FRIENDS and neighbors of a Kerry grandmother who was found dead at her home have mourned the loss of “Killarney’s smiling wife”.
Ardai is treating the death of Miriam Burns, 75, who was found dead at her home in Killarney on Monday afternoon, as suspicious.
An autopsy will be carried out at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) today as Gardai officially described the death as unexplained.
However, Garda sources said they were suspicious about the nature of Ms Burns’ injuries and whether they could have been sustained in an accidental fall.
Both Gardaí and paramedics attended the scene at the Ardshanavooly housing development in the city of South Kerry after the alarm went off around midday.
Ms Burns was spotted after friends and family worried about her well-being – and relatives feared being unable to reach her.
The area where the woman was found was immediately cordoned off pending a full technical and forensic investigation.
Forensic officials conducted a detailed examination of the property overnight and the property remains sealed.
Gardaí asked for the support of the State Office of Pathology.
A full autopsy will be performed at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) today (Tuesday).
Gardaí indicated that the results of the post-mortem will now determine the nature of their investigation.
However, the woman is believed to have suffered head and neck injuries unrelated to an accidental fall.
Gardaí are treating the death as suspicious and a decision on the nature of their investigation will be made today after receiving the autopsy and forensic results.
The pensioner was discovered with visible blood around her head and face.
Investigators are now trying to confirm the woman’s last known movements.
Local sources said Ms Burns – who has been very active in a number of groups in Killarney – has not been seen at the scene since last Friday night.
A Garda source said a key element of their investigation will be trying to determine exactly when the pensioner died.
Investigators are also trying to confirm who may have been in contact with the deceased in the hours leading up to her death.
Gardaí are hoping to speak to someone known to the deceased about when they last saw the pensioner.
There was no sign of forced entry into the townhouse.
A house-to-house investigation was carried out today in what is described by locals as a very quiet residential part of Killarney.
CCTV surveillance camera footage from the area, which is close to a Tesco mall and a McDonald’s outlet, is expected to prove crucial to the investigation.
The pensioner has lived in the Ardshanavooly area for most of her adult life but is said to be originally from Milltown.
She comes from a large and well respected family in South Kerry.
Her home is a two-story townhouse in a four-lot block.
Mrs. Burns was known as an avid gardener and for the stunning roses she grew.
Councilor Donal Grady, who lives in Ardshanavooly, paid tribute to Miriam Burns, whom he knew personally and described as a wonderful mother and grandmother.
“The smiling lady is gone,” he said.
“This is a great loss for Killarney. She had a kind word for everyone. She had a smile for everyone — but now that smile is gone.”
“This is a very narrow city. Everyone here knows everyone and their loss will be deeply felt.”
Ms Burns had lived on the old housing estate since the 1970s and was known for her involvement in community groups and her fondness for cycling to destinations around Killarney.
Neighbors said they saw Ms Burns on her bike almost every day around the property and in the town centre.
Her neighbor Ann Cronin said it was “a desperate tragedy” for the Killarney estate, family and the entire community.
“She really was a lovely person. She was very good to her family, her friends and her neighbors.”
“Everyone feels desperate, to be honest.”
Neighbor Paul O’Shea fought back tears at the news of her death.
“It’s awful, really awful,” he said.
“She was a lovely, lovely lady. She had a kind word for everyone she met.”
“It (the tragedy) hurts.”
Tom Wharton, who lived in Ardshanavooly for seven years, said Mrs Burns always had a wave and a warm smile for neighbours.
“It’s such a sad, sad story,” he said.
“It’s a desperate thing to happen, especially to such a nice woman.”
Councilor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan said it was a desperately sad day for Killarney.
“She was a very elegant lady and a kind person.”
“Miriam has a large extended family in Killarney and they really are fabulous people. They are well known and highly respected in the city. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.”
“This has impacted every part of Killarney. Miriam was a lovely woman and you would see her up and down town on her bike. She was a fabulous woman who was always smiling and giving a warm wave to everyone she met. She loved talking to people and she chatted all day.”
Ardshanavooly is a popular residential area within walking distance of Killarney town center and popular local amenities such as the Killarney Outlet Centre.
Ms. Burns has four children, some of whom are now living abroad and also come from large families.
She loved to travel and regularly visited European cities, often traveling to meet some of her children.
Ardshanavooly is a mature housing development with a mix of pensioners, older families and some younger residents with children.
The Ardshanavooly community was deeply shocked by the tragedy that unfolded on their estate last night
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/killarneys-smiling-lady-friends-and-neighbours-mourn-death-of-kerry-grandmother-miriam-burns-41914384.html Miriam Burns: “Killarney’s Smiling Wife” – Friends and neighbors mourn Kerry’s grandmother