IN the time-honoured tradition of simply ‘being there’ the people of West Cork will have their chance to express their appreciation for Maureen O’Hara, the woman, at a memorial service in her honour in Glengarriff at midday on Saturday.
Golfing was one point of contact for a lot of people – not just because she sponsored a local tournament shortly after arriving in Glengarriff, a place that was home to her and her husband the US Navy pilot General Charles Blair for many years – but because she also lived right next door in Lugdine House.
Others knew Maureen because she frequently dined at Casey’s Hotel in the village. She shopped locally too and liked to have her hair and make-up done regularly for her social engagements because, even in her 90s, the honorary Oscar-winning actress was asked to attend many.
She was in demand and was always happy to oblige. At every event, she spoke with her trademark vigour and at every event she referred to her Dublin upbringing and how proud she was of her Irish roots.
In a clear, commanding voice – not a million miles from the authentic accent she grew up with – she gave a positive image of Ireland. No one is saying she was Cathleen Ni Houlihan, but who can deny her beauty, her spirit, and that she was in so many ways an ambassador for Ireland, a touchstone for an innate Irish spirit – rebellious and indomitable.
Maureen O’Hara was 95 when she died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday morning last, October 24th. She will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, DC, next to her husband, who died in a plane crash in 1978.
The memorial service in Maureen’s honour will be held at the Sacred Heart Church, Glengarriff, on Saturday, October 31st, at 12 noon. All are welcome to come and pay their respects.