Hundreds of mourners packed into St Joseph’s Church Glasthule, Co Dublin on Friday to pay their final respects to 83 year old Toomevara native Joseph Touhy who passed away in the UK earlier this year.
Mr Touhy, who had no direct next of kin, died on July 11, 2019 in a nursing home in Islington, north London.
Following his death, his friend Brian Boylan, who runs St Gabriel’s Homeless Centre, wrote to Longford native Margaret Brown, a volunteer at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre which raises money for the Friends of the Forgotten Irish Emigrants, to help honour his late friend.
An appeal for mourners to attend Mr Touhy's funeral was subsequently launched, with hundreds coming forward wishing to attend.
During Mr Touhy's funeral mass, the congregation heard how he had been cruelly separated from his mother as a young boy after getting injured in an accident while playing and placed in state run institutions. His mother was taken to a Magdalene laundry in Limerick.
He later trained as a tailor in St Joseph’s Industrial School, Clonmel and the skilled craftsman left for London while still in his teens. He went on to marry an Irish woman however the couple later separated.
Mr Touhy eventually became homeless and ended up living in a hostel. He never returned to Ireland.
Among those to attend his funeral were President Michael D Higgins' aide-de-camp Captain Paul O’Donnell and Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.
Friday's Late Late Show on RTE also paid tribute to the Tipperary man with a special performance of The Parting Glass by Kevin Doyle from the National Services.