'A beautiful person known for her smile': Tributes paid to woman killed in North Cork

'A beautiful person known for her smile': Tributes paid to woman killed in North Cork

The woods at Dromdeer, Doneraile, Co Cork showing the communications masts. Under the mast on the left of the picture was where the body of Mary O’Keeffe was found in a burnt out car. Picture Dan Linehan

THE North Cork community is still struggling to come to terms with a disturbing tragedy in the area involving a local woman found in a burning car last Thursday.

That's according to local councillor Frank O'Flynn who said that the next few days are going to be extremely difficult for the community.

The body of Mary O'Keeffe, from Dromohane, was found in the remote wooded area near Doneraile on Thursday afternoon.

Assistant state pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster attended the scene on Friday before a post mortem was carried out at Cork University Hospital. Two cars - one of which was burned - were removed from the area.

A 72-year-old mum to three sons including twins, Ms O'Keeffe was described by neighbours as a devoted grandmother. Others remembered her fun-loving nature.

Local councillor Frank O'Flynn said the community is going to be reeling from the tragedy for some time.

"People are still shocked today," he said. "Nobody could ever have expected something so awful to happen in such a beautiful place. 

"I didn't know Mary personally but she is said to have been a beautiful person known for her smile. 

"She was hardworking and rared a good family. Everyone is finding this so hard to come to terms with. This is a lady who played her part in the community."

Fellow local councillor Liam Madden shared his sentiment and said: "Our sympathies go out to the family. Sadly, the pandemic means that communities are struggling even more with tragedies like this."

 The charred remains of the burnt out Dacia foundunder the communications mast at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork where the body of Mary O’Keeffe was found. Picture Dan Linehan
The charred remains of the burnt out Dacia foundunder the communications mast at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork where the body of Mary O’Keeffe was found. Picture Dan Linehan

Sinn Féin local area representative, Melissa Mullane said she knew the family growing up.

"The sons would have been a similar age to me," she said. "If her children were any reflection of Mary then I have no doubt she was an amazing woman. This is a very popular, respected and well-liked family. Our hearts go out to them at this very difficult time. The work Mary did was very much community based and she touched so many people in so many different ways."

Meanwhile, a Facebook tribute from Ms O'Keefe's grandchildren summed up how loved the 72-year old had been by her family.

Megan O’Keeffe described her as a beautiful woman who gave “the best hugs” and who was “so much more than perfect”.

She addressed her as "Nanny" in the emotional post and said: “You were the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met in this world - so kind-hearted and loving.

“You gave the best hugs and cuddles. I’m going to miss us having our chats and a cup of tea in the sitting room. You always (made) sure the kettle was on for the next cup.

She vowed to treasure the good times and said: “I’ll always cherish the memories we have together - going on our days out shopping and walks and long drives all around Cork.

"You were always coming up with the funniest stuff to say to make me laugh. I really couldn’t ask for a better nanny. No other person could do better. You are so much more than perfect.” 

Ms O’Keeffe worked as a cook for a sheltered housing project. Her husband Donal died around 25 years ago. She is survived by three sons, Ger, and twins Christy and Donal.

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