Mike was a genuine, jovial gentleman
The death occurred recently of Michael (Mike) Byrne, Neville Street, New Ross, in the love and care of his family.
Born in Colman (Arthurstown), Mike had five brothers, Joe, Pat, Frank, John and Liam and a sister Betty. He attended school in Ramsgrange before going on to work as a farm labourer in fields not far from his home.
Longing for some adventure he joined the army - only to be stationed in Duncannon, but Mike being Mike he made the most of his post and enjoyed training on the beach, eventually progressing into the Peace Corps.
He met New Ross woman Mary (Rene) Murphy at a dance in Duncannon and the happy couple were married and had four children, Rory, David, Eric and Alison.
They settled in Neville Street, where Rene was kept busy raising the children, while Mike was stationed as far away as The Congo on peacekeeping missions, at a time when war raged in the troubled African country.
Mike spent some time working in The Curragh, returning every weekend to see Rene and his children.
One of the highlights of the year for Mike was the annual holiday, which would see the family journey to the west coast - complete with TV and dogs - where they would stay in B&Bs and explore the country Mike loved so well.
Mike left the army and went to work at Great Island power plant as a security guard and was there for the building of the plant, spending around 30 years manning the station security. Such was his popularity among employees at Great Island that many travelled to attend his wake.
Mike took early retirement in his mid-50s, and enjoyed life to the full, including trips abroad with Rene, to Spain and Italy.
He loved tending his garden, which was often complimented upon by visitors to the Byrne home, an immaculately kept dwelling on Neville Street.
Mike enjoyed great health up until 14 years ago when he got Parkinson's Disease. Over the following years he was wonderfully cared for by Rene and Alison in his home, from where he enjoyed independence and quality of life.
Mike continued to make a great contribution to his grandchildren's lives, passing on his knowledge to them.
His trusty dog Nellie was a great companion to him down through the years, be it on his long walks or at home by his side.
Her passing came as a great blow to Mike and a photo of his beloved pet was presented as a gift at his funeral Mass.
Mike will be remembered as a genuine, generous man, who always spoke straight to people. A great judge of character, he was a loyal friend and his jovial, fun loving ways will be greatly missed.
Mike spent sopme time in Wexford General Hospital and in his final weeks at the Houghton Hospital in New Ross, where he passed away peacefully surrounded by hs family on January 21, aged 74.
A large crowd attended Mike's funeral Mass at St Mary & St Michael's Parish Church and his burial afterwards in St Stephen's Cemetery where his friend Terry Brennan played the stirring, mournful strains of Boolavogue on a tin whistle. as he was laid to his eternal rest,
Mike is sadly missed by his loving wife Rene; sons Rory, David and Eric; daughter Alison; brothers; sisters; grandchildren; son-in-law; daughters-in-law; extended family and friends.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.
New Ross Standard