Lady Carbery laid to rest in ancestral vault

THE lament of a lone piper wafted through a woodland setting as the matriarch of one of West Cork’s best-known aristocratic families was laid to rest.

A black horse-drawn hearse led the cortege through Castlefreke Woods for the final farewell to Lady Carbery, Joyzelle Mary Evans-Freke.

Her 86-year-old husband Peter, Lord Carbery, was flanked by his sons Michael, John and Stephen, daughters Maura and Angela, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Lady Carbery was interred in a tomb in the old Rathbarry graveyard.

The cut-stone hilltop vault, commanding panoramic views of the Atlantic and the ancestral castle home at Castlefreke, was built in the early 1800s.

The family link with Castlefreke and Rathbarry had been severed for several decades until Lord Carbery’s son, Stephen Evans-Freke, acquired the ruins of Castlefreke Castle and a restored residence at nearby Rathbarry Castle six years ago.

Stephen, who lives in the US, said Saturday’s memorial service for his mother was a bitter-sweet occasion for the mainly London-domiciled family.

“My father, who still enjoys good health, decided a few years ago that he would like, in due course, to be laid to rest in Rathbarry. My mother, you could say, was determined to be by his side forever.”

Significantly, he said, the burial service brought together to West Cork, for the first time, a sizeable number of four generations of family members.

Lady Carbery (nee Binnie), who had been in ill-health for a number of years, died on April 19 in London. A requiem Mass was held in Wimbledon on Thursday last.

A grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of six, 87-year-old Lady Carbery’s roots were in a famed horse bloodstock family, the Corballys from Swords.

Rathbarry parish priest Fr Pat McCarthy said: “This place was rather special for Lady Carbery. I met her, maybe two or three times, when she came here. It was clear she had a great affection for this church and the area and found spiritual peace here. We like to think that, in some way, she is preparing a place of peace for all of us.”

Local rector Rev Chris Peters and Fr Robert Young also participated in the memorial service in St Michael’s Church.

Scores of locals attended the service and followed the cortege as the remains were carried in an original 19th century hearse, drawn by two black horses, driven by owner Don Dennehy.

Piper Barry Murphy from Carrigaline Pipe Band performed Amazing Grace as the cortege continued through the village and into the woodlands.

A vast array of white blossoms bedecked the mahogany coffin and also the ancestral mausoleum.

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