'Gentleman' Dwyer remembered

 

“He was a rare man, a gentleman,” is how actor Daniel Day Lewis began his tribute to Irish Times film critic Michael Dwyer, whose funeral took place at the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh this morning.

Speaking to a packed church of relatives, friends, colleagues and members of Ireland’s film community, Day Lewis described Dwyer, who he had known for over 20 years, as “gentle, modest and kind”. He also praised his enthusiasm for film and his ability to remain compassionate even in criticism. “He was never cruel, ever, nor was he self-serving.”

Day Lewis also made reference to Dwyer’s strong connection with the Dublin Film Festival, which the film correspondent had co-founded and which went on to become the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. “I have nothing against whiskey, but I would love to think that from now on that festival could be renamed after him.”

Celebrant Father Bernard Kennedy welcomed Dwyer’s partner of over 20 years, RTÉ newsreader Brian Jennings, as well as Dwyer’s sisters Maria and Anne, and his extended family members present. He also praised what he called Dwyer’s interest in “the other way of viewing, the other way of being,” and his energy and interest in the bigger picture.

“His life directed our attention beyond the village, beyond sameness, outwards,” said Fr Kennedy. “His interest and his energy positively drew us into another world, where representation of life was different, where the other view was possible.”

RTÉ newsreader Aengus MacGrianna read a tribute from Jennings. “He was my soulmate and I his. He was my mentor and I his. He was my companion in bad times and good . . . My darling, beautiful, gorgeous man is gone, but Michael, I will love you forever," it said.

Jennings’s father Paul also spoke on behalf of Dwyer’s family, his sisters and his mother Mary who was unable to attend.

Music at the ceremony was provided by Finbar Furey and Francie Conway, while prayers of the faithful were read by director of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival Grainne Humphreys, Wexford Opera Festival chief executive David McLoughlin and RTÉ newsreader Susan Jackson, among others.

Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy and managing director Maeve Donovan also attended the funeral, as did deputy managing director Liam Kavanagh, managing editors Willy Clingan and Gerry Smyth and online editor Hugh Linehan. Also present were film critic Donald Clarke, Ticket editor Conor Goodman and many other friends and colleagues from The Irish Times.

The world of film was represented by director Lenny Abrahamson and actors Liam Cunningham, Mark O’Halloran and Bronagh Gallagher among others, while writers Colm Toibin, John Connolly and Ronan Sheehan were also in attendance.

RTÉ director of news Ed Mulhall was also present, along with news editor Michael Good, news anchor Bryan Dobson and presenter Aine Lawlor, along with many of their colleagues at RTÉ.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley, Arts Council Chair Pat Moylan, Eugene Downes of Culture Ireland, and Information Commissioner Emily O'Reilly also attended the funeral, which was followed by a short service at Mount Jerome Crematorium, where Dwyer's remains were cremated.

Dwyer, who wrote for The Irish Times for over 20 years, died on January 1st at the age of 58, following an illness.