'Beautiful life' | 

Mum-of-three Julie Kehoe (27) who died in New Year’s Eve crash was ‘a star to all'

Ms Kehoe was someone who always thought of her mother Geraldine, never making a trip to Penneys or returning from a holiday without bringing her something back.
Mourners gather for the funeral of Julie Kehoe at St Patrick's Church in Craanford, Co Wexford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mourners gather for the funeral of Julie Kehoe at St Patrick's Church in Craanford, Co Wexford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Amy Molloy

The funeral mass for Julie Kehoe, a young mother-of-three tragically killed in a car crash on New Year’s Eve, heard how she was someone who cherished all her friends and family and was “a star to all who knew her”.

She was travelling with her three children Jack (12), Grace (1) and three-week-old Hannah to visit her boyfriend in Co Cavan at the time. A young couple in the other car – both in their 20s – also lost their lives.

Her best friend Sinead and partner Dessie Heary paid moving tributes to the former care worker.

Both praised her son Jack, describing him as “the strongest and bravest boy” as he recovers from his injuries in hospital.

Ms Kehoe was someone who always thought of her mother Geraldine, never making a trip to Penneys or returning from a holiday without bringing her something back.

Julie Kehoe

Julie Kehoe

She idolised her big brothers Ger and Ciaran, two people who always “protected and supported her”.

Sinead said: “She was a carbon copy of Ciaran at times, I often said that, especially when she had a few drinks in and had that look in her eyes just before she might say or do that thing she might regret in the morning. But only Julie could do something that would make you laugh until you cried.”

Her sister Martina was described as her brightest light and someone who made her into the person she was.

As someone who enjoyed socialising with friends, lockdowns during the pandemic proved difficult.

She changed the name of a WhatsApp group chat to “let's stay connected” in capital letters, and would turn a conversation about organising a trip to Courtown for coffee into plans for a holiday in Bali.

Mourners attend the burial of Julie Kehoe in St Patrick's Cemetery in Craanford, Co Wexford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mourners attend the burial of Julie Kehoe in St Patrick's Cemetery in Craanford, Co Wexford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“No pictures, words or videos could describe what she meant to us,” mourners were told.

Her partner Dessie was the “saviour in her life” and her “happy place” – although he admitted her family and friends struggled with the Cavan accent at the beginning.

He told how she turned his Cavan house into a home and “made a man out of me."

The couple had been together for two and a half years and adored their two daughters.

“You could only say she was some bit of stuff,” he told mourners.

"We had plenty of fights, but mainly over cigarettes,” he laughed.

"With money she was brilliant, she’d get it and get rid of it.”

He thanked Jack for letting him date Julie and hailed his actions at the scene of the crash, where he gave gardaí contact details of family members so they could be alerted about the accident.

Mr Heary said she will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her and asked those in the church to give a big cheer for her life up to 27.

“She enjoyed it,” he said.

Gifts representing her life were brought up to the altar by friends and family.

There was a hurl and sliotar for Jack’s love of hurling – and her passion of shouting for him on the sideline.

Seashells and sand for her love of the beach, make-up for her interest in beauty, dolls symbolising her love for her two daughters, and a mug she gave to her mother with the quote: “She believed she could, so she did.”

In his homily, Father Brian Whelan said she filled so many people with delight in her “short, but beautiful life”.

“This whole community has been stunned into silence for the last number of days by this inconceivable, horrible event that has overtaken our lives,” he said.

“Christmas and New Year’s is a time for family and fun and suddenly tragedy and devastation have come into the Kehoe family’s life. It’s unfair, it’s horrible.

“For 27 years, this star has been with her family and friends and what a wonderful 27 years they were; full of joy, happiness, divilment, fun and love.”

Friends and family thanked staff at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Our Lady’s Hospital of Lourdes in Drogheda and Blanchardstown Hospital for treating the children and Julie.

Jack is recovering well, while Grace and Hannah suffered minor injuries.

Her late father Jack Kehoe was also remembered at the mass. She is survived by her mother Geraldine, partner Dessie, children Jack, Grace and Hannah and siblings Ger, Martina and Ciaran, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins, extended family, relatives and friends.

Saoirse Corrigan (21), who was travelling in the other car, was laid to rest in Co Westmeath yesterday afternoon, where her funeral heard she was a devoted teacher who had a love for learning.

Her boyfriend Shane Gilchrist (23) was also buried today.


Today's Headlines

More Irish News

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices