‘Always side by side’: Mother and 13-year-old son buried at fourth funeral after Creeslough tragedy

Catherine O’Donnell and her son James Monaghan, who died in the blast in Co Donegal last week, are remembered as a mother and son who were always “side by side”.

This is the fourth funeral to be held this week following the tragedy in the village of Creeslough on Friday. The funeral of James O’Flaherty (49), originally from Australia but living in Dunfanaghey, took place in Derrybeg on Wednesday.

Catherine, 39, and her son James, 13, died in the blast while queuing at the post office counter at the Applegreen gas station.

Fr John Joe Duffy told the packed congregation at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough that Catherine and James were “so loved” by their family and friends.

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Catherine O’Donnell and her son James Monaghan

He said the community stands and goes with all the families of the ten victims.

A number of icons were brought to the altar to represent her life, including a watch and necklace that belonged to Catherine and wrestling memorabilia for James as he was a huge fan of the sport.

Father Duffy recited a line from Seamus Heaney’s famous poem Mid-Term Break and said this loss was a “devastating blow” to the family and community.

On behalf of the family, Father Duffy thanked the emergency services that responded to the tragedy last week and thanked those who sent messages of support to the family in their distress.

Father Duffy said James was a fun-loving young man who had recently attended his first teenage disco.

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Mourners comfort each other as they arrive for the funeral mass of James Monaghan and his mother Catherine O’Donnell at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough. PA

“If we think of James, if we think of an airplane slowly taxiing down a runway and about to take off, that was James about to take off into his teenage years,” he said.

“He was just starting life, he was full of life and full of joy.

“Catherine was bubbly, full of life and very intelligent. She loved parties and she loved organizing parties. She was someone who was full of life and she was a glamorous lady. She loved shopping.

“She was someone who was loved very much, a loving daughter and sister and if that meant staying online for hours, which she did for hours to get tickets to Garth Brooks, that was so very important. She was a shopaholic.

“She was a loving mother, partner and daughter and we thank God for that love today. James, as his teachers remember, was one of those unforgettable kids.

“His innocence was so endearing and he put a smile on everyone’s face. There was something very endearing about James. He had a beautiful heart and soul.”

Ms O’Donnell was originally from Creeslough but lived in Kilmacrennan, a nearby village. James was a student at Mulroy College, Milford.

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President Michael D Higgins arrives for the funeral service of James Monaghan and his mother Catherine O’Donnell at St Michael’s Church in Creeslough. PA

Catherine had also been a mother to a three-year-old girl with her partner Charlie Flood. The couple had a personal bereavement five years ago when infant daughter Paige died following an illness.

President Michael D Higgins was present at the funeral, he attended the funeral of another victim, James O’Flaherty earlier today, and he expressed his condolences to the family of Catherine and her son before the service.

In a statement today, the school paid tribute to its “beautiful pupil James Monaghan and his devoted mother”. It said the mother and son were “missed every day by all of us at Mulroy College.”

“As a school community, we are heartbroken and will remember James in a very special way. Skipping our corridors each day, James brought great joy, happiness and fun into our lives. He lived life with great excitement, great openness and wore his life heart on his sleeve.

“James was able to express himself through his eyes and his smile and when we think of him we embrace that smile and share the most precious memories of a young life that has gone far too quickly.

“Catherine’s kindness and generosity of heart radiated through her son every day. She will be remembered for her love of family, kindness to others and dedication as a mother, partner, sister and friend.”

In a statement today, the school paid tribute to its “beautiful pupil James Monaghan and his devoted mother”. It said the mother and son were “missed every day by all of us at Mulroy College.”

“As a school community, we are heartbroken and will remember James in a very special way. Skipping our corridors each day, James brought great joy, happiness and fun into our lives. He lived life with great excitement, great openness and wore his life heart on his sleeve.

“James was able to express himself through his eyes and his smile and when we think of him we embrace that smile and share the most precious memories of a young life that has gone far too quickly.

“Catherine’s kindness and generosity of heart radiated through her son every day. She will be remembered for her love of family, kindness to others and dedication as a mother, partner, sister and friend.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/always-side-by-side-mother-and-13-year-old-son-laid-to-rest-in-fourth-funeral-following-creeslough-tragedy-42061565.html ‘Always side by side’: Mother and 13-year-old son buried at fourth funeral after Creeslough tragedy

Fry Electronics Team

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