Obituaries 04-06-2011

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 1st June, 2011 4:40pm

Obituaries 04-06-2011

The late Edward Plunkett.

A memorial Mass will take place in Dunsany parish church on Friday night for Edward Plunkett, the 20th Baron Dunsany, whose death occurred last week. He was buried in the grounds of the Dunsany estate, at St Nicholas' Abbey, following a private funeral at the castle on Friday last.

Aged 71, Edward Carlos Plunkett succeeded to the 15th century title just over a decade ago, following the death of his father, Lt Col Randal Plunkett, in 1999. He had been in ill health in recent years.

A renowned artist and designer, he lived abroad for most of his life, returning to Dunsany in 1994. He was commissioned by the Office of Public Works to paint the portrait of John Bruton which hangs in Dail Eireann as part of the series of portraits of former taoisigh.

Deceased was born in Dublin in 1939, to Lt Col Randal Plunkett's first wife, Vera, a daughter of Dr Genesio de Sa Sottomaior of Sao Paulo, Brazil. This marriage lasted only a short time, and his mother returned to South America, while his father went to war, commanding an armoured squadron above the Khojak Pass facing the might of Russia in 1941, and leading reconnaissance missions into Azerbaijan and elsewhere in Central Asia, and later the Western Desert.

A bonfire was lit at Dunsany Castle by locals, many of whom were employed by the Dunsany Estate, to welcome the young Edward Plunkett in 1939, but he wasn't to remain for long, as he was brought to Brazil as a baby by his mother. At the end of the war, his father brought him back to Dunsany Castle, where he was brought up by his grandparents, Edward, the 18th Baron, writer and playwright, and his wife, Beatrice. Randal, meantime, was based in London where he had remarried, to Sheila, widow of Major John Fredrick Foley, Baron de Rutzen, returning to manage Dunsany in 1949.

On the death of the 18th Baron in 1957, Randal inherited the title, and his son, who had attended Eton, began studying art in London, at Slade School of Fine Art, until 1960.

From 1961 to '62, he was based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, carrying out joint work with Brazilian artist Loio Persio, and in 1962, completed studies of gravure with artist SW Hayter. From 1962 to 1964, he attended Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, and in 1969 was resident painter for six months at Foundation Karolyi, Vence, France. From 1969-1976, he was based in studio in Rome, and from 1977 to 1982, in New York.

He was based in studio in London in 1993, working in portraiture and landscape, and in Dunsany from 1994. In 1982, with his second wife, architect Marie Alice de Marsillac, he founded de Marsillac Plunkett Designers and Architects. Like his mother, she was also Brazilian, and had been married to his cousin, Jayme de Marsillac, a Brazilian cancer surgeon and father of her first two children, Daniel and Joanna. Edward and Maria Alice were to have two sons, Randal and Oliver. The family moved to London after the Gulf War, and in 1994, deceased and his two sons moved to Dunsany as his father was in declining health, and the present Lady Dunsany followed three years later.

In 1994, Edward Plunkett completed a portrait of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, which was commissioned by the Office of Public Works and exhibited in the annual exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy that year. Other subjects included Mr Bruton, also an OPW commission, and Patrick Cooney of Tipperary Water. Deceased was also a skilled craftsman working in crystal, porcelain, silver and gold to create perfume bottles and jewellery among other things. He attracted interest from all over the world, including Faberge, and his style has been described as modern classical.

In 1994, deceased was invited to launch a history of Dunsany parish to coincide with the church centenary. He was a trustee of the works of his late grandfather, the literary figure, Edward Plunkett, and was delighted to see a revival of interest in his works in recent years, including the filming of his 'My Talks with Dean Spanley' with Peter O'Toole. One of his last interviews was with the Meath Chronicle in 2003 when he recalled the visits of HG Wells, the writer of 'Wars of the World' to Dunsany to play cricket with his grandfather.

Deceased had been working on a new studio at Dunsany when he was struck by ill health. His last major exhibition was in Rome, at the Victor Emmanuel Monument at the Spanish Steps.

While Edward Plunkett's period as titleholder was a short one, it was significant in that he was the first Lord Dunsany baptised a Roman Catholic since the penal times in Ireland. The Plunketts, who were Catholic, held two estates - Dunsany and Killeen - and in 1735, at the height of the Penal Laws, held a meeting. A Catholic could not hold lands under Penal Laws, so they decided to hand over all the lands to one who would accept the reformed church, the 12th Lord Dunsany, who would give them back when the political climate would change, thus control and ownership of entire estates was controlled by the Plunkett family. After Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the Catholic Plunketts, the Earls of Fingall, regained ownership of their estate. However, neither Lord Dunsany nor his successors returned to the Catholic Church, but Edward Plunkett was baptised by his Catholic Brazilian mother. In 1984, on the death of the 12th and last Earl of Fingall, Oliver Plunkett of Killeen, Edward's father, Randall inherited the ancient barony of Killeen. The Plunketts are one of the most substantial landowners in Meath, with the Dunsany estate stretching to over 1,000 acres from the Hill of Tara to Kiltale, as well as having property interests in Trim.

The Plunkett family has been associated with Dunsany and Killen castles since the 1400s, when Joan Cusack, heir to the estates, married Sir Christopher Plunkett. His family was originally Danish, but increasingly part of the Norman-Gaelic hegemomy, and settled in Meath in the 12th century.

Through his marriage to Joan Cusack, Plunkett became Lord of Rathmore, Dunsany and Killeen. When he died in 1445, he left Dunsany to his second son, Christopher, and Killeen to his elder son, John, this creating the two local Plunkett dynasties. The brothers are said to have drawn the boundary line between the two estates by running from their respective castles, and splitting the lands where they met.

Deceased is survived by his wife, Marie Alice; sons, Randal and Oliver; sister, Beatrice (Bibi); stepchildren, Daniel and Joanna; extended family, relatives and friends. The funeral and burial took place in Dunsany on Friday, celebrated by Fr Terence Toner, PP, assisted by Monsignor John Hanly, who was postulator of the cause of St Oliver Plunkett's beatification; and Monsignor Edward Dunne of Skryne. The memorial Mass in the Church of the Assumption, Dunsany, is at 8pm on Friday 3rd June.


Seamus Clynch, Navan

There was widespread sadness in Meath and beyond following the death on Monday morning of last week of Mr Seamus Clynch, Dublin Road, Navan, a former manager and director at Navan Carpets, and a well-known past Meath footballer, who also enjoyed success at rugby.

He was a member of the Meath Vocational Schools football side which won the county's only All-Ireland football title at that level in 1956 with a final win over Sligo.

The following year, Mr Clynch was a member of the Meath team that won the All-Ireland MFC title for first time with a 3-9 to 0-4 final victory over Armagh. In 1958, he was on the Meath minor and junior teams with the juniors going to the All-Ireland 'home' final in which they lost to Galway. He was on county senior team from 1959 to '63.

Deceased had a very successful club football career, being part of the famous Navan O'Mahonys SFC five-in-a-row winning side of the 1957 to '61 period. He joined their senior team in 1958 and went on to be part of five Keegan Cup successes, the fifth coming in 1963.

A holder of a number of Feis Cup medals, he left the GAA scene for three years to play rugby with Navan before returning to O'Mahonys in 1967 when playing in the SFC final won by Kilbride. Mr Clynch retired from playing at the young age of 28 in 1968, and later served at executive level in Navan O'Mahonys and was a selector with the club when they won a number of Keegan Cups during the 1980s.

Deceased was a keen rugby follower and accomplished player, winning a Towns Cup medal with Navan Rugby Club during a break from his time as a GAA player.

After his playing days on the pitch were over, he took up golf and was a member of both Royal Tara and Headfort golf clubs, and remained a member of the former up until his passing. With the encouragement of his friend, the late Harry McQuillan, deceased brought his handicap down to three and played the game all over Ireland and further afield.

Mr Clynch's professional career started in Clayton's Woollen Mills, before he joined Navan Carpets in 1961. He was initially involved in production planning and control procedures, then progressed to become production manager, before taking over as works manager. He also held the position of joint general manager in the early 1980s.

During 1990, he was instrumental in introducing and presiding over the installation of the prestigious ISO 9000 International Quality Standard.

A change in career direction during the early 1990s resulted in Mr Clynch being appointed to the board of directors as marketing director, giving him the opportunity to combine his technical and production skills and knowledge to develop both the domestic and international contract markets to their maximum potential.

In 1995 he was instrumental in the successful management buy out of Navan Carpets from Coates Viyella. It was widely acknowledged and appreciated throughout the workforce of Navan Carpets that his worldwide travels, combined with the personal relationships which he built with his contacts, generated the sales that provided a lifeline for Navan Carpets.

He made friends all over the world, as he worked tirelessly with the aim of maintaining jobs at Navan Carpets. Deceased retired in 2002 after 41 years loyal and devoted service to the company, and remained on the board of directors until the winding up of company affairs in 2004.

Mr Clynch was born in March 1940, a son of William and Nan (nee McGuinness) Clynch of Dublin Road, Navan. Christened James, he was known by all as Seamus from an early age.

During his youth and days on the GAA pitch he was known by the nickname 'Puncher Clynch'. This name came not from his style on the playing field as many thought, but rather from the fact that as a teenager he wore leather jacket which his friends would playfully punch as if it were a punch bag. In recent years, he was amused to have a racehorse, Puncher Clynch, named after him. Both his father, Willie Clynch, and his uncle, Tommy 'Boiler' McGuinness, had played senior football for Meath.

Seamus Clynch was above all a family man and his achievements on the sports field and boardroom only came second to his passion and pride in his family. He loved his six granddaughters and seven grandsons and took immense pride in their achievements from their first steps to accomplishments in school and on the sports fields. He took a great interest in their journey through life and had high hopes for their futures. In conversation with friends his passion for his family was always evident.

He was in his element tending to his garden, following in the footsteps of his parents. Deceased had travelled the world during his career and continued to do so on his retirement. Along with his wife Alice, he visited America regularly and also enjoyed trips to South Africa and Australia.

He also travelled to Australia with close friends to follow the Irish International Rules team.

In recent years, Mr Clynch got huge enjoyment from spending time in his holiday home in Spain where he built numerous new friendships. He had a deep religious faith which gave him great strength. His indomitable strength of character was evident throughout his illness which he bore bravely with great fortitude and dignity.

Deceased is survived by his wife, Alice; family, Mark, Paul, Karen and Alan; son-in-law; daughters-in-law; grandchildren, brothers, sisters, in-laws, relatives and friends.

The funeral in St Mary's Church, Navan, on Wednesday last, celebrated by his close friend Fr Ray Husband, Fr Declan Hurley and Fr Michael Sheerin, was followed by burial in St Mary's Cemetery. Teammates from the Navan O'Mahony's five-in-a-row side formed a guard of honour.


Catherine Clarke, Brownstown

Mrs Catherine Clarke, of Curraghtown, Brownstown, Navan, who has died aged 89, was a native of Cork. She passed away at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, on 11th May last.

Formerly Catherine Geaney of Milleen, Carrignavar, Co Cork, she was predeceased in 1976 by her husband, John Joe Clarke.

Deceased is survived by her daughters, Martha, Mary, Kathleen, and Rita; sons, Willie, Thomas, Noel, Martin and John Junior, extended family, relatives, neighbours and friends.

The funeral took place from the Church of the Assumption, Kentstown, to the adjoining cemetery. A month's memory Mass takes place in Kentstown on Saturday 11th June at 6pm.


Nora Craughan, Oldcastle

The sad death recently occurred at Maple Court Nursing Home, Castlepollard, of Mrs Nora Craughan, Mellows Park, Oldcastle. She was aged 97.

Widow of the late Patrick Craughan, who died in 1991, she was originally a member of the Brouder family of Cavan Street, Oldcastle.

Deceased is survived by her sons, Sean Craughan, Millbrook Road, Oldcastle; Eugene Craughan, Otterstown, Athboy, and Oliver Craughan, Ballinlough, Kells; daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchild, sister-in-law, nephews, nieces and other relatives.

The funeral took place from St Brigid's Church, Oldcastle, to the adjoining cemetery.

A month's memory Mass will take place on Friday 17th June in St Brigid's Church at 7pm.


Mary Donnellan, Navan

The death of Mrs Mary Donnellan, Lynwood, Hanlonstown, Navan, on the 3rd May last, caused great sadness and regret. Aged 64, she passed away at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, after a long illness bravely and optimistically borne.

A native of Dublin, she came to live in Navan with her family in 1976. While she spent most of her life looking after her family, she also worked outside the home. Her longest position was a supervisor for Navan Community Employment over a nine year period. In this capacity, she always tried to help as well as supervise and to deliver real benefits to the employer.

Mrs Donnellan's indomitable spirit and her absolute devotion to her family sustained her during the tough times. She never gave in and was cheerful, good humoured and interested in what was going on, to the end.

Deceased is survived by her husband, Jim; sons, Ronan, Lorcan, Barry and Enda; daughters-in-law, Gillian and Dulce; grandchildren, Joell, Ava, Diego, and Ryan; relatives, neighbours and friends.

The funeral took place from St Mary's Church, Navan, to Mount Jerome Crematorium.