Brendan Grace funeral: Hundreds line Dublin streets to pay tribute to Father Ted star
Hundreds of people have lined Dublin’s streets for the funeral of Father Ted star Brendan Grace.
Crowds gathered in the city's Liberties area ahead of the service to pay their respects to the much-loved entertainer, who died on Thursday aged 68 after a short illness.
The singer, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in recent weeks, skyrocketed to fame when his comedy schoolboy character Bottler became a huge hit in Ireland and eventually spawned a TV movie in 2013 entitled Brendan Grace's Bottler.
He went on to play the character Father Fintan Stack in Father Ted.
Grace, who was also a stand-up comedian, performed with stars including John Denver and Frank Sinatra, who referred to him as his "man in Europe."
Applause and cheers as Brendan Graces coffin is carried into the church for his funeral mass in the Liberties @rtenews pic.twitter.com/ywky4cyG4s
— Samantha Libreri (@SamanthaLibreri)
Grace had carefully planned every detail of his funeral, which began at 1pm on Monday, according to the Irish Times.
The ceremony included performances by musicians Paddy Cole, Red Hurley and some of his own recordings including John Denver’s This Old Guitar.
Speaking at his funeral mass at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra, Father Brian Darcy said Grace's legacy to the world would be one of goodness, laughter and generosity.
Fr Darcy, a longtime friend of the comedian, told mourners that the veteran entertainer's memory would forever live on.
"As long as a person's memory lives and as long as we live, Brendan Grace will never die because all of us have enthusiastic, brilliant and long-lasting, life-lasting, and life-changing memories of the wonderful man that he was - the humanity of the man, the generosity of the man, the goodness of the man," Fr Darcy said.
Brendan Grace fan are singing as they line the streets outside the church in Dublin’s Liberties for his funeral mass @rtenews pic.twitter.com/mIUWVOSsS9
— Samantha Libreri (@SamanthaLibreri)
"All of his vocation in life was quite simply, nothing more, nothing less than to lift the gloom of the nation and to lift the gloom of the people who came to see him," he added.
"His only vocation in life was to make people happy.
"Everybody loved Brendan Grace, protestant, catholic, young, old, cultured, uncultured. It didn't matter what you were. Educated, non-educated. They all loved Brendan," he said
There was standing-room only for the large crowd of mourners inside the church. The huge crowd outside the church listened to the mass on speakers.
Comedian Brendan O'Carroll, former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, entertainer Twink and singer Dickie Rock were among those who attended the mass.
Grace had lived in the US for many years, but returned to Dublin in early June, where he was first diagnosed with pneumonia, before a terminal lung cancer diagnosis.
He died in the early hours of Thursday, surrounded by his family.
He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children, Bradley, Melanie, Brendan and Amanda.
The actor's family said he died peacefully and was very grateful for the support he received from fans all over the world after his illness was announced.
Mrs Brown's Boys creator and star Brendan O'Carroll was among those paying tribute to Brendan on Twitter, saying: "He opened doors for so many of us and leaves a legacy of love and laughter that will echo through this land and we will all mourn his passing."
It emerged earlier this month that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer while being treated for pneumonia.
Grace began his career as a musician with The Gingermen and recorded Combine Harvester as a solo artist in 1975. The track would later become a UK number one for The Wurzels.
Additional reporting by PA.