Anyone who grew up with the late Dick Fitzgerald would understand why the often misplaced tag of ‘Legend’ would be applied to him and his life and times.
There’s a man who knew how to live and enjoy life. As a child I remember himself and Jackie Dan Jerry O’Connor teaming up to play an unmercifully funny trick on me. They sent me into a shop for a message to a lady whom, I presume, one or both of them fancied. On handing over the note they gave me, the lady looked at me and asked me “Who sent you in” and I told her. She put her elbows on the counter and her head in her hands and laughed out loud until colleagues arrived to see if she was alright. I got an ice-cream cone for my humiliation though. Every time I met her after that I was embarrassed and she smiled broadly. When I think of Dick Fitz now I smile too.
– John Reidy / The Maine Valley Post
Colm Kirwan sent the following tribute to the Laccabawn native.
Dick Fitzgerald, Woodlands House Hotel, Adare and formerly of Laccabawn, Castleisland died peacefully on Tuesday morning in the presence of his loving family.
Dick grew up on the family farm in Laccabawn with his parents Nell and Davy; his sisters Mary (Tangney), Sheila (Horgan), Eileen (Spillane) and his brothers Jim, David, and Dan RIP. It was there that he developed his love of farming that remained with him all his life. After he moved to Adare he developed a specialised interest in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables and of course rearing cattle. He proudly boasted that much of what was on your dinner plate was lovingly and naturally produced.
He married Mary Ryan and his keen business acumen came to the fore as together they built the Woodlands from a 4 bedroom bungalow into the fantastic success story that it has become. In more recent times they purchased and developed the Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods hotel in Glanmire.
Dick’s great passions were his family and sport. They were a family in the very best sense of the word. They worked with and for each other; lived close together and enjoyed each other’s company.
He always had a great love and knowledge of greyhounds and horses. Football, too, was always close to his heart as he remained a great supporter of Desmond’s and Kerry. Desmond’s have many reasons to be grateful for his generosity and he welcomed them and all Kerry teams and supporters for decades to the Woodlands. In later years he became an avid supporter of Adare and Limerick hurling as his son Conor’s career blossomed.
Dick Fitzgerald never forgot who he was or where he had come from. He so looked forward to his visits to Castleisland and Kerry to meet family, neighbours and friends. His warm, generous, gregarious nature endeared him to everyone and the fun, craic and banter could be heard miles away! He will be sadly missed by his huge circle of friends.
A Desmond’s spokesperson conveyed their deepest sympathy to Mary, David, Elaina, Richard and Conor. A minute’s silence will be observed before the Intermediate semi final in Tralee on Sunday as a mark of respect.
The funeral arrangements for the late Mr. Fitzgerald on RIP.IE are as follows:
The death has occurred of Dick FITZGERALD Adare, Limerick / Castleisland, Kerry
Dick Fitzgerald R.I.P. Woodlands House Hotel & Spa, Adare, Co. Limerick, Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel, Glanmire, Co. Cork and late of Laccabawn, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, peacefully under the loving care of Dr. John Clarke and the staff at the Blackrock Clinic surrounded by his heartbroken wife Mary and children David, Elaina, Conor and Richard. Sadly missed by his loving wife and family, daughters-in-law Orla and Elaine, Aislinn, son-in-law Myles, beloved grandchildren Kerry, Milo, James, Connie, Ruby and Tommy, mother-in-law Helen Ryan, sisters Mary (Tangney), Sheila (Horgan), Eileen (Spillane), brothers Jim, Dan R.I.P. and David, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, all extended family, the teams at Woodlands House Hotel & Spa and the Vienna Woods and a large circle of good neighbours and friends.
Rest in Peace
Reposing at his home on Thursday from 2pm to 8pm. Arriving for Funeral Mass on Friday at 11am at the Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare. Burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. Family flowers only please. Donations, if desired, to the Irish Heart Foundation & TLC4CF.
Date Published: Wednesday 1st October 2014. Date of Death: Tuesday 30th September 2014.
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