Man who 'changed the face of Dublin' buried

Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 00:00

Publican and hotelier Hugh O’Regan was remembered at his funeral yesterday as a man who “changed the face of Dublin”.

Mr O’Regan (49) was credited with reinvigorating Dublin’s bar scene from the 1990s, building the Thomas Read chain of superpubs which included fashionable venues such as Pravda, The Bailey, Ron Black’s, Searson’s and the 40 Foot in Dún Laoghaire. He also owned the Morrison Hotel on Dublins north quays.

The ceremony was attended by Mr O’Regan’s wife Adrienne, their sons Stephen, Adam, Alex and Hugo and his brothers, Declan and Paul. Mr O’Regan was predeceased by his brother Jack in 2002.

Mourners packed into the Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount, where celebrant and family friend Fr Joe Kennedy said: “Hugh dreamt things that never were and said, ‘why not’?”

To the congregation, which included John Rocha, who designed the Morrison Hotel, nightclub entrepreneur John Reynolds, chef Dylan McGrath, Moran and Bewleys hotelier Tom Moran and sports commentator Brent Pope, Fr Kennedy said: “There are many here to whom Hugh gave employment, many who benefited from his business acumen and his work ethic.” He said Mr O’Regan was also “a loving husband and a great father”.

He described the entrepreneur as “a perfectionist who loved to see things done well”. Quoting the playwright George Bernard Shaw, he said: “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said Mr O’Regan had “changed the face of this city, he changed the face of Temple Bar, he made the food and drinks industry a community and all of this took place before the Celtic Tiger”.

He added: “I believe he is now in heaven, rearranging everything. Everybody is running around with a hard hat and he’s the one with the vision.”

Standing shoulder to shoulder, his sons spoke movingly of their father, with Stephen saying: “He had loads of dreams, and loads of his dreams came true.” Alex said: “His gift was in helping people to discover their potential. He wanted you to be you. We’ll miss you, Dad, and we love you.”

Music performed at the ceremony included The Beach Boys God Only Knows, David Bowie’s Starman as well the U2 song Kite, which was performed by Adam O’Regan.

Mr O’Regan was found on the side of the M11 motorway near Newtownmountkennedy on Monday. It is understood he suffered a heart attack while out walking.