TRIBUTES have been flooding in for Father Seamus Cunnane – Cardigan’s Roman Catholic parish priest for 37 years – following his death at the age of 92.

Having been ordained to the priesthood on June 12, 1955 at All Hallows College, Dublin, Fr Cunnane came to Cardigan in 1962 to take over as priest at the town's old Catholic Church in the Strand.

It was to prove a role he maintained all the way until his retirement in 1999.

During that period Fr Cunnane also developed a formidable reputation as a noted local historian.

Giving his reaction to this week's sad news, former Cardigan town mayor Mark Cole tweeted: “An incredible font of knowledge and passion for Cardigan now lost for the ages.

“Every discussion with Father Cunnane was an intellectual joust and, as a fellow historian, I enjoyed each and every one that I had with him.

“A giant of a man, Cardigan will never see the likes of him again.”

Historian Glen Johnson revealed that – along with the late Donald Davies - it was Fr Cunnane who had inspired and encouraged him to research local history.

“Over a period of more than 37 years we shared countless discussions and debates on the subject,” he told the Tivy-Side.

“Seamus always contributed a lively and insightful intelligence combined with a dash of wit and good humour. He always seemed to me to be the very epitome of the image of the scholarly priest.

“I was privileged to work alongside him in the efforts to save Cardigan Castle, and attending numerous lectures he gave over the years, which helped me to develop my own style when I followed in his footsteps.

“I shall greatly miss being able to ask his opinion or seek his approval on a piece of work and my heartfelt sympathies go to all of his many friends, particularly those within the Roman Catholic community, who have lost a priest, a mentor and a friend."

County councillor Clive Davies described Fr Cunnane as ‘an amazing orator’.

“I had the pleasure of listening to him several times explaining the medieval history of our town,” he said. “He gave me a copy of his research paper.

“He spent a lot of time in the national library doing his research. The civic trust in Cardigan , Cymdeithas Aberteifi, recorded interviews with him which are being transcribed.

“We have also installed some blue plaques around the town based on some of the information provide by Father Cunnane.”

And fellow county councillor Catrin Miles said: “I have such fond memories of Tad Cunnane’s extensive knowledge of the history and archaeology of Cardigan, his lively wit and immeasurable contribution to the local groups he attended – particularly so for me when the town celebrated its 900th anniversary back in 2010.

“He was always a wealth of information and contributed enormously to Cardigan society - I feel privileged to have known him.”

Kathleen Martin, of The Cymdeithas Aberteifi Society, said Fr Cunnane was one of their founder members.

"For me personally Seamus was more than a priest, a scholar, a wonderful independent thinker, a brilliant chess player - he was my very dear friend," she added.

"In January 2014, when Lower St Mary St was flooded and residents were standing in shock by the Red Lion, this small man - as always immaculately dressed as a priest - came walking through the water in wellington boots, with armfuls of bedding and offers of beds at his own home.

"I will never forget his generosity and kind thoughts that day

"I shed tears for you, Seamus, the likes of you we are rarely privileged to know."