On Sunday, 2nd August, I recieved attached note from Gerald Elliott. I rang the number mentioned, and was aske by Miss Rita Byrne to come down as soon as possible; she said Mary Nelson was anxious to see me as Father O'Flanagan was dying. I went down to 18 Harcourt Terrace and Miss Byrne brought me down to the nursing home, 7 Mount Street Crescent. On arrival Mary Nelson went into Father O'Flanagan's room and told him I had arrived. He asked her to bring me in.
After talking a while he said to me — "Well Sean, where are you going to bury me?" Mary Nelson went out and returned with Rita Byrne and George Elliott. Father O'Flanagan looked around and remarked "the faithful four." I repeated the few words we had had regarding his funeral. I explained to him there was a plot in Glasnevin Cemetery and he was quite pleased. I then mentioned "you will be buried beside Austin Stack," and he said — "I could not be in better company."
He then asked what was the next procudure. I said the Church. He asked what church I would bring him to. I said what about St. Teresa's Clarendon Street? He said that is alright, I suppose, but my confessor is at the Franciscan Church. I said "all right, Fr., Adam & Eve's Church. I'll go early tomorrow to see about it."
He then asked who I would have at the funeral, and continuing he asked would I have Count Plunkett, checking himself, he said the Plunkett family, and Sceilg. I said yes, and that I would ask Sceilig to say a few words at the graveside. He then said would I have the I. R. A. and I replied that it was difficult for the I. R. A. to parade, but I promised I would have as many as possible in amongst the members of the Graves Committee. Before leaving he asked me to visit him again soon.
I called on Monday. He had had a number of visitors and was a bit fatigued, so I asked Mary Nelson to tell him that I had called to the Franciscian Church and introduced myself to Rev. Father Oliver O. F. M. I explained my errand. He asked me was this Father O'Flanagan's wish and I said yes.
He asked me to call back after lunch and in the meantime he would ring the Nuncio. I called back and Father Oliver told me that the Nuncio's Secretary had said "if it is the poor man's wish to go to your church, why not," but told Father Oliver to get in touch with the Archbishop of Dublin for his sanction. He did and it was granted.
I called at the Nursing Home on Tuesday, and Father O'Flanagan just remarked, "Séan, Séan." I called to Father Oliver on Tuesday and he told me he would send some of the Priests up to see Fr. O'Flanagan at the Nursing Home. I told Father Oliver that Mary Nelson told me she had the necessary vestments. On Thursday I called to find him unconscious. I then heard that Father Oliver had called and given his blessing.
On Friday 7th August at 7.30 a.m. I recieved word that Father O'Flanagan was dead.
I went down to the Nursing Home some time afterwards and met Mary Nelson who told me that Father had passed away at 4.30 a.m.
I told her it would be a pity to rust the funeral the following day (Saturday) and that it would be better to arrange it for Monday. I then phoned Sean Nolan, Fr. O'Flanagan's solicitor, explained the position and suggested that we see the City Manager and arrange to have the Remains Lying-in-State in the City Hall till Monday. We went to Mr. P. J. Hernon, City Manager, and told him our wishes. He asked us to call back at 3.00 p.m., but at 2.45 he phoned Sean Nolan and informed him that we could have the City Hall.
We brought the Remains from the Nursing Home at three o'clock. The City Hall was opened at four and remained open till ten p.m. It was open on Sunday from ten a.m.till 2.15 p.m. and over 25,000 passed around the coffin.
On Sunday at 2.20 p.m. the Remains were taken to the Franciscan Church, Merchants Quay, where they were recieved by the Rev. Father Oliver, O.F.M., and placed before the High Altar.
On Monday Requiem Mass was celebrated at 10 o'clock and after Mass a precession was formed and marched behind the herse to Glasnevin Cemetery where Father Michael was buried. Prayers were recited at the graveside by the priest attached to the Cemetery and the Oration was given by "Sceilg" (J. J. O'Kelly.)
Memoir by Sean Fitzpatrick