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Frank Kelly funeral: Mourners told late Father Ted star had 'two o'clock in the morning courage'

Published 02/03/2016

Ardal O'Hanlon (left) and Graham Linehan at the funeral of late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock, Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire
Ardal O'Hanlon (left) and Graham Linehan at the funeral of late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock, Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire
Pallbearers carry the coffin of the late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at his funeral at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at the funeral of late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock, Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire
Father Ted writers Arthur Matthews (left) and Graham Linehan arrive for the funeral of Frank Kelly at the Church of the Guardian Angels in Blackrock, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Pallbearers carry the coffin of the late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at his funeral at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire
The coffin of Frank Kelly is carried into the Church of the Guardian Angels in Blackrock, Dublin, for his funeral service. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ardal O'Hanlon at the funeral of late actor Frank Kelly, best known for his role as Father Jack in the hit comedy television series Father Ted, at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Blackrock Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina warmly greeted the family of iconic actor Frank Kelly at his funeral today.

He had battled Parkinson's disease, cancer and heart failure before finally succumbing to a heart attack.

His beloved wife of 51 years, Bairbre, children Aideen, Fíona, Jayne, Ruth, Emmet, Stephen and Rachel and 17 grand children, his brothers Aidan and David, sister Pauline led mourners at the funeral.

They included Father Ted writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, Ardal O'Hanlon and two of Dermot Morgan's sons, Don and Rob.

Frank and Bairbre first met at the Gaiety Theatre while appearing in a Brecht play and married three years later in 1964.

Gifts brought to the alter symbolising his life included a picture of the 40 Foot where he loved to swim, a picture of the family pet, Lucky who was "missing him already," the crossword he loved to do every day and his recently published autobiography "The Next Gig".

Chief celebrant Fr Bill Fortune said he had a very active, creative and worthwhile life and described him as having what Napoleon called "two o'clock in the morning courage".

He said he often thought Frank had a lot in common with classic comedy writer PG Wodehouse - with both bringing "real joy, humour and laughter to literally millions of people."

And he said he had great regard and respect for his fellow professionals.

As well as his memorable role in Father Ted, Kelly played councillor Parnell Mooney in Hall's Pictorial Weekly -  which won him a Jacob's Award in 1974.

He also appeared in Glenroe between 1999 and 2001 and later spent five months on the cast of ITV soap Emmerdale.

In 2014 he appeared as the judge in Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie.

Irish Independent

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