‘Ireland was her heart’: Maureen O’Hara laid to rest by her family

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Actress Maureen O'Hara was yesterday laid to rest after passing away aged 95 last month.

The Dublin native, who moved to Hollywood aged just 19, had a film career spanning over fifty years including roles in The Quiet Man, The Parent Trap and Miracle On 34th Street.

Maureen's grandson Conor Fitzsimons spoke to the gathered mourners before she was buried next to her husband, US Air Force Brig Gen Charles Blair. 

Blair, who was Maureen's third and last husband, was killed in a plane crash in 1978, just ten years after the couple married.

"One thing my grandmother taught me was, ‘when the times get tough, that’s when the Irish get going,'" Conor said of the late actress, adding that she always held Ireland as home in her heart.

"The one thing that I think my grandmother was proud of most was being Irish because that meant to her something that nobody could take from her. It was in her soul. It was in her spirit. Ireland was her heart."

Born in Ranelagh in 1920, Maureen was the eldest of six children and grew up in a tight-knit conservative Catholic family.

After joining the Abbey Theatre School in her early teens, the flame-haired beauty moved to Hollywood in 1939.

Her first film role was as Esmerelda in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, but she found real fame with How Green Is My Valley two years later – a film which went on to win five Oscars. 

Although Maureen never won an Academy Award at the peak of her career, she was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2014.

Confirming her death in a statement on October 24, the Fitzsimons family described Maureen's fitting last moments – "surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favourite movie, The Quiet Man."

The statement continued: "As much as Maureen cherished her privacy, she always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

"She especially loved it when children recognised her from her role in Miracle on 34th Street and asked her: 'Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?'

"She always answered: 'Yes I am. What would you like me to tell him?'"

A true Irish legend.

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