Friday 22 March 2019

Farewell to Charlie Rooney

Oldtown bids a fond farewell to the legendary character that was centenarian, Charlie Rooney

Charlie Rooney sporting the jersey of his beloved Wild Geese with the Sam Maguire in the background
Charlie Rooney sporting the jersey of his beloved Wild Geese with the Sam Maguire in the background
Charlie Rooney surrounded by generations of his loving family at his 100th birthday, last year.

Ken Phelan

The close-knit community of Oldtown is in mourning at the sad passing of one of the town's best loved and popular residents, Charlie Rooney.

Charlie, who turned 100 last June, had been a resident in Oldtown all his life, living in the same family home since his birth in 1918.

An avid GAA enthusiast, Charlie was, up until his passing, President of his beloved Wild Geese GAA Club, where he would attend local matches before retiring to The Oldtown House for debriefing and a chat with friends.

Speaking in the days after the funeral, daughter-in-law Trina Rooney paid tribute to Charlie: 'Charlie had been a little unwell since around last August, and he'd only recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

'He just took a bad turn on the Thursday before, and passed away on the Sunday.

I suppose it was just old age, given how old he was.

'He'd been well and active up until his 100th birthday last June, then I suppose after the birthday things went a little downhill.

'That was from about last August onwards, and then the mobility slowly started to go.

'By Christmas time he was in a wheelchair and we needed to help him to do things.'

Charlie, says Trina, hadn't been out much since last September, but did get to attend a fundraiser for the Cappagh Hospital Foundation, which he had been involved with every year.

The charity walk is organised by Leo Halpin every year and Charlie, despite his advancing years was always there to do his bit at the unique charity event that sees ex-patients of Cappagh Hospital raise money for the very hospital that gave them the abilty to walk.

He was well known in the Oldtown House, Trina sais, where he could often be seen sitting on the high bar stool, discussing matches and joking with the other club members.

Charlie, whose wife passed away in 1975, lived with son Peter and daughter-in-law Trina in the same house in which he was born, and they were both grateful that he got to pass away in his house, which held so many happy memories.

With three grandsons, one step-grandson and three great grandchildren, and brothers and sisters living locally, he always had family around him.

Trina says: 'Charlie was just a very unassuming man, he led a very simple life, but a life that he was very content with.

'He absolutely loved his GAA, a strong Dublin supporter, and used to watch all the matches, and a huge supporter of the local club here, The Wild Geese as well.

'He went very few places in his lifetime, and just loved Oldtown through and through and the whole community he grew up with here.'

Chairman of Wild Geese GAA Club Sean McNulty, also paid tribute to the late and great, Charlie Rooney.

Sean said: 'Charlie was a gentleman. He loved the GAA and he was very fond of anything to do with Gaelic games, and if he was still alive and capable of going, he'd still be going.

'The man was a legend in the area.

'He'd great interest in Dublin GAA, and the local club.'

Sean concluded: 'The man was 100 years of age and of course he'll be missed, he was part of the community, the oldest person in the whole parish, in Rolestown and Oldtown.'

Charlie's funeral, leading to the burial in Palmerstown Cemetery in Oldtown, saw around 250 people attend, from family, friends, club members to locals. Of course it was a sad occasion but also a celebration of a long life, well lived and a fond farewell to a beloved local character.

A guard of honour, arranged by the Wild Geese and the Cappagh Hospital Foundation led the procession, to see off a local legend, and with him, a little piece of this rural village's history.

Fingal Independent