The 86-year-old woman who was mugged in Kilkenny City in July was laid to rest yesterday (Tuesday), having passed away in St Luke’s Hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Mary Nolan had remained in the hospital’s care ever since the incident ten weeks ago, in which she was robbed of E200 near her home on Walkin Street. Her funeral took place in St Mary’s Cathedral, where over 150 mourners, including a dozen clergy, gathered to pay their respects.
Among the funeral mass celebrants were two of Mary’s brothers, priests Father Pat and Fr Joe O’ Conor.
“Ever since the incident, her family and friends have kept a constant vigil by her in the hope that she would be healed,” said Fr O’ Conor.
“But very quickly, I think many of us realised she was not going to be healed. Her going on Saturday morning was in many ways a blessing; she is gone to a better place.”
In a eulogy sprinkled with humour and personal reflections, Mary’s brother Fr Pat O’ Conor recalled moments from his sister’s life – how she would knit blankets for nieces and nephews, or enjoy backing a horse. “She was”, he said, “full of delight and divilment.”
Mary Nolan (nee O’ Conor) was born in Wexford in 1926, the fifth child in her family. The family moved to Cork, where Mary went to school, and later, the Munster Inistitute.
“Mary and Billy moved around alot,” said Fr O’ Conor, of Mary and her late husband.
“They lived in Coolrea, Thomastown, Rosbercon, Cork... Wherever they went, Mary would be there for her children and grandchildren when they needed her.”
“She was a wonderful sister, mother and granny,” he said.
“She had quiet ways of uplifting you. Mary did many things in her life, but she was always immensely proud of her children and grandchildren.”
Mary’s seven granddaughters then read prayers, and her family expressed their gratitude to the staff and chaplaincy at St Luke’s, who helped Mary in her final weeks.
The evening prior to the funeral, the members of Kilkenny Borough Council paid tribute to Mary and her family following the sad news.
“I would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Mary Nolan, and to thank all her neighbours and friends who showed their support,” said Mayor Sean O’ hArgain.
“We will, as a council, be addressing any issues that arise in relation to the safety of our elderly. I will be asking Cllr Paul Cuddihy to place the issue of the safety of the elderly directly on the agenda for the Joint Policing Committee.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions may upgrade the charges against the man suspected of mugging the 86-year-old, following her death. Marius Chelstowski (35) of no fixed abode was previously charged with the robbery and remains in custody.
A spokesman for the garda press office was yesterday unable to confirm whether charges against him would be upgraded. The DPP may review the case pending a post-mortem examination, which must be carried out to determine whether or not the pensioner died of natural causes, or as a result of injuries sustained during the attack.