Woman with a heart of gold

The late Lizzie Hanafin


AS THE mortal remains of the late Lizzie Hanafin were leaving the Church of Our Lady and St Brendan, following Requiem Mass on Sunday, February 3, to the music of The Lonesome Boatman, one of the musicians was heard to say "This one's for Lizzie". There was many in the congregation who shed a tear in memory of a woman who impacted on their lives and those of family and friends.

Lizzie was well known, loved and respected by everyone. She was a character, full of life and fun. God blessed her with a gifted pair of hands, be it cooking, baking, knitting or crochet. She was a woman with a heart of gold, a loyal friend, who will be missed by her family, neighbours and community.

Lizzie O'Carroll hailed from Blackpool, Cork city, one of six children, Maureen deceased, Breda deceased, and sisters Laurel and Phil and brother John still living in Cork Her late mother, Dolly was a sister of the late Ted Furey and Lizzie was very close to Ted and the Fureys during her life.. It was at Puck Fair, Killorglin, in 1955, that love intervened when she met John Hanafin and her home was in Kerry thereafter, thus began the love of a lifetime and they were married in St John's Church in October 31st, 1956. Initially they lived in Blennerville and then Boherbee Tralee and made many lifelong friends and then moved to Monavalley for the last thirty eight years where their home was always open to visitors. God blessed them with eight children - Marie, Paddy, Breda, Lucy, Caroline, Jackie, Johnny and Billy (deceased 1997). Lizzie was a wonderful, wife, mother, grandmother, relative, neighbour and friend, she was indeed one of Mna Na hEireann.

John and Lizzie's home at Monavalley House, was a house of welcomes where everybody who crossed the threshold was invited to sit at the kitchen table. She had a very kind and generous heart and spirit and countless people knew what a caring person she was.

Lizzie and John were the first to have a mobile chipper in Kerry in 1957 and later had the first mobile ice cream van. The nature of their work took them all over Ireland to fairs, bazaars, ploughing matches, festivals and dance halls. Lizzie and John became firm friends with many of the bands on the dance scene at the time and she fed them all, knowing the long journeys they had come. It was heartening for the family to see so many of them at the removal and at the Mass.

They were at the Phoenix Park to witness the visit of Pope John Paul II.

Lizzie believed in self-sufficiency, was very industrious and had a great work ethic. She got up and did it without fuss and instilled in her children this ethic of hard work. She also worked in Kerry General hospital and as a carer and indeed taught many to crochet and knit during this time. Lizzie was upright, honest and sincere who called a spade a spade. But if you didn't have the price of the bag of chips she served you anyway, trusting people's honesty to pay her the next time they met.

Lizzie was a woman of great faith and devotion to St Padre Pio. The mass was central to her life and she attended the 11.15 mass every Sunday in the Church of Our Lady and St Brendan, received Holy Communion and thanked the officiating priest.

Another side of Lizzie's great faith and humanity was in the 1970s when she was deeply moved by the plight of a natural disaster in Italy. She raised a substantial amount, but to make sure the money reached the people affected, she took it to the bank and asked them to send it Pope John Paul II, The Vatican, Rome. She included a personal letter and received a letter of acknowledgement from His Holiness who was her No 1 after that.

The large number of people who came to pay their respects at the removal from the Gleasure Funeral Home and at the Requiem Mass was testament to Lizzie and the Hanafin family. The readings, bidding prayers and gifts were undertaken by her grandchildren, nieces and nephew.

Music for the Mass was provided by the Fureys, Lizzie's nephew Tommy Gammell, her grand-daughter Maeve Burke and Eddie Bailey.

Just like the words of the Song "Steal Away" sung during Mass, Lizzie slipped away quietly, "Steal away, lets steal away, no reason left to stay, for me and you lets start a new and darling steal away". Her passing has left a huge void and I'm sure the countless stories and how she touched a chord in people's lives will live forever in their hearts.

Lizzie Hanafin, a caring and loving woman leaves behind memories to all who had the good fortune of being in her company or served a bag of chips or ice cream cone by her.

Lizzie was laid to rest in Old Rath Cemetery and now joins her son Billy in heaven.

She is deeply mourned by her husband and children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters Laurel and Phil and brother John, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws, relatives and many friends.

Months mind Mass, Saturday 2nd March 6.30pm St. Brendan's Church, Tralee.

Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam


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