Passing of a wonderful artist and teacher

The late Hélène Brunicardi

THE death has occurred in Killarney of Hélène Brunicardi, an exceptionally gifted and very popular artist who taught at Killarney Community College and, prior to that, the former vocational school, in a career in the classroom spanning 35 years.

She passed away, peacefully, on Sunday following an illness.

Born in Dublin, her family moved to Haulbowline, Co Cork where her father and several members of her family were involved in the Navy. They later moved to Fermoy and, after attending the Crawford School of Art, Hélène she came to live and work in Killarney which became her home for almost all of her adult life.

She joined the teaching staff in the old vocational school on New Street in 1969, operating from a very basic art room looking out on to New Street but in 1986 she took great delight from the excellent art department that was part of the new Killarney Community College on New Road.

Hélène had everything she could want in that facility – including a pottery wheel and a kiln – to allow her to practice her craft and to educate a whole new generation of eager young students.

A wonderfully creative artist, she loved Killarney and adored the national park and woodlands, taking great inspiration from the lakes and mountains, flora and fauna that are such an integral part of the town.

She was particularly noted for her very distinctive blend of landscape paintings, scenery, trees and flowers, most of which were inspired by the natural beauty of Killarney.

From her home in Woodlawn Park, Hélène had a great view of Torc mountain and it afforded her great inspiration. She had a particular fondness for painting the bluebells and wild garlic found in the local woodlands and she never grew tired of working with the magnificent shades of Autumn. Following her retirement in 2004, she also loved to spend time in Clonea in Dungarvan.

Among her closest friends going through life were fellow artists, Valerie Treacy Aichinger, a teacher in St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School, and Patricia Bianchi.

Hélène was a very enthusiastic member of Toastmasters, serving as President of the local club, and she seldom missed a meeting or an event.

She staged art exhibitions in Fermoy and Limerick and she exhibited locally on several occasions, with a number of solo shows in Killarney Library and in local galleries.

Predeceased by her parents, Niall and Evelyn, and sister Anne, Hélène is survived by her brother Daire, sister-in-law Phil, brother-in-law Pat, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, relatives and many good friends.

Reposing at O’Shea’s Funeral Home, Killarney on this Tuesday from 4.30pm, removal will take place at 6.30pm to St Mary’s Cathedral. Requiem Mass will be on Wednesday at 10.30am followed by burial afterwards in Kilcrumper New Cemetery, Fermoy arriving at approximately 2.00pm.

The family has requested, donations, in lieu of flowers, if desired, to be made to Palliative Care, University Hospital Kerry.

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