Family and Friends Ensure that Memories of the Kind Hearted Oorla Live On

A collection of photographs loving composed by Oorla’s family and which heads the GoFundMe page in her honour and in aid of the Kerry Hospice Foundation Palliative Care Unit in Tralee. You can Click on the image above to get to the GoFundMe page.

For those who knew the late Oorla Casey and attended her funeral Mass in Castleisland on the morning of Thursday, January 11th, the contributions of her daughters, Róisin, Saoirse and Blathnaid had them nodding in agreement, crying and laughing in places in spite of the enveloping sadness of the occasion.

Those who didn’t really know her got a uniquely honest insight into the life of a woman who joined this community in 1994 and who achieved and initiated so much in that time. All of that side of her life is documented in the eulogy below by the girls.

The round of deeply felt applause that greeted their outpouring rang around the full to capacity Church of Saints Stephen and John on that cold, sunny morning.

Fundraising for Hospice

Now, the girls, with colleagues and friends of Oorla, have mounted a fundraising campaign that bear all the pioneering hallmarks of the woman herself.

There have been events at Presentation Castleisland where the youngest, Blathnaid is part of this year’s leaving certificate class and the gathering of students and moms there during the week was a show of solidarity and support for her in this trying year.

On the coming Bank Holiday Monday, February 5th fittingly in honour of another strong Irish woman, Brigid of Kildare – there is a further event in the ongoing fundraising drive.

A coffee morning in support of the Kerry Hospice Foundation Palliative Care Unit will be held at An Ríocht Athletic Club on Monday from 11am to 2pm in memory of Oorla.

Open Invitation Event

The organisers stress that this is an open invitation event and if you’d like to come for a tea or coffee and a chat you are more than welcome.

You can also or do a mile on the Ríocht track if you wish and they promise it will be lots of fun. Or you can donate through the page – the links to which are at the end of the article.

The girls, in launching the fundraising campaign, spelled out what the facility attached to Kerry University Hospital meant and means to them:

We will miss her everyday for the rest of our lives it will never be the same without her. But we couldn’t have had the special time we had with her without the Palliative Care Unit in Tralee.

It’s a facility like no other, the support they not only provided Mom but us as a family is something we will never be able to thank them enough for.

Even in this unfortunate situation we couldn’t have been luckier to have this facility so close to home.

So it is only fitting to give something back and we know this would be a wish of Mom’s too. Nothing is too big or too small even spreading the word for this fundraiser would mean the world.”

Eulogy for Oorla by Róisín, Saoirse and Blathnaid

Together we found a quote that we think perfectly resonates with our mother – “Many women have done excellently, but you have surpassed them all.”

Our wonderful Mom was born on St. Stephen’s Day 1967, to Nora and Gerald Landers.

Mom often told us about her childhood, and to be honest – I always felt a bit jealous because of all the fun she seemed to have had. Her sisters recount the phobia of boiled sweets that they have all now have developed thanks to mom.

Living in The Tankard

When they were young and living in The Tankard there used to be sweets for sale behind the bar. Mom would invariably choke on them and the panic that would ensue with whatever adult was around to turn her upside down to dislodge said sweet. Not a bit of notice taken by her of course, she was banned from eating boiled sweets then – but again no notice taken to that.

She would look at you every now and then with pure devilment in her eyes, smile, open her mouth and show off the boiled sweet between her teeth and take off on her skinny little legs, skitting.

Humour and Wit

Her sense of humour and wit started to show from a very young age. She had an answer for everything and she had herself crowned as the boss of the house at a very young age.

Mom had a very happy childhood, which then transcended to her very happy – slightly chaotic teenage years.

She would often tell us of how she would thumb from Kilfinora to Tralee with a fiver in her pocket and come home hours later with a tenner. She’d also tell us how somehow she could squeeze up to 14 people into her Peugeot 104 and head for Spirals or Horan’s in Tralee. Maybe I should have kept that quiet, sorry Nan and Grandad…

Met in Goblin in 1987

Mom met our father, Con, in the Goblin Factory in Tralee in 1987. Dad recalls the first time he saw her, and how he knew from that moment on she would make a lasting impression on his life – Mom may not have said the same for Dad.

Mom and Dad did a lot together, from travelling to America to Dad sneaking to Fenit for a night in Godley’s Hotel.

She was a firm favourite with Joan and John Joe when she first arrived to Castleisland.

Even with busy work lives, Mom and Dad always found the time for fun together and they enjoyed many a night out together with friends and the Casey family in Castleisland.

Proposed in Cork

Dad eventually plucked up the courage to propose to mom in her sister Deirdre’s apartment in Cork and they eventually married in 1994 in the beautiful setting of Churchill.

They then lay their roots down in Crag and moved into their forever home in 1995. Mom and Dad then went on to have their three girls; Saoirse, Bláthnaid and I.

To say our Mom was a devoted mother would be an understatement. She was our biggest supporter whether we were wrong or right. She had the answer for everything. So every problem that arose – the response was always “ask mom.”

A Strong Woman

We always knew Mom was a strong woman, but when she was diagnosed with cancer, she showed us more strength and determination than anyone could possibly imagine. She inspired her three girls more than she will ever know.

While she did train formerly as a carer, working in a nursing home in addition to enjoying her time in Oileán Beo in An Ríocht. More recently she was employed in Kerry Respite Care in Tralee working as a coordinator highlighting how her hard work throughout the years amounted to her beloved role in Tralee.

Caring for People

Mom’s passion was caring for people – she just had that special way about her, not only was this evident in her employment but in her involvement and dedication to the community of Castleisland as I am sure many of here today can attest to.

Mom played a pivotal role in the fundraising of the playground here in town I have fond memories of bouncing around fellow volunteers houses and specifically the preparation of a float for St. Patrick’s Day one year. I really did think I was famous driving up the town on St. Patrick’s Day with my mom next to me – she had that impact she wanted you not only to feel involved but to feel special.

Playground Development

I felt so proud to see the work Mom and the other volunteers pay off in the development of the playground that I am sure so many of us here have attended! Mom also played a part in the Castleisland Community Alert team, she always had the safety of others in mind specifically the elderly community.

In recent years she was heavily committed to the set-up of the Castleisland First Responders, a fantastic addition to the town which is still successfully run today by other members.

Bernard Tangney called to the house on Monday night in the hours after Mom passed and he was discussing the fond encounters he had with her.

Undertaker Turned First Responder ?

One that stuck with him was when Mom reached out to him during the set up of the first responders unit and asking him to come on board.

Bernard got a fit of laughing informing Mom if some poor fella was having a heart attack on the floor the last person they would want to see standing over them is the local funeral director.

Mom also played a part in the recent community support group ‘Show Castleisland Cares’ a directive aimed at those struggling with their mental health.

I think from this short description alone the kind hearted nature of my mother can be depicted, she just held a pure passion to simply help others in whatever way she could.

That Was and Is Our Mom

But that was my Mom, that was and is our Mom. There will never be anybody in this world like her, no words will ever suffice to describe the type of mother she was.

Even when she was struggling through her illness, in pain, going through chemotherapy and her life being completely flipped upside down her only sole concern throughout was her children and husband.

Asking how we were managing throughout this, ensuring we were okay or even apologising for this happening to us. As I told her in her final days never apologise for something you did not cause, you looked after us all our lives collecting us from school, organising our parties ensuring we always had a bouncy castle, feeding us – albeit reluctantly when myself and Roisin decided to turn vegetarian, so it was now our turn to look after you.

And, hand on my heart, I would do it, we would do it for the rest of our lives if we could because she deserved nothing less than the best.

Unapologetically Oorla

And that’s just her as a mother, not to mind as a wife, sister, daughter, companion or even a friendly face on the street.

She truly is one of a kind, she would have you picked up from the depths of despair to almost tears of laughter in an instant with her witty nature.

Mom if I could speak to you one more time I would just like to thank you for being apologetically Oorla.

If I become half the woman you were I will be on the right track. So to everyone here today take Oorla with ye, whether it be her good humour, kind-heart or her severe lack of patience.. take it with you and let us ensure that Oorla lives on.

You can connect with the GoFundMe page in Oorla’s memory with a Click on the Link here:

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