Song during Reynolds’ Mass recalls youthful dance with Kathleen

Showband era musical performers included Paddy Cole and Red Hurley

The entertainer Paddy Cole at the funeral of former taoiseach Albert Reynolds , at the Church of the Sacred Heart Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

The entertainer Paddy Cole at the funeral of former taoiseach Albert Reynolds , at the Church of the Sacred Heart Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 01:00

An instrumental piece played during the funeral Mass was a favourite of Albert and Kathleen Reynolds since they danced to it more than 50 years ago. It was one of many personal elements peppered throughout the ceremony.

The 1961 clarinet instrumental Stranger on the Shore was played by Mr Reynolds’s friends Paddy Cole and Eamon Monaghan, both former members of the Capitol Showband. Mr Reynolds met Kathleen Coen in Ballymote, Co Sligo in 1957. Their courtship began at the local dance hall. Mr Reynolds wrote in his autobiography that he “eventually plucked up the courage to ask Kathleen to partner” him in a dance. They got engaged in November 1961 and were married in 1962.

Stranger on the Shore was released in 1961 by Acker Bilk, one of the popular jazz acts that Mr Reynolds used to book in the 1960s. “Acker Bilk was happy as long as he got his 10 pints of Guinness before he went on stage,” Mr Reynolds wrote in his autobiography.

There were many other reminders of that era, with Red Hurley perfoming two songs during the Mass, Be not Afraid and How Great Thou Art. The 64-year-old’s enduring career over more than 40 years has included hits with showbands like the Nevada and representing Ireland in the Eurovision song contest in 1976.

The 1996 Eurovision winner Eimear Quinn lead the responsorial psalm with Sé an Tiarna M’Aoire. During Communion she performed an unaccompanied rendition of traditional Irish hymn Ag Críost an Síol.

Much of the singing during the Mass was by the Pro Cathedral’s Palestrina Choir. They sang Sanctus, Agnus Dei and In Paradisum. The choir’s soloist, John Magee, sang Libera Me and Alleluia. The choir was directed by Blanaid Murphy and accompanied by organist Darren Magee.