Brendan Grace’s funeral to take place in The Liberties on Monday

by Padraig Conlon
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Brendan Grace’s funeral will be held in his native Liberties on Monday at 1pm at The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra on Francis Street.

The much loved entertainer passed away peacefully in the early hours of yesterday morning at The Galway Clinic surrounded by his family.

Born in the Liberties in 1951, Brendan grew up near the Coombe, the eldest child of Seamus, a very popular barman who worked in O’Reilly’s pub in Hawkins Street, and Chrissie.

At the tender age of 13 he left the CBS in James’ Street and began work as a messenger boy to help bring some extra money into his home.

Always good at singing, he made his first foray into showbusiness with the ballad group The Gingermen.

It was through that musical group that he discovered his talent for making people laugh.

On one occasion the band were missing a couple of members and were due to go on stage.

In order to buy a little time, they sent Brendan out to talk to the crowd and he soon had the entire room in stiches with his tales about growing up in the Liberties.

From that moment on, and for the next 50 years, he worked as a stand-up comedian becoming the greatest Irish family entertainer of a generation.

His sense of timing and ability to read an audience was phenomenal and two of his most popular, and enduring characters, Bottler and the drunken father-of-the-bride, were instant hits with audiences.

In 1989 came a truly wonderful break in his career when he got to entertain Frank Sinatra following the legendary singer’s concert in Lansdowne Road.

Ol Blue Eyes was so impressed with Brendan’s performance that he asked him to come on tour with him and eventually convinced the Dubliner to go to America so he could arrange shows for him.

This prompted a move to Florida but he never lost touch with his Liberties roots and was a frequent visitor home.

In 1996 came an unforgettable appearance in Father Ted where he played sinister priest Father Fintan Stack which brought his comedy to a whole new generation of fans.

Other acting roles included Big Sean in the RTE comedy ‘Kilnaskully’ in 2007 and a role in the crime thriller movie ‘The Gift’ in 2015.

Last year his life was the subject of an RTE documentary which featured tributes from Michael Flatley, Paul McGrath and Brendan O’Carroll.

Brendan Grace is survived by his wife Eileen and his children Bradley, Melanie, Brendan and Amanda.

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