Heart and soul of expanded village
OBITUARY: Joe Mannering, Ratoath
Joe Mannering, whose name is synonymous with Ratoath, and whose family is deep rooted there, was laid to rest in the village on Monday of last week. He died peacefully at St Francis Hospice, Blanchardstown, on Friday 18th November, aged 78.
Chairman of Ratoath Heritage Group, he was a director of the local community centre, and had ran as a candidate in the local elections in the past, originally as a Labour party member in 1985, and as an independent in 2004.
As chairman of the heritage group, he oversaw the publication of 'Ratoath Past and Present' a mammoth 500-page volume that began to mark the new millennium and was published in 2008, ensuring that the past was honoured and preserved for future generations in Ireland's fastest growing village.
In his own chapter in that publication, he recorded that in 1901 the Mannering family lived at Pulwee Street, Ratoath, and that his father, Jack, was a construction worker on Collinstown (now Dublin) Airport, and later was the first man to build birch fences on Fairyhouse Racecourse.
His parents, Jack and Alice (nee Coleman, Mulhuddart) lived at The Paddock, Kilbride Road, and had 13 children. Jack grew vegetables in the back garden, and Alice cycled to Dublin to sell them at the market.
At his funeral Mass, Fr Gerry Stewart said Joe was a man who was never too busy to share time with anybody, and had a very laid back approach.
He was an obliging neighbour, faithful parishioner, active member of the community, and good company, with lifelong friendships made over the years, the parish priest added.
He had a love of Ratoath, a knowledge of its families, and a great interest in people and their stories, and as a member of the heritage committee, was proud of the Past and Present book.
His mark was to be seen all around the village - at the Congressional Cross, the 1798 monument, the millennium time capsule, the floodlighting of the old church tower, and he was to be found at work in the graveyard or at the Marian Grotto, paintbrush in hand, and pipe in mouth.
Joe could be seen at the pitch and putt course, or at the Grand National at Fairyhouse, in the parade ring, or at summer's evening racing in Bellewstown. Pastimes included dancing, card games, slot machines in Bettystown, weekly snooker with friends for over 30 years, and visits to the bookies, as well as his daily newspaper.
Working life included construction, bar work and as a postman, and with the county council for 23 years. Joe was a parent representative on local school boards, and was vice-chairperson of the community centre board, its longest serving director and committee member.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, whose life centred around the family home at The Paddock, and who was never happier than at a family gathering or celebration.
Symbols brought to the altar by family members included the Ratoath Past and Present book; a race card from Fairyhouse; his pipe and tobacco; and Joe's cap and snooker cue.
Predeceased by his daughter, Jacqueline, Joe is survived by his wife, Patsy; family, Philly, John, Caroline, Nicola; 11 grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Karen; sons-in-law, Shane, Rod and Sean; brother, Martin; sister Margaret; extended family and a wide circle of friends.
Fr Stewart was joined in Holy Trinity Church by Fr Paul Crosbie, Fr Derek Darby, Fr Phil Gaffney, Fr Joe Deegan, and Fr Yohanna Jacob, who delivered the Gospel.
Burial followed in Ratoath cemetery.