Herbert McDowell Stanley Born 4 January 1937 Died 3 January 2019

Published On:
January 15, 2019

Herbert McDowell Stanley

Born 4 January 1937 Died 3 January 2019

One day short of his 82nd birthday, Herb Stanley died at his home in Loughrea Co. Galway. Originally from Carleton Place, near Ottawa in Ontario Canada, Herb came to Ireland in the early 1960’s to work on the exploration of the Tynagh zinc-lead-silver mine in east Co Galway. His expertise in the mining industry was invaluable in that regard, as there was limited availability of advanced mineral drilling technology in Ireland at that time.


Shortly afterwards, Herb founded his own company Irish Drilling Ltd (IDL) in the mid 1960’s. Based in Loughrea, Co. Galway, IDL has gone on to provide mineral exploration drilling services to companies active in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK and France. IDL has been involved in the discovery and delineation of almost every mineral deposit and /or mine on the island of Ireland including gold, base metals and industrial minerals.

In the 1980’s IDL extended its services to include site investigation drilling and laboratory testing services for a wide range of infrastructure developments in Ireland, including motorways, wind farms, commercial developments and the onshore and offshore elements of the Corrib Gas Field. IDL remains a significant employer in Galway; many of the staff have been with the company for decades.

IDL is now managed by Herb’s son in law Ronan Killeen and his fellow director Declan Joyce, both Chartered Engineers. Herb served as Chairman and was until a year ago still very active in the affairs of the company.

Herb was also a founding shareholder in several mineral exploration companies in Ireland and in Canada, including Jamex, New Sabina, and Dungannon. In 1987, the Irish interests of these companies were combined to form Celtic Gold plc which listed in Dublin and London which was later taken over by a UK insurance group. Herb maintained a keen interest in the sector, often supplying drilling services and accepting shares as payment, a strategy that was often very successful.

On the occasion of Herb’s 80th birthday, Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey Ireland commented that the Tynagh Mine which Herb Stanley helped delineate was the foundation of the modern Irish mining industry. The development of Irish Drilling Ltd. is a great example of community gain and of the multiplier effect arising from mining. IDL is a key member of the Geoscience Ireland cluster of 37 companies providing services to the international mining sector.


Herb’s other interests included ownership of several successful racehorses (National Hunt and Flat). Among these were Deep Idol, Merry Gale (both Grade 1 Chase Winners), Derrymoyle and more recently Captain Joy. He also owned a horse called Celtic Gold; Herb commented that like the company of the same name, it showed well from time to time, but was never a winner!


Herb was deeply involved in the social life of Loughrea, being a member of Loughrea Golf Club, Lions and Loughrea Rugby Club. He was also a founding member and promoter of the Galway Bay Golf and Country Club.

Herb married Emily Brady from Loughrea in 1963 and has been based there ever since. He is survived by his two daughters Lillian and Avril; son in law Ronan Killeen and Shantanu; grandchildren Caimin, Tiernan, Cullen and Jarah, and by his twin Hannah and sister Lillian. Like Herb, his extended family is deeply involved in Loughrea life, with Emily a stalwart member of the Golf Club; Lillian serving with Loughrea GAA and his grandsons playing at club and county level GAA. Avril is a successful concert promoter and businesswoman.


The affection felt for Herb by his family, his business and sporting friends and his local community was very evident by the huge attendance at his funeral service in St Brendan’s Cathedral in Loughrea. Ten priests and a bishop presided; his daughters Lillian and Avril gave eloquent and moving eulogies, noting that some bets that Herb had placed on the day he died had come good.


Bishop John Kirby noted that like earlier Norman settlers, Herb had become more Irish than the Irish themselves. In a fitting summary at the end of his homily, Mgr Cathal Geraghty said; “Herb’s race is run; Winner All Right, Winner All Right.”


I had the pleasure of knowing Herb for over 40 years and working with him for 10 of these years. I am not alone in having found him to be astute, fair, honest, loyal and that his many successes left him unchanged; his essential simplicity, good humour and zest for life were never dimmed. He was big in heart and in character and made his mark.


Ar dheis De go raibh a h-anam


Sean Finlay

January 2019



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