THE passing of Dr Michael Banville, Carley’s Bridge, Enniscorthy, on Monday, August 1, brought great sadness to people throughout County Wexford and beyond.
Beloved husband of Anne and loving father to Aoife, Eoin and Orla, Dr Banville was a gentleman and a true ‘gentle man’ in every way possible.
The youngest of four siblings he grew up in Cleariestown and it was always his home place and where he chose to have his funeral mass held.
Following national school Dr Banville received his secondary education in St Peter’s College, where he attended as a boarder, and two of the friends he made while there remained very close to him throughout his whole life.
He went on to UCD to study medicine and following his graduation he spent his early working life in both the Mater and St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, and following that he spent some time working in America and Canada. He returned to Ireland in 1977 and worked for a time as a GP in Gowran, Co Kilkenny.
However, he had a great love of the sea and always wanted to live close by it and in 1981 he returned to Co Wexford, to Enniscorthy, where he set up a thriving and well respected-practice until he retired in 2011.
His was one of the last of the old-style, true ‘family’ practices where he did everything himself and he provided a very personal service.
Mick, as he was known, was a devoted family man and loved his wife Anne dearly. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 8, this year. He was very proud of his children, doted on his grandchildren, and took an active interest in everything they did.
Family and friendship were extremely important to him and he lived his life with the ethos of ‘once a friend, always a friend’.
His lifelong love of the sea stemmed from many happy days in his childhood spent on Carne beach going out with friends from the area to fish for lobster and crab.
In his later years he had a special bunker in the dunes at Ballinesker beach where he spent long days listening to sport on his transistor radio.
Away from his practice Mick had a passionate interest in sport but as a spectator rather than participant.
He read the sporting section of the newspaper every day and his encyclopaedic knowledge of sport was something for which he was renowned and also something he liked to showcase whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Dr Banville also had a practical involvement in sport and was the racecourse doctor in Gowran Park for 40 years.
He also loved listening to good stories and was happy to retell them as well, adding his own bit of inimitable flair to the tale.
Mick was very well travelled and he loved going away on trips with Anne by his side. It was some of the characters and personalities he met while on such journeys who left the strongest impression on him.
He will be dearly missed and very fondly remembered by everyone whose life he touched and especially by his family and sisters.
Dr Banville’s requiem mass took place in the Church of St Mannon and Assumption, Cleariestown, on Wednesday, August 3, followed by private cremation.
He is survived by his wife, Anne, children, Aoife, Eoin and Orla, sisters, Bernie McDermott and Teasie Rochford, sister-in-law, Marie Banville, grandchildren, Teilo, Ayda, Saidhbh, Odhran and Bobby, relatives and very large circle of friends.