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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
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Irish emigrant who died alone in London laid to rest in Tipperary

The funeral of Joseph Tuohy took place in Dublin in September.

Joseph Tuohy (right) with Brian Boylan (left).
Joseph Tuohy (right) with Brian Boylan (left).

THE ASHES OF a man who died alone in London and whose funeral was attended by hundreds of people in Dublin have finally been laid to rest in his native Tipperary.

Joseph Tuohy, 87, died alone in a nursing home in Islington, north London last July. 

Last month, hundreds of mourners gathered at St Joseph’s Church in Glasthule, Co Dublin to pay their final respects after a nationwide plea was made for people to attend. 

Fr Denis Kennedy, who celebrated Joseph’s funeral and who is originally from Tipperary, brought his ashes to their final resting close to Toomevara today as part of a private ceremony.

That plea for mourners was made by Margaret de Brun, who is from Sandycove.

Joseph’s close friend of 40 years and former Columban father living in London and designated next-of kin, Brian Boylan wrote to Margaret, a co-founder of Friends of Friends of the Forgotten Irish, asking for help in arranging a funeral.

Margaret said her mind can now rest knowing that Joseph is now back in the village he was born. She is also so grateful for all of the help she received, as well as the letters, emails and phone-calls from Ireland, the UK and around the world.

“I’m so pleased that Joseph is now at rest and back to where he should have always been in Tipperary. It was fitting that his burial was discreet as he was a private man from what we’ve learned about him.

“Without the help, guidance and people giving of their time I don’t know where I would have been when I was preparing the funeral,” she said.

“I’m still receiving correspondence from people thanking for making such an effort to have a proper funeral for Joseph and I’m glad of that,” she added. 

Originally from the village of Toomevara in north Tipperary, Joseph had been taken from his mother at a young age and between 14 and 16 he trained as a tailor in St Joseph’s Industrial School in Clonmel. 

After leaving the school he worked as a tailor in Waterford before leaving for London, where he experienced spells of illness and homelessness. 

Boylan visited the man several times a week so he would not be alone. 

“This man is symbolic of a hidden suffering and we should never forget our people. We come from a great people who are loyal to one another. They deserve our respect. 

“I know that Joe would take solace from the fact that his life story, which was full of pain, may help others on their own and encourage them to seek help. To know that so many people want to attend his funeral and to help with his final goodbye is a great solace,” Boylan said. 

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Sarah Slater

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