Popular Patrick packed so much into his 90 years

The late Patrick Fleming (front, far left) with other former members of Killarney Musical Society who gathered a number of years ago for an nostalgic reunion photograph. Sadly, many of them have since passed away. Included with Patrick are Marie McCarthy-Leane, Peggy O’Neill, Bride Costigan, Maura O’Donoghue, Kathleen Murphy, Sheila Murphy with, second row from left, Sheila O’Donoghue, Maureen O’Reilly, Anne O’Shea, Betty Rohan, Patsy Hanley Pat Cleary, third row, from left, Arthur Hanley, Terry Ryan, Michael Browne, Finian Forde, Dr Dick Shanahan, John Coffey and, back row from left, Jimmy McNeice, Jim Cronin, Michael O’Sullivan, Donie O’Meara, Vincent Counihan and Dermot Ivo O’Sullivan.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

IN life, one man in his time can play many parts and so it was with well-known retired Killarney businessman Patrick Fleming whose funeral Mass was celebrated yesterday in St Mary’s Cathedral.

He operated a busy butcher’s shop on Plunkett Street – previously Henn Street – for many years and it was a popular port of call, not only for those doing their daily shopping but for locals anxious to catch up on the news of the day and to enjoy the banter and quick wit for which he was renowned.

When he hung up his butcher’s apron, Patrick became a driver and guide for Dero’s Tours and he engaged many visitors with some great stories, tall and otherwise, on their travels to take in Kerry’s most scenic sights.

Late of Scrahan Court and formerly of Marian Terrace, Patrick was blessed with a great soprano voice and he was a mainstay on stage during the hugely popular Tops of the Town variety shows in the old town hall which had locals queuing for hours on end in an attempt to obtain gold-dust like tickets sold on a first come first served basis.

Patrick was also involved in the original Killarney Musical Society and the Killarney Players and, in addition to being a member of the St Mary’s Cathedral choir, his hugely distinctive voice regularly filled the church when he performed solo for weddings and funerals.

Patrick Fleming (third from right, centre row) on the day the Killarney Brass and Reed Band played in Croke Park

An accomplished clarinet player, in his earlier days he was a member of the Killlarney Brass and Reed Band and one of their proudest days was when they got to perform in Croke Park – an occasion captured in an old monochrome photograph, copies of which still adorn the walls of the family homes of many of those involved.

An avid card player and very accomplished at the skills required to master the game of 31, Patrick was a keen sportsman and a lifelong member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club.

He enjoyed horse racing and he was a big Kerry GAA supporter, relishing nothing more than the regular pilgrimage to Croke Park to see his county in action or keeping up with the team’s progress at Fitzgerald Stadium.

Patrick, who celebrated his 90th birthday in March, passed away peacefully at his home. His funeral Mass, celebrated on Monday by Killarney Parish Administrator Fr Kieran O’Brien, was followed by cremation.

Predeceased by his daughter Rita, he is survived by his wife, Phil, daughters Louise and Diana, sons Ronan, Colin, Derek, Malcolm and Karl, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, many other relatives and friends.