From Tony Mulvey

Well deserved and warm  tributes have been paid to the late Brendan Hanrahan, Pine Grove,Gort Road, Ennis, who died recently. Aged 75 years, he was a native of Labasheeda.

A son of Michael and Bridget Hanrahan, Brendan spent his early school years in Labasheeda and went to Cork city for his secondary school  education. He joined the Garda Siochana after school  and was stationed in Dublin but after a short time in the force he decided on a change of  career and joined the Department of Justice in 1971 as a court clerk. His initial assignment  was to Bray District Court but the next seven years saw him working as a District Court Clerk,in  Mullingar, Kilkenny and Limerick before getting the call to come home to Clare and to Ennis in 1978. He started work in Ennis just one week before the famous Munster-All Black rugby game in Thomond Park, Limerick. He would have loved to be at the game but being in office for such a short time he felt he could not ask for the day off. For the next 28 years Brendan worked in the Ennis office with the likes of Dick Robinson, Sean Whelan and Colman O’ Loughlin from Inagh. He was well known in district court circles as he frequently covered temporary transfers and during his time in Ennis  worked with Judge Gordon Hurley, Judge Albert O’ Dea and Judge Joseph  Mangan. Brendan took early retirement in 2006.

Josephine Tone, Manager of the Court Services in Ennis, was among those who paid tribute to Brendan. She said he was a man of high intellect and was very knowledgeable about rules and procedures. He was meticulous about his work and was a man for great detail. He was very much his own man, a man of integrity and never allowed himself to be in a position where he would be compromised.

On behalf of the Court Services in Ennis she extended sympathy to the Hanrahan family on the sad passing of Brendan, their esteemed former colleague. “Brendan was one of the old time district court clerks, and was well known to all from his days sitting in courts all over the county. He was a go to person for many colleagues and practitioners and he helped so many of us over his career. There was never a dull moment when working with him and there’s many a tale to tell! His memory lives on with those of us in the courthouse who worked with him. May he rest in peace”.

Affectionally known as “ the judge” to his close friends, Brendan enjoyed a colourful  and exciting life. He earned respect among  district justices who officiated at courts in  Clare and members of  the legal profession all of whom at one time or another were guided by his knowledge of court rules and procedures.

He enjoyed fishing on the Shannon Estuary at his door-step and like most young West Clare men took to gaelic football at an early age. His club was Shannon Gaels and he played with the under 21 team which reached the county final in 1968. He was one of the top players for the Gaels when beating Miltown Malbay in the semi-final but in what was regarded as one of the finest football  games ever seen in West Clare, they were beaten in the final by one point-  2-8 to 3-4- by Kilmihil . Brendan played at centre forward  and was one of the players to stand out for the Gaels, scoring 1-3 in the process. He was unavailable for the 1969 under 21 team but he was back the following year with the senior  panel which brought  honour and glory to  the parish when winning the senior football championship final for the first time in the club’s history.  They made their big breakthrough after waiting for 70 years as a result of beating Kilrush Shamrocks  1-3 to 1-2 in  a game in which the conditions were made  difficult by  the  Atlantic gale blowing across Hennessy Park in Miltown Malbay.

During his years as a court clerk, Brendan also took a great interest in rugby affairs and  was a great supporter of Munster and Ireland.He was a regular at Thomond Park, Limerick for the big games and made several trips to Cardiff and Lansdowne Road. He was in Cardiff for the Heineken Cup final of 2002 when Munster lost 15-9 to Leicester Tigers. However, he shared in the glory with over 60,000 supporters from all parts of Ireland  who cheered Munster on to their long awaited first Heineken Cup success  with an exciting win over French side Biarittz, in  Cardiff in 2006. He was also in Cardiff   to support Munster for their second Heineken Cup win in 2008 over another top French side, Toulouse. And in 2009 , again in the Welsh capital and this time wearing the green and white colours, he was sitting in the stand directly behind the goal to see Ronan O’ Gara score  a drop a goal for Ireland with two minutes left for play to beat Wales 17-15 to win the Triple Crown and a second grand slam after a wait of 61 years. In between he made more trips to Wales to see Munster beat Cardiff in a Heineken Cup game in Cardiff Arms Park and Dragons in another cup tie at Rodney Parade, Newport.

During his visits to the Welsh capital he made many new friends in the Cardiff area including Ennis man Canon Frankie Mulvey whose parochial house residence at Wentloog Road was a home away from home for Munster and Ireland supporters up to the time his death in 2014. It was Brendan’s headquarters for all his trips to Cardiff and he was proud of the fact that he had his own  “ Brendan’s room” in Wentloog Road. More friends he made there included Joe Sheehan of Wentloog Road, Jim MacClancy, who was a native of Spanish Point, Phil Heard of the Rumney Rugby Club,Whitegate born Canon Jim Mulvihill who had his parish in Rogerstone not far from Cardiff, Gerry Paterson, a native of Limerick and  a host of customers of the Rompney Castle pub in Wentloog Road .He had great memories of his Welsh trips and  a special occasion for him was being in the company of legendary Welsh out half, Barry John, on a Sunday afternoon.

As well as being a gentleman and a great family man, Brendan will be remembered for his quick wit, good humour, generosity and the professional way he conducted his affairs as a court clerk. As one friend put it  in a tribute “whether Brendan held court up the steps of the courthouse or

across the road it was a pleasure to meet him”

It was the second death in the Hanrahan home in a short space of time as Brendan’s wife, the former Marlene McNamara, who was a native of Hazelwood, Quin,died in June 2020. She was also well known and popular.

Having to deal with health problems in recent years, Brendan’s death took place on December 5 in Milford Hospice, Limerick. As was his wishes his body was donated to science.

He was pre-deceased by his brother Pat and sympathy is extended to his sons, Brian and Ciarán, daughter, Deirdre, daughters-in-law Fiona and Michelle,brother Joe, sisters, Eileen. Maureen, Gerty and Theresa, grandchildren Darragh, Ava and Rián and extended family. T.M.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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