Hotelier, huntsman and rugby star passes away

THE death took place last week of Kevin Flannery of Michael Street, Kilkenny and formerly of Flannery’s and the Carmel Hotel, now the site of Yindee’s Restaurant and the Rivercourt Hotel, John Street, Kilkenny.

THE death took place last week of Kevin Flannery of Michael Street, Kilkenny and formerly of Flannery’s and the Carmel Hotel, now the site of Yindee’s Restaurant and the Rivercourt Hotel, John Street, Kilkenny.

Mr. Flannery, a native of Nenagh had celebrated his 90th birthday in December surrounded by five of his surviving nine siblings, who had travelled from Tipperary, Offaly, Kerry and Dublin and including one brother who had caught three public bus connections from Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick to be there. He was also surrounded on the day by his seven surviving children and most of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A dedicated sportsman, Mr. Flannery was one of three surviving members of Kilkenny Rugby club’s first Provincial Towns Cup winning team in 1955. Ironically, the opposition were North Kildare for whom he had previously played. He also starred for Bective Rangers and had begun his rugby career with his native Nenagh Ormonde. One of his team mates, Dr. John Hindle and club President Tim Kiely attended the funeral ceremonies.

Mr. Flannery was also an accomplished horseman, hunting with the Kilmoganny hunt and with the McCalmont family of Mount Juliet. It was as a horseman that Mr. Flannery earned a role as an extra in the Laurence Olivier film Henry V, filmed in Wicklow, where he met his wife Maureen ‘Mingha’ O’ Byrne of Co. Wexford, who was then manager of the Bray Head Hotel. The couple married and moved to Kilkenny where they bought the then Globe Hotel, which the family were to run until 1994.

His other sporting passions were sailing which, along with three of his brothers, he participated in until recent times on Lough Derg. He also was a keen cyclist, cycling up until a fortnight before his death. One of the amusing stories of recent years was a local’s phone call to a family member who proclaimed no surprise at his cycling across John’s Bridge, until the caller continued that the cyclist in his late eighties was carrying a new micro-wave oven on his carrier! He had travelled around Ireland in his youth by bike, boasting of having cycled from Killarney to Nenagh in a day. He was also an inveterate observer of new bicycle trends, being a well-known visitor to the city’s bike shops and bike shows at home and abroad. In his time he had purchased tandems, fold-away bikes and in recent times showed great interest in the new electric versions.

A man of great faith, he rarely missed weekly Mass at either St. John’s or St. Canice’s churches. His funeral mass was concelebrated by his brother, retired parish priest Fr Paschal Flannery. The other celebrant of the funeral mass was Fr. Willie Purcell, who commented that the man who appeared shy and distant to many had a great sense of fun and playfulness and was adored by his grandchildren and great grandchildren as a very warm and funny presence in their lives.

He was immensely proud of his North Tipperary roots, where his brother Seán ran the family drapery in Pearse Street, Nenagh until recent years, one of the landmark businesses in the town for over 100 years. The family house had been burned by British forces during the War of Independence and his mother’s family, the Hannon’s of Quin, Co. Clare, had played a prominent role in the early Free State army, with rumour abounding that Major Jim Hannon, using the alias of Seán Murnane, was with Michael Collins at his assassination at Béal na mBláth.

Mr. Flannery is survived by daughters Pamela Minnock of Newcastle, Co. Wicklow; Anne Doherty of Celbridge, Co. Kildare; Frances Treacy, Greenshill, Kilkenny; Joan Beaurle of Delgany, Co. Wicklow and Marian Flannery of Greenshill, along with sons Vincent of Dromahair, Co. Leitrim and Laurence of Garringreen, who was warmly thanked by the family at the funeral ceremony for his care for his father over many years. He is also survived by brothers Jimmy, Seán, Laurence, Fr. Paschal, and Dónal and by sisters Nancy, Imelda and Claire. He was pre-deceased by his son Gregg, his wife Mingha and by his sister Pauline.