Saturday, 30 March 2019

Funeral Notice ~ Michael Christopher Byrne (1867 – 1927)

Death of Michael Byrne, Irish Independent, 23 December 1927, p. 1

This is the funeral notice for my great-grandfather, Michael Byrne of Yellow Walls, Malahide, as published on the front page of the national newspaper.  Michael died of heart failure at his home in Malahide, Co. Dublin, on 22 December 1927.

There are two errors in this brief announcement. Michael was not 61 years old when he died. He had just celebrated his 60th birthday on 2 December, twenty days before his death. In fairness, his children, who likely made the announcement, probably didn’t know his exact birthdate. His son-in-law, Peter Dignam, registered his death and he said he was 61 years old in that record too. But all his children knew well where he lived. They all lived in Yellow Walls, Malahide – not Yellow Sands, as shown in the newspaper.  So, I wonder how this error occurred.  

I had long suspected my great-grandfather was buried at the Abbey Graveyard, at Malahide Castle, it being the family burial ground around that time. No one ever erected a headstone on his grave. Neither were any burial records kept for the graveyard, leaving nothing to ‘prove’ this was Michael's final resting place. So, it’s good to see it confirmed in writing. 

It was certainly sad for his family to bury their father on Christmas Eve.  I’m sure Christmas was never quite the same for them after that.  And, by a perhaps startling, unhappy coincidence, Michael’s son James Byrne, my grandfather, who died in 1964, also passed away on 22 December. And, he too was buried on Christmas Eve.

Is it any wonder my Dad was never overly fond of Christmas, and probably even harboured a slight fear of each approaching season!