Proud Rockie who always wore a smile

The late Michael O'Leary

1944-2012 TRALEE and Rock Street, in particular, was saddened to hear the news of the death of Michael O'Leary, Glebe Lodge, Castleisland and formerly of Reidy's Terrace, Rock Street, on Saturday, December 15. Those who grew up in Rock Street in the 40s and 50s have very fond memories of Michael, for he held a special place in the hearts of all in the Street of Champions.

On meeting Michael one was immediately greeted with a smile and a warm and genuine hello, he never seemed to be in bad form. Perhaps, on reflection, we could all stand back and take a leaf from Michael's book and greet each other a little more caringly.

Michael was born on the January 25, 1944 to parents Jack O'Leary and Lal Burke of Reidy's Terrace, Upper Rock Street. Being born at that side of town meant Michael was a proud Rockie and wore his black and amber jersey on many occasions when the Stacks were victorious.

As a young boy Michael spent a lot of time at Joanie O'Connell's little farm, where Our Lady and St Brendan's Church now stands. Joanie and her brother Rory were two great characters in the area and Michael helped Joanie bring the milk to the creamery on her donkey and cart.

Michael was the envy of every other youngster in the street as it was akin to Ben Hur and his chariot when guiding the donkey down the road.

The greyhound track was next to Joanie's and Michael helped walking the dogs in preparation for racing. With his good friend, the late Timmy Fitzgerald, he would be seen regularly with longtails on the lead up and down Casement's Avenue.

When Joanie died Michael spent much time in Dolly Mulchinock's shop with Dolly, Kitty and Joe. Dolly's was a landmark at the top of the Rock and gathering point for many when going to football matches.

Michael was there to welcome all and wish them well on their endeavours in the field of play.

Michael had great support from the Rehab Care and attended their workshops in Clash for several years. He also attended Eagle Lodge, Oakpark as a day client and was very happy there. When his parents died in 1996 he moved into Eagle Lodge as a resident and remained there until 2005. He then moved to Glebe Lodge, Castleisland, where he stayed until he died.

Every where that Michael went he immediately made friends and involved himself in all social aspects and outings. Whether it was the Day Care Centre in Castleisland, the Cordal Community parties and plays at the local theatre, Michael was guaranteed to be involved. If there was a stop off along the way for refreshments he like to have a pint of his favourite tipple.

Michael was one those special people and all who had the pleasure of spending time in his company, have nothing but fond memories of happy times. Michael was born with a disability but it never hindered or held him back during his life.

Michael's remains reposed at Glebe Lodge, Castleisland on Sunday, December 16 and at Hogan's Funeral Home, followed by removal to Our Lady and St Brendan's Church. Requiem Mass was celebrated on Monday morning at 11am with funeral immediately afterwards to New Rath Cemetery.

Michael is deeply regretted by his loving sister Anne, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

May his gentle and sweet soul find peace in his heavely home.

Slan leat Michael.

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