We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Hugh Kelly

Creeslough explosion victim Hugh Kelly was in remission after cancer battle, funeral hears

Mourners lined the streets of the rural village to say goodbye to a member of their community for the fourth day in a row.

THE OLDEST VICTIM in the Creeslough explosion had recently received news that he was in remission after battling cancer, his funeral heard.

This morning, people lined the Co Donegal village’s main street for the seventh funeral of the 10 people killed in the blast at a service station a week ago.

Hugh “Hughie” Kelly, 59, worked on farmland and as a carpenter, and was well-known in the community.

Father John Joe Duffy told the congregation that Mr Kelly was “a man who enjoyed a good time, a happy man and a cheeky grin, a man who the family knew and loved so well”.

He was described as having grown up in nearby Doe as the youngest of five siblings, and loved to spend time at the castle in the area as a child.

“He spent time in England, and there’s a photograph of him with a colourful exotic bird, something that he posted home one time with a letter.”

The priest said that Mr Kelly often had a dog with him, and would say: “I didn’t look for him, but he found me.”

The funeral also heard he could turn his hand to any job, from replacing a skirting board to making cradles, dolls and fairy doors for his nieces.

“He built the wall up here behind us in the car park, and someone was telling me he placed his initials in that wall,” Father Duffy told mourners.

“Whether it was replacing a skirting board or hanging a shelf or a picture, he always gave it 100%, taking the time to get it right, making sure he got it perfect.

“Others would get it done and say it was grand, but he kept going until it was perfect.

“Of course, that shows that he wanted to do the very best for those he was doing it for out of his love.”

Father Duffy also told mourners of Mr Kelly’s battle with cancer.

“He was someone who had determination, and he had lots of close scrapes, particularly in recent years with his cancer where he was up and down to Galway for treatment,” the priest said.

“He was battling that very well and just three weeks ago he was in Galway again for a check-up where he was in remission. That was such happy and good news.”

Mourners also heard that Mr Kelly had brought two other victims of the blast, Robert Garwe and his daughter, Shauna Flanagan Garwe, to the service station shop to buy a birthday cake for her mother on the day of the tragedy.

A jewellery box that Mr Kelly made for his niece and a picture of his granddaughter, Rosie, representing his love for family, were among the symbols brought up to the altar for the service.

Also brought up as symbols were a pot of blackberry jam, representing his patience and dedication in spending hours picking blackberries; and a recent photo of Mr Kelly taken in a cornfield, showing him as a “happy and content man”.

President Michael D Higgins, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh were among those attending the service.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel