exceeded only by her inner amazing beauty.
I just wanted to say that I am sorry. "you can't lose the one you love,
when you love the one you've lost" And, oh my, did Gwen have a lot of love.
If there is anything at all I can do, please don't hesitate to call.
Hello Denis and Gwen's family,
May I send you my strongest thoughts of suppport and love at this very difficult time.
Tim and Máirín Dennehy
Mullach, Co. Clare.
It looks like everything has already been said by others.
We're sorry, Dennis.
Frank, Emily & Nate
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish I would have had the
opportunity to have met Gwen. Please know that you and your family are in
our hearts. May our prayers aid to keep you warm along with your loving of
memories of Gwen.
Valley of the Moon
Our hearts go out to Dennis and all Gwen's family.
Denis, I'm very sorry and shocked to hear about Gwen's death. I only met her a few times myself, the first time about 5 or 6 years ago at a session in Armagh when she was playing with the Armagh Rhymers. Later when I heard you mentioning your wife's name in Chicago, I had no idea it was the same person until the night you both came to the gig in Ravinia last year. My family and a lot of people from home were saddened by the news - they all remembered her fondly from the time she spent in Armagh and told me some great stories about her time there. From all of us, our deepest sympathy.
I can't believe!
All my thoughts are with you. We'll never forget Gwen!
I want to express my condolences to Gwen Sale's family. She was T2's violinist. When I saw Maire Egan this Saturday, we both were having a look to the brochure and suddenly we looked to a picture, where Gwen was with her fiddle and the rest of the troupe. We both got sad, and well… we said that it was shocking but that life goes on and what we can do is to remember her as she was, beautiful, talented. She was soooo full of life, and had an amazing smile. May God bless her family and help them through this horrible time. God bless her!
Mexico City, Mexico
Please accept our deepest sympathy . You are in our thoughts and prayers.
P.J and Angela Crotty
As a former dancer of Troupe Two, I had the pleasure of touring with Gwen for several months. Her kindness, vivacity, and optimistic outlook on life left a special mark on everyone who crossed her path. I am deeply sorry for your loss, and though Gwen will be greatly missed, she will live forever in our hearts.
Fort St. John, Canada
The last time I saw Gwennie she was fiddling at an Irish/Scots festival in Dallas with some eccentric (but very good) Irish musicians who dressed up in bizarre wicker masks and performed some ancient Irish fable about tattie bogles, or the Irish equivalent. They presented good evidence why you should avoid Irish whiskey and only drink real Scotch whisky - without the "e." Gwennie's superb fiddling certainly added some sanity to their act, and I suspect most of the audience was really there to see her - but of course that is a biased viewpoint. Anyway, during a solo spot she had, she spotted me in the audience, stopped fiddling and sang "Three Craws" a cappela. The Texan audience didn't understand a word of it but still applauded. She explained to me afterwards that "Three Craws" was the first Scots song she had learned when I used to labour under the delusion that I was a performer and sang it while playing my guitar. So, in the midst of a public performance, she decided to make her uncle feel good - that was Gwennie.
To All Friends And Family of Gwen, especially Dennis, Martin, her parents, children, and siblings, We only heard of the tragic news of Gwen's death in the last few days, and have been stunned and saddened by it.I have been trying to think of what to say, but cannot find anything adequate to the great loss this leaves in so many lives. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you all, and our hopes for peace of mind some day in the future. You are surrounded by the love of so many friends who wish you well, and will be thinking of you every day. God bless you,
Don and Sherry Ladig (St. Paul, Minnesota)
To Dennis,family and friends of Gwen,
Everyone has written so many nice comments about gwen sale but i dont think anyone can ever really put in words how much of a unique and gifted person she actually was.How much she had acomplished how much she had inspired others to fullfill their wishes and dreams,how good she made you feel,how well she spoke her mind and how she would light up a room with her outstanding beauty.
I had the pleasure of meeting gwen 3 years ago in orlando florida while we were in rehersals for the opening of the epcot show,for the next 6 months we worked in blistering heat,rain and wind and gwens bubbly personality was a life saver for many of us and made us all realise that it was a great experience.On and off for the next 3 years I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with gwen sale in las vegas and biloxi mississippi where like before she was her usual self "a true angel".
She was always up for a good laugh and sported small gestures which ment alot.
For me i will always cherish the portrait she drew of me,my first tattoo that she designed for me and of course her great massages for tired legs after the shows.sure they are all simple things but they came from the heart and she never asked for anything in return,If everyone one was a little like gwen the world would be a better place.
I miss you alot gwen and love you dearly,you are a true friend and one of gods special gifts.
Brian "brains"Mc Enteggart
(lotd-troupe 3,las vegas)
To all of Gwen's family my thoughts and prayers are with you. I never met her, but I know from others that she was a bright star on this earth, and brought much happiness to many with her rich talent and bright happy personality. She'll always be with us in our hearts and memories. GOD be with you all. Love Sonja Marino
I was so shocked to hear of Gwen's passing. Though we had only met a couple of times,
I, like every person who ever met her, fell in love. With her vivacious personality first, her
artistic talents secondarily. I just wanted to express my condolences to you and to the rest of Gwen's family. If it is at all possible I will see you at Martyrs for the memorial.
I'm so sorry, Dennis. Best possible wishes to you all from Jim Latimer.
Dennis, our hearts are with you
Margaret & I saw you and Martin playing last Saturday in Seattle. It was such a beautiful performance! I loved the playful interchanges – especially when you picked up the mandolin. I never met Gwen, but having read the tributes here and on her website I am sure she was there in spirit with you. There was a very strong feeling of connection in the music – even stronger than before. Long may her light burn bright in your life – and ours!
She shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary her, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning
We will remember her
(paraphrased from Laurence Binyon’s tribute to the Busby Babes – 8 young soccer players who died in the Munich Air Crash in 1958)
Steve Edge and Margaret Whale, Rogue Folk Club, Vancouver
heartfelt condolences to you, buddy. No words are adequate. Love endures.
Tony Montague, Vancouver.
I am saddened to hear about the shock of the terrible fate of Gwen. I hope the family know that my prayers are with them tonight. Gwen will deeply be missed in the world of Lord of the dance, the show won't be the same without her. Gwen seemed a really nice person to meet and talk to, although sadly i didn't manage to speak to her myself my friend did and is in deep shock. my prayers and love are with you, Hayley.
To all of Gwens family,
I never met any of you, but got to know and love Gwen while she was here in Mississippi. Like so many others, I was shocked to hear of her tragic death. I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. She is at peace forever.....God Bless you. Fr. Tommy Conway
Very sorry to hear about Gwennie. I know your children mean the world to you. Des and I have special memories of you, Maggi and your little brood - full of life and enthusiasm, the house always full of visitors - the home baked bread and soup. Tynron Doon was a special place for your family, I know, and we shall climb it again soon and think of Gwennie and her family.
Linda Sharratt - Boreland, near Lockerbie
To the family and friends of Gwen Sale
Please accept my deepest sympathy on the death of your beloved Gwen. I did not know her personally but was moved by her beauty and energy in her performances of LORD OF THE DANCE. She will be missed.
Gwen: You must have been done here. Hope you had time to say goodbye, and if not, I'll see you later, God love you, Adrian (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Hi again from Scotland to all friends and family in Chicago,old and new.
Just as I felt that I was home in Scotland while I was in Chicago, I similarly feel in Glasgow that am still there with you all. I cannot believe that in the space of one short week, I have met so many truly wonderful people. I flew over to attend both Gwen's Gatherings in the Forest and in Martyr's Bar but also to try to fill in the knowledge-gaps of the woman she had become since leaving Scotland four years ago. I was not disappointed! You were all so forthcoming in your tales of Gwen. Not only do I understand her better, but meeting the community of which she was a much loved and respected member has given me insight.
I expressed two real fears in the Forest Gathering-both of them unfounded. First that Gwen may have lost touch with her Celtic values based on humanity and social justice and secondly that she was spending her time analysing her life instead of living it. Having met so many of you, I realise she wouldn't have stood a chance on either count, had she tried! Her life with you was full and wholesome and mutually supportive. I heard so many stories of Gwen being a source of inspiration, comfort and wise counsel in time of need. It warms my heart to know that she experienced full maturity before she died. If the worth of a human life can be measured by the amount of love given and generated in others, then Gwen will not be found wanting. She was raised to believe that. Your shared experience of her convinces me that she did indeed live by that. What parent could ask for more?
While thanking you all as a Celtic Community in Chicago, and Gwen's wider 'family' in Lord of the Dance, I would like to give special mention to those who made my stay with you so special. To Helen, Ann and Sheila -"sisters" in the true meaning of the word- who in a rare mixture of welcome, efficiency and chaos made my visit so comfortable and exciting.!!!!!!!!(Should someone inform the FBI that Ann has been "planted" to undermine all time-systems in USA ? Her beautiful voice is probably a cover for disseminating a new concept of Relativity!!!!).To big Jimmy for demonstrating that someone 'not in the first flush of youth' can master this hi-tech stuff and make it perform creative miracles!(There's hope for me yet!)
To John for ignoring my pavement farewells and getting into the driver's seat anyway!- but more especially, for teaching my lovely young nephew Edward to listen to his fiddle instead of his father! To Brian for Thai food and tears.( I will never forgive you for hiding behind my dear old auntie Betty's sensibilities to turn down my proposal of marriage by the way! I'm told I scrub up quite well and I wouldn't object to you putting curried rice in my soup. It's only because you have the nicest parents and the most gorgeous brother that I'm not taking a tartan contract out on you!) To Ray and all the staff at Martyrs for the truest expression of Celtic Hospitality I have seen outside Scotland. You really do know how to "welcome the stranger" and it is no surprise that Gwen viewed Martyrs as a fitting venue to welcome "Rabbie" into your midst on 25th January. I trust the Tradition will continue but you may have to recall my brother Jack from Shreveport to address the Haggis if Don's accent doesn't improve. Keep the Piper though! I don't know what he has up his kilt but he can certainly fill that bag!
The down side of my visit to Chicago, is that my very last balloon has been burst! Any lingering doubts that Gwen was really dead have been put to rest with my daughter. But if it was to be Gwen's fate that she should die so young and not at home with her immediate family, then I could not have wished for a warmer group of real people to have sustained and loved her in her final years. I know you will always retain a special place in your hearts for her memory. I spent some time at the site of her death in the company of Grant and Lena to whom my family will be eternally grateful for the care and attention they paid her in her final moments.She knew she was not alone and she heard and responded to her name.
This knowledge gives each of us real comfort in those periods of excruciating pain which still engulf us. And finally to Dennis-my heartfelt gratitude for all you did for Gwen in the time you knew her. Your love,support and understanding of Gwen was as unstinting as it was constant-and it was never an easy task-I should know! I also know that the ramifications of her death are far from over and you of all people will continue to feel the brunt of this. I don't envy you this task but I do envy you the quality of your friends Brian and Jimmy! You are not alone! I feel something very special was experienced by those who attended Gwen's gathering on Tynron Doon and the strong friendship which you previously shared has received an extra boost of love which knows no bounds.Tap into it as you need it, from both sides of the big pond and beyond!
Big Brother Jimmy has been protectively removing all direct contact addresses from this Web which I can understand but I can be contacted through Dennis in Chicago if anyone plans to visit Glasgow or Penpont. Now that I know you have mosquitoes bigger and deadlier than anything you will experience in Scotland, I have no hesitation in inviting you! Celtic Hospitality awaits you!
Thank you all again for being there for Gwen.............
+ Peace,Love and Social Justice .Maggi Sale.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
GWEN - so stunning, so talented, a beautiful person - such a loss.
Shocked, stunned, and an ache inside. Thats how I felt when I heard the
news, I still can't believe your gone.
I count myself lucky to have been one of the few who had the privelage of
getting to know you at secondary school. We kicked around together for a
couple of years in and out of school, had many weird and wonderful
conversations, spending lots of our free time at your mums, just being
teenagers. You were so vibrant and full of life, so strong minded but
selfless. You were the one who chose not to run with the crowd, you chose
to be yourself and stayed true to what you believed life was about, most
importantly you believed in yourself.
Somewhere down the line we parted company, didn't fall out out, just went
our seperate ways . . . .we put parting down to teenage hormones!! . . .
but we did meet again, and again.
The last time we met was in Moniaive, Gwen a la fiddle, just as it should
be! You still hadn't changed from school days, yes lots had happened with us
both, but you were still the same girl I knew years back, though even
prettier and even more vibrant. You were on a high, at the start of a new venture, heading off to the states for a new life with Dennis.
You were glowing with love and happiness. . . .and that Gwen, will always
be my lasting memory of you. . .all my love x
To Dennis and family,
I just learned about Gwen's tragic accident a couple of days ago. I was very
shocked and saddened by this news. I had the privelege and pleasure of
living and working with Gwen for a couple of months in 1999 with Lord of the
Dance in Florida. Although we didn't keep in touch afterwards, I will never
forget the times we spent together. She instantly made me feel welcome and
at home as a new member of the troupe, shared a few new tunes with me, made
me endless cups of tea at the beginning and end of each day, and was easily
able to put a smile on my face when I was feeling a little homesick. I
remember Gwen as having a bold and vibrant personality but she was also very
caring and sensitive to the needs of others. It was these qualities of
Gwen's that have marked my life in a positive way. I learned a lot from her
in a very short amount of time as I'm sure many others did too. My thoughts
and prayers are with you. God bless.
Shona Le Mottee
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
I love you, Gwen. I hope I touched your life as much as you touched mine. I am a firm believer that the spirit never dies. I know you are in a better place and we will meet again. I will continue to keep your family in my prayers.
Rose Mary Gordon
I did not know Gwen but I have just read in Irish
Music Magazine about her tragic death, and I wish to express my sincerest
sympathies to Dennis. I cannot even begin to imagine his sense of loss and
devastation. My thoughts and prayers are with him and Gwen's family.
We were very shocked and saddened to hear the news from Don Stewart. We only met Gwen a handful of times, but its clear that she will be very sorely missed by many. She has a wonderful spirit.
All the best, Mhairi and Kevin, Chicago Illinois
Dear Dennis (and all of Gwen's family),
I met you one day last fall with my friend Susan at the Sebastopol Celtic
and we spent time with you and Martin and others at a party that evening. I
remember feeling touched as you spoke to us of the love you felt for your
It was clear you had found the love we all hope for. And now it has passed
on, as everything does, but nothing is ever lost...merely transformed.
I have found that the lyrics to this song beautifully capture this and I
offer them as consolation and hope to you and all of us.
Time Has Passed (by Altan)
Time has past,
you have gone.
Your tune has played,
I must carry on.
you send the light.
Love is here,
I must carry on.
I open to the world,
the world will give.
No one's alone,
I must carry on.
In God I love,
in love I believe.
I believe in you,
I must carry on.
Winter is cold,
spring melts the snow.
Love is renewed,
I must carry on.
With heartfelt sympathy,
Chera van Burg, San Francisco
My heart goes out to all Gwen's family. I had the pleasure of meeting Gwen at school. We had many discussions about Scottish and Irish music. The last time I saw Gwen was in a small music session in a pub in the Scottish village of Corsock, Dumfriesshire. I had been travelling overseas and it was good to catch up with her again. Halfway through our conversation she apologised and said "I have to join in with this tune". She lived for her music. She once told me to throw away my music and start listening to more CD's. Well, I haven't thrown away my music but I now listen to a lot more CD's thanks to Gwen.
Kit Howcroft, Brisbane, Australia.
Dear Margaret and all members of the Sale family,
Thank you for the phone call.I am deeply saddened to hear of Gwennie's death.I feel priveleged to have baby-sat for such a talented individual and am sorry never to have met her again in adulthood.I will always remember her as the sweet enchanting cuddly girl she was as a child. When I married Anna on 28/1/79, Gwennie was our one and only flower-girl(bridesmaid) a job she accomplished beautifully -there was no need for any more! Have peace Gwennie. Love to all the Family.
Hugh& Anna Clark Kennedy and Family.Knockgray Farm, Scotland
In Memory of Gwen Sale