O’Connell burial upholds family traditions

IT was a funeral with a rich historical resonance, but few local people would have taken much notice of the procession of mourners along a beautiful, wind-blown sea shore in south Kerry.

In accordance with time-honoured tradition — they have to ensure the tide is out — the coffin was shouldered across a beach to Derrynane Abbey island cemetery where generations of local families lie at rest.

Yesterday’s funeral, however, had a family link with Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator, who lived in Derrynane House.

Dr Una O’Connell (nee Scorer), widow of the late Dr Daniel O’Connell, a great-great-great-grandson of The Liberator, was interred in the O’Connell family tomb.

She died in a residential care home in London, on Wednesday last.

Aged 85, she had been a regular visitor to Derrynane and was well known in the area where the family have a holiday home. She was described by local people as a “lovely lady”.

Following Requiem Mass in the private chapel in Derrynane House, relays of family members and local men shouldered the coffin about 400 metres to the cemetery.

She was laid to rest in the family tomb, where Mary O’Connell, wife of the Liberator, was interred in 1836.

Upwards of 60 people joined the family in a final farewell, standing around the tomb for the quiet, dignified ceremony.

Her husband, a leading Harley Street consultant, was also buried there, four years ago.

Chief mourners were her children, Maurice, Susanna and Daniel.

The Liberator was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

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