Tuesday 27 September 2016

Always smiling and helping, Karen lived to love and travel

Profile: the victim

Published 12/08/2015 | 02:30

Karen Buckley’s bedroom at her home in Cork, which is now covered in the letters sent by well-wishers after her death
Karen Buckley’s bedroom at her home in Cork, which is now covered in the letters sent by well-wishers after her death
Typical of her farming background, Karen was utterly dedicated to her studies and was extremely hard-working

Karen Buckley was an only daughter, a sister to three brothers and, as was evident at her funeral, a friend to hundreds.

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Born in 1990, her life story was that of any popular, successful girl from rural Ireland until the night she randomly met Alexander Pacteau.

She was the youngest child of John (62) and Marian (61) Buckley.

They described her as "so genuine" and "so caring".

Karen loved life and as a fully qualified nurse, she especially liked helping older people.

Her parents operate a dairy farm at Mourneabbey, some 15km from Mallow in north Cork.

She was doted on by her three older brothers, Brendan (32), Kieran (28) and Damien (27).

She attended Analeentha national school, just 2km from her home, until 2003, when she began her secondary education at St Mary's in Mallow.

Typical of her farming background, Karen was utterly dedicated to her studies and was extremely hard-working.

Like her brothers, she was involved in the local GAA club, which was the social fulcrum of the north Cork community.

She secured weekend employment in The Hibernian Hotel in Mallow as a waitress.

Karen eventually became part of their functions team and would work for dinner dances and wedding receptions.

Staff nicknamed her the 'cailín gaelach', such was the bright smile that she always wore.

St Mary's secondary school teachers have special memories of the bright, bubbly student who sat her Leaving Cert in 2009.

Students and staff, led by principal Yvonne Bane, provided a guard of honour at her funeral.

"Karen Buckley was a past pupil of St Mary's Secondary School, Mallow and our thoughts and prayers are with her family," the school said.

After her Leaving Cert, Karen fulfilled her lifelong dream of studying nursing.

She attended the University of Limerick (UL) before she graduated with honours in 2012/2013.

Karen spent part of her training at Ennis hospital before moving to England, where she worked at the Princess Alexandria Hospital in Harlow, Essex.

The UL nursing graduate had only moved to Glasgow in January to study at the Caledonian University for her Masters Degree in occupational therapy.

Aside from her studies, friends and neighbours recalled that one of the passions of Karen's life was travel.

She had visited south-east Asia and the United States as well as travelling all over Europe with friends on holidays.

Tragically, she never got to fulfill her dream trip of going to Australia to tour the country and combine a holiday with a visit to her Sydney-based brother, Kieran.

Her father John summed it up outside the courthouse yesterday when he said: "What a waste of a young life."

Irish Independent

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