Wednesday 26 April 2017

Coffin carried to funeral by tractor due to bad conditions

Mourners travel with the coffin and in a cattle trailer as the remains of John Clarke are transported to Saints Island Graveyard, Co Longford, which was cut off due to flooding. Photo: James Flynn/APX
Mourners travel with the coffin and in a cattle trailer as the remains of John Clarke are transported to Saints Island Graveyard, Co Longford, which was cut off due to flooding. Photo: James Flynn/APX
Mourners are transported in a cattle trailer to Saints Island Graveyard. Photo: James Flynn/APX
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A garland of flowers was delicately held in place on top of a coffin as mourners ferried their friend and neighbour to his final resting place by tractor.

The funeral of the 69-year-old man was severely disrupted by flooding in Lough Rea, near Newtowncashel, in Co Longford. But thanks to remarkable efforts made by the local community, the remains of John Clarke, who died on Christmas Day, were laid to rest in line with his family's wishes.

A native of Saints Island, he was buried following funeral Mass at the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Newtowncashel.

The cortege then had to cross a kilometre of flooded causeway on tractors to reach the nearby cemetery.

Saints Island is located on Lough Ree near Newtowncashel, but flooding has left the area inaccessible, except to local farmers who must travel an adjoining causeway by tractor.

However, despite worsening weather conditions, friends and neighbours of the deceased provided a number of tractors for the funeral and made sure that mourners could pay their final respects.

Local councillor and undertaker Gerard Farrell praised all the efforts made by his neighbours at a time of such sadness for the family.

Cllr Farrell said the kilometre-long causeway was now about "knee high" under water.

Irish Independent

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