THE passing of Mrs Kathleen Keogh, who was laid to rest in Aghadoe Cemetery this Thursday, poignantly marks the end of an era for one generation of a very well-known and respected Killarney family.
She was the last of seven MacMonagle siblings who were best known for their pioneering work in printing, publishing and photography for well over a century.
Predeceased by her brothers Louis (1976), Harry (1994), Donal (2001), Seán (2005) and Paddy (2014) and her sister, May (2013), Kathleen passed away in University Hospital Kerry on Monday, following a short illness, and just weeks after celebrating her 94th birthday.
At the requiem Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral this Thursday morning, 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. It was Kathleen’s wish that Fr Niall would celebrate her funeral Mass.
He was joined on the altar by Fr Eamonn O’Driscoll, OFM, Canon Tom Looney and Fr Paddy O’Donoghue and also in attendance were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian of the Franciscan Friary in Killarney – where she loved to visit for daily Mass – and Keogh family friend, Br Isodore Cronin of the Franciscan Friary in Cork City.
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 Candy, Riona, Ann, Orna and her nephew, Donal Walsh, and by her son Tim, while her two eldest sons, Seán and Don, delivered the readings.
Kathleen’s grandchildren, Donnchadh, Darragh and Selina, who are in Australia, as well as her niece, Máire Brethnach, and nephew and godson Philip MacMonagle, who are also abroad, were unable to be in attendance due to travel restrictions but they watched the ceremony via the live-streaming service from the Killarney Parish.
The daughter of Daniel and Catherine MacMonagle, Kathleen grew up in the heart of Killarney town, just off College Street, and she attended the Presentation Convent before completing a commercial course in the old Killarney Technical School in the 1940s.
She worked in Mrs McDonnell’s electrical and photographic processing store, close to her home on College Street, before taking up a position in Hilliard’s Department Store. In later years she worked alongside her brothers, Paddy and Seán, in Killarney Printing Works.
She married Tim Keogh in 1957 and they had five sons, Seán, Don, Tim, Francis and Eamonn, living in Upper Sunny Hill before later moving to Countess Grove.
Sadly, Tim passed away, suddenly, in 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 the Fitzgerald Stadium.
Kathleen’s youngest son, Eamonn, recalled today that the game was abandoned as a result of his father’s shock passing but there were smiles in the congregation when he made sure to add that Dr Crokes won the replay.
Kathleen also had an enormous lifelong interest in news and current affairs and she was a keen sports fan, following the exploits of Dr Crokes and the Kerry footballers as well as greatly admiring the charisma and personality of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.
In a moving reflection on Kathleen’s life, Eamonn remembered a fantastic and devoted mother and grandmother.
“Her love, kindness and generosity knew no bounds. She always put everyone else first,” he said.
“She even focused on the concerns of our loyal, faithful family dog, Bob, ahead of herself. Bob’s health declined rapidly in the past year but he battled on too.
“Mam would constantly say that she hoped that Bob would not die before her. Sadly, the great Bob passed on a few months ago in May”.
Eamonn said Kathleen 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 us all. It is with heartfelt reluctance that we say goodbye today,” he added.
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 concentina and tin whistle respectively, in a moving final farewell.
Kathleen had a lifelong devotion to St Francis of Assisi and, quoting his mother’s favourite saint in today’s eulogy, Eamonn recalled his words: For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
“Our beloved mother Kathleen, through her life of giving, has received all our love and respect,” he remarked.
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