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Farewell to Mickey Marmion, the 'King of Ludlow Street'

Story by John Donohoe

Friday, 19th May, 2017 5:15pm

Farewell to Mickey Marmion, the 'King of Ludlow Street'

Mickey Marmion leaves Bermingham's for the last time. Photo: Seamus Farrelly.


“Take your coat and say goodbye, say goodbye to nobody,
that was his line, that was his final move,
He took his last breath and closed his eyes
and said goodbye to nobody,
he leaves this town with nothing left to prove.”

Bermingham's Pub in Navan is small, a traditional bar dating back to 1884, the oldest pub in Navan. Small as it is, space was always made along the back wall, beside the fireplace, for musicians of the town to play in the renowned music sessions there.
On Saturday morning, those musicians gathered for a final farewell to publican, Michael Marmion, who passed away suddenly on Tuesday of last week, joining his family as he left the Ludlow Street premises for the last time.
The evening before, sympathisers had queued in the Cornmarket archway to pay their respects to Mickey, who was laid out in the front bar, just as his beloved mother, Margaret, had been less than a year before. They were mourning the loss of one of the town's great characters, whose unexpected death at the age of 59 was the source of great shock across the town and further afield.
To visitors and those new to the town, it was Bermingham's, to those who enjoyed a pint in it, it was Marmions, or Mickey's. His father, John, had grown up in the pub, living and working with spinster relative Jane Bermingham, and succeeding to the business on her death in 1948.
John, whose picture hangs in the pub, wearing his white grocer's coat, ran the bar until his death in 1985, when Margaret and Michael took over the running of it.
The pub, along with O'Connell's on the Hill of Skryne, featured in 'The Irish Pub' by Jane Fennell and Turtle Bunbury in 2008. Mickey was always to be found proudly painting and varnishing the front of the pub, used recently as the cover photo on Meath County Council's shopfront guidelines.
Outside of the pub, Mickey enjoyed horse riding, riding out for local trainers and owners over the years. In recent years, with Lorraine Cullen, he had become a father to young William, and was delighting in his new role.
On Saturday morning, Lorraine and William, Mickey's brother, John, and sister, Mary, and extended family, heard Mickey's close friends, Lar McEvoy and Sé Ginnity sing 'Take your coat and say goodbye to nobody', a specially written song about Mickey by Peader Farrelly Jr, using one of his famous quotes, and calling him the 'king of Ludlow Street'. The singers were joined by Paul Clarke and Cormac O Keeffe for Nick Cave's 'The Weeping Song'. Gerry Meehan sang Bob Dylan's 'Senor', with Oisin Leech on harmonica; Sara Mai Leech and Joy Booth sang Fleetwood Mac's 'Gypsy'; Johnny Brennan performed Elvis Presley's 'Pocket Full of Rainbows'.
As the coffin was carried out the front doors of the pub to the hearse, those gathered on the street applauded the publican as he brought the town of Navan to a standstill, before he was driven around the town and passed his pub one last time, before travelling to Lakelands Crematorium in Cavan.
Ludlow Street neighbour and one half of The Lost Brothers, Oisin Leech, said: "Mickey turned Berminghams into a bar like no other. It was totally unique and had its own magical atmosphere. He loved music. Mick reminded me sometimes of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca - he ran his place exactly how he wanted - under his rules - and I respected him for that. He always looked out for his neighbours. We were very, very saddened and shocked to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with Lorraine, his son William, John, Mary, his family, and closest friends. We'll be singing Mick's favourite songs for many a year to come."

Take your coat and say goodbye to nobody..

Take your coat and say goodbye, say goodbye to nobody,
that was his line, that was his final move,
He took his last breath and closed his eyes
and said goodbye to nobody,
he leaves this town with nothing left to prove.

the legacy he leaves behind, it will never be gone,
now the king of ludlow street is moving on..

today the wind blows cold down ludlow street,
although the sun is in the sky,
shock on the faces of his patrons passing by,

his once castle has a lonesome tone,
a greyness that never was,
he was the ringmaster of the circus to us,

the legacy he leaves behind, it will never be gone,
now the king of ludlow street is moving on..

Take your coat and say goodbye, say goodbye to nobody

- Peader Farrelly 2017

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