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Sunday 17 November 2019

Widow learnt of bus driver's death while on US trip

Kieran Callaghan was found dead in his home
Kieran Callaghan was found dead in his home

Greg Harkin

THE widow of a bus driver who died in mysterious circumstances was on holidays in America when she learnt of his death.

Kieran Callaghan (50) had suffered head injuries in an incident which detectives are now treating as suspicious.

Yesterday the quiet hamlet of Churchill in Co Donegal was still in shock at the death of Mr Callaghan.

His heartbroken widow Josephine was visiting her sister when the incident happened.

Relatives had to break the news to her by phone on Sunday. She flew back to Ireland the next day.

As a result of a post-mortem by State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy, gardai believe he received a blow to the head some time last Friday and died at some stage between that and the discovery of his body on Sunday.

Relatives became concerned when Mr Callaghan hadn't arrived for an event organised for the Callaghan Reunion, a weekend of activities celebrating the descendants of Edward and Catherine Callaghan who lived in the area in the 1870s.

Relatives have settled all over the world, including in Italy, America and Sweden.

He was due to meet up with some of them at Glenveagh National Park on Saturday evening but never arrived.

The dead man had also worked at the park as a bus driver, ferrying tourists from its entrance to the castle.

"He had been so looking forward to the weekend," said one local man.

"Relatives thought it was odd when he didn't turn up on Saturday because they knew he loved the reunions. The last one was held in 1997.

"He was found at his home on Sunday and he had a head injury. People thought it was an accident and obviously not knowing how he got the injury is very upsetting for the family."

Gda Insp Michael Harrison told a press conference at Letterkenny garda station yesterday that Mr Callaghan was last seen at around 6pm last Friday.

He is described as 5ft 10ins in height with grey hair and of thin build.

"We will not be releasing further details at this stage for operational reasons," he added.

Staff at Glenveagh National Park are devastated at his death.

Colleagues were asked by detectives yesterday about his last-known movements there last week.


"Kieran was the salt of the Earth," said one of them.

"He wouldn't harm a fly. He was always laughing and carrying on with the tourists who come to the park. He was just a decent, decent guy and we'll miss him."

The dead man had four grown-up children – sons Ethan and Rory, and daughters Tara and Sarah-Marie.

The family is well-known in the area, with a large number of relations.

"The whole community is devastated," said one resident outside the post office yesterday afternoon.

"Everyone knew Kieran and Kieran knew everyone. There was no nicer fella."

Irish Independent

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