The Late Breeda Brooks, née O’Donohoe, 11 Barrack Street, Castleisland

The late Breeda Brooks of Barrack Street in typical pose at the gate to her house while chatting to neighbours, friends or visitors. ©Photograph: John Reidy 31-5-2017
Breeda’s father the late Garda Matt O’Donohoe (right) pictured with publican, Paddy Hussey, RIP and Tomo Burke in the Latin Quarter pub in the early 1990s.

The death has occurred of Breeda Brooks, née O’Donohoe, 11 Barrack Street, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

Unexpectedly, at home on February 14th 2020. Predeceased by her much loved husband Terry, her parents Garda Matt and Catherine O’Donohoe and her brother Michael ‘The Master’ O’Donohoe. Sadly missed by her loving sons, Paul and Kevin, daughter-in-law Michaela, her adored grandchildren: Max, Molly, Jack, Sam, Sophie, Angus and Carter, great-grandchildren Abie and Raymond, brother Matt, sister-in-law Barbara, all extended family, relatives, many friends and her very good neighbours in Barrack Street. May Her Gentle Soul Rest In Peace.

Her Beloved Barrack Street

The news of Breeda’s sudden passing spread throughout the community from her beloved Barrack Street on Friday afternoon and was greeted with sadness.

If ever there was a community within a community, Barrack Street is it and its people enjoy a tight bond of friendliness and neighbourliness.

It was a feeling that Breeda cultivated and savoured as she spent many years in the UK where she and her husband Terry raised their family.

Her love of her street extended beyond where its corners met Killarney Road and Lower Main Street.

Day to Day Involvement

Griffin’s book shop and newsagents at the corner of the street with Killarney Road was the community centre for the Latin Quarter and across the street they had Paddy Hussey’s Bar.

In more recent years, Breeda loved telling how the girls at Aileen Lynch’s Pharmacy would take her in hand and do her make-up when she was going out to a social event.

She went to holy communion and confirmation celebrations for neighbours’ children and involved herself in the day to day events in her community.

Inherited Brother Michael’s Collection

Breeda inherited her brother Michael’s near incredible collection of historical documents when he died in June 2008.

It was all packed into half a dozen large cardboard boxes and she stored it under the stairs at No. 11 while deciding what to do with it.

It was by a well established family means of communication – by a messenger – that Breeda summoned me to Barrack Street one day in the autumn of 2008.

The Corner of Skevenas Bar

‘The Master’ used to send word from Skevenas Bar when he would have a note for me to put in The Kerryman to help with his research on some topic or other.

That day in Barrack Street, Breeda asked me if there was anything in the collection I’d like to take and I was shocked. I was very familiar with what ‘The Master’ was at in the corner of Skevenas Bar for all those years and I saw his deep, historical knowledge tried, tested and holding water on several occasions.

Hand in Glove System

He had a colour coded, hand in glove system that couldn’t or shouldn’t be dipped into or separated. A reference on a page in one copy book would find significance in another.

I implored her to keep it all together until we could get somewhere to store it and then do something with it. It was stored by Michael Lynch in the county library in Tralee for a while.

In the meantime, Tomo Burke, Johnnie Roche and Colm Kirwan were equally aware of the importance of the work and we eventually got together and, to her credit, Breeda signed the stuff, boxes and all, into our care.

Depth and Scope

The material began to emerge from the boxes and onto computer screens under the expert eye of project manager, Janet Murphy and the unstinting support of then Minister Jimmy Deenihan. Breeda was very proud of Michael’s painstaking work and, like the rest of us, only realised its depth and scope when it began to take the shape it yearned and deserved.

The Lady at No. 11

She and Janet kept in touch over the past few years and met for tea regularly and did so for the last time a little over a week or so ago. That was Breeda’s style.

May God be good to her.

Funeral Arrangements

Reposing at Tangney’s Funeral Home, Church Street, Castleisland, on this Tuesday evening from 5pm to 7pm, followed by removal to Castleisland Parish Church.

Requiem Mass on Wednesday at 11am. Burial afterwards in Kilbanivane Cemetery, Castleisland.

Date Published: Monday 17th February 2020. Date of Death: Friday 14th February 2020.