Funeral of Bob Geldof senior held

The funeral mass for Bob Geldof’s father, Bob snr, took place in Glasthule in south Dublin today.

The funeral mass for Bob Geldof’s father, Bob snr, took place in Glasthule in south Dublin today.

Mr Geldof, who was 96, passed away in St Vincent’s Hospital last Thursday after a short illness.

He was predeceased by his wife Eve who died more than 50 years ago. The couple had three children, Cleo, Lynn and musician and development activist Bob.

Bob snr’s father Zenon Geldof was born in Ypres, Belgium, and worked in some of London’s top hotels before moving to Ireland to work in the Bray Head Hotel. He became a key figure in the development of culinary arts in Dublin and ran restaurants including the Café Belge, Patisserie Belge and the ambitious but short-lived Plaza restaurant.

Zenon and his wife Amelia had four children, Bob snr, Sonny, Mai and Cleo. Bob snr is survived by Mai. He followed in his father’s footsteps at first by working as a chef in London’s Carlton Club and with the Cunard Line. He worked on the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage and many subsequent voyages.

He later returned to Ireland and set up his own company, working as a manufacturer’s agent. This involved long periods away from home. He was widowed at a young age when his wife died from a brain haemorrhage in 1958, when the youngest child, Bob, was seven.

Geldof jnr later credited the absence of his mother, and his father’s long working hours, with his premature independence and tendency to rail against authority and refusal to accept the status quo. He recalled how his father would offer up certain scenarios and then prompt the three children to debate solutions, sparking their interest in debating social and political issues. His sister Lynn later became a journalist and writer and worked with Unicef.

“He’d say things like, I mean, he never said actually this, but you’d be eating away and he’d go ‘Ah, y’know, that fella Hitler, he had a few good ideas.’ The next minute, the place would erupt. He’d sit back and me and my two sisters would argue passionately that we didn’t f**king believe it at all. It was fairly explosive.”

While the father-son relationship may have been difficult when Bob was growing up, the pair later grew closer and Bob snr was often at his son’s side when he received awards and honorary doctorates. He would also be in the audience when his son was interviewed on programmes such as The Late Late Show.

The current edition of Q magazine includes an interview with Bob Geldof in which he spoke of Bono visiting his father recently. “My dad is 96 and Bono always goes down to see him because they get on great together. It was a beautiful day so we went to the local pub,” he said.

He said Bono was recovering from his back injury and his father also had a bad back. “I was going, Jesus, look at the pair of you”.

Bob snr was a keen sailor and was one of the founder members of the Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. His death notice in today's Irish Times describes him as "an exceptional loving man".