Hundreds attend funeral for forgotten Tipperary man who sadly died alone in London
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Hundreds attend funeral for forgotten Tipperary man who sadly died alone in London

HUNDREDS of people turned out in Dublin on Friday to attend the funeral of an Irish man who died alone in London.

The story of Joseph Tuohy, originally from Co. Tipperary, went public after a friend of his, Brian Boylan, tried to get in touch with Irish friends and family of his after Joe's death.

He died in July, and sadly there was only person at his funeral, his friend Brian, but that was soon to change.

Joe's life is a touching one, but one littered with tragedy.

He was born to a single mother whose family cut off contact with her after Joe was born.

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He spent his first five years living with his mother until she was incarcerated in a Magdalene Laundry for having a child out of wedlock, and Joe was sent to an orphanage. His mother spent the rest of her life in this Limerick home.

Joe trained as a tailor in at the orphanage where he stayed until he was 16-years-old, before leaving for London.

There he and would meet and marry an Irish woman, but they later separated.

Joe sadly lost his leg and ended up homeless and living in a hostel in London, where he met Father Brian Boylan.

Boylan ended up as the only person at Joe's funeral in London, a fact which sparked a search for those who might have known him back in Ireland.

He began to raise money, support and awareness for a second funeral to be held in Joe's honour in Dublin.

Speaking to the hundreds of mourners who gathered on Friday, Father Denis Kennedylead a tribute to the forgotten Tipperary man.

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"Joseph Tuohy, was born in the village of Toomevara, Co Tipperary in 1936," he began.

"He saw his mother Mary for the last time in 1942 outside the courthouse in Nenagh; she had just given him a treat of lemonade and biscuits.

"Suddenly, she was taken away in a car by gardai, while strangers placed Joseph in another car. He was torn from his mother, who gave him love and protection.

"Mary was destined for the Magdalene laundry in Limerick city’s Good Shepherd convent. Joseph’s destination was Ferryhouse Industrial School near Clonmel. Here he remained for 10 years.

"Mary never left the institution in Limerick, where she was known as Mary Flannery. Why this change of name, we do not know.

"It certainly is strange. As far as I know, they were never to meet again."

Boylan later thanked the congregation for giving his friend a good send-off.

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He said, "Joe suffered greatly and was a shy, insecure and unassuming man. He was a victim of circumstance, self, shame, and sadness.

"When the people in the nursing home asked Joe what funeral arrangements he’d like prior to him departing Joseph said: 'Put me in black [rubbish] bag and bury me in Brian’s back garden.'

"I told him I’d be privileged to have him buried there but that the authorities wouldn’t agree to that, so he settled for a funeral with no trimmings."

Rest in peace Joe, hopefully in some small way knowing the vast number of people who came to see you depart.