Tributes have been paid to the former Irish Times agricultural correspondent Seán Mac Connell, a man who was ‘larger than life’ according to many mourners at his funeral in Dublin.
Brother to the respected Irish Voice scribe Cormac, Sean was best known for his work with the Irish Press and Irish Times newspapers.
His son Eoghan told mourners: “His death at the age of 66 was sudden and devastating. Dad had so much life in him. . . no one expected this event.”
The Irish Times reports that Fr Jim Mulherin OSM said in his homily: “Although we know that Seán is already safely home with the Lord, we who remain still struggle to find meaning in what has happened – and happened so unexpectedly.”
Fr Mulherin explained that readings were chosen by Seán’s family to reflect his life, his love of nature and creativity.
He added: “Ecclesiastes, read by former Sunday Tribune editor Noirín Hegarty, tells us that there is a season for everything. One who knew about farming and wrote about it would best appreciate that way of seeing life.
“Though Seán’s life was short by modern standards, his many gifts as writer, musician and singer, as husband, father and grandfather meant he lived life to the full.
“The large number of people attending the funeral is a great tribute to him.”
The chief mourners were Seán Mac Connell’s widow Pat, their children Kate, Siobhán and Eoghan, his brothers Cormac, Cathal and Mickey.
Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins was represented by aide de camp Capt Bernard Behan.
Also in attendance were Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan and former editor Conor Brady, as well as very many former colleagues from the paper, and from the Irish Press where he had also worked.
A poem, Father, written by Seán himself was read at the funeral Mass in the Church of the Divine Word at Dublin’s Marley Grange.
It was recited by former Independent Newspapers journalist Eugene Hogan, who said it could have been about Seán:
When my father died
The professionals cried,
The undertaker and doctor.
Little more need be said
Of a man with a heart of gold
Locked in a tabernacle of arthritic bones
who could melt stones....with his words.
Who loved children and dogs.
Deep lakes and cotton covered bogs.
Ballads dropped from his lips
And a mercury brain generated
Quips worthy of the best.
For that he was.
Why all Irish men’s beards are red