Brief history of O'Connell Funeral Directors
O’Connell Funeral Director’s
O’Connell Funeral Directors was first established in Mallow in 1885 by Michael Brian O’Connell, the first of three generations. Known to the local community as MB O’Connell, he served the surrounding areas of Mallow. Throughout the years, MB O’Connell’s expanded and catered for the town and did so with a Taxi service as well as a Public House. In times gone by, it was commonplace for a Funeral Business and Public House to go hand in hand, and this was no different for the O’Connell family.
Although the company did not have a funeral home, the premises in Bridge Street was the heart of our funeral business.
This building was where coffins were made, the funeral cars were kept, and preparations for the funerals occurred. On Bridge street, there were three different Funeral homes over the years, firstly in the early 1970s, the final funeral home closed its doors on Bridge street in October 1988.
St. James’ Avenue
The closer of Bridge street funeral Home led to the opening of a new Funeral Home on St. James’ Avenue, Mallow, where to this day, its doors are proudly open for business. While the Bridge Street Funeral Home was closed, that did not mean the business fully left its origin and Michael B’s (the 3rd generation) wife Mary (nee Cronin) and her nephew Donal Attridge resided there. Mary was surviving the passing of the last generation of MB O’Connell and drafted in Donal to give a helping hand in the running of the funeral business. Donal has been involved with his aunt’s running of the business since 1973, and since her passing in 1991, he became the first person outside of the O’Connell family to manage the business. In 1983 Donal married Helen (nee O’Sullivan), and both lived on the premises of 22 Bridge Street until November 2001. Here they raised six children, two boys and four girls. While raising a young family along with running the funeral business, Donal was certified as the first qualified embalmer in North Cork. This was part of the business which Donal accelerated in, and with his ability, he helped other funeral directors in an area which lacked massively in the 1980s and 1990s. As Donal and Helen’s family grew older and began studying of their own, it was never forced as a profession on any of the six children. Donal and Helen became a formidable duo fronting the business and maintained the family-run ethos our firm has had since 1885.
In 2014 their youngest son Liam leapt into the funeral trade, and it was agreed that he would learn the runnings of the family business in a Cork City funeral home, where he remained for 7 years and gained massive amounts of experience. During his time there, he passed out with a Certificate in Funeral Practice with the Irish Association of Funeral Directors in 2016, as well as training as an embalmer in Navan, gaining high marks in his exams and was awarded his certification in 2019, where he was also accepted as a ‘Member of the British Institute of Embalmers’ (MBIE) along with his father. This was a proud moment for the O’Connell – Attridge family-run firm, and the certificates are proudly hung in the hallway of the funeral home.
In August of 2021, Liam returned to work full time with his parents and has been welcomed by the local community as part of the team. Liam has now taken over from his parents, Donal and Helen as owner and director of the company.