The late James Carew, Dublin and Annacarty
Tipperary GAA lost a lifelong supporter last autumn with the passing of Dublin-based Annacarty man James Carew.
Aged 80, James passed away after a long illness on Thursday, September 30 at the Care Choice Nursing Home, Finglas Road, Dublin 11.
Born in Kilpatrick, Dundrum in February 1941, James was the third oldest in Martin and Margaret (“Peg”, née Slattery) Carew’s family of eleven.
He was a pupil of Annacarty National School where Bill O’Donnell – the legendary Tipperary hurler from the 1930s/40s – was the principal at that time.
As a result of his early schooling from “The Master” (as he was affectionately known by all his pupils), a young James quickly developed a love for the fortunes of the Tipperary hurlers during the beginning of what became known as the golden era for the men in blue and gold.
James also loved playing the game and regularly turned out at underage level for his local Eire Óg club, as well as lining out for the Abbey CBS, where he studied for his Inter Cert.
James often privately admitted that he always regretted not remaining at the Tipperary Town-based alma mater until his Leaving Cert in 1959, when it is quite possible that he could well have been a team panellist when the school famously won their only Harty Cup title.
James Carew began his life in the world of work, spanning the best part of nearly 50 years, as a bar tender in Dublin but he soon discovered that a life behind the bar was not for him.
Eventually the attraction of emigration and a new life away from Ireland led to him taking the boat to England, where he settled in Birmingham for a few years in the early 60s. There, James worked for Birmingham City Transport as a conductor and driver.
His neighbours Pat and Nonie Cooney also provided him with accommodation in Birmingham and their tenants also included other Tipperary people.
While he admitted that he was always very happy working in Birmingham, that same place just did not have the big match days in Croke Park and it was no real surprise when he returned to settle in Dublin later that decade in the Phibsboro area.
After initially working as a lorry driver for CIE and joining the New Ireland GAA club, James eventually landed a job with the ESB.
However, he also had many ambitions of improving his work prospects by undertaking part-time courses in adult and further education. His persistence and diligence was rewarded by successfully attaining Diplomas and Degrees in environmental studies and engineering, which led to him being appointed to a top position in Enterprise Ireland, from where he retired in 2006.
His life in Dublin away from work included his involvement with the New Ireland GAA Club and playing golf, including at Forest Little club in Swords, where he was a member.
He also enjoyed foreign holidays and regular trips back home to Annacarty, where he always kept in touch with the fortunes of his native Eire Óg club, as well as travelling to watch the Tipperary hurlers wherever they played.
James also lined out for the Civil Service GAA Club at full back and in 1985 was a member of their county intermediate hurling final winning team at the age of 44!
By now he had also moved to a new home in Finglas, as well as becoming a frequent visitor to Croke Park and Phil Ryan’s Hogan Stand pub on big match days.
A very congenial, mild mannered and humorous man, James Carew also acquired a huge circle and network of friends throughout his very interesting and colourful life, many of whom included a number of GAA personalities both on and off the field.
His off-field friends included former Croke Park Games Administrator Sean O’Laoire, whom he became acquainted with through his association with the New Ireland GAA Club in Dublin.
Like all Annacarty men, James was also very proud of the feats and achievements of 1980/90s Tipperary hurling legend Pat Fox, as well as being a regular visitor to Pat’s hostelry when passing through Cashel.
Everyone who was privileged to know James Carew will cherish their own private memories of an exceptionally kind and obliging person who was always great company.
My own special memory of him dates back to an unforgettable day for all Tipperary supporters in Killarney on July 25 in 1971.
James drove from Dublin that weekend via his homestead in Annacarty and offered me a lift to the Munster hurling final - a game that became part of Tipperary hurling folklore.
All of us in his car were soaked to the skin as we watched John Flanagan hit that outstanding winning point after Babs Keating had hit three goals earlier, and with Mick Roche also producing an outstanding defensive display against Limerick. But we hardly noticed being so saturated, as we savoured the enormity of one of Tipperary hurlers’ finest hours.
James’ funeral service took place on October 2 2021, with funeral Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, Glasnevin followed by burial in Fingal Cemetery, Balgriffin.
The chief mourners were his brothers Thomas and Michael, sisters Bridget, Anne, Bernadette and Christine and his partner of 28 years - Geraldine O’Toole from Templemore and a much smaller number of his many friends, due to the pandemic restrictions at that time last year.
James was also predeceased by his parents Martin and Peg and sisters Mary and Phyllis.
The family would like to thank everyone for their support since James’ passing, including the representatives of those services who played their part in supporting him during his later years while in hospital, the Care Choice Nursing Home and also while convalescing at home.
A Mass is being offered for their intentions.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
- Written by Larry Cooney
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