"Doc" O'Donoghue was a true Legion legend

February 28th, 2012
by Weeshie Fogarty

My Graveside Tribute
It's a great honour and privileged having been asked to speak at the grave side to day as we bid farewell to a friend and the President of our club Killarney Legion. However while Michael has touched the lives of countless GAA people through his hospitality and generosity of spirit during his life as owner of the renowned Park Place Hotel and will be greatly missed by all those people it is of course his family who grieve most of all here to day and whose loss is the greatest.

For those of us who have been involved in our club The Legion over many years and whose involvement stretches back to the fifties, sixties seventies and eighties our fondest and longest lasting memories are of the wonderful hospitality afforded to us when ever we approached Michael and Carmel in relation to asking for a room to use for one of the many club activities. Indeed I find it impossible to speak about Michael or as he was known to one and all Mickey "Doc" with out including Carmel in the same breath. Because it was always Mickey Doc and Carmel. They were always== as one. The Park Place Hotel under their guidance and exemplary stewardship was a very special place and I say without fear of contradiction that the open door policy afforded to the vast number of organizations using their premises during all those years could not be bettered in any other establishment in this county.

And as we bid farewell to Michael today  it is  during his time especially as proprietor of the renowned hotel that he will remembered most of all because throughout his exemplary life there he afforded hospitality, welcome and wonderful conversation to literally thousands of people not alone from the sporting scene but to visitors from all over the world.  The memories come flooding back every time I pass the site of the Park Place Hotel High St Killarney. It was my duty as a former secretary of our club to book rooms for meetings there, Scor, Tops of the Clubs, ladies meetings, team meetings, finance meetings, Annual General Meetings and every sort of a get together that occurs in a busy club such as ours.

And never once in all those years were we refused permission to carry on club business. Never once did Mickey Doc or Carmel turn us away, never once did they grumble or grouse at our late requests to be facilitated despite the fact that on many occasions there would be five or six different organizations holding meetings or gatherings in the Hotel at the same time. Indeed it was often that Mickey or Carmel would fit us into to the little room next to the kitchen and I can even recall having a meeting in the kitchen itself when all other rooms were taken up. The word NO was not in the ODonoghue vocabulary. And I repeat those words, generosity of spirit and a warm welcome, that was the way of the o Donoghues.

The Park Place Hotel was a warm friendly home for the Legion club and without it we would not be as strong and vibrant as we to day.  But not alone did Mickey Doc open his home to our club, he was also a very active member serving as treasure, and register, attending all club meetings and with his late great friend Bernie o Connor he could often be seen walking the streets of his beloved Killarney selling tickets and raising much needed finance for the club.  The apple never falls far from the tree as Michael's father Dr Patrick was also President of our club and was renowned for his financial generosity to The Legion while Michael's son Patrick played with us for a number of years.

A superb photograph of Mickey Doc taken by our club photographer Tommy Regan adorns the wall of our club house. He is seen with a big smile on his face a bag hanging from his neck as he takes the gate money at the very first game played in our field at Direen. Pick up our club history  A LEGION OF MEMORIES open any page and you will be sure to find one the many club photographs taken, where? in the Park Place Hotel.

The Fitzgerald Stadium was another great pride and passion of Docs, and he simply loved spending time there and it was many the days he manned the gates, handed out programmes, attended Stadium meetings and was available for any other task demanded of him.  He loved travelling to games especially to Croke Park and tales of his travels and problems with stand tickets would be replayed and re told for weeks after.

One of the longest memories in my mind is seeing green and gold Kerry jerseys hanging out the bedroom windows of the Park Place Hotel back in the fifties as the County team stayed there and that wonderful connection with Kerry football and the o Donoghue family continued right up to the closure of the Hotel and it really was the spiritual home of all Kerry teams. Mick o Dwyer especially knew with his great All Ireland winning sides that in Carmel and Michael he had two people whose generosity and willingness to help was always there for him and his men. Carmel's T bone steaks were the stuff of legend and is said to have helped win many the big game. And it was here also that countless Kerry teams were selected for historic All ireland finals. Memories of magical evenings as we waited outside the hotel for County Board secretary the late great tadgh Crowley to emerge and disclose the Kery team for the following Sunday's big game. They were special times and Mickey Doc was part of those memories. 
Mickey Doc o Donoghue did not suffer fools gladly, he loved the hop ball, he loved the banter, always fought his corner with passion and total honesty he worked hard long hours, served his church, and raised a wonderful family.

He touched the lives of countless people through his years as the owner of the Park Place Hotel. For me he was one of those people whome I will always remember because he was part of our lives as we used his home freely as our own., Let there be no doubt about this but Michael and Carmel o Donoghue and The Park Place Hotel in High St played a massive part in the life and development of this town and county. And so we bid farewell to Mickey Doc o Donoghue exemplary husband, father, grandfather, brother and President of the Legion GAA club and to Carmel, Catherine, Patrick, Michelle and Marie, brothers sisters and extended family on behalf of our club and Kerry Gaels everywhere we offer our deepest sympathy's.


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