Pensioner’s body went undiscovered for several weeks

Irene Daly is believed to have moved to Knock, Co Mayo because of her strong faith

A pensioner who died alone in Knock, Co Mayo and whose body went undiscovered for a number of weeks was believed to have moved to the area because of her strong faith.

The remains of Irene Daly, who was aged in her 80s, and was living in the town were discovered by gardaí early last week.

Her death is not believed to be suspicious but her body had been in her home for some time.

Ms Daly was described as a very private person who had most probably moved to the area due to her strong faith and was a frequent visitor to the Knock shrine.


Parish priest Fr Richard Gibbons said he did not know Ms Daly well but described her as being a very quiet and private person who had kept to herself since moving to the area from Co Cork where she is believed to have some family.

“It was just sad that she passed away the way that she did,” he said, adding that the community had been shocked by the news.

“We would have known her name, we would have seen her popping in and out.”

Ms Daly was not known to engage socially with other visitors to the shrine or within the community, although the parish does help those who wish to do so, an important part of their local ethos given the regular number of people, often in later stages of life, who choose to retire to the area. Ms Daly was thought to fit this profile.

“You would get quite a number of people who would retire to Knock, who would just like to do that to be close to the church,” Fr Gibbons said. “There would be a little bit of traffic like that in the village.”

When Ms Daly's remains were discovered last week, Fr Terence Harrington was called to attend the scene. It is understood she was subsequently removed to Cork where she was cremated.

Gardaí confirmed they attended a house in Knock where the body of a woman in her 80s was discovered. The remains were then taken to Castlebar for post mortem examination and a file is to be prepared for the coroner.

Knock attracts a large number of pilgrims due to its significance as a holy site. In August 1879, 15 people from the village were said to have witnessed an apparition of Mary on an altar at the gable wall of the parish church.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times