Iconic beating heart and founder of Portlaoise band is laid to rest

Patrick Connell of St Joseph's Accordion band passes passes away in his native Portlaoise

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Iconic beating heart and founder of Portlaoise  band is laid to rest

One of the founders of St Joseph's Accordion Band, Portlaoise was laid to rest yesterday, Monday January 23, to the strains of his favourite tunes played by his band.

Patrick Connell from Marian Avenue, Portlaoise, President of the band, passed away on Saturday January 21.

In his 90's, he had looked after the Christmas crib at the Marian Shrine on behalf of the band, up to his mid 80’s, when the late Kathleen O'Brien, a fellow band member, took on the honour.

His death took place on the morning that Kathleen O’Brien herself was being brought on her final journey to St Peter & Paul's Church..

Cllr Willie Aird said Mr Connell was “an icon in the town”, and a lifelong supporter of the accordion band.

“He brought it to his grave. His final wish was for any donations to be made to the band," he noted.

Mr Connell also had requested his favourite hymn Amazing Grace to be played by the band at his funeral.

He was the beloved husband of the late Mary, and much loved father of eight children, Richard, Pat, Geraldine, Philomena, Bernie, Kieran, Nora, and Teresa. Deeply regretted by his loving family, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother Alex, sister Anne, extended family, relatives and friends.

His remains reposed at the family home on Sunday.

The accordion band played at the head of his funeral procession down Main Street Portlaoise, for Requiem mass at the church at 12 noon. Mr Connell was buried afterwards in SS Peter & Paul's cemetery.