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Dublin: 3°C Monday 12 April 2021

Tributes paid to late Irish Times journalist Kate Holmquist

Ms Holmquist joined the Irish Times in 1986.

Image: GardaPress/Rollingnews.ie

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to the late Irish Times journalist Kate Holmquist. 

Ms Holmquist’s death was confirmed yesterday by gardaí who are treating the incident as a personal tragedy.

The mother of three, who lived in Sandycove in Dublin, was married to writer and film director Ferdia Mac Anna. 

Kate joined the Irish Times in 1986 and wrote her last piece for the paper in 2015. During her time there she was a feature writer, an education correspondent, and a commissioning editor. 

In today’s Irish Times, deputy editor, Deirdre Veldon, described Kate as one of the most accomplished feature writers of her generation. 

“Kate Holmquist was possessed of an empathetic approach, a keen ear and an eye for detail. As a writer, she first chronicled the early stirrings of a changing Ireland, especially as those changes affected women.”

In a 2006 article in the Irish Times Magazine, Ms Holmquist detailed her life growing up in Baltimore, Maryland – raised by her mother and father, a pastor and a teacher respectively.  

As a teenager, she studied music in Paris, Vienna and Salzburg – on a scholarship. 

On returning to the US, she met a visiting Irish writer who “enticed me to leave everything behind and live with him in Paris”.

She later met and married her husband, Mac Anna, following “a whirlwind romance”. 

She said she ended up in Ireland “not by design but because of a weakness for Irishmen”.

They do say, though, that home is where they have to let you in. If that’s the case, Ireland is my home (despite repeated reminders by immigration at Dublin airport to get my Garda registration up to date). Being “Irish” started 25 years ago, part of a turbulent history of “geographics”, as escapes from one’s past are known.

Former colleagues have also been paying tribute to Ms Holmquist. 

Irish Times journalist Michael O’Regan tweeted:  “Back in the mists of time, Kate Holmquist and myself had desks next to each other for a time in the old Irish Times newsroom. It was before email and mobile phones and we took telephone messages for each other. She was funny, unfailingly courteous, a bright media light”. 

Columnist Fintan O’Toole tweeted to say it was “heartbreaking news”. 

“Kate was a glorious presence and a wonderful writer. My deepest sympathies to Sienna, Bessa and Finn and her beloved Ferdia,” he said. 

About the author:

Adam Daly

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