By Larry Cooney
Relatives and a very large circle of friends gathered in West London on 22 January to pay their final respects to the late Mary Margaret O’Hara. A native of Redills close to the border in Co. Cavan, Mary passed away at her home in Shepherds Bush on Christmas Eve at the age of 76.
Funeral mass celebrant and local parish priest Fr. Richard Nesbitt remarked on receiving her Irish tricolour-draped coffin into the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, White City: ‘Have you ever seen such an Irish funeral?’
The biggest passions in Mary’s life were her family and Irish music. Mary was a keyboards session musician.
Mary O’Hara was also a very well known figure in the London Irish community and was frequently seen in the local St. Augustine’s Club and Brook Green Club in Hammersmith as well as The Galtymore in Cricklewood.
Among her many friends in the music business were Doc Carroll, Frank Gill, the late Glen Curtain, Charles Anthony and composer of so many famous songs – the late Johnny McAuley. Other top names to have benefited from Mary’s hospitality and support included Mick Flavin, Jimmy Buckley and PJ Murrihy.
Mary also served for a while on the local Spectrum Radio in their earlier years.
Mary O’Hara, nee McKiernan, was born on the 24th September 1943.
Mary emigrated to London in the early 60s where she soon met her husband, fellow Cavan native Seamus O’Hara from Belturbet, and had two daughters Caroline and Denise and son Paul.
Glowing tributes were paid to Mary in the course of last Wednesday morning’s ceremonies with particular reference to her personal qualities because she was a consummate ‘people’ person.
Mary worked in finance and later as a bereavement counsellor which suited her qualities as a good listener.
Among the chief mourners were Mary’s London-based daughters Denise and Caroline and her Cork-based son Paul, her Dublin-based brothers Maurice, who gave the eulogy and Leo, who read the bidding prayers as well as a tribute from their Australia-based sister Eileen, sisters-in law, brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A memorial mass for Mary is being planned for her native Redhills late next month in St. Brigid’s Church, Killoughter.