James Keenaghan, the owner of Kitty's Kiernan's, a popular Irish pub in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is being mourned by family and friends near and far in the wake of his sudden passing on September 8, just weeks before his 60th birthday.
Dublin native Keenaghan, 59, had been living in New York for more than three decades where he owned and ran Kitty Kiernan's, which describes itself as "the first Irish pub on Third Avenue" in Brooklyn.
The popular Irish bar, which opened in 1996, closed its doors on Friday night as a mark of respect to Keenaghan.
"The outpouring of condolences and sympathy has been overwhelming. Thank you all so much," the bar said on social media on Friday night.
"We reopen tomorrow at the usual time if you’d like to come in and do some remembrance.
"So long, James. You were an absolute b*****d but that’s why we loved you."
Kitty Kiernan’s will be closed tonight. The outpouring of condolences and sympathy has been overwhelming. Thank you...Posted by Kitty Kiernans on Friday, September 8, 2023
A notice on RIP.ie says that Keenaghan, a native of Killiney in Dublin who had been living in New York for over 35 years, died suddenly on Friday, September 8.
He is sadly missed by his wife Anna and their sons Martin and Tylor, as well as by his daughter-in-law Jessica and newborn grandson Tommy.
Keenaghan is also deeply missed by his family in Ireland, his sister Carmel and his brothers Francis, Hubert, Finbar, Philip, Garrett, and Oliver, sisters-in-law Karen, Tina, Triona, Yayoi, Celine, Sarah, brother-in-law Gerry, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins and a very wide circle of friends.
On Saturday, wake and funeral information for Keenaghan was shared on Kitty Kiernan's social media.
Two visitations will be held at McLaughlin & Sons Funeral Home in Brooklyn - one on Wednesday, September 13 from 4 pm - 9 pm and another on Thursday, September 14 from 4 pm - 9 pm.
A funeral Mass for Keenaghan will be held at St. Patrick's Church in Brooklyn on Friday, September 15 at 10:30 am, followed with a procession to Greenwood Cemetery.
Funeral and wake information: Wake (two viewings): Wednesday, 9/13, 4 PM - 9 PM & Thursday, 9/14, 4 PM - 9...Posted by Kitty Kiernans on Saturday, September 9, 2023
Kitty Kiernan's social media page has been flooded with heartfelt tributes to Keenaghan, with many people recalling how the Irish man gave them their first jobs in America.
Among the tributes was a post from his brother, Hubert: "So long brother. Hopefully you'll join mam dad Patrick Desmond and Declan. May you all rest in peace together. No fighting you."
One friend described Keenaghan as a "wonderful hard working man from Dublin who lived the American Dream."
Another posted: "You touched so many lives in this neighborhood. You made Kitty Kiernans a second home for all of us with your generous heart. ... I will miss your wit, your sense of humor, your friendly run-ins around Bay Ridge, most of all I’ll miss seeing you behind that bar that gave us so many good times through the years. … hope your Irish eyes are smiling down on us all."
The Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade said in a post: "A true Irishman to his core, he was beloved by all who knew him and shared in libations at his treasured establishment."
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of James Keenaghan, longtime owner of Parade Headquarter...Posted by Bay Ridge St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, September 9, 2023
Brooklyn Shamrocks GFC said it is "devastated by the news of the passing of James Keenaghan.
"James was a hardcore and staunch supporter of our club, a guest of honor and a man who would do whatever he could to further the advancement of our Gaelic football club.
"His contributions to our team and to the Irish American community in Bay Ridge are immeasurable."