Tributes paid following passing of 105-year-old Joe Kavanagh

Tributes have been paid following the death of Joe Kavanagh, one of the oldest people in Ireland, aged 105.

Tributes paid following passing of 105-year-old Joe Kavanagh

Tributes have been paid following the death of Joe Kavanagh, one of the oldest people in Ireland, aged 105.

Mr Kavanagh, who was a long-time resident of Ballincollig in Cork, died peacefully on Thursday surrounded by family members and by the nurses and staff of the Ballincollig Community Nursing Unit where he lived since 2017.

His son, Brendan, said the family will be forever grateful to the staff for how they cared for the man they affectionately called 'papa Joe'.

"We are just so thankful for the wonderful and constant care and attention he got there. And we are also so thankful for the wonderful messages of support that people have been posting online. It means so much to us," he said.

Parish priest, Fr George O'Mahony, said the entire town was saddened to lose such a valued and loved member of the community.

"Joe was such a great character. We marked his 101st birthday by presenting him with a cake in the church a few years ago. He lived a long and full life and he will be missed," he said.

Mr Kavanagh, who was originally from Waterville in Co Kerry, was born on November 8, 1914.

He moved to Ballincollig as a child where the family lived in various areas of what was then just a village.

A plasterer by trade with PJ Hegartys, he set up home in Ballincollig with his beloved wife Agnes and they raised four children.

An avid GAA fan, he travelled around on a Honda 50 motorbike before upgrading to a Honda 100. He played pitch and putt into his 80s. He loved gardening and took particularly pride in the appearance of his lawn, tending to his garden well into his late 90s.

Mr Kavanagh was a long-time member of Ballincollig GAA club which marked his 100th birthday during the 2014 Belle of Ballincollig festival.

And he was regularly invited to participate in or be guest of honour at community events, including plaque unveilings, school history projects and parades.

Ballincollig Tidy Towns presented him with a special merit award in 2015 to honour his gardening efforts.

Tidy Towns chairman, Tom Butler, described him as one of life's gentlemen.

"He loved his family, his garden and he loved his town," he said.

"And having lived so long, he such was an interesting and intelligent man to talk to. He was held in such high esteem by so many people in the town."

He said they plan to plant a tree in his memory in the local park soon.

Predeceased by his beloved, Agnes, Mr Kavanagh is survived by his children Margaret, Helen, Bernie, Christine and Brendan, his sisters, Eileen and Chris, his sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He will buried after 2pm Requiem Mass in the Church of St Mary and St John in Ballincollig on Saturday with funeral afterwards to the adjoining cemetery.

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