THERE was great sadness in West Kerry on Saturday as news broke of the passing of well-known local character Dan Brick.
The Gorta Dubha native, who had the gift of the gab as a storyteller and raconteur, also had the ubiquitous honour of being the builder employed by none other than the late former Taoiseach Charles J Haughey in the construction of his private residence on Inis Mhic Uibhleáin.
"Mr Haughey, through Mr Brick, hired a group of local craftsmen to work on his house on the island," Mícheál de Mórdha, director of Ionad an Bhlascaoid, told The Kerryman.
"Collectively they were known as Charlie's Angels, partly because they were transported to the island and back to the mainland again by the Haughey's helicopter on several occasions during the construction work which took place intermittently in the late 1970s".
According to Mícheál, Mr Brick was highly regarded by Mr Haughey and became one of his closest personal friends. However, on one occasion 'Charlie's Angels' were less than angelic, when they quaffed a crate of Mr Haughey's finest wine.
"The story goes that the construction crew had run out of Guinness during a period of bad weather which had left them storm-bound on the Inis," Mícheál explained.
Being honest men, Charlie's Angels later replaced the wine but, not having such a finely tuned appreciation of rare vintages, they thought Blue Nun would be adequate to re-stock the island cellar. Haughey was less than impressed at the time but accepted that the men wouldn't have resorted to drinking wine if he had kept them supplied with Guinness.
As Micheal recalled, "the transgression was subsequently forgiven!"
Mr Brick and Mr Haughey are said to have remained close friends in the years that followed.
Fellow Gorta Dubha native Muiris Bric of the Kerrymen's Association in New York, a great friend of Dan Brick, also paid tribute.
"We grew up together – he was a few years older and I looked up to him in those young years," said Muiris who also worked alongside Dan in London.
"Though the work was hard, sometimes unbearable, we slogged through it and lived it up on weekends in the Buffalo, in Camden Town, the Galtimore in Cricklewood and the Round Tower in Holloway Road."
"Those were great times with lots of songs and dances; there will be great craic in Heaven and Dan's yarns will be heard throughout with laughter go leór," Muiris added.
Dan Brick reposed at O'Connor's Funeral Home on Tuesday night before being removed to Carraig Church. Requiem Mass will be celebrated this morning (Wednesday) at 10am.