Cara O’Sullivan has been remembered as a “colossus of a lady” as Cork bid farewell to one of its greatest stars this afternoon.
The funeral mass of the soprano singer took place at The Church of the Immaculate Conception at the Lough, where she grew up.
Many family members, friends, colleagues and fans joined the funeral proceedings through a live broadcast.
Ms O’Sullivan, who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in 2018, passed away on Tuesday afternoon in the presence of her family at Marymount Hospice at the age of 58.
She was remembered today as “a colossus of a lady” with a very warm personality and smile “who enriched the lives of our city and far beyond and our nation as well”.
Speaking about her achievements, her daughter Christine, said she was privileged to have travelled the world following her vocal training with Bob Beare at the Cork School of Music but that “she was always drawn home to Cork and loved being part of making music in Cork in her home city”.
She recalled the many achievements of her mother but spoke of two that she said she was particularly proud of, including her completion of her masters in arts and music for which she achieved a first class honours and was placed first in her class, and being invited to sing Stand up and Fight at Thomond Park.
She thanked everyone who joined the family via live stream and those who left “lovely messages” and those involved in organising funeral arrangements, her GP and the many doctors and carers who cared for her mother including staff at Beaumont Residential Care and Marymount University Hospital and Hospice.
I’m so sorry that you're not able to be with us today but I think all of the family are really uplifted by your kindness this week and it's been very special.
She paid a special word of thanks to her mother’s good friends Deirdre O Tuama, Majella Cullagh and Pat Talbot who arranged celebration concerts shortly after her diagnosis which provided the funds that allowed her to keep her mother at home for that bit longer.
She also thanked former Lord Mayor Mick Finn who “did so much to support the events” and who presented Ms O’Sullivan with the inaugural Cork City Cultural award in 2019, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Councillor Mary Rose Desmond who “quietly made time to help us when we really needed it”.
“Donncha O’Callaghan tweeted about mum during the week and I think it just perfectly summed up mum and her journey to today. ‘Until that bell, the final bell, stand up and fight like hell’,” she said.