Town Stood Still for Willie O’Brien’s Spectacular Cortege

“They have great respect for their dead,” one woman commented while another remarked: “They’ve their own way of doing things.”

Both indisputable comments came from the duration of the horse and carriage drawn remains of the late Willie O’Brien (61) on its long way around Castleisland on Thursday.

A heavy garda presence manned the various junctions through which the cortege passed.

It was led by a hatted and tailed pallbearer, four black horses and a black hearse with the white casket. Two of his grandchildren filmed the event on mobile phones to send to relatives who couldn’t be there that morning.

Family Members

Tralee Piper, Karen McMahon led the cortege out of Church Street and down by the Back-of-the- Forge on to Tralee Road and up Riverside Drive and down Pound Road and back onto Lower Main Street before the final lap to St. John’s Cemetery in Kilbanivane.

The hearse was closely followed by family members including his widow, Frances and family and friends.

There was one brief detour into St. Stephen’s Park and a momentary stop in front of the house in which he was reared.

So Spectacularly Different

Many of the businesses along the town’s Main Street closed their doors in respect – as they do for all funerals – but this one was so spectacularly different and cameras and mobile phones were pressed into use.

Groups of people stood at variopus vantage points along the route and blessed themselves as the hearse passed their positions.

Cars in the cortege blared music through wound down windows on the fine autumnal early afternoon.

Seven Spanish Angels by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson came at various verse stages from at least three cars as the cortege made its way up town and took another angel home – as the song would have it.

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