The late Joan Herlihy (nee Quinlan) Castleisland and Killarney – An Obituary

The late Joan Herlihy - nee Quinlan, Castleisland and Killarney.
The late Joan Herlihy – nee Quinlan, Castleisland and Killarney.

Joan Herlihy (nee Quinlan), Lissivigeen, Killarney, sadly passed away at her home, in the company of family and friends on February 12th.

Joan was a remarkable and brave woman and an inspiration to all who knew her. Born 27th May 1961 in Tonbwee, Castleisland to parents Tom and Marie Quinlan she had one brother, Gerard and two sisters: Catherine and Marie (RIP).

At an early age she developed a great love for animals and the great outdoors always having pet rabbits and dogs. She was a keen tennis player and represented Kerry and Munster in community games. Joan left Castleisland having completed her education in the Presentation Secondary School at age 18 to work as a Clerical Officer with the Urban Council in Bray Co. Wicklow – where she made many friends some of whom she kept in touch with all her life.

Joan, being the outdoors type, decided she needed a break from office life and, in the early eighties, long before it became fashionable took a career break and headed off on her own to travel around the world. From a bookie’s shop in London, a Kibbutz in Israel, picking apples in Canada, beachcombing in Hawaii, sheep shearing in Australia to skiing in Norway, she made the most out of life. She returned to work in Bray for a while afterwards consolidating friendships, rearing rabbits and other small creatures.

On a weekend at home in Kerry, she met Dave Herlihy and romance blossomed. They married on August 7th 1993 and settled into family life in Lissivigeen Killarney. There, with her get up and get on with it attitude plus her great sense of humour she quickly settled in. They were blessed with two beautiful children, daughter Laura and son Paul both of whom she adored. Baking was part of her many homemaking skills and anybody that called to their “open house” never left without some of her  freshly made, famous buns.

In Killarney Joan had all she ever wanted in the most beautiful of settings with mountains and lakes and her beloved Mangerton, her mountain. It always had a special place in her heart.  Joan never lost her love of animals and quickly established a mini zoo of all creatures great and small around her home in Lissivigeen which she maintained to the end.

Joan had a great community spirit and always got involved in the local activities spending many years helping with the Scouts, Spa Muckross community games, Lissivigeen School, and fundraising despite battling cancer for the last 14 years.  When she was first diagnosed with cancer at age 39 she never complained or bemoaned her fate. She had a great determination to raise her family and live life to the full. She always did lots of voluntary work and had plans for adventure either camping or skiing with her family or cycling with friends. Joan was a good neighbour and in return had many good neighbours and a wide circle of friends.

The oncology team were part of her circle of friends due to many visits with them over the last 14 years. It would not have been unusual for Joan to turn up for chemo in her cycling gear. She remained strong and true to character up to the very end even completing the Ring of Kerry cycle for the second time last July while on chemo. Joan’s strength and fighting spirit were an inspiration to all who knew her. She lived life on her terms. The words of the Frank Sinatra song would sum up her battle with cancer “I did it my way

Ar dheis Dé  go raibh a hanam.