Family and patrons pay tribute to big-hearted chef Kinsella
Published 24/05/2013 | 05:00
FRED Astaire once danced in his kitchen for the amusement of staff.
The epic meal he fed Greek singer Demi Roussos has gone down in the annals – including five dozen oysters, three lobsters and three ducks followed by generous bowls of Dublin coddle and Irish stew.
Charlie Haughey and Terry Keane were regular patrons and the string of celebrity diners included Neil Diamond, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, Laurence Olivier and Burt Lancaster.
Sean Kinsella (81) was the chef supreme of his generation and his restaurant in Sandycove, Dublin, the Mirabeau, counted proudly in the top 50 eating establishments of the world, standing out into a sea of mediocrity in 1970s Ireland.
Mr Kinsella was also a devoted family man who adored his wife, Audrey, their two sons, Stephen and Andrew, and granddaughter, Tara, mourners at his funeral yesterday heard.
He was also a dedicated charity worker, raising over €1m for a multitude of causes in his lifetime.
His son, Andrew, remembered one night in the restaurant when tennis star John McEnroe was in and photographers were scrambling to take his picture. Two homeless people called at the kitchen door and his father told them to come back later. When they did, he had two bags of food for them.
Many of the renowned chef's former customers were among the gathering at St Anne's Church in Shankill, south Dublin.
Among them were former film censor, Sheamus Smith, broadcaster Vincent Browne, comedian Noel V Ginnity, former radio presenter Rodney Rice and former publican Dessie Hynes of O'Donoghue's fame.
During the funeral Mass, parish priest Fr John O'Connor spoke of Dr Kinsella as an extraordinarily creative person Andrew – who lives in Australia – spoke of his father's immaculate dress sense, his loyalty to the hurling teams of his native Clare and his pride at receiving his doctorate from the International Culinary Award Institute.
But he treated everyone the same, once cooking Christmas dinner for 700 homeless people in the Mansion House.
And then to the moving music of the 'Green Hills of Clare', the coffin was taken from the church for burial at St Fintan's cemetery, Sutton.