The passing of Eileen Hayes, Castle Avenue, Bennettsbridge has left a huge void in the lives of her family and many friends. Eileen died in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny after a short illness having reached the age of 85 years.
Eileen was the last surviving member of the Ryan family, Boher, Thomastown. She worked for some years in Comerford’s Bakery, Thomastown, as a shop assistant in the CBC (Comerford’s bread and Cakes), Market Street. Following her marriage to Matty, the couple lived for a while in Boher , then they moved to Bennettsbridge where they ran a grocery shop 31 years. Eileen worked hard looking after her family and helping out in the shop which was open six days a week and also opened after Sunday Masses.
She was of a quiet disposition and was very well liked and respected in the community. She made many friends through her work in the shop and the attendance at her funeral reflected the esteem in which she was held in the village. Apart from her family and shop commitments, Eileen had other interests including, gardening, needlework and set-dancing. She was a member of the Bennettsbridge Set Dancing team, which won many competitions during the Bennettsbridge Festival and other venues. She was a loyal member of the Bennettsbridge Ladies Club from the beginning. She will be missed by her friends in the club especially when trips are being planned, and her gentle manner and support in all activities will not be forgotten.
Eileen was waked in her home and relatives and friends called to pay their final respects. Canon Pat Duggan attended for prayers. On Thursday night removal took place to St Bennett’s Church where Canon Duggan officiated assisted by Rev Jim Murphy, St Canice’s and Rev Dan O’Gorman, Woollengrange. Tullaherin and Bennettsbridge choirs sang during the service, accompanied by Mollie Cahalane. Requiem Mass was celebrated by Canon Duggan assisted by Rev Dan O’Gorman. The lessons were read by Lisa (granddaughter) and Mary (daughter)
The Offertory Gifts were presented by Abbie (greatgrandaughter), Fergus (son-in-law), Esther (sister-in-law), Betty (niece) and Johnny and Eileen McGovern (friends). The gifts represented Eileen’s interests in life and included, rosary beads, a plant, cushion cover, and a watercolour painting by Eileen’s eldest son, Matt, depicting life in the shop.
Prayers of the Faithful were said by family members and friends. Canon Duggan spoke of Eileen’s great faith and her dedication to the daily mass. Eileen had been a Eucharistic Minister and was also involved in the Prayer Group. He acknowledged the service given by the Ladies Committee(of which Eileen was a member) during funerals. He sympathised with Matty and the family on their sad loss. Both choirs sang during mass with organist Mollie Cahalane.
Eileen’s son Matt reflected on Eileen’s life, lived for her family. He told the attendance that Matty and Eileen would have celebrated their 60th wedding Anniversary next year. They first met at a dance board near St Fiacre’s Well. During their years together they had experienced joy and sorrow but their deep faith had helped them to overcome the sad times. They had five children, Anne died as a baby and years later their daughter Bernadette died tragically in a motorcycle accident. They carried on and were always a great support to their other children, Matt, Mary and Joe. With Mary’s marriage to Fergus they were blessed with two grandchildren, Sarah and Lisa and three years ago, their little great grandchild Abbie was born.
Eileen is survived by her husband, Matty, daughter, Mary and sons, Matt and Joe. She will be sadly missed by her grand children, Sarah and Lisa and great granddaughter, Abbie. son-in-law, Fergus, in-laws, nephews, nieces and other relatives and friends.
Matt’s words at the conclusion of his reflection are a fitting way to end this tribute to Eileen:
“So as the tears flow, we should know that
They are not only tears of pain and loss
But also tears of joy,
Because we have been touched by goodness.”