A little piece of Latin Quarter history was revealed in recent weeks when the plaster was chiselled away off the gable of the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service building at the corner of Barrack Street and Killarney Road.
The building, of course, housed Hussey’s Bar for generations and is still fondly and well remembered by an older tranche of drinkers.
Paddy Hussey was the man behind the bar for years and almost up to the time of his death at the end of December 2001.
Old Pub Door Revealed
The removal of the plaster revealed that there was a door on the western gable of the bar which was reduced up to a high window. I’ just wondering if there’s anyone who remembers what the function of that door was as the main pub door is just around the corner from it.
On the occasion of his death I did a piece for The Kerryman and was assisted greatly in this by the permission of Denis Brosnan to print the tribute he delivered on the occasion of the funeral of his neighbour and life-long friend.
Wide Circle of Friends
The passing of Paddy Hussey at the end of December 2001 didn’t come as a great shock to his wide circle of friends and neighbours.
The man was always known for his pluckiness and he fought against old age and illness with every ounce of the kind of character which coloured his long life.
I’ve often mentioned it here before and I’m convinced that a person’s existence here gets a new lease of life in the days after their death – if you know what I mean.
I was in the company of a group of Paddy’s neighbours and friends in Sheila Prendiville’s Bar and Grocery after his burial in the nearby St. Stephen’s Churchyard.
Aspects of his life, times and character were brought out by the gathering which spanned a wide age-group.
Denis Brosnan’s Tribute
One of the talking points on the day was the sincere and eloquent tribute delivered at the funeral mass by his neighbour and friend Denis Brosnan.
It was very well received and appreciated and it is a fact that this type of tribute can often be overdone and exaggerated.
This wasn’t, for it has stood and passed the test of time and local critics. That in itself is a tribute to the one who gave and, maybe more importantly, to the one in whose memory it was given.
Denis Brosnan passed on the tribute for the benefit of readers and it is printed here in full:
The Uncrowned King of the Latin Quarter
Paddy Hussey was bred, born, reared and lived in the Latin Quarter for almost 90 years. Little wonder that he was an institution there.
Hussey’s was a public house in the real sense of the word in that it was used by the public. It was our community centre and meeting place. It was the citizens’ advice bureau, the local bank and credit union. It was the original one-stop-shop.
It was also our local radio and TV station where we gathered to find out what was happening in the field of sport, news and politics in the nether regions.
Only a section of the people who went in there were having a drink. Naturally it was a house full of characters – many of whom lived on their wits.
The Latin Quarter
It was a great training ground for life and an open university where we learned the skills of survival and the art of repartee.
John B. Keane was among the patrons in his younger days and another of its most famous regulars was Connie Houlihan – who served his apprenticeship there and in return christened it The Latin Quarter.
Paddy was much sought out by local people who were in trouble for one reason or another. He was the ombudsman before the name was even thought of. He listened to people and their woes and sorted things out.
A Great Sportsman
Be it a summons for a bike without a light, rent arrears or family debts he did his best. That some never came back never bothered him – the fact that he had helped someone was enough repayment.
He was a great sportsman, interested in every type of sport: GAA, rugby, soccer, horses and dogs but he had a particular fondness of boxing – of which he was no mean exponent.
Coursing was his great passion and he attended meetings for 80 years and was known and loved by the sport’s followers all over the country.
Held in High Esteem
He was also known as a great judge of a dog and when he bet on a race there was sure to be a distance between winner and loser.
Paddy Hussey was held in high esteem by a wide range of genuine friends at home and abroad and the attendance at his funeral is evidence of that.
There were others whom he befriended who did not repay his kindness but he summed up his financial losses with typical generosity of spirit by wishing that they made good use of it.
The Uncrowned King
Small in stature but big hearted, Paddy was a kind, generous, honest and honourable soul.
He was great friend who brought joy, humour and happiness to our lives.
Castleisland has lost a great and noble soul. The town is poorer for his passing. We will remember him as The Uncrowned King of The Latin Quarter.
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