In tears, they touched the doctor's hands as they filed past his casket
Dr Patrick Kelly had a true vocation - but who will take his place in the community now, asks Claire Mc Cormack
Dr Patrick Kelly lay in repose in Rooney's funeral home in Ballymore, Co Westmeath, dressed in a fine suit and a flamboyant neck tie that was his sartorial signature.
As mourners filed past his coffin, silent but for the odd mumbled prayer, they laid their fingers on the back of his hand as if seeking a final benediction from the man they called "the doc".
Understandable in a way. After all, these were the healing hands that had cared for this community for more than 40 years. He had ministered to their sick children and he was the doctor who provided the last comforts and care to their elderly parents as they approached the final journey. It was Dr Kelly who broke the news to women in as gentle a way as he knew how that "yes, there is a lump".