Farewell to Oliver Mac, a man as unique as his famous Dingle bar

Just to say, there will never be another remote bar man like Oliver J Mac Donnell. It fell to her daughter, Katie, today to describe what most would have thought indescribable at her funeral mass – but she got as close as anyone could while delivering a moving and touching eulogy to a character, his father.

Oliver Mac’ passed away peacefully on Saturday, surrounded by his family. After what was a long goodbye, his funeral was held at St Mary’s Church on Green Street, Dingle, directly opposite the bar which has borne his family’s name for over a century. Dick Mack’s is famous even in a town famous for its watering holes, and Oliver – plus his fine taste in clothes – was key to the charm of a pub as unique as him.

“He had a presence and a smile that drew people to him and made him the best man in the bar,” Katie told the Ambo, a few yards from where one of her father’s signature hats lay on his coffin.

“Renowned for his style, a man who can pull off any color and make it look classy,” she said. “A thug, a character, a visionary who had ideas ahead of his time. I will cherish our journeys and our days enjoying an ice cream in the sun or in the rain.

Oliver loved Dingle, but died at his residence in Tralee last weekend. There were several reasons for his move to the county capital, but chief among them was the dialysis treatment he needed for the past few years.

This treatment, Katie said, gave them “precious extra years” with her father.

“I want to thank every health care person who helped mom, Martin [her partner], and I looked after dad while he was in Tralee, and the care and attention he received was second to none,” she said. “Especially Dr Arthurs, who saw he was improving at Tralee and put him on the dialysis list three years ago. Without him, those precious extra years would never have happened. There also had thanks for the dialysis team itself.

The family have requested that donations – in lieu of flowers – be made, if desired, to the Irish Kidney Association or the Daffodil Foundation. The latter, Katie said, had made Oliver’s last moments “as comfortable and peaceful as possible, at home”.

Until his dying days, he remained glued to his iPad and Spotify account, pumping out tunes from the many bands he loved: Jim Reeves, The Rat Pack, The Dubliners, Dolly Parton, Elvis, and more. The last thing Katie heard from her dad clearly came in response to her asking if the music was right for her: “Turn it up.”

“He passed on his love of all animals to [daughters] Olivia, Jessica and me. He always had a grá for his cats, his dogs and his cattle who were always close to his heart. I’m sure Daisy will be on the corner of her bed in the sky again, waiting for him.

“While he was in Tralee he loved seeing the young colts, often visiting them with Martin,” she said, also recalling the “deep conversation” he had with the late winner of the Derby Galileo during a visit to Coolmore Stud.

“Our days will be emptier without you, Dad. I know you will look down on us and take care of us. We love you and we will see each other again. Save me a seat, wherever you are, and we will have it again. good times and ice cream.

Oliver J Mac Donnell is mourned by his wife, Jo; daughters, Katie, Olivia and Jessica; grandchildren, Marcas, Robyn and Dylan; brothers, Tommie and Ronald; nieces; nephews; relatives; neighbors; and many friends around the world.

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