Tuesday, January 06, 2015


Eileen Griffiths

I first met Eileen through my cousin Carmel, who had been in school with her in Balla, Co. Mayo, many years ago. I only got to know her any way well in more recent years when Carmel, who lives in France, came home on visits, stayed with Eileen, and I encountered Eileen when I met up with Carmel in her house.

Eileen was a warm, generous, gentle and very civilised lady.

We shared an interest in the Civil Service where she spent a career in the Department of Education and I in the Department of Finance. We also shared an interest in local and family history. Eileen was engaged in a permanent search for her ancestors who she was prising, one by one, out of a forgotten past.

Her health had been failing in recent times but she appears to have died as a result of a simple domestic accident. Such are the quirks of fate.

Eileen at rest in St. John the Baptist church, Clontarf

She was buried from St. John the Baptist church in Clontarf. That church has some resonances for me as my grandfather was baptised there in 1870 and my cousin Nuala (RIP) was married there in 1954. I also found the administration there most helpful when I was chasing up church registers for my family history.

It didn't disappoint with Eileen's farewell. The priest was very down to earth and, though he hadn't known Eileen personally, had sounded out the family and included some very apposite remarks in the service. He concelebrated the funeral mass with a priest who was a longtime friend of Eileen's family.

Eileen's son, John, delivered an emotional eulogy which touched all those present. The hymns, in English and Irish, were beautifully sung and accompanied. John observed afterwards that Eileen would not only have approved of, but would have enjoyed the service.

A lovely lady and a sad loss.


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