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Obituary: Frank Quinn

Publican, businessman and property owner ran the New York marathon with his three brothers, writes Liam Collins

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PIPER’S LAMENT: Frank Quinn

PIPER’S LAMENT: Frank Quinn

PIPER’S LAMENT: Frank Quinn

In this time of stealthy burials it was fitting the hearse carrying the remains of publican Frank Quinn stopped outside the iconic Toners pub in Baggot Street, which Frank and his brother Mick owned for more than 30 years, while a piper wearing a Tyrone football jersey played a lament and staff paid their last respects.

The cortege then left Dublin and wound its way back to Frank's home village of Pomeroy, Co Tyrone, where he was laid to rest on Easter Monday.

There, the priest at the funeral Mass thanked his wife Maura "for allowing him to come home".

One former Dublin publican described him as "a real Northern Irishman" proud of his nationalist roots, a GAA supporter, supporter of the Tyrone Association in Dublin and canny businessman.

He also had a keen interest in running and, in later life, walking, even following in the footsteps of the great Tom Crean, through South Georgia and into Antarctica.

Frank Quinn and his younger brother Michael jointly owned a string of well-known south city pubs, Toners and The Waterloo at opposite ends of Baggot Street, the 51 on Haddington Road and the Lansdowne Hotel on Pembroke Road, with its well-known bar The Den.

Mick was also a chemist and, between them, the brothers also owned HP Corrigan, a pharmacy business with assets of more than €14m and interests in shops in Malahide and Pomeroy.

Frank and Maura were keen hill-walkers and ran Wilderness Activities Ireland, which owns a hostel strategically placed on the Wicklow Way in Glenmalure.

Although they were well known in Dublin publican circles, the Quinn brothers kept a low profile and got on with their business activities largely under the radar.

"He had great connections," said an acquaintance in the trade. "He could get things done and if he could do you a good turn he would."

He learned the pub trade in New York as a young man before returning to Ireland and going into business in Dublin.

In 1987 the Quinn brothers bought Toners, which had gone out of the founder's family around 1970. Their timing was perfect, the economy was picking up after the recession of the early 1980s and traditional bars were coming back into fashion.

In late 1998 the brothers bought The Waterloo House from Andy Ryan who had owned it for 37 years and still "lived above the shop". Some years later they added The 51 on Haddington Road and the Lansdowne Hotel.

In 1980 the Quinns, along with brothers Brian and Sean, became celebrities in America when they became the first set of four brothers to run in the New York City marathon.

They repeated the feat 33 years later when they ran in the Dublin City Marathon.

Frank Quinn, who died on April 9, aged 70, after a long illness, is survived by his wife Maura, his three brothers and his extended family.

Sunday Independent