As the parents and siblings of the late Donncha Brosnan went through his funeral ceremonials in Galway last month, they were taken aback by the reaction of the people there to the loss of their son and brother.
Even in their grief and loss they couldn’t help but be struck by the amount of people who consoled them with brief words on how he helped and inspired them and others in many different ways.
Month’s Mind Mass
Donncha’s month’s mind mass will be celebrated at the Church of Saints Stephen and John in Castleisland on Easter Monday at 12noon.
To his parents, Denis and Catherine, Donncha (52) was the son who came down home on a visit and wondered what he could do to help or what he could build, repair or improve.
While they were well up to date on his and his family’s progress, they knew little about the spiritual side of him – a side which helped and touched so many in the city he adopted as home.
Remembering his big brother, Seamus Brosnan wrote the following tribute:
Donncha, Dunna, Denis, or whatever you knew him as, was a son, brother, and a devoted father who was loved by all, but more than that he was a coach, activist, community leader, helper, mentor, and counsellor.
This was very evident in his final days with all the physical, mental, and spiritual support of family, friends, relatives, nurses, boxers, and coaches from Kerry to Derry, Dublin to Galway, and Argentina to India.
Many Great Traits
He had many great traits including his love of his country and sports, in particular boxing, kick-boxing, martial arts, and outdoor activities.
It is fitting that he qualified and worked as a psychiatric nurse. It is a difficult area that people unable to help themselves need the most help. Donncha to a tee.
From a young age he showed a caring heart.
One of my earliest memories of his generosity was when we were in Sherkin Island. He saw a young boy from a disadvantaged family using orange twine as a belt to hold up his jeans.
Without being asked he took off own belt and gave it to the young boy.
Many Belts Later
Looking back on the situation now maybe it was fitting that he went in to win so many belts himself.
He went on to become a black belt in many martial arts forms and even won a silver medal in the world jujitsu championship.
To me he was my big brother but I know he was many more things to many more people. He helped teach me to fish, race walk, use a CB radio, fix electronics, handle boats and the sea, and to box.
He was in my corner for my first boxing fight but unfortunately for me it took another 30 years before he got to the level of coaching a world champion in his son Brian.
Committed to Many Causes
He taught people to stand up for what they believed in without telling them what to believe in. He was committed to many causes. He helped set up boxing and kickboxing clubs in areas that no one else tried.
He wanted to make sure kids had an outlet in sports instead of drugs. He helped alcoholics become sober but never mentioned it. He was a boxing judge. He was a good judge of character. He was able to judge people’s needs but he was never judgmental.
Two Small Examples
Here are two small examples of the thousands of tributes paid to Denis this week.
The first is from someone from Castleisland:
“I haven’t seen him since school going days. When I was involved that time in track and field he was like a mentor; very solid and sincere.”
The second is from a martial arts friend:
“Denis, what you have done for people in your community and your country in one life time many people can not do in many life times. Rest in peace my dear brother as you have contributed way above average. The world needs more good people and more wise leaders like you.”
Though Denis wasn’t able to donate his organs through no fault of his own we take solace in the fact that he positively impacted so many lives.
The best thing we can do to honour Donncha’s legacy is to support his family in the weeks and years ahead and to continue supporting the clubs and groups he formed or was part of.
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