MANY people from various walks of Irish life attended the funeral ceremonies for Kitty Earley of Gorthaganny who died last week. Kitty (89) was mother of the late Dermot Earley, former Chief of Staff of the Irish Army and legendary Roscommon footballer.
Kitty was formerly Byrne from Castlebar. She married Peadar Earley who hailed from Lahardane. Peadar’s teaching career eventually saw him secure a post in Gorthaganny and the Earley family arrived in the village in 1955. Since then the family name has been synonymous with Gorthaganny. Peadar died back in 1983.
For the past 30 years, Kitty maintained the family presence in the village, residing alone in the family two storey house. Family members visited her on a regular basis and kept in daily contact by phone. Though her three sons and two daughters all left the village to make new homes and careers elsewhere, Kitty’s presence ensured that Gorthaganny was always the spiritual home for all of them.
Kitty died in Cloverhill Nursing Home, Oran, where she spent the last few months of her long life. She was blessed with great neighbours who were exceptionally kind to her in her declining years. A lady of strong and independent nature, Kitty never wanted to be a burden on anyone and cherished her independence in a special way.
Removal took place from Donnellan’s Funeral Home in Ballyhaunis to Gorthaganny Church on Wednesday evening. Interment took place in Gorthaganny cemetery following Requiem Mass. The chief celebrant was Fr John O’Rourke, PP, and he was assisted by Fr JJ Cribbin, PP, Milltown, a close family relation of the Earley family, and nine other priests. Kitty was a lady of abiding faith who was always deeply committed to the Christian ethos.
Paul Earley, on behalf of the family, recalled many fond memories of his mother during their years growing up in Gorthaganny. He spoke with warmth and affection of how she always held a central place in their lives and the manner in which Gorthaganny was always home.
Among those who journeyed west for the funeral were the current Chief of Staff of the Defence Force, Seán McCann, Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Brian Carthy (RTE), Liam O’Neill, President of the GAA, several members of the Roscommon senior teams from over the years, including the legendary Gerry O’Malley, many GAA people from Mayo, Galway, Kildare and other counties, as well as friends of the family from various corners of the country.
Kitty, who was predeceased by her husband Peadar and son Dermot, is survived by her sons Peter and Paul, daughters Denise (Australia) and Margaret (London), sister Dorrie (Birmingham) and brother Tommy Byrne (Castlebar), daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, relatives, neighbours and many friends.