Killarney mourns for a legend of the lakes

Legend of the lakes: The late Charlie Fleming

Tributes have been paid to the late Charlie Fleming, a well-known and hugely popular traditional boatman on the Lakes of Killarney, who passed away, unexpectedly, last Friday.

Charlie, originally from Dalton’s Avenue and later of Woodlawn Park, was a legend of the lakes and, over the years, he enthralled thousands of visitors and locals with many great tales – some tall and many taller – of the history and magic of Killarney during his daily tours.

The celebrant at this Tuesday morning’s Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney Parish Administrator, Fr Kieran O’Brien, said Charlie spent his life and he made his livelihood on the Lakes of Killarney, having inherited the wonderful tradition from his uncle and other relatives.

“His knowledge and his great interest in the folklore of the lakes was immense and worth listening to,” he said, adding that Charlie was renowned for his brilliant sense of humour and great banter.

Parish Administrator Fr Kieran O’Brien

Fr O’Brien said, above all else, Charlie was a wonderful family man who was devoted to his wife, their four children and 11 grandchildren and everything he did for them was done so willingly, so lovingly and so unselfishly as he gave his children a great foundation in their lives.

Charlie was a passionate Liverpool supporter and, fittingly, a moving version of the club’s iconic anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, was performed as his remains were escorted from the cathedral this morning.

“Charlie, throughout his lifetime, was never alone. He was always in company. He had loyal friends who kept contact with him,” Fr O’Brien noted, adding that he was always surrounded also by his loving family.

Charlie worked with Eircom for many years before he took early retirement to concentrate on his first love of boating on the lakes he loved with his canine companion, Bella, constantly by his side.

He is remembered by many for his kind and gentle ways and his constant willingness to lend a hand to any neighbour or friend in need of support.

The Lakes of Killarney: Always close to Charlie’s heart

In a moving eulogy, his son, Mike, recalled his dad’s love of fun and passion for telling jokes but, above all, he said, Charlie was the epitome of a family man and a brilliant teacher who passed on essential life skills and a great work ethic to his children for which they are so grateful.

In later years, he cherished his 11 grandchildren and he was so proud of everything they achieved.

Mike said his dad was the voice of reason and logic and the one who always knew the right thing to say and do.

Charlie is survived by his wife of 48 years, Pat, sons Mike and Tony, daughters Marie and Laura, daughters-in-law Laura and Marguerite, sons-in-law Patrick and Mike and grandchildren Emma, Jack, Anna, Dean, Kate, Charley, Billy, Sam, Quinn, Max and Hannah.

He is further survived by his brother Thomas, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, relatives, neighbours and many friends.

This morning’s Requiem Mass was followed by private cremation.

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