City says a fond farewell to Máirín

AT the funeral Mass of Máirín Lynch in Cork’s North Cathedral yesterday, an old friend flicked through a small photo album and fought back tears.

It contained pictures of Máirín and her husband Jack, both smiling warmly, at a social function shortly after he had stepped down as Taoiseach in 1979.

Now, the woman, who did not wished to be named, was here to pay her last respects to Máirín, who passed away last week at the age of 87.

"She was such a lady," the woman said.

Mrs Lynch's removal took place last Saturday in Rathgar, Dublin, where she lived, and was followed by her cremation.

However, although Dublin-born and bred, she had long been an honorary Cork woman, and, as such, only ever had one final resting place in mind: next to her beloved husband in St Finbarr's Cemetery.

Yesterday's Mass, celebrated by the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, and attended by several hundred people, was deeply moving.

As Máirín was an only child, and she and Jack did not have children, the chief mourners were members of Mr Lynch's family and close friends.

These included Eva Harvey and Rena Dunne, both sisters of Jack, and his nieces and nephews.

Also present was Marcella Murrin, who had cared for both Máirín and Jack in their latter years, and who received a touching tribute from Bishop Buckley.

President Mary McAleese was represented by her aide-de-camp, Captain Michael Treacy; the Taoiseach by his, Commandant Michael Murray.

Also present were former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and his wife Kathleen, Health Minister Micheál Martin, Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh, Fine Gael TD Jim O'Keeffe, Progressive Democrat Senator John Minihan, former Junior Ministers Dan Wallace and Pearse Wyse and Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Jim Corr.

The Garda Síochána was represented by Assistant Commissioner Adrian Culligan and Superintendent Martin Shanahan.

Also among the congregation were the Chancellor of the University of Limerick, Seán Donlon; and retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen.

Dr TK Whitaker gave the final commendation address, finishing by saying: "It seemed to her friends that, more recently, she was at ease, awaiting a lovely reunion."

With that, the Mass ended, and the funeral car carrying Máirín's ashes brought her towards that very reunion.

Accompanied by a Garda escort, the car left the North Cathedral and followed the same route to St Finbarr's which her husband's cortege had taken five years earlier. Just seconds into its route, the car passed by the city's most famous landmark, Shandon Steeple, whose four clock faces were stopped ostensibly because of ongoing renovation work.

But it seemed greater forces were at play: time standing still as a city paid one last, lingering farewell to its very own royalty.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.