The late Jennie Kilroy Durkan.

Musician Jennie Kilroy Durkan is laid to rest

SCENES of extraordinary emotion descended on Westport last week following the untimely death of well-known musician Jennie Kilroy Durkan.

The mother of three passed away last Thursday and her passing has cast a pall of sadness over the town, writes Claire McNamara.

Huge crowds gathered in solidarity today (Monday) for her Requiem Mass, a testimony to the huge regard in which she was held.

As her coffin was brought into St. Mary's Church by family members, the musicians played the poignant slow air 'Inisheer' while gentle summer sunshine shafted through the stained glass windows and the altar skylight.

Before the funeral Mass, Jennie's heartbroken husband, Sean, spoke eloquently of the family's immeasurable loss.

We come together today to celebrate the life of Jennie, who was a beautiful wife, dedicated mother and a multi-talented musician,” he said. “Her love for music, her family and friends was endless.”

He thanked all who had assisted and supported the family over the past number of days, and said the strain of Irish music played both yesterday evening and again today has been a source of comfort to the family.

Jennie's sister Maritta also spoke about their devastating loss and captured the essence of her beloved sister. “She was our rock,” she said. “She sparkled when she was with Sean and the kids - she was devoted to her family.”

Jennie, she said, “had a magical way with children and with all whom she came into contact with. It's shocking that she has passed away so prematurely.”

A beautiful but evocative recording of Jennie playing the accordion, alongside other musicians, was played out through the speakers before Mass, and the haunting melody lifted like her enchanting spirit towards the heavens, which moved many within the capacity congregation to tears.

Symbols brought to the altar representing a life well lived were a family picture, a Westport United jersey and a tambourine.

In his homily, Fr. Charlie McDonnell, chief celebrant, assisted by other clergy, spoke of a community being united in grief at such a sad and difficult time.

Jennie was loving, generous and talented, and brought harmony and life into everything she did.

She adored her three kids and we must admire her for the deep love she showed them.

We will remember her for her generosity, her love and her light that shone brightly and radiated everywhere she went.

While the mid-summer sun is shining brightly outside, we are in the midst of darkness and all we can say is you are not alone and we hope as a family you will find comfort in that.”

Throughout the ceremony, moving music was sung by the folk choir, who collaborated with some of Wesport's most accomplished musicians to create an ethereal atmosphere that captured the hearts of all those present.

As the ceremony concluded, the musicians gathered in unity and sang the heartbreaking song 'May You Be Forever Young' in a touching tribute to a dear friend.

As the funeral cortege left outside St. Mary's Church, flanked by friends and family, the summer sun shone brightly, with motorists and mourners pausing as her remains made the poignant journey to her final resting place in Kilbride Cemetery, Newport.

She is survived by her heartbroken husband Sean, her children Rían, Evan and Ceola, mother Breege Kilroy, brothers Rickie and Jamie, sisters Maritta and Bridget, relatives and friends.