Michael Flatley’s adored mother is back in the loving arms of the love of her life having been laid to rest alongside her late husband, Michael Flatley Sr, in County Carlow on Tuesday morning.
The Irish dance star’s 81-year-old mother Eilish (Elizabeth) was buried beside her husband Michael Snr, in the picturesque and historic village of St Mullins, in south County Carlow, close to where her family hails from.
Her remains were taken to her final resting place following a midday Requiem Mass celebrated by Father Eddie Aughney, the local Parish Priest, in the nearby valley village of Glynn nestled beneath the majestic Blackstairs Mountains and surrounded by the winding river Barrow.
Giving the eulogy along with his sister Annie, Michael explained “I know everyone says this about their mother but she really was the greatest mother in the world. She was giving, loving, kind and warm. She loved her children but the love of her life was Big Mick and she is gone to be in his arms.
“My father was the world to her and we can take comfort that they are now together. We received our talent and all our achievements from our parents and we are blessed to be in this family.
“I will always have the vision of my mother in the first pew of this Church saying goodbye to my father (two years ago). She was the epitome of sophistication and dignity.
“Thanks to them we met rock and movie stars, presidents, kings, queens but I can put my hand on my heart it is her and my father they are the ones we will cherish and miss terribly.”
Flatley was joined at the funeral by his wife Niamh, son Michael St James and his three sisters - Annie, Liza, Thoma - and brother Patrick, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Following his eulogy, Michael played a solo hymn by flute and numerous songs were played by Gerard Fahy, Yvonne Fahy, Brendan Hayes, Chris Kelly and Vocalist Sean Costello.
The Irish dance star held his arms tightly around his sister Annie as she broke down in tears she managed to say “She was went by many names, Eilish, Elizabeth, Lizzie, Mom, Grandma, great Grandma but to Dad she was just plain Ma. She was a very special lady, kind, thoughtful, giving. elegant, sophisticated and forgiving.
“She left Dranagh with her parents when she was 14-years-old.”
She continued “She buried her parents here and her husband. You could take her out of Dranagh but her home was here and sadly it is her turn today.”
Fr Aughney told the congregation it is devastating to lose a mother and such a lose “leaves a gap that can never be filled. She leaves one home but goes to another.”
He explained that he had “thankfully” met Elizabeth only six weeks ago, in Dranagh, as she was home visiting relations.
“I’m so thankful I got to meet her then and little did I think then that we would be here to today at her funeral. We spent an hour together and she spoke of coming back here in the summer.”
Mourners began to gather 30 minutes prior to the Mass such was the regard the Ryan’s and Flatleys are held in the bosom of a couple of hundred locals and mourners.
Those who attended the funeral included; Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Aide-de-Comp Cmdt Kieran Carey, Matt Molloy from the Chieftans, along with close friends Dave Egan and golf pro Brian Shaw and members of the Riverdance and Lord of the Dance dance teams.
Others included comedian Brendan Grace and his wife along with former Rugby All Black and Munster ace Doug Howlett. Prayers of the faithful were read by her grandchildren, Asia Moses, Devin Moses, Tara Kelly, Michael St James Flatley, Marina Flatley Griffin and Nicole Kelly.
The internationally acclaimed dancer revealed on his official Facebook page two weeks ago that his cherished and determined mother passed away in the early hours of December 28.
It is understood, that Eilish Flatley, had been unwell for a short period of time. She had visited her family in County Carlow, where the Flatley’s have a holiday home, only in the past few weeks but returned to Chicago where she died.