'With Noreen gone, there is a big hole in so many lives'
TRAGIC mother-of-four Noreen Kelly Eadon has been described as a devoted mother and free spirit who embraced life.
Last night, Martin Taylor, her closest neighbour, said that he has lost his soul sister and closest friend. A narrow country laneway, flanked by bog and woodland, links his tiny cottage and Noreen's two-storey property in Derrycrieve, Islandeady, six kilometres from Castlebar, where she died violently in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Yesterday, sitting barefoot on the floor by a turf-fuelled range, English-born Martin was struggling to accept that his neighbour was gone.
"I couldn't get to sleep last night. I've been like a zombie since I heard the news. I've known her since she first came here 25 years ago. We thought alike in so many ways," he said.
Martin described Noreen as a strong, "efficient" woman who often struggled in the early years as a single mother to care for the three sons, whom she had with her former husband.
"It wasn't easy. She would thumb into Castlebar with her rucksack on her back to do the shopping. But she was always able to provide," he said.
The home she created for her sons Oisin (23), Celyn (21) and Ferdia (18) and daughter Saoirse (7), who has a different father, bursts with creativity.
"Her paintings are hanging on the walls down there. She had recently started learning origami," he said.
He recalled Noreen's joy at the birth of her only daughter Saoirse with her new partner, seven years ago.
"She was a female with three males in the house and then she had a daughter. All of a sudden, there was a little girl to play with and to show how to cook. She was over the moon."
Flicking through photo albums, Martin fondly recalled adventures shared by the pair, from camping in Sligo to attending native Indian sweat lodges in Clare.
"She was part of my story. We went through a lot of crazy stuff together and I have only recorded a fraction of it.
"When you look at these pictures, it's like the memories come bouncing back. There is a big hole left in my life now and there is a lot of lives that have been changed forever because of this," he said.