Charles Naper, Loughcrew
There was widespread shock and sadness following the death of Charles William Lennox Naper, of Loughcrew, Oldcastle, a short few days after taking ill suddenly. Aged 62, Charlie passed away at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan on Sunday 27th October last.
Charles Naper was born on 17 January 1951 to Nigel Naper, originally from Somerset, and Carola Darley, who had been raised in India. The Naper family association with Loughcrew goes back almost four centuries, when a distant ancestor, Colr James Naper, took possession of half the barony of Fore in 1653 for £800. The Plunkett family had formerly owned the land and the grounds still host the annual Mass in honour of St Oliver Plunkett every July.
James Lennox William Naper (1791-1868) commissioned the building of Loughcrew House in 1823, a year after he was appointed High Sheriff of Meath. A busy landlord and writer, he served as chairman of the Poor Law Guardians during the Famine years and subsidised the emigration of tenants to Canada in the 1830s.
Charlie’s father, Nigel, who was from Somerset, inherited the then 1,500 acre Loughcrew from a cousin, William Lenox Naper, The house was to suffer two major fires in the house in 1959 and 1962. The Land Commission took 600 acres of the estate in 1967 and the remainder was divided between his three sons on Nigel`s death in 1978. Charlie and his wife, Emily Dashwood, converted the old conservatory, pavilions, servant quarters and stables into a residence, school of gilding and studio area, revived the 17th century gardens and launched the Loughcrew Garden Opera, while he farmed at Loughcrew.
At a funeral service at St Michael’s Church, Castlepollard, Charlie’s stepbrother, Antony Farrell, said that Charlie was blessed by the wide circle of those whose lives he touched, and by his gift for friendship.
He attended Headfort School, followed by Wellington, and then returned to Dublin to study in Trinity for a year during which he won his boxing colours.
Anthony Farrell recalled: “Charlie and I were born within five weeks of each other into the strange netherworld of Ireland and Anglo-Ireland, shadowed by legacies of a fading empire across the Irish Sea, and the newer reality of an Irish Republic finding its social and economic feet after a civil war. My family were fading Catholic gentry crossed with Ulster presbyterianism, Charlie’s hibernicized Protestant gentry, and between them they perfectly expressed the conundrum of our worlds. When my father married a Protestant and had me baptised one, his priest refused him communion. My mother was carpeted by a Catholic Archbishop for not teaching the rosary in her school for Downs Syndrome children in Dublin.
“In 1962, Charlie’s home Loughcrew — built among the foothills of the great prehistoric burial mounds or cairns that predate Egypt’s pyramids — was burned down for third time in a hundred years in fulfilment of an alleged curse by an evicted tenant — an early memory is of his father Nigel coming to tell him the news of the fire at Headfort School in Kells, after which we went on to our separate seats of learning in England, to Wellington and to Harrow. It lent us both a certain sense of fortitude and extravagance, and we began to take an interest in our histories, the Sassenach and the Celt.”
Anthony Farrell said that Charlie had an instinctive understanding of music and could play clarinet and saxophone, at one stage performing on stage with Thin Lizzie before becoming, for a brief spell, European roadie for The Woods Band, Terry and Gay, who wrote a song in his honour.
“He described all this in a wonderful piece for a Lilliput book on Sixties rock and roll called My Generation,” Anthony Farrell continued. “He imbued us all with this passion, and at the other end of the musical spectrum was strongly supportive of Emily’s pioneering Loughcrew Gardens opera venture. While Charlie loved the Blues, though, he also suffered from depression and exercised his capacity for compassion and empathy in helping fellow sufferers, giving much of his time to Aware, addressing groups in Navan and Oldcastle, and articulating his own experiences for the benefit of others in alleviating stress.”
Charlie held to traditions but had little time for unexamined pieties, Mr Farrell said. “His creed rested on the kindness and intelligence of the individual; he had a humanist’s adherence to skepticism, whose root meaning is the quest for knowledge, but he was never a cynic, a man disenchanted by his own species.
“Charlie was really an 18th century figure. He indulged a little in ancestor worship, took pride in his perceived place in society, and nurtured his windy acres and lovely garden, while observing proprieties. He was unfailingly courteous and kind, a gentle man in all senses: but beneath that powdered wig he was also emotionally and psychologically rumbustious, and occasionally wild. Charlie was fun. No moment in his presence could be anticipated. He was ribald and told some of the filthiest jokes I’ve ever heard. But he was never obscene, and his wit was untainted by cruelty. He wasn’t just larger than life, he was life itself. Now he’s gone, and we are left to amuse ourselves in his shade.
“He was also blessed among his women and left three especially, who minded and loved him over recent years: Emily, of course, his wife of thirty-two years, but also Diana Pickersgill, and also Jane Reilly, who brought him such comfort and care, and bore the immediate burden and shock of his death.”
Charles Naper is survived by his sons, Nico, Eddie and JJ; their mother, Emily; his partner, Jane Reilly; sister, Audrey Hamilton, England; brothers, James and Francis, Loughcrew; extended family, relatives and friends. The Funeral Service at St Michael’s Church, Castlepollard, was followed by burial in Loughcrew Cemetery, Oldcastle. Charlie’s niece, violinist Meg Hamilton, provided music at the service.
Freda Dunne, Carlanstown
There was widespread shock and sadness in the Kilbeg-Carlanstown area at the death on 30th October after a very brief illness at the Mater Hospital of Freda Dunne, Marvelstown House, Carlanstown, Kells, aged 77.
Freda (nee Crean) was a native of Oldcastle, an only sister in a family with seven brothers. She moved to Kilbeg when she married Michael Joe Dunne and farmed there for many years. Freda was widowed in 1989 and a new chapter opened up for her over the last number of years with the arrival of her six grandchildren in whose lives Freda played a very active role, her family were her pride and joy.
She enjoyed a very close relationship with her two children, Michael and Siobhan, and enjoyed travelling to see Siobhan in New York on a regular basis. Freda was a warm, people person and will be very sadly missed by her extended family, many friends and all who knew her.
Her funeral took place on 2nd November in the Church Of The Nativity, Kilbeg, after which she was buried alongside her husband in Staholmog cemetery.
She is survived by Michael and Siobhan; daughter-in-law, Emma; son-in-law, Wayne; grandchildren, Katie, Mikey, Harry, Jack, Marcello and Michiko; brothers, Ernie and Dermot; in-laws, relatives and friends.
Brenda Madden, Kilmessan and Athlone
The regretted death occurred on 14th October last of Brenda Madden (nee O’Neill), Ave Maria Row, Athlone, Co Westmeath, at Retreat Nursing Home, Bonavalley, Athlone.
Aged 87, Brenda who was originally from Ringlestown, Tara, Co Meath, was the daughter of the late Mark and Marcella O’Neill. She moved to Athlone where she lived for over 60 years and was married to Fred Madden, who predeceased her in March 1992. She was also predeceased by her daughter Joan, London, in April 1995, her son Brendan, Ballinasloe, in November 2001, and by her brother, Sean, Kilmessan, in August 2008.
Brenda was involved in a wide variety of activities in her locality. She was a member of the Old Athlone Society through which she visited many places of historical interest in Ireland. She was also a member of the Athlone Writers Group and had prose, poems and song lyrics published and contributed many articles to the local newspapers, as well as featuring on RTE Radio’s ‘Sunday Miscellany’. Deceased was an avid reader with a huge collection of books on all subjects. She was very knowledgeable and regularly participated in quizzes both in Athlone and in Kilmessan. She loved ballroom dancing, music and classic movies and was an active member of the Athlone Gramophone Society. In recent years she became involved in the Athlone Arts Group which involved painting in water colours, pastels and oils. She was well travelled, having been all over Europe and America.
Brenda, who was a very elegant and stylish lady, was great company, had a great sense of humour and loved to be surrounded by her family and friends. She had a strong devotion to her faith and she loved to read the liturgy at Mass in St Peter and St Paul’s Church.
She is survived by her sons, Freddie and Desmond, London, Peter, Athlone; daughters, Frieda McCormack, Kilmessan; Brenda Leon, London; sons-in-law; daughters-in-law; grandchildren, great grandchild; brothers, Des, Raheny, Dublin, and Jimmy O’Neill, Ringlestown, Kilmessan; sisters, Joan Flynn, Old Road, Dunsany, and Marcella Farrell, Ennistown, Kilmessan; nieces, nephews, relatives and a wide circle of friends. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.
The funeral Mass at St Peter and St Paul’s Church was celebrated by Canon Liam Devine, followed by burial afterwards in Coosan Cemetery.
Gerard Hughes, Dunboyne
There was great sadness over a wide area following the passing of Gerard Hughes, Main Street, Dunboyne, in his 84th year. Mr Hughes died on 22nd September at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown.
A native of Clonsilla, Co Dublin, he was married to Christina, and was father of a family of eight, with 18 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
During his lifetime, he worked in various employment, from working with horses, to gardening at the convent in Dunboyne (now Dunboyne Castle Hotel), and later the Revenue Commissioners and Blanchardstown Renault. He was a keen horse racing enthusiast and loved going to local tracks. Deceased was a top class bagatelle player, and also enjoyed a game of 25s with his friends in Gogan’s Pub in Dunshaughlin in the past.
He is survived by his wife, Christina; family, Gerard Jnr, Dunboyne, Ann Byrne, Lucan, Co Dublin, Johnny, Navan, Shane, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Margaret Purcell, Raharney, Co Westmeath, Mary McAuley, Clondalkin, Co Dublin, Declan, Dunboyne, and Ian, Dunboyne; brother, James Hughes, Ballyfermot, Dublin; grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The funeral took place from Ss Peter’s and Paul’s Church, Dunboyne, to Rooske Cemetery.
Margo Dean, Ardmulchan and Clonmellon
A funeral service took place in Slane on Saturday morning last for Margo (Marguerite) Dean, a past president of the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, who was renowned far and wide for her compassion and campaigning for animal welfare. Aged 91, she passed away on Sunday 3rd November last at Portiuncla Nursing Home, Multyfarnham, where she had been resident.
Born in Dorset in England, Margo Forbes came to her adopted country in the late 1940s, where she met and married Bruce Dean, and they lived at Bonshaw, outside Navan, in a fine house with views over the Boyne Valley. Bruce was her ever-constant and stalwart support and assistant in her animal welfare career. The family suffered from the collapse of the Lloyds company on the London insurance market, where Bruce was a ‘name’, and they had to sell the house and lands to pay the debts, moving to a mobile home on their daughter, Heather Wright’s stud farm at Ardmulchan.
However, Margo and Bruce never wallowed in self-pity, and she told the Sunday Independent in 1995: “I have got everything that money can’t buy.” When Heather sold Ardnulchan some years ago, they moved to Clonmellon, where Bruce passed away in December 2010.
Margo was interviewed after a case over 26 horses which saw the High Court overrule a District Court decision to authorise her to take custody of the animals, leaving Meath SPCA with huge legal costs.
In 2009, MSPCA honoured its well-known and long-serving field officer following her retirement. Mrs Dean’s outstanding and unselfish service to the welfare of animals in County Meath, and in many other counties, for over 50 years, was lauded by a number of speakers at a presentation dinner in The Forge Restaurant, Carnaross.
Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Gardai, Meath County Council, IFA, volunteers from various animal welfare organisations in the county and members of the veterinary profession joined three generations of her family in a series of warm tributes to her, led by Barbara Bent, chairperson of the Irish SPCA,
Speaker after speaker at the function recounted anecdotes and episodes of so many acts of kindness, great bravery, dedication and personal cost and sacrifice by Mrs Dean and her family as she championed the rights of animals in distress in a practical and knowledgeable manner. It was constantly recalled that she was no “blushing violet” when it came to asserting the right of every animal to proper care, and her clashes with authority over the years were famous, especially where she felt that bureaucracy and talk were preventing much needed, swift remedial action. The provision of a county dog pound was one of her lifetime pursuits. Constant access of animals to water was a necessity of life pursued with vigour by her, often in the courts, following her animal care and rescue operations in all weathers during day and night, weekday and Sunday.
As her four children grew up in the midst of prize-winning spaniels, Connemara ponies and sport horses they, too, were commandeered to assist with the calls on her time to solve problems relating to farmed animals, horses, birds of all descriptions, wild animals and even circus giraffes.
Margo Dean is survived by her sons, James and Richard; daughters, Iona and Heather; grandchildren; extended family and friends. A funeral service and burial of ashes took place at St Patrick’s Church, Slane, on Saturday.
Michael Gilsenan, Oldcastle
The death of Michael Gilsenan, Knocklough, Oldcastle, after a very brief and sudden illness, brought great sadness and shock to his family and surrounding community of Moylagh. Michael passed away peacefully in St Luke’s Hospital, Rathgar, Dublin on 18th September last.
Michael dedicated his life to his family, his home was always open, the kettle on and everyone was made welcome.
Born into a farming background in Knocklough, Michael lived on and worked the family farm for his lifetime. During his 82 years he also undertook several other ventures, one of which was stonemasonry and some of his handiwork can be seen in stone walls around the village of Dromone.
Deceased had a keen interest in sport. He was a founding member of Moylagh GAA in 1947 and played as goalkeeper for the first Moylagh team. His passion for football and hurling remained steadfast throughout his life and no Sunday game went unwatched.
At the age of 69, Michael joined the board of directors of Oldcastle Credit Union and served on its credit committee until his passing. He also had a passion for history, particularly local history, and was a member of Moylagh Historical Society and the Laurence Gilson Commemorative Committee. A great family man, Michael had spent many years researching his family tree. He was very interested in people and got great joy in getting to know people and making links with their backgrounds. Michael was a very knowledgeable man and could always be relied upon for some sound advice.
The vast volume of people who turned out to pay their respects at his wake and funeral mass in St Mary’s Church was indicative of the esteem and popularity of this quiet and courteous gentleman.
He was predeceased by his son, Mícheál, and is survived by his wife, Agnes; daughter, Paula; son, Oliver; son-in-law, Nigel; grandson, Rían; sister, Bridie; nieces, nephews, relatives and friends from every walk of life.
The funeral Mass in St Mary’s Church, Moylagh was celebrated by Fr Ray Kelly, with burial afterwards in adjoining cemetery. The coffin was draped in the Credit Union flag and members of the Oldcastle Credit Union board of directors provided a guard of honour and acted as pall bearers. Musical tributes were performed in the church and at the graveside by Fergal O Murchú and Michael’s son-in-law, Nigel Davey.
Padraig McEntee, Bailieboro and Moynalty
The death occurred on 16th October last of Mr Padraig McEntee, Curkish, Bailieboro, Co Cavan, and late of Ballymacane, Moynalty.
Aged 43, Mr McEntee died in tragic circumstances.
A native of Moynalty, he began his working career with Alan McCartney Contractors, Moynalty, where he worked for 15 years before moving to BD Flood, Oldcastle, where he worked until his passing. Deceased played underage football with Moynalty GFC and Castlevilla FC. He later joined Cormeen Golf Society and enjoyed many day trips and weekends away with its members.
Padraig McEntee is survived by his partner, Maria Barry; sisters, Maura, Ann, Bernie, Gaye, Kathlene; brothers, Seamus, Cormac, John, Noel, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, the Brady family of Bailieboro, and a large circle of friends.
The funeral took place from St Anne’s Church, Bailieboro, to St Anne’s Cemetery, celebrated by Fr John Murphy, PP, Bailieboro, Fr Joe McEvoy, PP, Moynalty, and Fr Dermot Prior, PP, Virginia.