Singer Daniel O’Donnell’s late sister Kathleen has been remembered as a “force of nature” who led a life that could have inspired the plot of The Banshees of Inisherin.
Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Kathleen 'Bosco' Doogan (nee O'Donnell) who died suddenly at her home in Kincasslagh last Friday at the age of 67.
Daniel O’Donnell accompanied his siblings Margo, John Bosco and James as they carried their late sister into St Mary's Church. Margo clutched a framed picture of her late sister.
Also in the funeral cortege was Mrs Doogan's husband John, sons John Francis and Daniel, daughters Tricia and Fiona and her grandchildren.
Many travelled great distances to be present at the funeral and among the familiar faces included celebrity architect Dermot Bannon, television chef Brian McDermott, Donegal's 1992 All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Molloy and former TDs and local community members Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher and Dinny McGinley.
Thousands of people watchedonline and sent messages of condolences and warmth to the Doogan and O'Donnell families.
Mrs Doogan's son, John Francis, set a jovial tone despite his mother's sudden death.
"In the upcoming Oscars, the Irish film The Banshees of Inisherin is up for numerous awards. It's the tale of two friends who suddenly fall out over nothing in particular,” he said.
"Martin McDonagh, the director, must have spent time on the hills over Kincasslagh because we have had this story with mum over many years, just falling out with someone over anything. And then she would just casually make up as if nothing at all had happened.
"I guess it was some form of acceptance of you if mum had had some form of row with you, but it was awful hard for all of us to keep up with who was the good guy and who was the bad guy."
However, he said his mother meant an awful lot to a lot of people.
"She was a sister to Bosco, Margaret, James and Daniel, a mum to ourselves and a wife to dad. She was a granny, an aunt, a cousin and she loved to interact with all those people. She was a neighbour who was always there for someone if they needed her,” he said.
"The crowds at the house and the visible shock and upset that her passing has caused the whole community and further afield was very humbling as a family to see.
"Some of you made massive journeys just to be here today for mum and the love shown to her means a great deal to us all."
Many in the congregation wiped away tears as some of Kathleen's grandchildren recited a poem they had written for their granny and what she meant to them.
Daniel sang hymns throughout the mass in both Irish and English including Lady of Knock and his own song, Beyond The Rainbow's End, during which the singer became very emotional, his voice wavering as he remembered his loving sister.
He was accompanied by a number of musicians including Gavin Boyle.
Among the many sections of the community represented at her funeral mass was the Mullachdubh Band, of which Kathleen was a huge supporter.
Fr Pat Ward described her as a force of nature who always spoke her mind.
He said: "If I started waxing lyrical about Kathleen then many people would think they were at the wrong funeral. One of the things that Kathleen has is that whatever she thought, she said, and that's one of the gifts she had with her family.
He recalled her years running The Viking House Hotel with husband John and family and how she treated all people equally.
"When she became the landlady and the proprietor we all got to know her and her larger than life personality came to the fore. Her ability to say directly what she was thinking to anybody, and it didn't matter who they were. The one thing about Kathleen was that she was into equality and everybody got the same treatment.
"When she was very loving she was very loving to everybody and when she had something to say it didn't matter if you were somebody in having a quiet pint, it didn't matter if you were a guest in the place, it didn't matter if you were the local cure and it didn't matter if you were the pope in Rome, if Kathleen had something to say she would have said it to you.
"We remember her for that and we remember her for being one of those characters. Kathleen was one of those characters who was larger than life, she was one of those who you would not forget.
At one stage she told me she had forgiven me for something, but I did not even know what we had fallen out about
"At times you may have loved her and at time you may not have loved her but you would never forget her. She was a force of nature who became one of the big personalities in and around our parish.
"I’m not sure if she really fell out with people, but she would ebb and flow at times. Sometimes she would be close to you and sometimes she would not be that close to you.
"I know at one stage she told me she had forgiven me for something, but I did not even know what we had fallen out about.
"I'm sure all of you will be assured that between the ebbs and flows with Kathleen the tide would come in again."
Fr Ward also paid tribute to the remarkable love that Kathleen had for her late mother, Julia, and how she cared for her in her later years.
"They were two very strong women but Kathleen always seemed to bow to Julia and allowed her to be the matriarch in the family, and she worked hard so that Julia could maintain that position and keep that dignity within the family. She had that great care and kindness with her mother," Fr Ward said.
Among those who concelebrated the mass were Fr Brian Darcy and Creeslough priest Fr John Joe Duffy, who was a personal friend of Kathleen.
Fr Ward thanked Fr Duffy for his presence and for all his work in Creeslough, noting that Kathleen had attended the Novena of Masses in the village following the tragedy which claimed ten lives last October.
The congregation applauded Fr Duffy in recognition of his generosity and work in recent months for the Donegal community affected by the tragic event.
Mrs Doogan was later laid to rest at the nearby Belcruit Cemetery.
Kathleen Doogan is survived by her husband John, sons John Francis and Daniel, daughters Tricia and Fiona.