Funeral of woman who died on Comeraghs hears how ‘special’ person will be remembered

Funeral Of Woman Who Died On Comeraghs Hears How ‘Special’ Person Will Be Remembered
Mourners heard mother-of-two Gillian Ryan was a "special" person.
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Sarah Slater

The funeral of a mother-of-two who died while out for a morning run along the Comeragh Mountains heard how a “special” person would always be remembered.

Gillian Ryan, 37 from Ashill, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co Tipperary went missing on Sunday at around 12.45pm close to Coumshingaun Loop trail.

Her remains were found in a steep gully above the lake by rescue teams at 6.30pm on Monday.

The alarm was raised when she did not make contact with her husband at 2pm and gardaí were called at 3pm.

The South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association (SEMRA) lead the multi-agency search along with Search And Rescue Dog Association Ireland (SADRA), Rescue 117 of the Irish Coast Guard along with the Kerry Mountain Rescue, Dublin and Wicklow search teams and the Glen of Imaal mountain rescuers and Civil Defence volunteers.


An oak coffin adorned with lilies, yellow and pink roses and pink roses accompanied a black and white photograph of Gillian while her 11am Funeral Mass was held at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Family members carried symbols of her life to the altar. Her daughter Amelia Rose brought a family photograph of them in the countryside while her son Conor presented her runners she used for athletics which, mourners heard, “was at the heart of her life”.

“Gillian,” they were told, “loved being out of doors running”. A pair of scissors was also brought to remind mourners of her working life as a hairdresser and the many friends she made during her career.

Mourners heard that “noone expected to be here (in the Cathedral) a week ago and so it’s the tragic death of Gillian that brings us all together today. It’s a great loss and express our sincere sympathy to her husband Conor, daughter Amelia Rose, son Conor Jamie, mother Margaret, father Tommy, sister Theresa, brothers Thomas and Colm.

Gillian Ryan's funeral took place today.

“You may be seeing clouds and dark clouds these days instead of sunshine but her spirit lives on. We celebrate her life - she was a special person. Gillian loved this place, and would drop in to light a candle. She had strong faith. A life lived in a loving, caring way. Too short a life. Length of years is not what’s important.


“Gillian crowded so much into her short life. Her family was always at the centre of her life. Conor was truly blessed to have Gillian as a soul mate, to have so many shared interests and their children together.

“The hallmarks kind, patient trusting and caring were the hallmarks of her life. She brought joy and light to so many people. She was kind, friendly, generous, and would lift your spirits, with her friendly smile. We thank her for all the goodness she did. Throughout her working life as a hairdresser her clients became her friends.”

Mourners were also told: “She loved running with Thurles Crokes, road running, cross country with the national awards she won. Gillian was happy out in the fresh air, enjoying the countryside. She adored her family, looking after then, with all her cooking — always happy and cheerful and breaking into song. Hundreds of condolences have been received by the family. Gillian was so special in so many lives.

“Her family are so grateful who were involved in the search for Gillian, SEMRA, other search and rescue teams, gardai and volunteers. Sadly the return was not what was expected at the start but her family are so grateful that she was brought home but her soul will live on and her light will continue to inspire everyone.”

Both of the couple’s children read a prayer for their mother. Numerous guards of honour lined the route on her final journey including Thurles Crokes, her former schools, gardai and SEMRA.

Her burial took place in St Peter’s cemetery, Moycarkey, Co Tipperary.


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