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04 Jul 2022

'The day the music died' - Legendary Limerick musician Con Connery passes away

'The day the music died' - Legendary Limerick musician Con Connery passes away

The late Con Connery will be laid to rest this Wednesday

ON Sunday lunchtime the music stopped in Kilmallock and indeed far and wide. One of the all-time greats Con Connery took his last breath surrounded by his loving family and in the wonderful care of Milford palliative home care team.

Con’s music and song will forever live on, for in his 82 years he achieved more than is possible in many lifetimes. Con was a man who had a lasting impact on everyone and everything he encountered and whose passing has left all in Kilmallock, south Limerick and beyond, saddened, but grateful and all the better for having known him.

Con Connery was born into humble and loving beginnings on June 4, 1939. He came 7th in a family of 13 but was so often referred to as the head of the family by his siblings. He never forgot his roots and so often reminded his children of his days walking through the fields to Bulgaden school with his brothers and sisters.

Con married his soulmate Kathleen on March 5, 1974. Some of the couple’s happiest times were spent in the company of their five children including their very special daughter Geraldine whom Kathleen cares and devotes her life to and whom Con quietly in the background simply adored. 

If any man was made for the stage it was Con Connery. That unforgettable smile was always across his face while playing his saxophone, singing, or in his many acting roles in sketches and concerts alongside his treasured family and many lifelong friends. 

When Con Connery took the microphone to make a speech everyone in the building knew to sit down as his “few words” would always turn into, well, a lot of words. So many times people would say: “Con, you should have been a politician”. But Con was too cute for that.

He will be remembered far and wide for his days with The Crystal Star showband - days he so lovingly remembered with many good friends - and, of course, his days with The Vantones that brought him fame along with his brothers Johnny and Tony Connery, the deceased Jimmy Connery along with the late Connie Morrison, and Brian O’ Neill, Mike Heffernan and Jack Sheehan who was the lead guitarist with the group in the late 1960s.

He always said his happiest days on the road were with his own family band The Connery Family - Colette, Ann, Conor and, for a time, Tony’s daughter Joanne. Having overcome a few embarrassing moments in the early days when he’d arrive with four children, the crowd would soon realise Con had moulded them into his own ways and by the end of the night the crowd was shouting for more.

One of his other passions in life was fox hunting. His love for hunting began when he started mending fences for the county hounds working for a lady who was to become a friend of the late Lady Melissa Brooke. Hugh Roberts gifted Con two hounds, hence the Fairyfield Foxhounds began.

Con could be seen every Sunday walking proudly behind his pack of hounds alongside his son Conor with many many young and old local lads. And after a long day’s hunting he often ended up in Bulgaden Castle for a beverage where his daughter Breda would be coaxed into singing one of his favourite songs “The Broad Black Brimmer”. Whether Con was decked out on the stage or walking through the fields with the green beret on his head he was the same Con Connery to everyone. Whether you were a rich man or a pauper, everyone was the same in Con’s eyes.

He enjoyed nothing more than sitting at home with a cup of tea and a slice of apple tart with the grandkids running in and out the door and playing around him.

Con could be seen many a Monday morning at the mart in Kilmallock along with many friends, and later with his brother-in-law and one of his closest friends, Mike O’ Shea. They would go through the country looking at cattle and would only buy when they both agreed on a beast and a price.

He was a man who always worked hard and played equally as hard but always said he had no regrets. He said he did what he wanted to do “his way”.

So now the time has come to say to Con the same words he uttered many a night as he brought the curtain down in venues all over the country: “Good night. Safe home and God bless!”

Con Connery is predeceased by his parents Patrick and Johanna, sisters Peggy, Bridget and Kathleen, brothers Paddy, Jimmy and Mick. Very deeply regretted by his loving wife Kathleen, son Conor, daughters Colette, Ann, Ger and Breda, daughter in law Martina, sons in law Mike, Niall and Kieran, his loving grandchildren Kayla, Shane, Conor, Nicole, Kate,Chloe, Holly, Jack, Abbie, Aoife and Liam, sister Nancy, brothers Neddy, Denis, Billy, Johnny and Tony, brothers in law, sisters in law, nephews, nieces, cousins, his adopted son Vincent and many many friends, hunters and musicians.

Con will be reposing this Tuesday evening at Daffy's Funeral Home in Kilmallock from 6pm followed by evening prayers at 7.30pm.

His funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday at 12 noon in SS Peter and Paul's Church, Kilmallock with burial afterwards to the local cemetery. Con's funeral Mass will be live-streamed here.

May Con rest in peace.

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