Downton star pays tribute to ‘hero’ fiancé at his Cork funeral

John Dineen remembered as man of ‘great depth and integrity’ by Michelle Dockery

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery paid tribute to her "hero" of a fiancé John Dineen at his requiem mass in Co Cork.

Ms Dockery got engaged to Mr Dineen (34) last year having met him in 2013. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just months in to their relationship and died in Marymount Hospice on the outskirts of Cork on Sunday morning.

The funeral took place a day after her birthday and a day before what would have been his birthday.

It is understood Mr Dineen, who worked in PR in London, travelled to Germany for pioneering treatment following his diagnosis.


The Golden Globe nominated actress, who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the popular ITV show, said Mr Dineen was a tower of strength during the 15 months in which he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She described the native of Ballinora, Co Cork as a man of "great depth and integrity."

“Whether in his work or his personal life John was extremely loyal. It was clear that when John was in your corner he was there. I was honoured to know John. To love him and be loved by him. He was my friend, my King, my hero, my everything. We celebrate him, we honour him and we will miss him.”

Speaking at noon requiem mass at St James’ Church in Ballinora, Ms Dockery said Mr Dineen was an “extraordinary man” who would be hugely missed by his family and wide circle of friends.

“John’s charm was legendary. He could persuade anyone to do what he wanted in the least pushy way possible. Particularly the women,” she said. “ He had a presence that was electric when he came in to the room. He had a wicked sense of humour. He had a genuine interest in other people.”

Mourners gathered at the church from 11am and embraced and shook hands with Mr Dineen’s relatives prior to the mass.

Mr Dineen’s sister Trish said she “idolised” her beloved older brother and would be forever grateful for having had him in her life.

She recalled a memorable Christmas morning as a youngster when she caught John filling up her stocking with small gifts. Thinking on his feet to get himself out of his predicament John quickly told her that Santa had got him to do the job as he was “wrecked.”

“John was much more than a brother to me. He was my friend, my confidant, my hero. I truly idolised John. John was always teaching me new things. New words. I would be at his side when he walked through the door talking at him rather than to him. So much so that John imposed a three question per day rule on me.”

She told mourners she was grateful to have received a new “sister” and “angel” in the shape of Ms Dockery.

Chief celebrant at the mass, Fr Declan Mansfield, said his thoughts were with Mr Dineen’s parents Patrick and Marie, his siblings and his fiancée.

“Pat and Marie, Michelle, Trish, Robert and Scott, extended family and friends. Over the last few days it must feel as if you are living in the middle of a nightmare. As if this is all a very bad dream you will wake up from. Unfortunately it isn’t. Its very difficult for a priest like me to talk about heaven.”

Fr Mansfield said God’s love was present in the midst of suffering through the outpouring of grief and support from neighbours and friends of the deceased.

Offertory gifts included a childhood teddy bear, the Norton Anthology of Poetry, a tie and a Munster rugby jersey. Medical professionals who assisted in Mr Dineen’s care were remembered in the Prayers of the Faithful.

A private cremation followed the requiem mass.