Monday 23 October 2017

'Big Irish wake' to honour LAPD officer whose lifelong dream was to visit Ireland

Gerry Kenney
Gerry Kenney
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A small community in the west of Ireland are preparing ‘a big Irish wake’ for the ashes of an LA police officer whose lifelong dream was to visit Ireland.

The remains of the late Jerry Kenney, who passed away before Christmas, arrived from California to the Mayo home of Deirdre McCafferty during the week.

Deirdre McCafferty reading the
Deirdre McCafferty reading the" Letters from America" prior to sending the ashes out on Lough Cullen watched by the funeral party (David Turner)

Now the village of Foxford are preparing an Irish wake for the former police officer complete with eating, drinking, Irish dancing and singing.

Deirdre met Jerry and his wife while working in a pub in LA when she was younger and connected with him on Facebook last year. She received a message from his daughter before Christmas, saying that Gerry had passed away and asking could some of his ashes be scattered in the west of Ireland.

“I got a message from Jerry’s daughter saying Jerry had passed away and would it be okay to send over some of his ashes to Ireland, because he had always wanted to come to Ireland,” Deirdre told Independent.ie.

“She said they had always dreamed of coming to Ireland.

Deirdre McCafferty at home in her kitchen with the casket containing the ashes of Gerry, planning the proceedings for a real Irish Wake. Photo: David Turner
Deirdre McCafferty at home in her kitchen with the casket containing the ashes of Gerry, planning the proceedings for a real Irish Wake. Photo: David Turner

“I heard nothing for a while and then last weekend I got a text message from her saying, ‘Dad left yesterday and should be with you this week’.

“I was shocked, thinking we have ashes coming from America,” she continued.

“That night I was telling my friend and we planned the whole thing, she sings in the choir so she said she’d sing and we said we’d have a big Irish wake.

“Gerry loved Ireland and he loved the singing and the dancing and the drinking, I thought well, we’ll have to have a big Irish wake for him.”

Deirdre McCafferty reading the
Deirdre McCafferty reading the" Letters from America" prior to sending the ashes out on Lough Cullen watched by the funeral party (David Turner)

Local pub Guiry’s have come on board to supply sandwiches for the wake, while the local undertaker has also offered his services.

“I’ve emailed Jerry’s daughter to ask for a few lines about her father,” Deirdre said.

“We’ll take photos and a video and send them back  to his family in the States so they can see the ceremony.

“Here in Foxford, we have the lake, the river, the mountains and the beach.

Deirdre McCafferty reading the
Deirdre McCafferty reading the" Letters from America" prior to sending the ashes out on Lough Cullen watched by the funeral party (David Turner)

“The whole village is talking about it,” she added.

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