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Tragic mum of seven lived life to the fullest, mourners told

A COMMUNITY plunged into grief by the sudden death of a young mother of seven heard at her funeral of her sweet nature and endless energy.

Colleen O'Leary (34) died just weeks after the birth of her seventh child, Colm.

She is feared to have died from a clot or embolism.

Her devastated husband Pat, flanked by his young sons, all under the age of 13, was among the mourners who packed St Kentigern's Church in the tiny village of Eyeries on the rugged Beara Peninsula.

Driven and determined, primary school teacher Colleen lived her short life to the full, her mother said.

In a poignant tribute, Monica Polly, herself a retired school teacher, yesterday told how her daughter's zest for life made her stand out from the crowd, even when she was young.

"She was so full of energy at all times. She was always very stubborn and determined. She did so many things that she loved to do," she said.

Up before dawn every morning, Colleen baked buns and scones, cooked soup and prepared sandwiches, before cleaning and washing to prepare the family for the day ahead – all before she went out to work as a teacher at Eyeries National School at 9am.

"That was Colleen, she didn't waste any minute of the day," her mother said.

The boys, Padraig (13), Liam (9), Tomas and Ciaran (7), Donnacha (4), Cormac (2) and baby Colm would miss their mother every day, parish priest Fr Jim Lenihan said.

Pupils of Eyeries National School gathered on the altar to sing 'Circle of Friends'.

Pat O'Leary was among the pallbearers who shouldered the coffin before Colleen was laid to rest at the nearby Gortnabulliga Cemetery.

Irish Independent