Appreciation: The Late Eileesh Quirke, Holycross

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


Tipperary Stars long serving community notes contributor is laid to rest in her native Holycross.

Perhaps it was entirely appropriate that Eileesh Quirke should be called home by her Maker on the weekend of the Padre Pio devotions in Holycross Abbey - her second home.
In her 90th year, Eileesh was known throughout mid Tipperary and much further afield for her work in Holycross Abbey and on solemn days of devotion such as last Sunday - a few hours after she had passed to her eternal reward - she would be as busy as a nailer in the Abbey Shop ensuring that Mass cards were ready for those who came, and helping out in any other way she could.

Holycross Abbey where Eileesh was part of the furniture.

Sunday in Holycross Abbey was indeed a lonelier place and though the multitudes still came to pray and reflect in keeping with tradition, there was a special lady in their thoughts when word became known of her passing.
Eileesh, nee Skelly, lived her life in Holycross and that she was laid to rest neath the sod of her native soil on Tuesday is fitting. Indeed, she rests now only a short stones throw from the home she shared so lovingly with her late husband John and her daughter Carmel. In that home, there was always a warm greeting, a beaming smile and a 'cupán tae' in the best Irish tradition, for the casual visitor. There too, you would find great conversation, stories and a deep knowledge of the locality which was as informative as it was interesting.
Eileesh was deeply involved in the local community and spent many hours volunteering her varied skills and talents to organisations such as Holycross Drama Group and many others. She was highly talented in the whole area of secretarial work and had organisational skills which were second to none. Perhaps those skills and talents were recognised and honed in the offices of The Tipperary Star, where Eileesh worked for so many years.
Indeed, it was while working with this newspaper in Friar Street, that Eileesh came to know so many people who ventured to settle an account, place an ad or indeed arrived in the offices to purchase a copy of the paper. She was efficient, popular, friendly and discreet - the kind of person who was an employer's dream.
Eileesh was indeed a great loss to the business when she married John Quirke and when they were blessed with the arrival of their beloved Carmel to whom they were totally devoted. She was overjoyed and though she left The Tipperary Star offices, she never really left the Tipperary Star family. Indeed, she was to take up the pen and act as the Holycross correspondant for many decades afterwards, ensuring that all the parochial highlights made it into print week after week. What a huge contribution she made, right up to the time of her passing. It was a role she took very seriously, one she really enjoyed and, naturally, one at which she excelled. She believed in the importance of the local newspaper, especially at a time when modern technology threatens to overtake the medium completely.
Though in failing health for a short time, Eileesh's passing came as a great shock to her neighbours in Holycross and her many friends. It was thought that she would go on forever and the sense of sadness which greeted the news ensured that there was a black cloud over the historic village.
Eileesh enjoyed a long, fruitful and fulfilling life; a life full of friendship, devotion and service; a life of happiness, sadness, but with great perspective on both. She trusted totally the God she believed in and did her utmost each day to live his commandments.

Eileesh, as she was, when she worked in The Tipperary Star.

It was Ascension weekend when Eileesh breathed her last - the weekend which marks the Lord's Ascention into Heaven and the presentation of humanity amongst the Saints. How fitting therefore that she should be called to the gates of Heaven to be welcomed home on such a celebrated time for believers - the pathway had been laid and Eileesh followed The Way.
Testimony to the esteem in which Eileesh, Carmel, her late husband John, her brothers Liam, Sean and Thomas, sisters Noreen (McGrath) and Sr Maureen (Presentation Sisters), her brother in law John (McGrath), sisters-in-law Josie (Quirke), Kathleen (Quirke), Peggy (Skelly) and Josephine (Skelly), nephews, nieces and relatives are held, was the huge outpouring of sympathy over the funeral period. They came from far and wide to offer support, sympathy and to pay respects to a lady of substance who wa smuch loved and highly respected..
Sympathy is tendered to Carmel and all the bereaved at this difficult time. The Matriarch of the family has departed, but her influence and memory will live long in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.
Another chapter of the story of Holycross people has been completed- a chapter to be celebrated and feted.

May Heaven's blanket enshroud her kind and gentle soul and bestow restful peace on “ a good and faithful servant” - Matthew 25:23.