Friday 22 June 2018

'She led a good life' - Mourners gather as Irish actress Doreen Keogh receives her last standing ovation

The coffin of actress Doreen Keogh (inset) is carried into St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny
The coffin of actress Doreen Keogh (inset) is carried into St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny

Ian Begley

Irish actress Doreen Keogh received her last standing ovation at her funeral today in celebration of a life “very well led”.

Mourners gathered into St Colmcille’s Church in the quaint Kilkenny village of Inistioge to say farewell to 'Coronation Street's' first barmaid.

Among those who attended the service included her husband Jack and iconic Irish actor Barry McGovern.

One close friend of Ms Keogh told Independent.ie that the occasion was more of a celebration than a funeral.

The coffin of actress Doreen Keogh is carried into St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny.
Photo: Tony Gavin
The coffin of actress Doreen Keogh is carried into St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny. Photo: Tony Gavin

The Dublin-born actress played Rovers Return barmaid Concepta Regan and first appeared in the soap's fifth episode in 1960.

She also played Mary Carroll in 'The Royle Family' and other roles in 'Father Ted', 'Cold Feet', 'Crossroads' and 'Z Cars'.

Foliage from Ms Keogh’s garden was brought to the church’s fountain and used to bless her coffin.

Fr Richard Scriven, who delivered the sermon, said the 91-year-old brought “huge joy” to those who watched her on television.

Actors Ingrid Craigie and Barry McGovern at the funeral of actress Doreen Keogh at St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Actors Ingrid Craigie and Barry McGovern at the funeral of actress Doreen Keogh at St. Colmcille's Church, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny. Photo: Tony Gavin

“We celebrate her time in Corrie to her distinguished role of as Mrs Dineen in Fr Ted where she feuded with Mrs Doyle.

“Now anyone who fights with the parish priest’s house keeper has to be a formidable and commendable individual,” he laughed.

Besides acting, Ms Keogh also had a strong passion for animals and owned two donkeys which she cherished.

Her nephew Laurence fondly recalled how her pets “lived like kings”.

“Doreen loved her pet animals,” he said.

“They pretty much won the animal lottery and were the luckiest beasts on God’s earth.

“She made sure they lived liked kings and as a result her donkey’s had the most beautiful coats you can imagine.”

Close friend Brenda Falconer told Independent.ie that the acclaimed actress was also a long-standing patron of the Donkey Sanctuary in Co Cork.

“She had those donkeys for about 20 years and loved them with all her heart. Everyone greatly respected her down there and she will be sorely missed.

“Doreen definitely led a very well life,” she said.

Family members also spoke about how well the 91-year-old was treated by the staff at St Columba’s Hospital, Thomastown, where she spent her final days. 

During the service, a collection of the theme songs from all the shows Ms Keogh was in was played in the church.

A bible and cross were also placed on her coffin by family members, symbols of her strong faith.

As a touching conclusion to the mass, Fr Scriven addressed the mourners by saying: “Every actor deserves a round of applause and final acknowledgment.

“So let’s give her that before we leave this church today.”

The congregation then rose and gave a resounding round of applause to the Irish actress.

As the sermon was brought to a close Gerry & the Pacemakers ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played as her coffin was carried out of the church.

Ms Keogh was then brought to Cappagh Cemetery, Co Kilkenny where she was laid to rest.

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