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In memory of Bronagh O'Dowd

In memory of Bronagh O'Dowd (neé Cairns)

1960 - 2022

Funeral Mass in St. Colman's Clare on Monday 6th June 2022
Celebrant: Fr. Matthew McConville

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by her brother Gearóid Cairns

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat

Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl

Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh

Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,

Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always on your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

We come here on a sad day to mourn someone dear. But we also come to celebrate a wonderful life well lived.

When thinking of Bronagh, there are many words that come to mind- … kind, loving, caring, generous, supportive, organised, determined, attention to detail and style. It isn’t possible to fully capture Bronagh in words, but I selected a few that say something of who she is.

Advocate, Vision, Rock, Spirit, Courage

Advocate- Bronagh had a passionate interest in children and their development. She keenly believed that every child should be given the opportunity to develop themselves fully, and no child should be missed out in the fullness of the opportunity. To be a strong advocate for children was very important to her.

Vision- Bronagh cast a wide net in terms of community and that everyone should be valued and respected-a ‘One-World’ view- you might say!

I am conscious that here gathered are people from different creeds and none, people with many different points of view, different political views, and so on. Bronagh believed that difference should not only be tolerated and respected, but embraced and celebrated.

Of course Bronagh didn’t speak in those terms, but she lived in those terms.

For me, serious conversations would seldom develop, without Bronagh soon injecting the Greene sense of humour, and the conversation would take on a lightness and air of fun. For good measure, it would be peppered with little riddles to amuse the mind. Serious stuff could wait for another day.

Rock- Bronagh has been a rock of strength to many, when difficult times of crises were visited upon us. Bronagh would sweep in, give a lift, put a shoulder to the wheel, and lighten the load - organising things quietly in the background, ensuring things were done to the ‘last T’ as we would say. A phrase comes to mind- ‘Ná habair é, déan é.’ Don’t talk about it , do it. - Bronagh was a ‘doer’- she did not sit idly but would roll up the sleeves and move into action.

Spirit- There was little that Bronagh would do, that she would not invest a lot of thought into it. ‘The love was in the thought!’

When you got a card, message, gift or whatever, you knew that there was a lot of thought had gone into it - maybe a joke, some humour, or a thoughtful message - but it would be something unique to the person receiving.

Courage-Misneach- Throughout her life Bronagh displayed great courage in difficult times, none more so than the past 5 months, from when she found out about her illness. Thrown into a most adverse and difficult situation, she faced it with great fortitude.

I would like to pay tribute to our womenfolk, the women in our lives, who have found themselves in such difficult situations. I stand in awe of their courage and strength which shone out through all their suffering.

There are two questions that keep coming to my mind on these occasions of losing someone dear to us. We can ask these of ourselves in our different ways, and I am sure that we do:

One is, ‘Is the world a better place for you having been here?’

And the answer is Yes- Bronagh-most certainly.

And the other ‘Am I a better person for knowing you, - - having been loved by you?’

And the answer is, Yes Bronagh-most certainly.

Táimid ag fagáil slán ar feadh seal thú,

Solas na fírinne agus Solas na bhflaithis ort.

Slán tamall, A Bhrónaigh.




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