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Brendan Grace funeral: Thousands line the streets of Dublin to pay tribute to Father Ted star

Hundreds of people have lined the streets in Dublin for the funeral of Father Ted star Brendan Grace who died at the age of 68 last week.

The comedian – who played evil Father Fintan Stack in the 90s Channel 4 sitcom – had been in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

Grace, who had four children and lived in West Palm Beach, Florida, with his wife Eileen, passed away on Thursday.

The crowd cheered and applauded and sang the words of the Dublin Saunter along with the Forget Me Not Choir as his coffin arrived at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra on Francis Street. 

Hundreds of people have lined the streets in Dublin for the funeral of Father Ted star Brendan Grace who died at the age of 68 last week

The comedian - who played evil Father Fintan Stack in the 90s Channel 4 sitcom - had been in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia when he was diagnosed with lung cancer

 The comedian – who played evil Father Fintan Stack in the 90s Channel 4 sitcom – had been in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia when he was diagnosed with lung cancer

Grace, who had four children and lived in West Palm Beach, Florida , with his wife Eileen, passed away on Thursday

Grace, who had four children and lived in West Palm Beach, Florida , with his wife Eileen, passed away on Thursday

The crowd cheered and applauded and sang the words of the Dublin Saunter along with the Forget Me Not Choir as his coffin arrived at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra on Francis Street. Chief celebrant Fr Brian Darcy, a close friend of Grace, joked he would ask 'what's the cover charge?' if he saw how many people had come for his funeral

The crowd cheered and applauded and sang the words of the Dublin Saunter along with the Forget Me Not Choir as his coffin arrived at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra on Francis Street. Chief celebrant Fr Brian Darcy, a close friend of Grace, joked he would ask ‘what’s the cover charge?’ if he saw how many people had come for his funeral

Grace played evil Father Fintan Stack in the classic 1990s Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted. He also starred in the 2013 TV film Brendan Grace's Bottler

Grace played evil Father Fintan Stack in the classic 1990s Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted. He also starred in the 2013 TV film Brendan Grace’s Bottler

There was standing-room only for the large crowd of mourners inside the church, while the huge crowd outside the church listened to the mass on speakers.

Figures from the music and political world, including former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and singer Dickie Rock came together to pay tribute to the stand-up comedian and Father Ted star.

He shared plans for his funeral with friends shortly before he died, reports the Irish Independent. 

Chief celebrant Fr Brian Darcy told mourners that the veteran entertainer’s memory would forever live on.

‘As long as a person’s memory lives and as long as we live, Brendan Grace will never die because all of us have enthusiastic, brilliant and long-lasting, life-lasting, and life-changing memories of the wonderful man that he was – the humanity of the man, the generosity of the man, the goodness of the man,’ Fr Darcy said.  

The mass began with Grace’s grandchildren James, Patrick and Aiden, bringing gifts to the alter to symbolise the comedian’s life. They included a microphone, a book of jokes entitled Amusing Grace and a guitar.

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, pictured, was among figures from the political and entertainment world to pay their respects to Brendan Grace

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, pictured, was among figures from the political and entertainment world to pay their respects to Brendan Grace 

Singer Dickie Rock (right) was also in attendance, along with singer and presenter Daniel O'Donnell

Singer Dickie Rock (right) was also in attendance, along with singer and presenter Daniel O’Donnell

Comedian Brendan O'Carroll and his wife Jennifer joined mourners in paying their respects to Mr Grace

Comedian Brendan O’Carroll and his wife Jennifer joined mourners in paying their respects to Mr Grace

Former Manchester United and Ireland defender Kevin Moran was also in attendance at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra

Former Manchester United and Ireland defender Kevin Moran was also in attendance at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra 

Red Hurley, Paddy Cole and Finbar Furey paid a musical tribute to their friend.

Fr Darcy said Grace’s legacy to the world would be one of goodness, laughter and generosity.

‘All of his vocation in life was quite simply, nothing more, nothing less, than to lift the gloom of the nation and to lift the gloom of the people who came to see him,’ he said.

He added: ‘His only vocation in life was to make people happy.’

Fr Darcy, a lifelong friend of Grace, told mourners the comedian was a unifying force.

‘Everybody loved Brendan Grace, protestant, catholic, young, old, cultured, uncultured. It didn’t matter what you were. Educated, non-educated. They all loved Brendan,’ he said.

There was standing-room only for the large crowd of mourners inside the church. The huge crowd outside the church listened to the mass on speakers.

Comedian Brendan O’Carroll, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and entertainer Twink were also among the mourners. 

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, has opened a Book of Condolence for the people of the city to pay their respects.  

The comedian - who played evil Father Fintan Stack in the 90s Channel 4 sitcom - had been in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia when he was diagnosed with lung cancer

The comedian – who played evil Father Fintan Stack in the 90s Channel 4 sitcom – had been in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia when he was diagnosed with lung cancer

Chief celebrant Fr Brian Darcy told mourners that the veteran entertainer's memory would forever live on. Pictured: Grace in 2018

Chief celebrant Fr Brian Darcy told mourners that the veteran entertainer’s memory would forever live on. Pictured: Grace in 2018

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, has opened a Book of Condolence for the people of the city to pay their respects

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, has opened a Book of Condolence for the people of the city to pay their respects

Grace, who was in hospital in Ireland where he was receiving treatment before his death, had faced multiple major health battles in recent years

Grace, who was in hospital in Ireland where he was receiving treatment before his death, had faced multiple major health battles in recent years

Thousands of messages have been posted by fans online recalling fond memories of watching Grace with their families, calling him a ‘legend of Irish comedy’. 

Grace, who was in hospital in Ireland where he was receiving treatment before his death, had faced multiple major health battles in recent years.

This included when he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, eventually losing two of his toes as a result of a gangrene caused by the condition.

Then in 2015 he had a stroke followed by a bad fall, saying that it has left him often looking like he was under the influence. 

Grace spoke about the impact of his health problems in an RTE documentary last year, but his troubles had not stopped him touring until now.

He made his name on the stage with characters such as the cheeky schoolboy Bottler.

He also wrote comedy versions of songs, including a bilingual version of Tom Jones’s Delilah which included the famed line ‘so before they come to bris down the doras’.

But he really shot to fame thanks to his role as Father Stack in Father Ted in ‘New Jack City’, the ninth episode of series two of the comedy in 1996.

Father Stack was an obnoxious and rude priest who was sent to the parochial house as Father Jack’s replacement when the latter contracted ‘Hairy Hands Syndrome’.

Grace and his wife had four children – Amanda, 43, who lives in Ireland, Melanie, 40 and Bradley, 37, who live in Boston, and Brendan Patrick, 34, who is in New York. 

He also had three grandsons, with Brendan Patrick having Aidan, ten, and Melanie having two sons, James, 11, and Patrick, nine. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk