There was great sadness in Lanesboro, Killashee and beyond recently as news circulated of the death after a long illness of Catherine (Kay) Feeney. The much loved Tipperary native lived a remarkable life of devotion to family and her place in the hearts of the close knit Lanesboro and Killashee communities are secure forever.
Kay was born Catherine Hyland in Thurles, Co Tipperary and the great and enduring love of her life was Ballaghaderreen man, Michael Feeney. She always joked that it was a long courtship and that she left him disheartened many times but in truth, rarely have two people been so suited to each other. They were life long friends and companions and there is no doubt that her passing leaves a huge void in Michael’s heart and life.
Like so many others of the time the couple first came to Lanesboro in the latter days of the 1950s. Michael was a gifted fitter and secured a job with the start-up Bord na Móna facility at Mountdillon. The couple moved into their new home on the Green (opposite St Mary’s parish church in the town) and in no time Kay was putting down roots in a community that she came to know and love so well.
The Green was a vibrant and energetic place in which to grow up and the arrival of their three sons, Pierce, James and Michael and daughter Maria (RIP), added to the love and affection that abounded in the house.
There wasn’t a bad bone in Kay Feeney’s body and neighbours and friends who knew her best could never remember her speaking ill of anybody. She sought out the best in everybody and even if you weren’t feeling the best about yourself,Kay quickly found the reason why you needed to feel good about yourself.
At the time Lanesboro was home to countless new families as the ESB and Bord na Mona found their feet in the Shannonside town. When faced with problems or issues or worries, they invariably turned to Kay Feeney for a friendly ear and the all important words of advice or sometimes just a strong cup of tea.
Kay believed passionately in young people and was determined to see them get the best possible start in life. She was an enthusiastic believer in the Foroige youth club ethos and was a founder leader of the club in Lanesboro; The many young adults who retuned for her funeral remembered her as a warm and hugely influential influence in their lives at that stage.
Many times she was called on as an a ‘honest broker’ or to simply help break the ice when a youngster knew they had done wrong and a tribunal of enquiry awaited them at home.Kay never turned anybody away and was always only too happy and eager to help ease and defuse the tension.
Whilst Kay and Michael always loved their time on the Green, but 1990 saw them head off on a new adventure as they moved to a wonderful big old house in Killashee. There they welcomed daughters Patricia and Josephine into their hearts.
But the Feeney family unit was never truly complete because Kay and Michael were wonderful foster parents and over the years fostered and helped so many young people. They were a calm, assuring and comforting presence for young minds and the extent of their contribution to the lives of so many can never be over-stated.
The upside of the move to Killashee was that the house was so big and with no Foroige club active there, Kay decided to start one and she did so from a room in that big house. It was so indicative of a woman with a big heart and she was always willing and eager to open her mind, heart and home to young people.
Kay will always be remembered for her boundless energy, her enthusiasm, compassion and a great sense of humour. She was also a wonderfully talented cook and found a great outlet for herself in the ICA. She was gifted at knitting and crochet and delighted in the many ICA competitions over the years.
She was also a woman of deep and unquestionable faith but it wasn’t something that she wore on her sleeve. She was a woman who lived the Christian life and values to the letter and it was comforting to know that in her final difficult years that her religion and prayer were such a comfort to her.
Kay was a remarkable woman but most of all she was an outstanding wife and an unrivalled mother. Latter years saw the arrival of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, of whom she was exceptionally proud.
Catherine (Kay) Feeney nee Hyland of Kilashee and formerly, Lanesboro, died peacefully on April 12 and was pre-deceased by her daughter, Maria. Her passing is deeply regretted and sadly mourned by her husband, Michael; sons Pierce, James and Michael; daughters, Josephine and Patrica; sisters, Joan and Pauline; her aunt, Nancy; and her beloved grandchildren, and great grandchildren; daughters-in-law, Mary and Margaret; and her sons-in-law, Paul and Michael.
A month's mind mass for the late Kay Feeney will take place in St Mary's Church, Lanesboro, on Sunday, May 28 at 11.30am.