The late Kevin Dunne, Bennettsbridge
The death occurred on Friday, January 26 of Kevin Dunne, Woodlawn, Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.
The great community activist, recently celebrated his 80th birthday.
His life in Ireland and England was punctuated by acts of kindness and he was involved with many organisations.
He was predeceased by his wife Vera some years ago and that hit him very hard.
A man of many talents, Kevin lived life to the full making his mark on the playing field and on the stage in various musicals and operas.
The news of his death was received with much sadness as he was well known and respected in the community.
He worked in Mixrite for some time and afterwards built up a thriving window cleaning operation around Kilkenny City where he was a familiar figure.
He was a great fisherman and his grandson Ricky enjoyed many days in his company near Bennettsbridge on the River Nore.
In recent years Kevin was a familiar figure on the bridge as he fed the ducks and chatted with those walking by.
He loved his pint and his many drinking buddies will miss his company.
Born in England, he was one of seven children of Johnny and Ciss Dunne (Ciss was the former Ciss Power, Friars Hill, Thomastown).
Kevin was sent home to Bennettsbridge during the war years and played hurling with school, under 16 and minor level.
In 1957, he emigrated to England and played with the Moondearg Club helping them to win two Junior Titles.
On his return to Ireland in 1970, Kevin immediately took up the mantle with Bennettsbridge Hurling Club and played in the full forward position for the next five years.
He won senior honours in 1971 and defeated finalists in 1972 and 1974.
It is worth noting that his grandfather, John Dunne won Senior Championship with St Kyran’s in 1890 (Bennettsbridge’s first senior title).
Kevin’s father (known as the Lovely Johnny Dunne) won all-Ireland, Leinster and Railway Cup titles in the thirties.
He subsequently emigrated to London and won a Junior All-Ireland with London in 1938. He died in 1954 aged 49 years of age.
East End United
Kevin’s other great sporting interest was East End United Soccer Club.
In the ’Seventies he was heavily involved in setting up the East End B team and was treasurer for some years.
Kevin was a regular on the team which was known fondly as, “Dad’s Army”. He was on “good terms” with all the referees.
His exploits on the stage and particularly with the Watergate Theatre are worthy of mention.
His friend in the Watergate, retired manager, Gerry Cody penned this tribute to Kevin on his Facebook page on hearing of his death:
“Kevin Dunne was one of those people whom you liked seeing coming through the doors of the Watergate.
“He appeared in many productions with The Watergate, including Pantomime and our musical Scrooge.
“Kevin also worked as a member of our Stage crew for in-house productions. Whether he arrived through the stage door to perform, or indeed through the front door to collect brochures and posters it was always lovely to see him.
“Kevin, like so many others, was a great ambassador for the Watergate.
“And as regular as clockwork, he would appear in the foyer every few weeks, pick up an allocation of posters, fliers and brochures and drop them to the Bridge, Thomastown and beyond.
“Always of course on a voluntary basis. It was in his nature to be helpful and we appreciated his kindness.
“There was of course the compulsory cuppa when he arrived, and the laugh on these occasions was always better than the one we shared on his last visit.
“His traditional farewell was ‘I presume the cheque is in the post Cody?’ ‘tis, I would reply. I’m lodging it into the post office in the ’Bridge and it’s double what you got last month’.
“What, he would ask, is double of nothing?” Same lines every month.
“Today, in St Bennett’s church we said farewell. One of the nicest men to wear shoe leather. RIP Kevin.”
Rosary was recited in Hehir’s Funeral Home by Canon Pat Dalton. Family friends and neighbours in large numbers gathered to pay their last respects.
On arrival in Bennettsbridge, players from East End Soccer Club and Bennettsbridge GAA Club escorted the remains to St Bennett’s Church where they were received by Canon Dalton.
The Parish Choir sang at the service, accompanied by Mollie Calahane.
Requiem Mass was con-celebrated by Canon Pat Dalton and Canon Pat Duggan.
Fr Dalton welcomed the large attendance and sympathised with the family on behalf of the parish.
He shared Janet’s words about her Dad to the congregation, “Dad was the best father and was always there for me, bringing me up on his own when my mother died.
“He then met Vera and together they looked after me in every way, I never wanted for anything and I loved him very much”.
Organist Sean O’Neill and soloist, Martina Burke provided the music throughout the ceremony.
Kevin is survived by his daughter, Janet and grandson, Ricky.
He will be sadly missed by his daughter, grandson, brothers, Johnny and Billy, sisters, Evelyn, Marie, and Josephine, nephews, nieces, in-laws, relatives and friends.
Kevin’s daughter, Janet expressed appreciation on her own and Ricky’s behalf, to her uncle Johnny who was such a support to them at this sad time.