Knock, who died recently, was a member of one of the best-known traditional families of the parish. His grandfather, also Dominick, was one of the visionaries of the Knock apparition of 1879. He died peacefully at his residence following a relatively short illness.
The eldest of a family of eight born to the late John Joe and Julia Byrne, Dominick spent a number of years working with the Department of Agriculture. He was based in Drogheda and Dublin for most of that time before returning to his native Mayo.
A major overhaul of the main street in Knock prior to the Pope’s visit in 1979 saw the face of Knock village change forever. Many of the famous street stalls of former decades were consigned to history. The Byrne family were among those to lead the way in the construction of a series of family shops along the church side of the street.
Dominick and other members set about establishing their own niche in this market and he left his job with the Department to concentrate on the business end of things in Knock.
Tragedy came to the family in 1980 when their brother Henry, a member of An Garda Síochaná, together with another Knock parishioner, Detective Garda John Morley, was shot dead as they intercepted bank robbers at Shannon’s Cross near Loughglynn following a raid on the Bank of Ireland in Ballaghaderreen. Another brother Eamon also died at a young age.
Dominick married Sheila Mellett from Garrymore, and they raised a family of five daughters of whom he was immensely proud. They were at the very heart of his life, and they will all miss him greatly.
A legendary character over the years, most people in the Knock area would be able to relate some story or other about Dominick and his famous escapades. He had a unique sense of humour and loved the ‘bit of devilment’ when out with friends. The stories about him are indeed numerous, often told and retold when folks from Knock got together at home and away.
He was a passionate Mayo supporter and he and his brother Tom travelled the country to cheer on the red and green in both the championship and National League. He especially enjoyed the trips to Dublin when Mayo were playing in Croke Park, always going up the night before for the craic and banter. He was never short of company when he came into any place on the eve of those big gatherings of Mayo folk from around the world.
Race meetings also held special appeal for Dominick and again he often travelled with Tom to those gatherings where the social side was always much to the fore.
At quieter times, he enjoyed the game of 25 and was a regular at many of the local pub games around the area down the years. He never lost his interest in matters relating to farming and the land and could chat away about farming issues with the best of them.
There was only one Dominick and his passing brings the curtain down on an era. He had a great fondness for his home village and he was synonymous with Knock all through his life. May his soul rest in peace.
Large crowds attended the funeral ceremonies on both days. A wake was held in the family home and removal took place the next morning to the nearby church. Msgr Joe Quinn was the chief celebrant and homilist at the Requiem Mass and interment took place in Knock cemetery.
Dominick is survived by his wife, Sheila; daughters, Siobhan, Gráinne, Orla, Una and Valerie; brothers, Tom, Bernie and John; sisters, Noreen (Reddington) and Margaret (Conboy); in-laws; nephews and nieces; relatives, neighbours and friends.
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