Tragedy of mum killed scattering sister's ashes

GRIEF: Joyce relative swept to her death in freak coast accident

Alan O'Keeffe and Brian McDonald

This is the tragic mum who was swept to her death whilst scattering the ashes of her beloved sister off the coast of Connemara.

Dubliner Siobhan Monaghan, who was a grandniece of literary giant James Joyce, had brought the ashes of her sister Maeve to a cove at Doonloughan, near Ballyconneely in Galway.

The mum of two was joined by Maeve's husband Terry Monaghan. The pair were making their way along a rocky ledge when they were swept to sea.

As they both struggled in the heavy seas, Terry attempted to reach Siobhan but was beaten back by waves. He managed to swim to shore and raise the alarm.

Siobhan, mother of Dylan and Courtney (11), was originally from Terenure in Dublin. She was the daughter of Ken Monaghan, a nephew of James Joyce, who died last September.

Siobhan had been living in Clifden in recent times. She had lived in the area several years ago and had moved back. She had become a popular and very involved member of the local community.

She was involved in artistic activities and worked as an instructor at a local riding school.

John Durning, a local friend of Siobhan, told the Herald today that a remembrance service for Siobhan was held at the local Alcock and Brown Hotel in Clifden last night and it was "packed out".

John read a poem by James Joyce 'She Weeps Over Rahoon' at the moving ceremony last night. The poem was a favourite of her father Ken.


"Siobhan was one of the warmest and most generous persons. She was an incredible woman who always left a deep impression on people," said Mr Durning.

He said Siobhan had telephoned a friend just before she left with her brother-in-law to scatter Maeve's ashes. She told the friend that they would be "back in ten minutes" and to "have the tea ready."

Maeve had died a number of years ago, and both she and Siobhan had loved the spot chosen to scatter her ashes.

Siobhan's funeral will be held tomorrow at Mount Jerome crematorium in Dublin.

She had been involved with Clifden Arts Festival in its formative years and artistic director of the festival Brendan Flynn said that everybody locally was devastated with the news.

"We have wonderful memories of her. Her honesty, commitment, generosity, creative spirit... We're devastated here," Mr Flynn said.

Coast guard director Chris Reynolds yesterday said: "The public is strongly advised not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal area during the inclement weather."