The funeral of John McGahern, Ireland's greatest writer of the last 50 years, took place yesterday in his native county of Leitrim. Ireland's President and Taoiseach were represented at the service, which was attended by several hundred mostly local people in the parish where McGahern lived.
The congregation, including writers Seamus Heaney and Brian Friel, was told the world had lost one of its most accomplished literary figures. 'A great writer and a good man has died and we are all the poorer for his passing,' said Father Sean Kelly, McGahern's cousin.
McGahern had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago and died in Dublin on Thursday. His sister Monica McGahern had told mourners that her brother was due to have travelled to the US on a promotional tour for his last book, Memoir. But his doctors had told him his health would not withstand the trip. It was only then he and his family knew how little time he had left.
He received many honours, including an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin. In 2003, he donated his archive, including the manuscript of an unpublished novel, to University College Galway. He is survived by his second wife, Madeline Green.