Lives Lost to Covid-19: Sean Doyle was full of mischief

A dedicated family man, Sean was ‘precious to all of us and all his extended family’

Lives Lost: Sean Doyle: He loved life on the farm and worked hard all his life.

Lives Lost: Sean Doyle: He loved life on the farm and worked hard all his life.

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. You can read more of them here. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Sean Doyle
1933-2020

A quiet, unassuming, kind, reliable man with a quick wit and always available to help – that’s how most people remember Sean Doyle (87). His family remember him as full of mischief, especially at the dinner table.

Born at Tomanierin near Aughrim in Co Wicklow, he was the third of seven children in the Molly and Aidan Doyle household. At the age of nine, Sean contracted polio and spent months recovering at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin. But it never held him back in Tomanierin, whether at farming, lamping rabbits, cycling to dances or playing football. With a strong Catholic faith he also enjoyed trips to Lourdes in his younger days.

He met his wife, Bridget Kinsella (Bud), at ballroom dances near and far, where they were both known for their agile quick step. They were married on June 13th, 1961 and Sean moved to Bud’s family farm in Tubberpatrick, near Tinahely, in Wicklow.

They had seven children: twins Mary and Breda, followed by Johnjon, Caroline, Nuala, Philip and Aideen. Later there were 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in what is a very close family. “He was precious to all of us and all his extended family,” says Aideen.

Sean was an excellent footballer and in his day played with the Annacurra club

Sean loved life on the farm and worked hard all his life. He also drove a CIÉ school bus for a few years. He even took to building and, in 1960, built the family home in Tubberpatrick, with the help of neighbours. A dedicated family man, he helped with building, carpentry and “fixing things” in all his children’s homes down the years.

Sport was always a major part of Sean’s life – darts, snooker, golf, but especially GAA. He was an excellent footballer and in his day played with the Annacurra club. In the 1950s he was a pivotal player for the club which reached the intermediate final a number of times, winning it in 1953. On retiring from football he continued to support the club where his sons also played over the years.

In 1996 Sean retired from farming but always had something going on, including golf. He joined Coollattin Golf Club in Shillelagh and played on courses all over Ireland. In later years Bud and he played both outdoor and indoor bowls weekly. He was very proud of his trophies.

They liked to drive and holiday, frequently visiting their daughter Nuala in Mayo. One of their most enjoyable holidays was to New Zealand in 1994, where they visited their eldest son Johnjon.

An avid follower of current affairs, if it wasn’t news taking Sean’s interest on TV, it was a western film.

More recently he battled illness, recovering from cancer in recent years, while continuing to drive his cherished yellow quad bike around the farm and visit his children and their families nearby.

A stroke in July 2020 meant he had to rehabilitate in hospital, where he contracted Covid-19 on November 5th. He died two weeks later. In normal times Sean’s funeral would have been very large so the family hope soon to hold “a proper memorial for Dad” which everyone can attend.