Father Ted star Brendan Grace made people happy, funeral mass told

By Michelle Devane, PA

Brendan Grace’s only vocation in life was to make people happy, his funeral mass has heard.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of the Liberties in Dublin on Monday to pay their respects to the much-loved entertainer.

Fr Brian Darcy 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.

The Father Ted star died last Thursday at the age of 68 after a short illness. The Dubliner, who was also a stand-up comedian, played Father Fintan Stack in the popular comedy series about three priests.

He died in the early hours of Thursday, surrounded by his family, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in recent weeks.

Brendan O’Carroll and his wife Jennifer arrive for the funeral (Justin Farrelly/PA)

He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children, Bradley, Melanie, Brendan and Amanda.

The actor, who also starred in 2013 TV film Brendan Grace’s Bottler, had lived in the US for many years, but returned to his native Dublin in early June, where he was first diagnosed with pneumonia, before his terminal cancer diagnosis.

Speaking at his funeral mass at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in the Liberties in Dublin on Monday, Fr Darcy said Grace’s legacy to the world would be one of goodness, laughter and generosity.

“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 said.

Daniel O’Donnell and Dickie Rock at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra (Justin Farrelly/PA)

He added: “His only vocation in life was to make people happy.”

Fr Darcy, a lifelong friend of Grace, told mourners the comedian was a unifying force.

“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.