Brendan O’Reilly obituary: One of life’s great ‘givers’

Lives lost to Covid-19: Dubliner was a driving force behind the formation of St Vincent de Paul’s Donnycarney branch

Brendan O’Reilly loved photography and horse racing

Brendan O’Reilly loved photography and horse racing

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Brendan O’Reilly 
1928-2020

At the tender age of “88 and a half” Brendan O’Reilly travelled for 14 hours in order to visit his grand-daughter Tanya in Alberta, Canada. He watched his first ice hockey match and promised he would return some summer.

That wasn’t to be as Brendan broke his hip and contracted coronavirus six months after he entered a care home. He died on April 25th.

'Many of us have spoken and said we need to strive to be more like him, to help out within our communities . . . and make time for the people that matter to us'

Brendan was a driving force behind the formation of the Donnycarney branch of the St Vincent de Paul, the local Credit Union and Social Centre.

He was born on August 26th, 1928. One of a family of 13, he lived at Fountain Place, Dublin, before moving to Marino. Last year Brendan gave his son Derek a tour of his birthplace. “He knew all names of his neighbours of the L-shaped street that was Fountain Place now swallowed up by the developments of the Smithfield Plaza. He described the stables and pig pens in this tight cul de sac.”

Brendan was employed at the Irish Press and the Daily Express before moving to The Irish Times wire room.

He met his wife Breda in the Irish Press and they were married for 60 years until her passing four years ago. They adopted four children and lived in Donnycarney. Tanya says her grandfather was one of life’s “givers”.

“Many of us have spoken and said we need to strive to be more like him, to help out within our communities, reach out to the neighbour or friend who might be struggling and make time for the people that matter to us.”

His family want Brendan to be remembered as more than a statistic. They hope he is reunited with his beloved wife Breda as her passing left a “huge hole” in his life

Brendan loved photography and turned his garage in to a dark room. Derek says his father also adored horse racing. “We would travel to Cheltenham, over to Kempton Park to attend the races with his brother Joe, to Longchamp in Paris with his brother Kevin. The story that came back from that trip was that the cost of a Mars bar on the Champs-Élysées was nearly a pound!

“He had great stories of the old trainers and some of the eccentric owners which he would have gathered from his friendships with the racing journalists.”

His family want Brendan to be remembered as more than a statistic. They hope he is reunited with his beloved wife Breda as her passing left a “huge hole” in his life.

Covid-19: Lives Lost

READ MORE