The late Mick Byrne, Mountain View, Naas
The recent death of Michael (Mick) Byrne of Mountain View, Blessington Road, Naas came as a great shock to many of those who knew him.
Though he suffered from indifferent health for many years, he lived life to the full in a fashion that masked the challenges presented by health issues.
He came into the world 63 years ago in St David’s Terrace, the youngest son of Anthony (Tony) Byrne, whose parents hailed from the Glen of Imaal, and Margaret (Pearl) Rogers, the World War 1 exploits of whose father, Jimmy Rogers, are recounted in James Durney’s book, Far from the Short Grass.
Mick grew up in an Ireland very different from that of today and in common with many of his peers he went to work almost directly from Primary School.
His first place of work was with the Lawlor family in their hotel in Poplar Square and later in the Random Inn, when it was being run by the Lawlor family.
He excelled in his work as a barman and he subsequently worked with the English family in the Paddock Bar in Poplar Square. The Paddock was very much an institution that is held fondly in the memory of many of a certain vintage, by reason of the family that owned the business and the staff who served there.
Mick contributed very much to the cachet of the Paddock and was somewhat of an institution there himself until ill health finally forced him to give up work in 1998. Indeed there were many in the congregation at his funeral Mass who had the distinction of being barred from the Paddock for their attempts to circumvent the age requirements for drinking alcohol, and who had, in later years enjoyed many a pint in Mick’s company!
In 1988 Mick married the love of his life, Marie Dowling, from Cutbush on the Curragh, and they had 14 years of a very happy marriage before her untimely death 16 years ago.
Her death affected him greatly; yet, like so many others who have been challenged by the sudden death of a loved one he learned to live with her physical absence, while she continued to be very much present to him in spirit, and particularly so in his final days.
Mick had an avid interest in sport: he was an enthusiastic supporter of Kildare football, and that can be quite demanding at times. Though he revelled in the glory days of O’Dwyer’s time with the county, he was no ‘fair weather’ supporter.
He followed his county through ‘thick and thin’.
He was an equally enthusiastic supporter of Liverpool F.C., a passion he shared with his G. P. Dr. David McConaghy, to whom Mick’s family will always be grateful for the friendship he shared with him and for his professional support for his patient.
Mick’s sister, Mary, is an off-the-wall supporter of Chelsea and nothing gave him greater pleasure than to innocently enquire from Mary what the score was in the latest match in which Chelsea might have suffered a hiding!
Of course, she wouldn’t be slow to reciprocate when Liverpool had a bad day at the office!
Being a true Kildare man, horse-racing was another of Mick’s passions.
He was not a man to have a bet every day, but his studying of form and following the merits of horses, trainers and jockeys resulted in his being decidedly on the right side of the bookie over the past four or five years.
There is probably some truth in the rumour that shares in Boylesports have gone up since news of Mick’s death. However, Mick’s final bet on Eagle Roque in the last race at Naas on February 10 was a losing one, second at 7/1 to the favourite.
But, as Mick would say, watch him next time out!
Mick was a dancer; not a Fred Astaire, more of a Marty Morrissey; enthusiasm always won out over style! And enthusiasm typified his approach to life.
It is remarkable that although he lived in the shadow of indifferent health for 34 of his years he never allowed it to confine his exuberance for life.
He endured the cycle of regular hospital appointments, medical checks, batteries of tests and a triple heart by-pass, before finally succumbing to a particularly aggressive cancer; all with fortitude and good humour.
It was a heartache for all of those who loved him to witness the rapid decline in his health over the 31 days that elapsed between his admission to Naas General Hospital on January 22 and his demise on February 21. Yet the courage with which he accepted his condition has been inspiring.
His family will be forever thankful to the staff of the hospital for the care and sensitivity accorded to Mick and to them on his admission to a hard pressed Accident & Emergency department and later in the Liffey and Allen Wards.
He was a loved and loving brother, uncle, granduncle, son-in-law and brother-in-law.
He was also a valued and loyal friend who was never averse to calling a spade a spade when needs must.
But the most important thing about Mick was that for all that he was in his 64th. year when he died.
He never lost the child in him; his sense of fun and of mischievousness, his delight in the ordinary things of life. He was simply a good person, with all the faults and failings and good points of all good people.
He was buried in St. Corban’s Cemetery following Requiem Mass in the Church of Our Lady and St. David on February 23.
Mick is survived by his brother, Seamus, sisters Ann, Mary and Bernadette, uncles Con and Tony, his aunt Kathy, those to whom he was uncle and granduncle, his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and their families, his mother-in-law, Sue, his godparents, his neighbours and a wide circle of friends.
— Jim O’Sullivan