Farewell to our 'gentle giant' James

THE tragic events in Killarney on Saturday, July 13, will linger long in the memory of townspeople and visitors.

The noise of the early morning explosion on Brewery Lane and so many narrow escapes, before the slow realisation that 59-year-old James Gleeson had not been accounted for.

The agonising wait as family, friends and neighbours waited before the tragic news became the shocking reality - a "gentle giant" killed in violent circumstances.

"One of our own" was how Fr Kieran O'Brien described the loving father and husband and the sentiment struck a chord with the 1,000 strong congregation attending Thursday morning's Requiem Mass in St Mary's Cathedral.

"He was one of our own, no ordinary person, a gentle giant who always thought of others, such a nice person, so kind, sociable, loveable, a person true to his word, work, and friends. So popular,'' he said.

Fr O'Brien gave mention to the close relationship James had with his wife Grace and with his son Eoin, stating how they had been more than father and son.

"They were great friends, like brothers, he was so proud of his father and James saw him as the apple of his eye," the cleric remarked.

"Everything James did in life was done out of love, love for his family, he loved life, he loved to bring happiness to others, he loved his work, he loved his town," he added.

There were never truer words and they were followed by sentiments by James' brother Donagh who, from the altar, personally acknowledged support shown to the family, including from local businesses and the emergency services. "He has gone from this earthly paradise he greatly enjoyed to one that is eternal and more beautiful," he added.

Killarney Athletic members, Killarney Rotary Club and Eoin's Leaving Cert friends from St Brendan's College formed a guard of honour as James was laid to rest in Aghadoe.


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