Hundreds attend funeral of 'gentle giant' killed in launderette explosion
THE widow of a man killed in an explosion in Killarney last week has said it was a "privilege" to know him.
Grace O'Neill told friends she had enjoyed every minute of the 30 years she spent with her husband, James Gleeson, the sole casualty of the blast that shocked a community.
Mourners at Mr Gleeson's requiem Mass heard he was a "gentle giant" who had always been "true to his word, his work and his friends".
Hundreds of people packed into St Mary's Cathedral in Killarney, Co Kerry, for the "sad celebration of a life well lived".
Mr Gleeson (59), a married father of one and businessman, died in the explosion – caused by a suspected gas leak – at his launderette on Brewery Lane at 6.20am last Saturday.
Mourners were led by his wife, Grace; the couple's son Eoin; his brother Donagh; and sister Maureen Sheridan.
Addressing the congregation, Donagh Gleeson said: "James had a deep love and commitment to his community and he worked with pride to make Killarney a better place."
On behalf of the family, he paid tribute to the emergency services and everyone who had helped out in the aftermath of the blast.
Parish priest of Killarney and chief celebrant, Fr Kieran O'Brien said Mr Gleeson was "a gentle giant who always thought of others – a person true to his word, his work and his friends and such a popular man who never did anything offensive to anyone."