The death notice for Packy Holmes states that he died peacefully this week and that his funeral Mass will take place in The Cathedral of Christ The King Mullingar on Wednesday morning. Other than that it says little about the man that everyone knew and loved and was so much part of life and living around Mullingar for most of the last 98 years.
According to Packy himself “The stage never leaves your blood” and he knew better than most, for he held centre stage in most of Mullingar’s theatrical endeavors over the best part of the past 70 years. He went to his first performance in The County Hall with his mother when he was just three and a half years old.
Packy’s Mullingar credentials were impeccable. His mother was Fitzpatrick whose family had businesses in the town centre and his maternal grandfather had a shoe factory and a small shop in Mount Street. Packy’s father was a gantry driver at the great CIE gantry in Clonmore where he remembered over 100 men working three shifts there.
Packy had great memories of growing up in Mullingar especially in Patrick Street in the early 1920s after the British army had withdrawn from the town. He often recalled having been provided with “the greatest playground in Ireland” at the old Army Barracks. It was there he played war games with his friends around the trenches which had been dug for the first world war and they had all the facilities of an empty barracks and a ball alley.