Mourners at a funeral Mass for Cork writer and broadcaster Colm Keane were told he was “essentially a man of people” who told his stories “through the lives of people”, whether about football, music, or the lives of saints.
Mr Keane, a native of Youghal, Co Cork, passed away at the weekend at Waterford Hospital Hospice, aged 70. He had been diagnosed with cancer. He was married to RTÉ newscaster Una O'Hagan for almost 30 years. The couple had lived in Bray, Co Wicklow, before moving to An Rinn Gaeltacht in west Waterford in recent times.
More than 300 mourners attended the service, held in Youghal’s Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The congregation included Mr Keane's wife Una, sisters Eithne and Finola, sister-in-law Helen, nephew Alexander, nieces Vanessa and Dolores, and grandniece Magnolia.
RTÉ presenter Bryan Dobson was among several RTÉ personnel present, while Br Kevin Crowley of Dublin Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People also attended.
The service was led by Canon Bermingham, who spoke of Colm’s close association with the church itself, his late father Eamonn having fundraised for its construction in the 1930s, and Colm having served as an altar boy there.
Mr Keane retired as an RTÉ broadcaster in 2003 to concentrate on writing and produced 29 books in almost as many years, four of which were co-written with Una.
Canon Bermingham said while he was “a man of varied and all-encompassing stories”, he was “essentially a man of people”. He had told his stories “through the lives of people”.
The priest recalled that Colm had channelled his “mind of inquiry” across landscapes as diverse as prisoners on death row in Texas and teenagers during the Troubles in the North.
“People mattered and that made him a welcome guest and a treasured friend,” he said.
Recalling that Colm and Una had lost their only child, Seán, to cancer at the age of 20 in 2007, the priest said the tragedy led the writer “to a quest for deeper meaning and truth” and to explore the “mysteries of life and death” through investigations of near-death experiences.
Ultimately, “he has left us a legacy of hope, encouragement, and consolation”.
Colm was cremated at the Island Crematorium Ringaskiddy and his ashes will, eventually, be interred alongside his son Seán at Shanganah cemetery, Dublin.