'Old Man Belfield' funeral to be live-streamed by UCD in final farewell

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A 71-year-old rough sleeper who had roamed the grounds of UCD for decades is to be given a final resting place in the scenic south Dublin countryside.

Micheal Byrne, known fondly as “Old Man Belfield”, died on January 11 after being found unconscious in a sleeping bag on the college grounds.

His funeral is due to take place on Wednesday, 20 January and will be live streamed on the UCD YouTube channel at 11am.

He was known to generations of UCD students and staff who were heartbroken to hear of his death.

His RIP.ie notice reads: “Affectionately known as “Old Man Belfield” by students and staff, Michael sadly passed away on Monday, 11 January 2021 on the campus that was his home for over thirty years. Loved and respected by generations of students and staff and neighbours in Woodbine, Nutley and Greenfield, he will be greatly missed.

“The (McCarthy) family who watched out for Michael for the past thirty years would like to thank all those who were kind to Michael and who respected his fierce privacy and independence.”

Massey Bros funeral directors in Blackrock and Kilternan Cemetery Park have said they will give him a funeral, burial, plot and headstone free of charge, the Irish Times reports.

In a statement UCD said: “Michael Byrne, affectionately known as “Old Man Belfield” by students and staff, sadly passed away on Monday 11 January 2021.

“A fiercely private person, we thank those of you who quietly looked out for Michael. We will miss him around the campus. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí are investigating all of circumstances surrounding the discovery of a body of a 71-year-old man in Belfield, Dublin 4 on Monday 11th January 2021.

“Gardaí were called to the University campus following the discovery of the man’s body shortly after 12 noon. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body has since been removed to the Dublin City Morgue.”

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Source: Dublin News