TRAGIC Cork student Karen Buckley has finally been laid to rest in her native Mourneabbey.
Today’s funeral saw more than 600 mourners turning up to pay their final respects to the 24-year-old, who was murdered in Glasgow more than two weeks ago.
The Church of St Michael the Archangel, Analeentha, was packed for the Requiem Mass, with Karen’s devastated parents Marian and John, along with her three older brothers Kieran, Damien and Brendan, leading the mourning.
The church, where was Karen was baptised, received her communion and was confirmed, was full to capacity, with a marquee erected outside to house the crowds.
Tears fell freely when the nurse’s cousin, Siobhan Leahy, read a poem in memory of Karen.
“A smile to lift a thousand frowns, brown eyes shining – big and round, a country girl – big hopes, big plans, big heart, big smile and caring hands,” she said.
Father Joe O’Keeffe, who was joined by 19 other priests on the altar that Karen had served as an altar girl on, spoke of how difficult this period is for Karen’s family.
“It’s most difficult for them but in particular for Karen’s parents, John and Marian, to associate the cradle with the coffin. One represents the beginning of life, the other represents the end,” he told the silent crowd at the small church.
Poignant gifts were presented during the service by the Buckley family.
Her brothers presented a picture of Karen on her first day in the nearby Analeentha National School, her nurses’ uniform and her favourite dress, which she wore to Brendan’s wedding last year.
— David Blevins (@skydavidblevins) April 28, 2015
Padraig Hurley, Karen’s cousin, explained the gifts that reflected her life as they were brought up.
“Damien brings up Karen’s favourite dress that she wore to Brendan and Niamh’s wedding. Karen had a love of fashion and always wanted to look her best. As you can see from the picture she looked beautiful,” he said.
“How great you loved, how much you cared, how much you gave, how much you shared.”
“Sleep easy Karen, you’re now at rest, throughout your life you gave your best, how much we miss you, we can’t fully express,” Ms Leahy finished, in memory of her cherished cousin.
Following the funeral service, Karen was laid to rest in nearby St John’s Cemetery, next to her grandparents Patrick and Hannah.
A marquee was erected outside of the church to handle the crowds, as hundreds came from all over, including Scotland.
A park and ride service, as well as a one-way system, was introduced in nearby Mallow, to allow those in attendance to pay their respects.
Among the mourners were Karen’s friends and lecturers from Glasgow Caledonian University, where she had been studying occupational therapy.
Her fellow nurses from her student days at the University of Limerick formed a guard of honour as her coffin was carried out to the hearse by her father and brothers.
Karen Buckley had been enjoying a night out with friends when she went missing in the early hours of April 12.
Four days later, police discovered her body on a farm six miles north of the city.