The saddest moment is when the person who gave you the best memories becomes a memory
ONE year has now passed since the death of Kathleen MacMonagle Keogh who passed away on August 31st last and the first anniversary Mass will take place this Tuesday in St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney at 6.15pm.
Her sad death, this time last year, poignantly marked the end of an era for one generation of a very well-known and respected Killarney family. Kathleen was the last surviving member of seven MacMonagle siblings who were best known for their pioneering work in printing, publishing and photography for well over a century.
Born on August 3rd 1926, she grew up in Glebeside, College Street, Killarney, withher parents, Daniel and Catherine, and family. Daniel MacMonagle was a master printer and photographer, who founded Killarney Printing Works and Photography in 1913 and he launched The Kingdom newspaper in 1923. He died in October 1964 and his wife Catherine (née Fogarty) died in March 1975.
Following school in the Presentation Convent and a commercial course in Killarney Technical School, in the 1940s, Kathleen worked in Mrs McDonnell’s Electrical and Photographic Store on College Street, a business that specialised in film processing, which was a skill for which she had a natural flair. She worked in Hilliard’s Department Store, on Main Street, during the 1950s and, in later years, she enjoyed working alongside her brothers, Paddy and Seán MacMonagle, in Killarney Printing Works.
Kathleen married Tim Keogh in January 1957 and they had five sons, Seán, Don, Tim, Francis and Eamonn, initially living in Upper Sunny Hill before moving to Countess Grove. Sadly, her husband
Tim passed away, suddenly, on May 24th 1976 while watching two of his sons playing for his beloved Dr Crokes against town rivals Legion in an Under 12 East Kerry final at Fitzgerald Stadium.
Kathleen knew sorrow and sadness but she demonstrated remarkable resilience through difficult times. She experienced the loss of her own mother, Catherine, her husband Tim and her brother Louis all in the space of a short time span in 1975-76 but she had the strength and faith to keep going to raise her five young sons. Later she was a devoted and cherished grandmother to Donnchadh, Darragh and Selina and treasured the quality time that she spent with them.
Outside of her dedicated family life, Kathleen was a member of the Franciscan Friary Choir, Third Order of St Francis and the Order of the Knights and Dames of Innisfallen. In her early years she was an accomplished oarswoman with St Brendan’s Rowing Club.
During the course of her life, overseas trips to Rome and the Chelsea Flower Show were some highlights while she thoroughly enjoyed family holidays in Dungarvan every summer, visiting her sister May Walsh and family. Despite the fact that there was a 100-mile journey between them for most of their lives, the close bond was never broken and they always remained particularly close. Kathleen had tremendous faith and belief in the power of prayer and rarely missed daily morning Mass in the Franciscan Friary.
She had an enormous lifelong interest in news and current affairs and she also enjoyed hearing of local sporting successes, particularly when it involved Dr Crokes or Kerry teams. Sporting and media personalities often attracted her attention more than the match itself and she was greatly amused by the engaging and colourful personality of charismatic Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp while the distinctive and descriptive radio commentary by the late Weeshie Fogarty always captured her interest.
Kathleen was extremely close to all of her five brothers and her sister and each of their deaths over the years came as a cruel blow to her. She was predeceased by allof her siblings Louis (1976), Harry (1994), Donal (2001), Seán (2005), May (2013) and Paddy (2014).
At her Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, principal celebrant, Fr Niall Howard, paid a very warm tribute to Kathleen who he described as a gentle, devoted and caring lady and a wonderful mother, who had a very strong faith and who always put the best interests of her family and others first.
Fr Niall said he got to know her particularly well when she and her brother, Paddy, would attend St Mary’s Cathedral for devotions and regular prayer services. He was joined on the altar by Fr Eamonn O’Driscoll, OFM, Canon Tomás Ó Luanaigh and Fr Paddy O’Donoghue and also in attendance were Franciscan Friary Guardian Br Pat Lynch and family friend, Br Isidore Cronin OFM.
Hymns in the church were performed by Kathleen’s grandniece, Lily MacMonagle, and soloist Maura Reen and the organist was Anita Lakner. Prayers of the faithful were read by the next generation of the MacMonagle family, Kathleen’s nieces Catherine, Riona, Ann, Orna and her nephew, Donal Walsh, and by her son Tim, while her two eldest sons, Seán and Don, delivered the readings. In a moving final farewell at the burial in Aghadoe Cemetery, two of Kathleen’s sons, Don and Francis, played one of her favourite tunes, the old Irish ballad Roddy McCorley, on concertina and tin whistle respectively.
Kathleen’s youngest son, Eamonn, delivered a eulogy remembering her as a wonderful, devoted mother and grandmother and recalling how her love, kindness and generosity knew no bounds as she always put everyone else first.
She even focused on the concerns of loyal, faithful family dog, Bob, ahead of herself. Bob’s health had declined rapidly in 2020 but he battled on and Kathleen would constantly say that she hoped that Bob would not die before her. The great Bob passed on just a few months before her in May 2020.
Eamonn said his mother enjoyed a long and healthy life, always insisting that she never wanted to be a burden on anyone – and stressing that she never was. Her presence, her calming and reassuring influence and wise words were always a huge source of encouragement to all her family, he said.
She always stressed the importance of good manners, to treat others the way you wanted to be treated yourself and to always use the words ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’.
Kathleen often quoted the prayer of St Teresa of Avila when reassuring others that difficulties and obstacles could be overcome, that everything comes to an end eventually and that people could get over setbacks in life.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.