Co Offaly community says goodbye to ‘dearly loved’ farmer

Kieran Byrne (58) died after being wounded while handling a bull on a farm

St Luna’s church in Cadamstown, Co Offaly, where the funeral Mass for Kieran Byrne took place on Sunday. Photograph: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

St Luna’s church in Cadamstown, Co Offaly, where the funeral Mass for Kieran Byrne took place on Sunday. Photograph: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

 

Crowds lined the streets as the coffin of a hugely popular farmer was taken by tractor and trailer from his home to St Luna’s church in Cadamstown, Co Offaly, for his funeral on Sunday.

The farmer, father-of-five Kieran Byrne (58), was mortally wounded while handling a bull on a farm near Kinnitty last Wednesday. He was rushed to hospital in Tullamore and later transferred to Beaumont Hospital, where he died on Thursday night.

The Slieve Bloom mountain village of Cadamstown was brought to a standstill as Mr Byrne’s remains travelled from his home on a trailer towed by a bright red vintage Massey Ferguson tractor.

Such was the size of the crowd, many mourners had to remain on the grounds of the church or on the road as the service got under way.

Chief celebrant Fr Michael O’Meara spoke of Mr Byrne as primarily a “family man”, one who will be missed by his wife Denise as a “dearly loved husband” and by his children as “a dearly loved father”.

Fr O’Meara said that, during their 31 years of marriage, Kieran and Denise had reared a lovely family. He spoke of “how proud Kieran has been of all his family”.

“Somebody remarked to me that he was always the man you could call on,” Fr O’Meara told mourners.

The priest said that, whether it was to get a load of turf or for some other favour, Kieran “was delighted to do it for you”.

“So many neighbours I know benefited from that kindness,” he said.

Special memory

Many too had a special memory of Mr Byrne driving the school bus, said Fr O’Meara.

“I was thinking of a generation of little ones that hopped on and off Kieran’s bus and the affection they would have for Kieran as he ferried them safely to school,” he said.

“There are no words that I can say this afternoon that can bring you the comfort that you need on the huge loss.”

He told mourners it was only last August that Mr Byrne had walked his daughter Karen up the centre aisle of the church on her wedding day.

“He was truly proud and overjoyed that day,” he said.

Among the gifts brought to the altar during the funeral Mass was a spanner, to remember Mr Byrne’s great mechanical ability. Other gifts included a sod of turf and a tractor, to show his love of the land and tractors.

Prayers were also said for farm accident victims and for the safekeeping of all who work on the land.

On arriving by hearse to Kinnitty village after the Mass, a guard of honour from Kinnitty GAA escorted Mr Byrne’s cortege to St Flannan’s Cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

Mr Byrne is survived by his wife Denise and his children Jason, Karen, Ciarán, Darren and Patrick-Joseph.