An exodus, all eager on this sunny Monday morning to pay their respects to a man who pretty much every Tom, Mick & Sally in Greystones knew. And loved.
On a personal note, beyond the great clan that Vincent and Margaret brought into this world (with their three towering sons, twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren all making Greystones a better place), I’ll always have a soft spot for the man who, quite a few months shy of my eighteenth birthday, let me through those hallowed Greystones Rugby Club doors and on into my first taste of decadent nightlife. And draught beer.
And now, at the Holy Rosary Church, it didn’t seem all that far removed from those hazy, crazy days, queuing to get into those all-important New Year’s Eve parties in the Rugby Club. Once again, the latecomers and the troublemakers were standing outside, having found no room at the biggest gathering in town.
When it came time for one of the family to say a few words about the great man, Vincent’s son Anto drew the short straw, leaving Willie and Martin to sit in peace as we all got to hear about being raised by a magical father. Going way back, as Vincent became more and more involved in the town – most famously serving as a steward at the Greystones Rugby Club for over 30 years – he would always stop at Windgates on his way from Bray to work, just so he could marvel at the view of the harbour, and the little town that had wrapped its arms around it. Vincent knew then that Greystones would be a great place to settle down in, to bring up a family and create a happy, loving home. And that’s just what Vincent and Margaret did.
So, here’s to you, Vincent Byrne, a true gentleman who generously passed on his civic pride, giving nature and that mischievous smile to all of his proud offspring. Greystones is going to miss you…