Friday 20 September 2019

Brendan Grace never forgot his Dunlavin roots

The late Brendan Grace
The late Brendan Grace

Myles Buchanan

Thousands of people lined the streets of the Liberties ahead of the funeral of comedian Brendan Grace on Monday.

During the funeral procession, the Grace family held hands as they followed the comedian's coffin through the streets in moving scenes.

Among those in attendance at the funeral was Peter Grace of Dunlavin, a first-cousin of the late entertainer. Brendan's father, Seamus, was born and reared in the west Wicklow village before moving to Dublin as a young man, where he ended up settling down.

Peter recalls Brendan as a 'born-entertainer' who was able to delight audiences even as a very young child.

'He never forgot Dunlavin,' said Peter.

'He talked a lot about the place when he was being interviewed on radio. Even as a young fellow he would come down and entertain us all. Even as young as seven he was already a born entertainer. He'd get up, stand by the dresser in our home, sing a few songs and entertain us all. He was always very funny, even as a youngster. He was just like his father Seamus. He was a real character as well. It was in Brendan's blood and he was always funny. He was born that way. He was funny from day one, pretty much from the first time I knew him as a baby.'

At the funeral procession Brendan received a guard of honour as a piper played and a floral tribute to one of Grace's most famous characters, schoolboy Bottler. The service was more a celebration of his achievements. Some of his showbiz pals came to pay their respects, such as Brendan O'Carroll, Daniel O'Donnell, Dickie Rock and Twink.

'It was more of a celebration of his life, which is what Brendan would have wanted,' said Peter. 'He didn't want anyone mourning him. Lots of his celebrity friends were present afterwards in the Red Cow. There was a bit of a sing-song. Brendan always felt that you mourn a young persons life after their passing, but you celebrate the life of someone older.'

Peter last saw Brendan last Tuesday after visiting Galway Clinic where Brendan was being cared for.

'Me and two of my sisters went down to see him in hospital on Tuesday, so we got a big shock when we were told he had passed away on Thursday,' added Peter. 'He was chatting away to us about Dunlavin. He was talking about how he used to get the bus down from Dublin and it would drop him off at Toss Dowling's public house at Annalecky, and my father would drive down and pick him up. He'd stay for a few days and then get the bus back to Dublin. I'm talking about 50 or so years ago. He'd get the bus down with his parents. He was talking away to us about Dunlavin on Tuesday. We didn't bring it up. We had no idea it would be the last time we would see him. Anytime he was at home he would pop out to visit us or he would drop in if he was passing. He will be sadly missed.'

Wicklow People