Sunday 18 August 2019

'I'll see yiz somewhere' - Brendan Grace told friends of his funeral plans in final visit

 

Comedian Brendan Grace. Photo: Collins Photos
Comedian Brendan Grace. Photo: Collins Photos
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Behind the legendary wit, Brendan Grace was a "very spiritual man" who told his friends in a final visit that while he couldn't say "see yiz again, lads," he would say "see yiz somewhere".

The iconic comedian and national treasure had made arrangements for his own funeral, with his wishes being carried out by music impresario George Hunter, who first met Grace on the cabaret scene 45 years ago.

And in an emotional moment for mourners, his remains will be carried from the church to Grace's own recording of 'Dublin in the Rare Old Times'.

Among those expected to turn out to say a final farewell to the much-loved national figure are former Ireland international Paul McGrath, 'Lord of the Dance' star Michael Flatley and actor David Soul, who played Hutch in the 1970s TV series 'Starsky and Hutch'.

Music at the funeral will be provided by Grace's good friends Paddy Cole and Red Hurley, as well as the Forget-Me-Not choir, which was very close to his heart.

The Dublin-based community choir is especially welcoming to those affected by dementia and memory loss.

They will open Monday's funeral Mass at The Church of St Nicholas of Myra on Dublin's Francis Street with a rendition of 'The Dublin Saunter'.

At communion, Red Hurley will sing the theme from 'Love Story', which he also sang at Brendan and Eileen Grace's wedding in 1973.

George Hunter recalled his friend's legendary humour was very much to the fore when he visited him for a final time together with friends, with Grace quipping: "Did you meet the widow Grace?"

When his wife, Eileen, protested, Grace said: "Oh well, I'm checking out, Eileen."

Grace was deeply spiritual, Hunter revealed, saying: "He was convinced he'd see his ma and da shortly. He talked about that."

On parting, he told his friends that while he couldn't say "I'll see yiz again, lads", he would say "I'll see yiz somewhere".

"He had a great faith," said Hunter, adding that his friend had been cheerful on that last visit and had put his arm around him.

"I'll miss him - 45 years I know him," he said, adding that he had organised his 40th wedding anniversary.

The Dubliner was set to put on a show at the Olympia with the Forget-Me-Not choir later in the year as a celebration of his life. This is still set to go ahead in his memory, Hunter said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News