‘A long life may not always be good enough but a good life is always long enough’

Legends: The late Jim O’Brien (right) with his father Jimmy and Kerry great Mick O’Connell (left).
Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Jim O’Brien, who was laid to rest in Aghadoe Cemetery this Wednesday, was remembered at his Requiem Mass as a person with the unique gift of making all those he encountered feel happier and wiser than before they had met him and feel truly blessed that they knew him.

The principal celebrant, Fr Liam O’Brien, said Jim was humble, kind, gentle, loving, sincere and loyal and he had a warm and welcoming smile for everybody.

“He will be remembered for not having a bad bone in his body, not having a bad word on his lips and not having a bad thought in his head. It was certainly a case of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” he said.

“If you were his friend, you were his forever friend,” he added.

Fr O’Brien, who is parish priest in Sneem, is Jim’s first cousin and godfather and he was joined on the altar by Monsignor Dan O’Riordan, Canon Tom Looney, Fr Billy Hynes OFM, Fr Paddy O’Donoghue, Fr Seán Jones and Deacon Thady O’Connor.

Jim Bob – as he was affectionately known – is fondly remembered for the many years he worked alongside his father, the late Jimmy O’Brien, in the family pub on College Street.

Jim O’Brien who had a warm and welcoming smile for everybody

He passed away, suddenly, at his home on Countess Road last Friday, at the age of 55.

Like his father, he was a passionate Kerry supporter and an astute reader of the game and any match that he couldn’t attend in person, he listened to on the radio. He was also a great Spa supporter and loved traditional music and song and the traditions of Sliabh Luachra.

Fr O’Brien said death comes to every home, at every age and in every circumstance and while Jim was taken long before his time, he will be remembered for what he contributed and he was a very special person.

“A long life may not always be good enough but a good life is always long enough,” he said.

Fr O’Brien said Jim was a rogue who was always jolly and had a very hearty laugh.

He said he will be remembered in photographs but also in the hearts and minds of those that loved him and he leaves behind some very precious memories.

“Your great deeds go with you and Jim carried a load full,” the celebrant said.

Gifts brought to the altar to symbolise Jim’s life included his Kerry hat which he wore with great pride and his hi-vis jacket which he donned during his volunteering efforts with the local tidy towns committee.

Jim O’Brien with his father Jimmy outside the landmark hostelry they ran for many years.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

In a moving tribute at the close of the ceremony, brother-in-law Harry O’Neill said Jim always loved meeting with familiar and new customers in the pub on College Street, chatting with them and listening to the news of the day.

A keen DIY enthusiast, he loved music and singing, discussing Gaelic football and following the fortunes of Kerry and Spa. Whatever the result, he wouldn’t tolerate a bad word being said about any of the Kerry players.

Harry said Jim, who was born on Christmas Eve in 1967, was one of life’s treasures, a real legend who lived in the moment and didn’t worry about the future.

Jim O’Brien: Hugely popular

Family was always his main priority and he and his late dad were inseparable.

Harry recalled Jim’s position in the navigator’s seat of his father’s distinctive and trusted 1993 red Mercedes which was a familiar sight on the streets of Killarney and on the roads of Kerry for so many years.

When the car finally reached the end of the long road and it was collected for the scrap yard, Jim stood on the roadway outside the house and watching it heading off into the distance, he quipped: “‘Tis off to Aghadoe”.

Jim Bob’s own journey to Aghadoe, where he was laid to rest alongside his parents, Jimmy and Mary, followed a poignant last drive through to the streets of the town in which he lived his entire life, the town he loved and the town where he was loved and where he will be greatly missed.

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