A retired couple who died in a fire at their Dublin home last Saturday have left a mark on their community that will be treasured for years to come, their funeral Mass has heard.
Many locals gathered outside St Anne’s Church in Portmarnock on Friday to pay their respects to Beatrice Hurley, who was in her 60s, and Michael Hurley, who was in his 70s. Only a limited congregation was permitted inside the church due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The married couple, known to friends as Beattie and Mike, died after a fire engulfed their Portmarnock home last Saturday. Dublin Fire Brigade was called to the scene at 9.45pm and brought the blaze under control, but the Hurleys were later pronounced dead.
Canon John Flaherty said it has been a week of “deep shock and horror” for the couple’s five adult children, extended family, neighbours, and friends whose “hearts are broken”.
“Nobody knows what to say at present…Some of your family members and neighbours around Beach Park had literally to face that awful reality on Saturday night as you and they watched your home of so many years go up in flames with your Mam and Dad inside,” he told the children.
The Mass heard that Mr and Ms Hurley lived active lives that centred around their family, but they were also immersed in the community where they had lived for around 40 years.
The “much-loved, longstanding, sterling and cherished members” of the close-knit parish have both left a mark that will be “treasured for a very long time to come,” Canon Flaherty said.
A squash racket was brought to the altar in momory of Mr Hurley, a Cork native and founding member of Portmarnock Squash Club, where he coached junior players. A model Aer Lingus jet was also placed on the former Dublin Airport employee’s coffin.
Ms Hurley, a Sligo native, had the “biggest heart” which was shown in her volunteer work. She also loved doing crafts with her grandchildren and socialising with friends.
While she was “always glamourous” with a “dress for every day of the year”, Mr Hurley was best recognised in speedos, socks, and sandals, their son Michael said.
“Mam and Dad were always planning their next holiday… They never missed an opportunity to top up their tans,” he added.
Michael Hurley thanked the firefighters and gardaí who attended the scene of the fire last Saturday.
“I would like to take a moment to remember (our home) on Beach Park… Our family has so many great memories — actually, I would say a lot of people from Portmarnock have great memories there,” he added.
In their later years it was their grandchildren who brought them most joy, the church heard. The couple’s grandson Ben thanked them for “everything you have done for me and everything else”. The church heard Ben would never the forget Tuesdays spent with his grandparents
“I will remember and love you and miss you for ever and ever,” he added.