Club Membership

Michael Byrne Memorial

Micheal Byrne - An Appreciation

By Brendan McGlynn

Micheál Byrne was born in Marlborough Street, Dublin in 1944 to Tom and Christine Byrne. He was the youngest in a family of seven children five boys and two girls. His brother Laurence and his sisters Phyllis and Joan are now the only surviving members of the family. Micheál’s mother was a sister of Luke Kelly who was the father of Luke Kelly of the Dub liners. There was always music n the Byrne family and they were all lovely singers. Having finished his formal education, Micheál went to Waterford where he served his time and studied to be a refrigeration engineer with the Southern Refrigeration Company. Having qualified he came back to Dublin and worked for the same company in the North Strand for about ten years. Then he along with three others formed the Leinster Refrigeration Company, based in Dublin. Following fifteen years of successful trading Micheál trading Micheál went out on his own and continued to work in the refrigeration business for a number of years 

Micheál first met Nuala Doyle from Milltown at a dance in the Olympic Ballroom in 1961. They were married on the 2nd of January 1969 and came to live in their new home in Balally Hill. They were blessed with three sons, Michael, Niall and Robert. Micheál and Nuala soon became immersed in everything that was a force for good within the Community. 

Balally Youth Club was formed in 1968 and when their boys were old enough to participate in the various activities, Micheál and Nuala were always available to support and provide transport when necessary. Balally Scout Group was formed in 1977 and when they were building the Scout Den in 1983/1984 Nuala was their first treasurer which Micheál assisted, particularly with the plumbing of the premises. When Naomh Olaf GAA club was formed in 1981 Micheál and his family soon became involved. 

Michael, Niall and Robert played hurling and football with the Club, while Nuala served as Club secretary for a number of years. When the Club was fundraising for the purpose of building the clubhouse in 1991/1992 and when  none of the Financial Institutions would lend sufficient money to the club, Micheál was one of the fifty four club members who gave a one thousand pounds interest free loan for a number of years, so that work on the project could proceed. Micheál was always supportive of Nuala in her role as Committee Member of Balally Residence Association and as Treasurer and Secretary of St Olaf’s Ladies club. 

Michael, Niall and Robert are now mature and successful adults. They all attended St Olaf’s primary school and St Benildus secondary school. Michael and Robert played Gaelic, soccer and rugby there. They both played for the U18 Leinster Senior Soccer Squad. Michael won a four year soccer scholarship to UCD where he studied Commerce, while there he played League of Ireland Football with UCD. He then went to London where he studied and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. While there he played Gaelic football with the Tir Chonaill Gaels Club and he also played for London. On his return to Ireland in 1988 he played Senior Division 1 football with Naomh Olaf. He married Regina Harty from Tralee in 1999 and they now live in Newbridge. They have two children Katie and Cian who are 7 and 4 years respectively. Michael is the chief Executive Officer of ITG in the Financial Service Centre in Dublin. Niall won an all Ireland medal for Cross Country running with St Benildus College. He went on to study in the College of Catering in Cathal Brugha St. where he qualified in Hotel Management. He is now the assistant manger of the Tower Hotel in Waterford. He is due to marry Deirdre Hickey from Leixlip on the 6th February 2009. Robert played Senior Division 1 Football for Naomh Olaf. He was the most versatile player on the team. He studied Electrical Engineering in the College of Technology in Kevin Street. He is now the Service Manager with Ascension Lifts in Kimmage. He is married to Tara Fox from Wedgewood. They have one child named Jack who is 2 years old. 

Micheál Byrne was a quiet and inoffensive character who always enjoyed a celebration. His singing and performing of “Finnegan’s Wake” was one of the highlights of many a good party. Indeed it was for to celebrate Niall’s forthcoming wedding that his three sons took Micheál to New York on the 12th November 2008. He died suddenly but peacefully in his sleep there on Saturday the 15th November 2008. As a mark of respect a minutes silence was observed in Wedgewood the following day prior to a Senior Football League game between Naomh Olaf and Ballinger St Johns. Micheál’s remains were waked in his home that evening and the following day. On the 20th November his remains were removed from his home to the Church of the Ascension of the Lord Balally for the funeral mass at 12 mid-day. The Church was packed to capacity for what was a sad but beautiful occasion. As the remains were being taken into the Church, Jimmy and Paddy Kelly (Luke Kelly’s brothers) sang “The Voyage” and as the remains were leaving the church they sang “The Coolin”. The Chief celebrant of the mass was Fr. Colm McGlynn was is a friend of the family. He was assisted by Fr Philip Bradley. During the mass Lorraine Maguire sang while Teresa O’Donnell played the harp. Following the mass the coffin draped in the Naomh Olaf Club Flag was taken to Glencullen cemetery for burial. At the graveside Jimmy Kelly same “A Song for Ireland” and “The Parting Glass”. Everybody was invited for a meal in Naomh Olaf GAA Club afterwards.


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