Horrific car crash separates soulmate farming brothers from Limerick

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

TWO BROTHERS, two soulmates – one was buried on Sunday, while the other is fighting for life after a shocking car crash.

TWO BROTHERS, two soulmates – one was buried on Sunday, while the other is fighting for life after a shocking car crash.

Richard and Michael Joe Hourigan were returning from Castleconnell to Ahane when their vehicle was involved in an accident with a jeep at Reilly’s Cross on the old Dublin road last Thursday.

Richard, 77, was pronounced dead hours later while Michael Joe, 75, remains in a critical condition in the Regional hospital.

As well as being brothers, the two Ahane men were best friends.

Speaking this Wednesday afternoon, Michael Hourigan, son of the late Richard, said the too men were “so close”.

“Dad spent a couple of hours with him every day, they were so tight it was unbelievable. Michael Joe is very, very weak but there is always hope. “He is very unwell, it would break your heart to see him in there. He is getting excellent care,” said Michael.

It is understood that his uncle is on a life support machine in the intensive care unit.

Prayers were said to “heal and comfort Michael Joe and make him well soon” at Richard’s funeral Mass in Castleconnell on Sunday.

In a moving tribute at the end of the Mass, Michael said his father moved from Ahane to Annaholty 47 years ago, but still went home every day to his brother.

“Dad was a great farmer, he worked tirelessly with me in Annaholty and his brother, Michael Joe, in Ahane,” said Michael.

Richard married Eleanor Powell and had two children, Michael and Hariett, while Michael Joe is a single man.

A cap and glasses were brought to the altar, while a written message in a bouquet of flowers read, “Thank you for the ‘so happy memories’. They will never be forgotten”.

“Dad was an excellent, father, husband and granddad, a very unassuming man who always put his friends and family before himself. My father was very well thought of by a lot of people but one word so many people used to describe him was a gentleman.

“Dad’s passion in life was farming and horses. In the early years with Hariett and I jumping and hunting and more recently with his brothers, Michael Joe and Dan, and his grandson, Richard, showing ponies,” said Michael, who thanked emergency services, staff at the Regional hospital, Meehan Undertakers, neighbours and friends.

Michael said his dad showed kindness and generosity to people all his life which was returned to them in abundance at his removal.

“He touched so many people, it gave us all great strength,” said Michael.

Fr Joe Hourigan, a first cousin of the brothers, said the two were “soulmates”.

The priest said that all in the church - full to capacity - gathered in “great sadness, shock and bewilderment at the happenings at Reilly’s Cross”.

“We are so sad that such a lovely man was taken from us so suddenly. We are left with a whole set of memories and stories of Richard. In our efforts to deal with that sadness and bewilderment we celebrate the life of a wonderful man, “ said Fr Hourigan.

Richard Hourigan’s passing is deeply regretted by his loving wife Eleanor, son Michael, daughter Hariett (Carroll), daughter-in-law Marie (nee Halpin), son-in-law Paddy, beloved grandchildren Richard, Heather, Ellen and Abigail, brothers Michael and Dan, sisters Mary (Kelly) and Breda (Keating), brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and a wide circle of friends. May he rest in peace.