THREE West Cork men – close friends of Maureen O’Hara – helped carry her coffin when Ireland’s leading lady was laid to rest in Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.
Donal Deasy, the owner of Casey’s Hotel where Maureen and her friends dined every Friday evening, as well as Jim Lyne and David O’Sullivan, who were representing Glengarriff Golf Club, attended the funeral mass at St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
There they heard Irish priest, Fr Gerald Weymes, describe the actress as having ‘all the qualities of an Irish colleen’ – she had the fiery spirit of the Vikings, the untameable spirit of the Normans, and a pinch of Eros.
Fr Weymes and Maureen shared the same drama teacher in Dublin, the attendees heard. The three men from Glengarriff saw their friend laid to rest in the historic Arlington cemetery, next to her late husband – the US Navy pilot Brig General Charles F Blair Jr, who died in a plane crash in 1978, and, with whom she had shared Lugdine House in Glengarriff.
Members of the US Air Force formed a guard of honour and carried her coffin.
Maureen O’Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons on August 17th 1920 in Ranelagh and grew up in the south Dublin suburb of Milltown, but for 40 years Glengarriff was her home. She died peacefully in her sleep at her family home in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, October 24th.
Her remains were carried in a white coffin as the Chicago-based Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band played music from The Quiet Man.
The church was decorated with photographs of the Irish star, in her various film roles.
Her grandson Conor Fitzsimons said Maureen had huge pride in being Irish.
‘It was in her soul. It was in her spirit. Ireland was her heart,’ he said.