independent

Friday 22 August 2014

Proud and emotional day as Donal earns posthumous MA

MARIA HERLIHY

Published 24/01/2013 | 13:44

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The late Donal and Patricia on their wedding day just last September. Photo: Patrick Casey

A SELF-TAUGHT poet and historian who passed away in October was honoured at the University of Limerick at a graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

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The recently married Kiskeam native Donal O Siodhachain succumbed to terminal illness but while he was at Milford hospice he submitted his final MA thesis to UL, 'History of the Family', which cantres around the Sheehan family.

This week, Donal's nephew, John O'Keeffe, proudly accepted the MA on behalf of the family.

On the same day, Donal's wife, Patricia, also proudly graduated with a doctorate of law, after undertaking a study of the Brehon Laws.

"It was a proud and emotional day for us all. It really is such a co-incidence that we both graduated on the same day. It's like he was pulling strings up there," said Patricia.

She described Donal's MA as "a labour of love."

"He really wanted to do further research, but once he went into the hospice he decided to submit it. I think he would have liked to have still worked more on it, but time wasn't on his side" she said.

She described her late husband as "a larger than life character."

Meanwhile, Patricia said it took her five years to complete her doctorate in Law.

Donal's sister, Margaret, said the entire family attended the ceremony in UL and her son, John proudly accept Donal's award.

The family were also invited to a special lunch by the President of UL, Professor Don Barry. Patricia said she wanted to sincerely thank UL for their sympathy and understanding.

"We are all very proud of Donal as he was self taught," Margaret O'Keeffe said.

"He always spoke very openly about his cancer and, in a way, it also helped us all cope with it, too. His bravery stood through until the very end."

She also thanked the staff at Milford Hospice and said Donal had received fantastic care and attention. She also thanked Patricia for her care and devotion and her other sister in law, Anna, for all her kindness.

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