A tribute to Jarlath Jennings
A tribute to Jarlath Jennings

by his friend and colleague, John Fanning.

Sadly, and very suddenly, Jarlath passed away on 14th May after a routine operation in St. Vincents Hospital, Dublin.

Jarlath Jennings was a man with a larger than life personality, who knew everyone and whom everyone was pleased to see. This talent was demonstrated time and again on his weekly trips as Account Director to Kellogg’s in Manchester, when accompanying him you would witness the extraordinary reception Jarlath received in the airport, from the moment of embarkation; hi Jarlath, hello Doris, back again Jarlath, good to be here George, hello Jarlath, hi Liz, and so on all the way to the taxi rank; no need to ask where, Jarlath, no need to tell you then Frank. He knew them all. It was this ebullient personality that made the news of his sudden untimely death last week so hard to sink in; my mind kept returning to those triumphant processions through Manchester Airport.

Jarlath joined McConnell’s in 1981 from AC Nielsen. He rose rapidly through the ranks and was appointed to the Board in 1986 becoming managing director in 2000. Although he was most associated in the advertising industry with the Kellogg’s account he also worked with a wide range of iconic national and multi-national brands including ESB, Mars and Johnson & Johnson. During his years in McConnells, the agency grew from strength to strength, with many of the people he recruited, worked with and who enjoyed many a pint with him in The Barge, now holding senior positions in agencies across the city.

He was deeply committed to McConnells but also to the wider marketing communications industry and served on the Council of the Marketing Institute including a term as Chairman, ultimately receiving an MII Fellowship.

His dedication to the business was combined with a wide range of sporting and cultural pursuits and a love of the Southeast where he both grew up and split his time in recent years. Waterford hurling and Wexford opera were his particular weaknesses. His dedication to the ‘Deise’ was legendary but opera and classical music were his true passions. After retirement from advertising he enrolled in Trinity to complete a Masters in music which added a theoretical gloss to his already encyclopaedic knowledge of classical music. He was also an intrepid traveller, criss-crossing America and many remote corners of the world, but his more regular travel haunts were the opera festivals of Europe.

Our thoughts go out now to his beloved wife Marian and his son Eoin.

Suaimhneas síoraí dó.