Hawe family buried following funeral service in Cavan

Alan Hawe, his wife Clodagh and sons Liam, Niall and Ryan were found dead at their home


“The family chain is broken and nothing will ever be the same. But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again. Sleep tight.”

Those were the words of Clodagh Hawe’s sister Jacqueline as part of her Communion reflection in St Mary’s Church, Castlerahan, Co Cavan, during the funeral Mass for the five members of the Hawe family.

The five members of the family were found dead at their home at Oakdene, in the townland of Barconey, on Monday following an apparent murder-suicide.

Gardaí believe Mr Hawe killed his wife and children before taking his own life.

There was silence on the Castlerahan hillside graveyard, a few miles from the family’s home, as all five members of the Hawe family were lowered into their graves following the ceremony.

The three white coffins carrying the remains of Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were carried by members of the local community to the graveside, just behind their father Alan (41), with their mother Clodagh (39) in the last coffin in the procession.

Five white doves were released from a brown basket just after the coffins were lowered into the ground.

Funeral Mass

Earlier in the evening, St Mary’s Church was packed with mourners for the funeral Mass.

Hundreds of people congregated outside in the church grounds to hear the ceremony being relayed over loudspeakers.

A total of 12 priests joined in the ceremony in the presence of the Bishop of Kilmore, Dr Leo O’Reilly, who said the final commendation. The chief celebrant was Fr Felim Kelly.

During the ceremony Philip, Alan’s uncle, placed a jersey on Alan’s coffin.

Mary, Clodagh’s mother, placed a family photograph on Clodagh’s coffin, to symbolise her role as a wife, mother and promoter of family values.

Helen, Alan’s aunt, put a basketball on Liam’s coffin, to recall the way he acted as a beacon of goodness, hope and friendship.

Audrey, Clodagh’s cousin, placed a trophy on Niall’s coffin, an award for excellence in sport, to symbolise his many talents.

Gerry, who was known to Ryan as “grandad”, placed a woolly dog on Ryan’s coffin. It was described as a very apt symbol.

The prayers of the faithful were read by Alan Hawe’s brother Enda, Clodagh’s uncle Jason and her cousin Eileen.


In his homily, Fr Kelly talked about the virtues of the Hawe family, whom he counted as his friends, before giving an insight into their family life on Christmas morning.

“I called to see Alan and Clodagh and Liam, Niall and Ryan on a Christmas morning a couple of years ago.

“Christmas is about family, is centred on children and is about giving and receiving.

“ I know I was calling to see close friends and knew the welcome, Clodagh with her scones, red jam and mug of coffee, Liam, Niall and Ryan busily, like budding engineers, building all kinds of Lego.

“Alan standing with his back to the kitchen sink, totally at ease, enjoying the bean an tí and the antics of unspoiled and respectful sons.

“That is my abiding memory of a family at Christmas.”

In the final commendation, Dr O’Reilly said that “on behalf of all the people of the diocese, I want to join Fr Felim in offering to the families of Alan and Clodagh, to their friends and work colleagues, to the parents and children in the schools and to the whole community here in Castlerahan our deepest sympathy on your great loss.

“My colleague of the Church of Ireland, Bishop Ferran Glenfield, contacted me to offer his support and prayers and the support of his community also at this time of great sorrow.

“So too did many of my brother bishops, priests, religious and lay people around the country.”