Tears and flowers as much-loved Lithuanian woman laid to rest in Dundalk
Funeral of Ingrida Maciokaite (31) hears how mother of two was taken ‘so violently’
Mourners at the funeral of Lithuanian woman Ingrida Maciokaite at St Nicholas’s Church, Dundalk. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins
As soon as Ingrida Maciokaite’s white coffin, decorated on all sides by a frieze of brightly coloured flowers, entered St Nicholas’s Church in Dundalk, Co Louth, the cavernous interior was filled with an air of deep sadness.
The 31-year-old Lithuanian-born mother of two (a six-year-old girl and an 18-month-old boy) was stabbed to death on September 18th. Edmundas Dauksa (48) has since been charged with her murder.
About 250 people came to the church to say their goodbyes on Wednesday. Many sobbed throughout the funeral ceremony, conducted by Polish-born parish curate Fr Maciej Zacharek, who remembered Ingrida as “a wonderful mother” who “in many ways . . . was childlike”.
During her 12 years in Ireland, Ingrida became well known in both the Lithuanian and wider communities in Co Louth, which have rallied around each other since her death – donating the money to pay for her funeral and offering to help in any way possible.
Many who mourned Ingrida were aware that the woman they knew, and whose company they loved, had an exceptionally difficult start in life.
Ingrida was born in a prison in Lithuania and came from Vilkaviskis, in the southwest part of the country, an area not known for its wealth, but which bears the scars of having been fought over by Poland and Russia down the years.
Ingrida spent her first three years in the prison, because that was where her mother was. She never knew her father and was later raised by her grandmother and an aunt, along with neighbours and friends.
It was not until she entered fifth class at school that she was reunited with her mother, who died a couple of years ago, long after Ingrida came to Ireland.
Her only surviving relative back in Lithuania is an elderly aunt, Danuta, who was remembered in prayers at Ingrida’s funeral and who gave permission for her niece to be buried in Ireland.
Ingrida had made a successful new life for herself in Dundalk, based on hard work and engaging with those around her. She worked variously in Ruby’s Cafe on Crowe Street, Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant on the Carlingford Road, and McCreesh’s deli on Avenue Road.
“She was a really hard-working and friendly person,” said the man known to everyone simply as EJ, a leader of the area’s Lithuanian community, who assisted Fr Zacharek during the Mass.
A black-and-white photograph of Ingrida smiling broadly was placed beside her coffin, together with a candle and a bouquet of flowers in a glass vase. A simple cross and copy of the Bible were placed in front of a large spray of flowers of many colours on top of the coffin.
The gifts included photos of Ingrida and her children, her mobile phone, cigarettes and lighter, a pack of her favourite coffee and her kitchen apron.
Two close friends, Mykola and Carrie, gave the readings, both of them from St Paul’s letters.
“It’s not easy today to speak the words we have inside us,” Fr Zacharek said in his homily.
He said that Ingrida would be remembered as a very nice person who gave 100 per cent of herself to those she loved. She loved her garden, the flowers she planted and tended to, as well as animals.
While Ingrida had made a new home in Ireland, Fr Zacharek said, her true home was in heaven, where she is now. She had been taken “so violently” from her family and friends but the love she gave was “something that will remain”.
He urged mourners to tell their parents and children today “that you love them”.
Two of Ingrida’s close friends – Ieva and Margarita – gave short reflections, Ieva reading Mary Elizabeth Frye’s poem Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep, while Margarita spoke in Lithuanian of Ingrida’s relationship with her two children.
Her six-year-old daughter placed a small figurine of a gold reclining angel on the coffin lid
Funeral music was provided by organist Trevor Clarke and soprano Margaret Brennan. The ceremony was filmed by Gerry Duffy so it can be shared with Ingrida’s friends in Lithuania.
The coffin was wheeled from the church by six of Ingrida’s female friends. As they did so, her daughter placed a small figurine of a gold reclining angel, her head resting on her hand, on the lid – a token of her love in circumstances that a six-year-old must surely find bewildering.
Ingrida was walked to St Patrick’s Cemetery on Dundalk’s northern edge and her coffin was lowered gently into the ground as tearful mourners tossed in roses in a range of colours.
Fr Zacharek gave a final blessing and EJ thanked the community and the undertakers for the calm support they have provided.
As the AstroTurf blanket was drawn over the grave, which a temporary wooden cross lay on top of, a word wreath of white crêpe paper carnations was placed beside the grave – MAMMY, it said.
Donations to pay for Ingrida’s funeral and to assist the future needs of her children can be made to the Dundalk Lithuanian Community account at Dundalk Credit Union. Account number: 04795207. Sort code: 991044 IBAN: IE30DUCI99104404795207. BIC: DUCIIE21XXX.