Castleknock College Union

Anthony H. (Tony) Farrell, class '44

In Memoriam

Jun 15, 2002
Anthony H. (Tony) Farrell, class '44 -


Any who has attended a Union function in the last few decades will know of the social dynamo that was Tony Farrell. Not content with reinvigorating the annual dinner, Tony was also the driving force behind the business lunch and whilst we were all enjoying the fruits of his labour, he continued working tirelessly for the Union culminating in his appointment as President in 1992-93.

The 1992 Chronicle reported:

A pastman who can claim that he was the first Irishman to coach a sub-four minute miler is Tony Farrell . He coached Basil Clifford to be the second Irishman to break four minutes for the mile, Ronnie Delany being the first but he was coached in the USA. Tony has been involved in Athletics all his life and was a founder member of the National Coaching Committee and was its Secretary for over ten years. He has been coach and team manager to the Irish National team on numerous occasions and has travelled all over the globe in one or other capacity.

He is now President of Donore Harriers who celebrate their Centenary in 1993 and are one of Ireland's oldest Athletic Clubs. He is also Administrator of the Summer School of Athletics which take place in Belfield each July for the past thirty years. He instigated the first fitness programme for the Irish Rugby team with Roly Meates in 1976 and was assisted in this by Phil Conway and Dr Cyril White.

Like his school friend and another Longford man, Dr John Cooney, he is a patron of the arts and was Hon Treasurer of the United Arts Club during the Presidency of Dr. Michael Scott. Tony comes from a family which has long and happy links with the College. His grand-uncle George Gaynor (1882-84), and uncles Ned Cunningham (1873-75) and Vincent Maxwell (1910-14) and his father Anthony S. Farrell (1907-11) were all students at Castleknock as were his brother Ronan (1941-45) and his sons Tony (1967-71) and Tim (1973-76). It would appear that there have been three "Tony Farrell's" in Castleknock since 1907 albeit the youngest of them now answers to Hugh.

Tony studied Bakery Technology at the Polytechnic of the South Bank, London and is at present Managing Director of O'Leary's Bakeries Ltd, Blackrock where Ireland's only Pitta Bread bakery is situated. He is past President of the Institute of Irish Bakers and a council member of that body and is Chairman of the Judges at "Bakex". He is or has been a director of many companies including "Cert Ltd" the State Training Agency for Hotels Catering and Tourism, Seamless Coatings Ltd and McNamara Maxwell Ltd, Galway and Longford, and M. Farrell Ltd. Longford.

He was on both the 1967 and 1990 fundraising committees and served on the Union Committee on a number of occasions between 1967 and 1979 and with Tommy O'Reilly and Brendan Jeffers organized the Castleknock Dinner Dance during the seventies including breaking new ground by taking the Dinner Dance out of the Gresham to the Airport and into the College itself!

Tony is married and blessed with five children and, to avoid financial strain when the boys went to Castleknock, arranged for one male offspring at each end and three daughters in the middle. In his 'spare time' he has been seen on occasions entering O'Learys Bakeries, possibly to do some work for that company.

So his largess extended past Knock to many organisations throughout the land. He certainly packed quite a lot in, but we're not sure how for most weekends he was to be found in his beloved boat on the Shannon, and was in the progress of navigating the skies having undertaken pilot training at Weston aerodrome.

He also went to extraordinary lengths to spend time with his children. He insisted on serving as a director for his eldest son Hugh's company which led to very interesting board meetings on Tony insistence that only the very best wine be served, which of course had nothing whatsoever to do with the company's product line. Hugh similarly sat on Tony's board.

He loved all his children dearly and was heart broken on the untimely death of his daughter Helen, 5 September 2001. He was never the same afterwards, but only his family would have known this, for calling attention upon himself was not Tony's style. He suffered his grievous loss with dignity.

We looked forward to spending many more years with Tony as a grandee of the Union, and we had every reason to expect it for he was in the very best of health. But 15 June 2002 he was taken when a routine medical examination went badly wrong. Tony's passing leaves a large void and one within the Union that ten good men would struggle to fill.

Our loss however pales besides that of his surviving children - Hugh, Jane, Lia and Tim, and their mother Yvonne. To them and the wider Farrell and Dutoy families we extend our heartfelt sympathies and our assurance that they remain in our thoughts.

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