Retired Supreme Court judge Hugh Geoghegan remembered at funeral Mass as man ‘of boundless curiosity’ – The Irish Times


A retired Supreme Court judge, Hugh Geoghegan, was remembered as a loving husband and father, a loyal friend, and a man of “boundless curiosity” at his funeral Mass on Wednesday.

He died last Sunday aged 86

At his 60th birthday celebration, her father said his only regret in life was that he had not met Mary, his wife of 43 years, sooner, senior counsel Caren Geoghegan said.

Her Dad was an “amazing father” who invented many stories and games for his three young children but, “rather than I spy, we were quizzed about the capital cities of the most obscure countries”.

No subject was off limits at family dinners and she recalled her father saying to her mother: “Mary, I will not be censored”, Ms Geoghegan said.

James Geoghegan, Fine Gael Councillor and Dublin Lord Mayor, said the family were overwhelmed by the many tributes to his father emphasising his compassion and kindness.

His father was a man of “boundless curiosity” who was “obsessive” about current affairs. He recalled being in a car with a radio antennae stuck outside the window as his father tried to find out if the Belfast Agreement had been signed.

Above all, his father “absolutely adored Mum and loved his family”, he said. “Dad, in the fullest of health, was a permanent source of amusement and fun, he made us laugh so much, he adored conversation and controversy.”

Both siblings were speaking at a Mass of thanksgiving in Dublin for the judge.

The chief celebrant was Fr Michael Sheil SJ, a lifelong friend of the late judge since they met as students of Clongowes Wood College.

His friend’s judgments had been described as “infused with humanity and compassion” which summed him up very well, Fr Sheil said. “He brought so much gentle happiness and laughter into people’s lives.”

The chief mourners were the judge’s wife Mary Finlay Geoghegan, also a retired Supreme Court judge, son James, daughters Caren and Sarah, brother Ross, and extended family including nine grandchildren.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Simon Harris were represented by their aides de camp.

Attorney General Rossa Fanning was among the packed congregation as were many serving and retired judges of the superior courts, including Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell, Court of Appeal president George Birmingham and High Court president David Barniville.

Former chief justice Susan Denham and former High Court presidents Mary Irvine and Peter Kelly, many barristers and solicitors and Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik also attended.

A native of Dublin, Hugh Geoghegan was called to the Bar in 1962 and became a senior counsel in 1977, practising in Dublin and the midland circuit. He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1992 and a judge of the Supreme Court eight years later.



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