Great Kilkenny man who fed a saint buried in city

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Great Kilkenny man who died in Dublin and fed a saint will be buried in the city tomorrow

The late Frank O'Connell

A hurling mad Kilkenny man who fed a saint and enjoyed a hugely successful life in Dublin will be buried in his native place today (Tuesday).

Frank O'Connell, late of MacTorcaill’s Bar, Townsend Street, Dublin 2 and originally from Stoneyford passed away at James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown over the weekend.

From an early age he developed the two major passions, people and hurling. He had a special way with people which he used as a successful businessman in his butcher shop and pub businesses and he was never happier than when supporting the black and amber of Kilkenny.


The night of Frank O'Connell's 21st birthday would shape the rest of his life; he met the love of his life Carmel Butler from Bonnetstown, Kilkenny and they married on November 8, 1971 in St. Canice’s Church in the city.

They moved to Dublin, had very little but had the happiest of times together. He set up his own butcher shop on the Nephin Road ‘Prime Meats’. 

One of his proudest boasts was that he had fed a saint. During the Papal visit in 1979 he was asked to provide meat to the Nunciature on the Navan Road for Pope John Paul II. The Evening Herald front page headline read “Butcher’s proud slice of Pontiff’s visit”.

In 1985, he followed in the footsteps of his brother Paddy, who he idolised, by opening O’Connell’s bar on Upper Dorset Street. The pub quickly became the port of call for the droves of thirsty Kilkenny fans on their many trips to and from Croke Park.

The place would be packed on match days and a little corner of Dublin 1 resounded to the air of  ‘The Rose of Mooncoin’ win, lose or draw.

Frank O'Connell played hurling for Carrickshock and then St. Oliver Plunketts in Dublin after he moved to the Nephin Road. As a seasoned veteran, he played as a half-forward on the same team as his young nephews Jimmy and Pius O'Connell and took on the role of protector when any rough stuff was dished out to the two lads. He was loved by his nieces and nephews for his generosity and fun and was always on hand to support them in times of need.

Frank was a wonderful, loving father who was full of fun and mischief. He had six children, Caroline, Patricia, James, Brian, Noel, Eugene. He adored his grandchildren Simone, Holly, Robyn, Noah, Cale, Raelyn and little Seren who was born just before Christmas.

In 1997, Frank left Dorset Street and set up business on Townsend Street in Dublin 2 where he refurbished the Tara Bar and opened MacTorcaill’s bar, a popular haunt for workers from AIB, Irish Times, Tara Street Fire Brigade and many other local businesses. 

Frank was a people person and a real showman. He thrived on warmly greeting his customers who were made to feel cherished and once introduced he never forgot a name.

He made people feel so welcome and made an instant impression on them. His generous spirit was well known and he would do anything for you - as loyal as they come.

In 2011 he was devastated by the loss of his beloved wife Carmel. Things were never the same for him after that. He battled with numerous health problems in the following years. He received the terrible news of his diagnosis with lung cancer in October last. He fought so hard right to the end and battled back after three bouts of pneumonia in the last three  months.

His family have been overwhelmed by the support of so many people from Kilkenny, friends and relatives especially.

Frank was born on May 20, 1947 to Nan and Jim O'Connell in Rathduff, Stoneyford where he grew up with his brothers Paddy, John and Ambrose and his adoring sister the late Maura. 

He is survived by his daughters Caroline and Patricia; sons James, Brian, Noel and Eugene; grandchildren, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brothers Paddy, John and Ambrose, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Removal from James Connolly Memorial Hospital this evening (Monday) at 4:30pm to Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Navan Road, arriving at 5 pm.

Funeral Mass today (Tuesday) at 10am followed by burial in Foulkstown Cemetery, Waterford Road, Kilkenny, arriving at 1:30pm approx. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired to Age Action Ireland.