“Miriam’s light shone brightly”: Funeral service for Miriam Burns (75) in Killarney


There was an extraordinary show of community solidarity today as hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Miriam Burns.

Burns’ body was found at her home in Ardshanavooly last Monday and a Garda investigation into the 75-year-old’s death has since been upgraded to a murder investigation.

Father Kieran O’Brien led a prayer service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney.

It was supposed to start at 4pm but was delayed due to the number of mourners wanting to attend – a queue stretching from the cathedral, through its gates and along the street in Cathedral Square.

Mourners expressed their condolences to the Burns family upstairs.

They did so from just after 2:00 p.m., and the line finally ebbed a few minutes before the 4:55 p.m. service could begin.

Father O’Brien commented on the remarkable togetherness that was visible among all who came to say goodbye to Mrs Burns and to sympathize with those who loved her most.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people with us in the cathedral this afternoon,” he said.

“It was a source of strength and comfort [to Miriam’s family] in the last three hours to see people – friends, neighbors, colleagues, parishioners – come to church from all over Kerry.

“The silence that has hung over the city for the past week has been a statement in itself,” added Father O’Brien.

Hundreds attended the service and Father O’Brien noted that many people from outside Killarney city and county limits were among the crowd.

A picture of a smiling Mrs. Burns has been widely circulated in the media since news of her death broke, and Father O’Brien said this picture “said a thousand words” as it typified a happy person who is always maintained a positive attitude. No matter what challenges life throws at her.

“Miriam’s light shone brightly in this city,” he said.

“The lady on the bike. Your daily commutes into the city. Arjan [Ardshanavooly] is only five minutes from town but it took her so long to get back home. Miriam was never in a hurry. Ready to chat, ready to meet people.

“She [her family] wants this to be a celebration of her life…no matter what was going on in her life she had an amazing and positive attitude.”

He described Miriam as a family man who always has “unconditional love” for her four children.

“She probably wasn’t aware of what she had achieved and what she meant to the people of this city.

“There is no doubt that her memory will live on. She is loved.”

Before her coffin was carried away and Miriam taken to a private cremation ceremony, daughter Sharon addressed the congregation of her mother, “a woman of substance, full of compassion and love.”

Commenting on her strength of character, she described her as a “strong” woman, and she thanked everyone who supported the Burns family through the toughest week of their lives.

“We thank Killarney, Ardshan, everyone in Ireland who honored them,” she said.

Miriam’s wicker coffin was carried down the aisle and to a waiting hearse while Mary Culloty O’Sullivan sang “Think of Me.”

“The way mom walked through life – or even rode her bike – was an example to all of us,” added Sharon at the end of her eulogy. “Miriam’s light shone brightly”: Funeral service for Miriam Burns (75) in Killarney

Fry Electronics Team

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