Tears as dreamer with 'smile to lift thousand frowns' laid to rest
IT was the yellow dress that Karen Buckley (24) chose specially for her brother Brendan's wedding.
The gorgeous frock was the student's favourite, and she posted photos of her wearing it on her social media pages.
It was also the dress that Karen was photographed wearing in many of the images used as part of the massive missing person hunt for her in Scotland two weeks ago.
Yesterday, the heartbroken Buckley family fought back tears as the dress, bought for happy occasions by a girl who had "a smile to lift a thousand frowns", was instead among the offertory gifts at her requiem mass.
Karen's parents, John (62) and Marian (61), trembled with emotion as their son Damien (27) gently placed his sister's dress before the altar. Her nurse's uniform was also included.
Outside the packed north Cork church, Karen's University of Limerick nursing classmates shivered in the unseasonal April cold.
Each wore their hospital whites and carried a single red rose in tribute to the classmate they loved and lost.
Mourners pictured this afternoon at the funeral of Karen Buckley who was murdered in Glasgow over two weeks ago. Her funeral took place at at the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Analeentha in Mourneabbey, Co. Cork
The tiny farming communities of Mourneabbey and Analeentha ground to a halt as more than 600 people attended the requiem mass for Karen, whose body was found on an isolated hill farm following a massive three-day police search after she disappeared from a Glasgow nightclub on April 12.
Courier company operator Alexander Pacteau (21) has been charged with her murder.
The crowd attending the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Analeentha, which has a capacity of only 300, was so great that a marquee had to be erected.
Mourners wept as Karen's cousin, Siobhan Leahy, read a special poem titled Karen in her honour.
"Small and gentle, honest and true, our sister Karen, how much we will miss you," said Siobhan.
"A nurse with plans, a woman full of dreams, an adventurer who travelled and in fun and laughter revelled.
"A smile to lift a thousand frowns, brown eyes shining - big and round, a country girl - big hopes, big plans, big heart, big smile and caring hands."
Parish priest Fr Joe O'Keeffe, assisted by 20 other clerics, said he was reminded of time, tears and faith.
"We are deeply, deeply saddened when the life of someone so young is cut short, and in Karen's case so tragically and horrifically so, by the curtain of death," he said.
"Karen's death seems so utterly inappropriate. It violates our sense of order.
"In our view of life, death and childhood are poles apart, and 24 years simply does not seem the right time to die - it does not seem to add up.
"Nothing becomes so indispensable as a child."
The offertory gifts were carried to the altar by Karen's parents.
Gifts to symbolise her life were offered by her brothers Brendan (32), Kieran (28) and Damien.
Her cousin, Padraig Hurley, said Brendan brought up a picture of Karen's first day in Analeentha national school where she "developed a love for learning".
Kieran brought up Karen's nursing uniform.
"She was known for being a kind and caring nurse whose smile would light up the ward," said Padraig.
Youngest brother Damien brought up Karen's "favourite dress" that she wore to Brendan and Niamh's wedding.
"As you can see from the picture, she looked beautiful," said Padraig.
"The gifts represent her personality, achievements and her love for life."
Police Scotland was represented yesterday by Det Insp Alan Burton.
Glasgow Caledonian University, where Karen was studying, was represented by Vice-Chancellor Prof Karen Stanton.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by his Aide-de-Camp, Cmdt Kieran Carey.
Karen was buried beside her grandparents in St John's Cemetery in Burnfort.
Mourneabbey Community Council and Clyda Rovers GAA club later hosted a reception for mourners.