Farewell Paddy Drac

By Mary Dennehy

The community came out in force this week to remember and celebrate Tallaght legend Paddy Finlay, aka Paddy Drac, who passed away last Saturday following a short illness.

Famous for taking part in the St Patrick’s Day parade in the city centre each year, Paddy always kept his feet firmly on the ground in Tallaght – where he regularly donned his cape in support of community and charity events.

Mary Paddy Drac 2

Paddy Drac 

It was this side of Paddy’s nature that Father Larry Collins spoke of during the 74-year-old’s funeral mass in St Dominic’s church on Tuesday morning.

According to Fr Larry, Paddy’s “compassion, care and concern” for people, especially those who were vulnerable, inspired the Gospel reading chosen for the funeral, The Good Samaritan.

He also mentioned Paddy’s immense love for his family, and his great sense of humour and fun.

Paddy’s son Graham also shared some memories and stories of his dad, and told the congregation, with laughter, how Paddy was the only man “who can boast that he wore out ten coffins in his life”.

MARY Paddy Drac and wife Breda

Paddy with his wife Breda at last year's Tallaght Person of The Year

Graham shared stories of Paddy’s childhood growing up in Crumlin before he moved to Tallaght, after getting a job with Jacob’s biscuits.

According to Graham, their street in Bawnville must have been the only one in Ireland where it was normal for a man to be painting a coffin in the garden.

While there were many tears in St Dominic’s on Tuesday, there was also a lot of laughter and warmth, as people remembered the joy that Paddy brought to their lives, his community and the many groups and organisations he supported.

Paddy Drac 06

People gathered at St Dominic's Church to celebrate Paddy 

Both Fr Larry and Graham touched on Paddy’s willingness to help, with Father Larry noting how he was always available to volunteer his time and energy – and always in good spirits.

Paddy was carried out of the church to applause, as people celebrated the entertainment he provided over the course of five decades.

Paddy Drac 07

Outside the church, the Monster Mash was played in tribute to Paddy, as people shared their own memories of the local legend - who has left a lasting mark on the community.

While Paddy never donned his cape for any rewards, he was presented with a number of accolades over the years, including the Special Needs and Carers award and Lifetime Achievement award at the Tallaght Person of the Year ceremony. 

In November of last year, he was also named among 21 of Dublin’s “extraordinary citizens” in the Local Heroes project.

Paddy Drac 08

He has also been thanked for his support of the annual Dublin Taxi Drivers’ outing for children with special needs, which he was involved with since 1969.

Paddy lived in Bawnville with his wife Breda and is remembered by his son Graham, granddaughter Ruby, daughter-in-law Annette, brothers Johnny and Jimmy, sister Margaret and his extended family and friends.

Paddy was laid to rest in Newlands Cross Cemetery following his funeral mass in St Dominic’s.

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