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Brendan was getting us ready for grief, and now we’re grieving the loss of a man who made us smile

Billy Keane


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Poet Brendan Kennelly. Photo: Arthur Carron

Poet Brendan Kennelly. Photo: Arthur Carron

Poet Brendan Kennelly. Photo: Arthur Carron

Brendan Kennelly didn’t beat Alzheimer’s, but he recited poetry almost to the end. Small victories are the great glories of wars lost before they begin.

Brendan was well-minded. He fought the Alzheimer’s with all his might. His niece, Mary Kennelly, told me that even near the end, he would burst into song. Old football songs mostly from when he was the small boy listening in his dad’s pub in Ballylongford.


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