Anne O'Sullivan remembered as 'caring, kind, unselfish and compassionate'

Her untimely passing 'was not the only tragedy in her life', mourners at her funeral were told
Anne O'Sullivan remembered as 'caring, kind, unselfish and compassionate'

Anne O'Sullivan. File picture: Eamonn Farrell /

The woman whose husband and two sons died in a murder-suicide in north Cork last year was remembered for showing "nothing but kindness" to her family.

Speaking at Anne O’Sullivan’s funeral, cousin Louise Sherlock also paid tribute to her as a “gentle, caring, compassionate” woman.

Mourners also heard that the 61-year-old former nurse, who died on Wednesday after a long illness, had accepted her fate with dignity but died before her time.

Mourners were also reminded that her “untimely passing” was not the only tragedy in her life.

Chief celebrant Fr Toby Bluitt described last October’s events in Raheen, near Kanturk, as a time when a “darkness” came into her life.

Addressing mourners at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk yesterday (FRI), he said: “I suppose in an ideal world we would like to think of ourselves as living long and happy lives with friends and family to support us to the end.

“We don’t live in an ideal world, that’s the problem.” 

She fled the family farmhouse on October 26, 2020, when husband Tadgh, 59, and youngest son Diarmuid, 23, shot her eldest son Mark, 26, in an inheritance row over property.

She ran to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm after realising Mark had been shot.

Diarmuid, Tadg and Mark O'Sullivan.
Diarmuid, Tadg and Mark O'Sullivan.

After Mark's shooting, Diarmuid and Tadgh went to a field some 600 metres from the farmhouse in Kanturk and ended their own lives.

Prior to ending their lives, the pair told Ms O'Sullivan that she would have to live with the despair of what had occurred.

Ms O'Sullivan attended both the funeral of Diarmuid and Tadgh and the separate requiem mass for Mark.

Diarmuid and Tadgh were buried together at St Brigid's Cemetery in Castlemagner and Mark was laid to rest in a plot belonging to his mother's family following a funeral mass in Kanturk.

In a Reflection after Holy Communion towards the end of yesterday's service - which was live-streamed - cousin Louise Sherlock said: “Words that immediately come to mind, gentle, caring, quiet, kind, unselfish, sincere and compassionate.

“Anne showed nothing but kindness to her family, her friends and neighbours.

“Following her father Tim's sudden death, Anne gave up her nursing job to care for her mother Mary.

“In time, she continued her nursing career locally and cared for Mary for years when she was unwell.

“In Raheen, there was always a welcome to family, friends and neighbours “Anne lived a quiet life in Raheen, offering us all friendship, warmth, hospitality in such a peaceful, tranquil setting.” She added: “We all share a myriad of happy memories down through the years.

“We hope that Anne is now at peace.”

In his introduction at the service, Fr Bluitt said: “Anne lost her battle against her illness.

“She died, as we might say, before her time.

“As was characteristic of her, she accepted her fate with dignity and courage but lost out in the end.

“And that is what brings us here this afternoon.

“I know that we are conscious of the fact that Anne’s untimely passing was not the only tragedy in her life.

We here in our community are well aware of the recent painful and tragic loss that Anne suffered – a tragedy that affected us all.

“We acknowledge the fact.

“We recognise a wider context for our grief today.

“We know that there are other clouds behind the landscape of our sorrow.

“We note this but it is not for us to pass comment or judgement. We simply acknowledge the fact.” 

And he said in his homily: “Darkness came into Anne’s life when she lost her family in very sad and tragic circumstances, and when she lost her battle with the illness she had fought so courageously.

“The fact is that when someone dies there is this great sense of emptiness, this enormous sense of loss.

“And we have an added sadness, I think, that for Anne, for one family, life didn’t work out the way it might have.

“I read somewhere that the Hindu people refer to death as the quenching of a lamp because dawn has come.

“Anne’s death was just like that. It was the silent blowing out of a candle flame."

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