01 Jul 2022

Siobhán - beloved in Limerick and Kerry - remembered ahead of what would have been 50th birthday

Siobhán - beloved in Limerick and Kerry - remembered ahead of what would have been 50th birthday

Caring, stylish and elegant: The late Siobhán Shanahan / Picture: Brian Arthur

THIS WEEKEND, Siobhán Shanahan should have been celebrating her 50th birthday. 

Instead, her family and wide network of friends are remembering a remarkable person who died on April 4, 2021 after a tragic road accident in Adare. 

Siobhán was born in Ballybunion on September 18, 1971 to Mossy and Joan Brosnan of Brosnan’s Taxi Service, Ballybunion. She went to primary school in Ballybunion and then boarded at Mount Trenchard school for her secondary education. From there she went to the Royal Free in London to train as a nurse.

She spent some years nursing in Dubai before returning to Ireland to work in UHL – still locally known as the "Regional". She worked in the ICU before taking up the position of Nurse Manager of Organ Donation. Here she was well loved and respected by all her colleagues who cannot praise her enough for her work. 

Siobhán was a fun-loving person with a bubbly personality. She had many interests in life, was a lover of the local history of the places she lived in, loved sports like skiing and cycling. She cycled to her work in UHL from her home in Adare frequently. She loved shopping with her sister Mary and had a great sense of style. She loved cooking and travelling and an odd day at the races as well as spending time on the beach at Ballybunion and meeting up with her many varied and longstanding groups of friends.

She was a bundle of energy. One of her many friends was Ann McSweeney, now married to Tim Shanahan. Ann decided that she knew the man who would be the perfect partner for Siobhán and set up a meeting in the Captain’s Bar in Glin between Siobhán and Patrick Shanahan, her brother-in-law. It seems Ann was right as, from the start, Siobhán and Patrick could not be separated.  

Patrick, son of Mary and Jimmy Shanahan, Glenbawn, Ballyhahill could not believe his luck in meeting this vivacious girl who introduced him to sun holidays and skiing holidays and numerous shopping trips. 

Patrick and Siobhán were married in 2017 and had their reception in the Listowel Arms where all their family, friends and neighbours had a great day. They enjoyed almost four years of marriage, towards the end of which they moved to their new home in Adare. Siobhán, with her sense of style and flair, decorated it beautifully and life was good. Patrick said they wanted for nothing. They were happy with all they had. 

But fate intervened. On Friday April 2 the most important thing on Siobhán’s mind was that she must bake a cake for Easter Sunday to take to her friend Ann where they would be having dinner together. But firstly she had to go to Limerick. Five minutes after leaving her new home, where they had lived for less than seven months, Siobhán was involved in a car accident. Two days later, on Easter Sunday 2021, she died leaving Patrick and both their families in shock.

Because of her wonderful work in organ donation, Siobhán had seen the benefit of discussing this with families and had told Patrick of her desire for her organs to be donated should anything happen to her. Siobhán worked tirelessly to promote awareness of organ donation and the necessity of discussing everyone’s wishes with family. Her legacy of increased awareness of the importance of organ donation will have lasting impact on people’s lives. 

Dr Catherine Motherway, head of the Intensive Care Unit at UHL, said that Siobhán gave all her energy to her work in organ donation and gave the ultimate gift herself, when her own organs were donated.

"She gave the gift of life to many others," said Dr Motherway. 

To commemorate Siobhán’s life, her friends and colleagues are organising an event in the Circle of Life National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden on October 9, an event restricted to family and work colleagues.

The garden is located in the beautifully sited seafront Quincentennial Park in Salthill overlooking Galway Bay and, according to Dr Motherway, "reflects the spirit of giving, the enduring legacy which defines the lives of organ donors. It is a special place of thanksgiving and commemoration and, through its mix of imagery, symbolism and sentiment, engenders feelings of positive transformation, healing and hope.”

Siobhán was due to celebrate her 50th birthday on this Saturday, September 18. She and Patrick had great plans. A return visit to Dubai was on the cards. Sadly Patrick will not have his soulmate beside him on her birthday. Life can throw up some dreadful challenges but we must hope that the love that Siobhán dished out to all who knew her will help in the healing.

She is sorely missed by her sister Mary Dillon and husband John; her brother Billy Brosnan and his wife Breda; her nephews and nieces Diarmuid, Hannah, Jennifer and Kieran; her aunts and uncle and her extended family. Siobhan’s beloved sister, Eileen, predeceased her. Siobhan had endeared herself to the Shanahan family who also feel the huge loss together with their aunt Margaret McNamara, but no one feels this loss more so than her devoted husband, Patrick. We pray that the memory of her smiling face will help to fill the gaping hole she has left in his heart. She was his life. May she continue to inspire him.

Peg Prendeville, author of this beautiful tribute to Siobhán, is a next door neighbour and friend to the Shanahan family in Ballyhahill

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