Kerry pays tribute to the late Brendan Grace

Simon Brouder

He will always be most associated with Dublin's Liberties but Brendan Grace had a great affinity for Kerry and since his passing last week tributes to the late entertainer have been pouring in from across the Kingdom.

Throughout his career Grace performed in Kerry on countless occasions putting on sell out shows in Tralee, Killarney and Listowel among many other locations.

When not touring he was also a regular visitor to the county spending many happy holidays with his friends in Kerry and bringing many visitors to see the county he often called his second home.

One of Grace's last visits to Kerry came in 201 when he arrived in Blennerville to unveil a plaque to his long time friend legendary local jarvey Nedeen Kelleher. Kelleher passed away in 1989 and at his funeral Grace along with the Ronnie Drew and The Dubliners and Red Hurley were among the leading showbiz stars in attendance.

Nedeen and Brendan Grace had been close friends for years and when Nedeen's brother Donal asked the comedian if he would unveil the plaque to the Tralee icon back in 2016 Grace immediately agreed.

"We'd been talking about a plaque since the day Nedeen died. I once mentioned it to Brendan and he said if you're every unveiling a plaque I'll be there. Fair play to him he kept his word," Donal told The Kerryman.

"He knew Nedeeen well. He was always a great friend to him and Brendan would have learned a lot of songs and stories from Nedeen," Donal said.

"Brendan will be sorely missed," said Donal.

While Brendan Grace was known far and wide in Kerry - and performed all over the county - he is probably best known for his connection with the Gleneagle Hotel and the INEC in Killarney. Grace was a regular and highly popular fixture at the Gleneagle and INEC where his shows typically drew sell out crowds right up to the end of his lengthy career.

On news of his death management at the Gleneagle and INEC paid tribute. "We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of our great friend Brendan Grace. Brendan worked hard to bring happiness and laughter to generations of Gleneagle guests." 

"We are eternally grateful to him for creating so many memories both in The Gleneagle Ballroom and the INEC over the past five decades. Our thoughts are with his wife Eileen, his family and his many friends at this time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís".