JOHN Wright, who died unexpectedly last month, was a man of many hats but was best known to readers of these pages as an event horse owner and breeder, a former chairman of Eventing Ireland, a director of Horse Sport Ireland plus a legal advisor, and more, with Bord Na gCapall.
One would be forgiven for thinking that John had been born into an equestrian family but nothing could be further from the truth, as was detailed in the eulogy delivered at his funeral Mass in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Ballyroan on Friday, October 15th, by sons Cillian and Philip.
“John was born in 1943 in Dublin’s north inner city. He was so proud of his upbringing in Shamrock Cottages on the North Strand. His father and namesake passed away when John was 18 after which his strong, determined mother, Molly, took on the role of ensuring that John and his sister Violet completed their studies. John finished his secondary education in O’Connell Schools in 1961 and during all of this time he worked on repairing cars in the railway arch garage they had beside the house to earn extra money for the family.
“John started work in Irish Shipping in 1962 and the company then supported him to attend Trinity in 1965 to study law. He graduated first in his class and became a barrister in King’s Inns. Such an incredible achievement for a young man who had not the means or the experience of the path travelled before him.”
In his private sector business career, John was an entrepreneur, founding Databank Systems Ltd which he sold in 2003 to Ingenico of France. In 2011 he founded PaymentPlus, a provider of card payment solutions for the Irish and British markets and where he was still working with Cillian and Philip in the week before his death.
John had huge sporting interests beyond horses. He was one of the founders of St Joseph’s O’Connell Boys GAA club, based in the East Wall/Sheriff Street area, and was chairman for a two-year period. He played Gaelic Football for Dublin at minor, under 21, junior and senior levels and played football and hurling for Trinity. He also boxed, played soccer and basketball and competed in athletics.
John Wright is survived by his wife Joan, sons Cillian and Philip, stepsons Simon, Matthew, Michael and John, his many grandchildren, his sister Violet and brother Noel.