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The late Paul O’Toole Snr of the Harbour Bar was a cherished figure in his home town of Bray

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The late Paul O'Toole snr.

The late Paul O'Toole snr.

The late Paul O'Toole Senior (left) with the late Joe Duggan (right) in Bray's Harbour Bar, which Joe bought from Paul in 2013. Photo: Joe Keogh

The late Paul O'Toole Senior (left) with the late Joe Duggan (right) in Bray's Harbour Bar, which Joe bought from Paul in 2013. Photo: Joe Keogh

The late Paul O'Toole Senior.

The late Paul O'Toole Senior.

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The late Paul O'Toole snr.

braypeople

The community of Bray has lost one of its most cherished sons in Paul O’Toole Snr, formerly of the Harbour Bar, who passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, November 14, aged 84.

He will be most fondly remembered as a man with lightning quick wit, sharp intelligence, and great compassion.

Paul Francis O’Toole was born in 1938 and grew up in Bray with his four brothers, in the family pub and under the watchful eye of their parents James and Elizabeth.

He attended Presentation College in Bray and went on to Kevin St to study radio engineering.

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Paul dreamed of going to sea. He qualified, joined the merchant navy, and went on to travel all over the world.

His travels brought him on a brush with danger at one point. He was en-route to Cuba in 1962 when the missile crisis occurred.

Fleets of commercial ships were stranded out at sea as the crisis unfolded, having received morse code signals not to approach the island.

He came home to help his brother Desmond and their mother run the pub after James' death. Paul met and married Mary and they went on to have three children - Daragh, Orna and Paul Jnr.

It was 2013 when Paul decided to retire. The pub changed hands and he was very pleased that the new owners would be lifelong friends, the Duggan family.

His children remember Paul as a father who was great fun, quirky, and would love to bring them off for day trips around Wicklow whenever he could, making the most of his time off. The family would pile into the car and head for Glendalough, Glencree, Brittas Bay and all over County Wicklow.

He and his wife Mary were a great team of parents and, at a time when it would be unusual for men to do such things, Paul thought nothing of pushing a pram or making a bottle.

He loved the pub, particularly the customers, all of whom thoroughly appreciated his wonderful ‘Monty Python/ Spike Milligan’ style of humour.

Paul encouraged local talent, and hosts of Bray’s many musicians remember getting their start performing in the Harbour Bar. Many went on to maintain a very friendly relationship with him even after he had retired.

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The late Paul O'Toole Senior (left) with the late Joe Duggan (right) in Bray's Harbour Bar, which Joe bought from Paul in 2013. Photo: Joe Keogh

The late Paul O'Toole Senior (left) with the late Joe Duggan (right) in Bray's Harbour Bar, which Joe bought from Paul in 2013. Photo: Joe Keogh

The late Paul O'Toole Senior (left) with the late Joe Duggan (right) in Bray's Harbour Bar, which Joe bought from Paul in 2013. Photo: Joe Keogh

The Harbour Bar was the scene of several films and TV programmes, a side of the business which Paul greatly enjoyed. Peter O’Toole famously gave the pub a gift of a Moose’s head from the set of ‘What’s New Pussycat’, which still hangs on the wall today.

Many stars have frequented the Harbour, including Bono, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Alan Rickman and more.

But Paul may have missed his calling. He had his own moment in the spotlight, playing a barman of all things, who had the pleasure of telling Brendan Gleeson to ‘settle down John Joe’.

When he retired nine years ago, Paul began to enjoy his retirement along with his loyal canine companion Mollie.

They would go for regular walks and maybe get an icecream on the seafront.

Throughout his life, family was the most important thing to Paul. He loved to turn off the television and regale his son Paul Jnr with tales of the navy or anecdotes from the pub.

He was always there for his three children, and was a steady and caring presence as they negotiated their own lives.

He adored his grandchildren and they him. Paul would even impress them with some magic tricks!

He had a very interesting hobby in ham radio, through which he would put his morse code skills to great use.

He had a radio shack out the back and would exchange signals with people all over the world. They would also exchange postcards with each other containing their ‘call signs’ and photos from the four corners of the globe.

He missed the people and the craic of work, but also enjoyed putting his feet up and taking life easy.,

As well as an adored dad, grandad and a member of the O’Toole family, Paul was a prominent and loved member of the Bray community.

He gave his time and energy to organisations such as the seaside festival committee and Bray Chamber, as well as support for Bray Cancer Support, the RNLI, and many other local charities.

He always supported events, the quirkier the better! A Christmas party could be held in July, or a pizza eating competition during the summer festival.

Paul was beloved husband of the late Mary, much loved father of Daragh, Orna and Paul Jnr, loving brother of Séamus, Gay and the late Desmond, Tomás and Ignatius. He will be sadly missed by his daughter-in-law Lorraine, son-in-law Ian, grandchildren Molly, Elsie and Ruby, Fionn and Art, by his “faithful friend” Mollie, sister-in-law Ann and by his extended family, friends and former customers.

Reposing at Colliers Funeral Home on Friday, November 18, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be a funeral and committal service on Saturday, November 19, at the funeral home at 11 a.m.


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