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Brother and sister die within days

by Jimmy Rhatigan

A SON of Kilkenny has died suddenly five days after the funeral of his loving sister.

Nancy Murray, aged 78, and her older brother Dick, aged 90, were members of a close-knit and devoted Dunne family of Noreview, Threecastles, County Kilkenny.

Both had lived in England for decades.

After spending their early years in rural Kilkenny, some family members emigrated to England, the United States and Germany.

But while the family was separated geographically, it was always together and the one time family home in Threecastles remained a focus for generations.

Nancy and Dick were predeceased by their sisters, Kathleen Moore, Green Street, Kilkenny City, Maureen Rhatigan, Fatima Place, Pauline Petherwick, London and Margaret Williams, New York.

Youngest family member, Liam is now the only survivor of a respected local family. He lives in Germany.

There was a common bond amongst extended family members who kept the love of home alive for generations, a love that was generated by beloved parents Annie and Joe Dunne.

Along with siblings, the brothers and sisters loved to return to Kilkenny for family get-togethers or simply to visit their cottage home, sweet home.


As a young girl, Nancy worked at the then Maria’s Café that was situated beside City Hall in High Street.

She then went to England to study nursing, married Ray Murray and in their younger years the couple delighted in coming here for family breaks.

Nancy had a heart of gold. She was kind, friendly and gentle, a caring woman with a friendly disposition.

Her home was her castle and her husband, children and extended family meant the world to her.

With her sister, Pauline also worked for years in nursing in England.

Like her husband John Petherwick, she had a great sense of humour and loved to chat. 

Her devotion was to her husband, their son JJ and daughters, Kim, Karen, Nikie and grandchildren.

Dick spent the greater part of his life in London.

He was kind and caring, devoted to his immediate family and to the families of his brother and sisters.

For years, he was a supermarket manager in his adopted city and in more recent times he enjoyed the great outdoors working at a local golf course. He was a keen keep fit enthusiast.


The sudden death of my father, James at the age of 36 when I was three and my brother Joe was 12 days old, left a huge void in our Fatima Place home.

Life was tough but it was still beautiful in our house as our mother was our rock.

To us, Dick was our Superman. He always had a kind word but that action speaks louder than words was truly borne out by him at birthday times, Christmas, indeed whenever an opportunity arose for to be kind to us.

Along with his wife, Teresa, a member of the Bourke family from Kilkenny City, he truly was our guardian angel.

He was so proud of his children, Irene and Ian and that he extended that privilege to us truly was extra special.

Kathleen and Maureen kept the home fires burning, as it were, in Fatima Place and Green Street.

Margaret, affectionately Peggy, passed away all too young in the US. 

Husband Vincent later passed on, leaving two great girls, Ann Marie and Margaret Ann and their offspring to keep the family flag flying.

There was a time when the Dunne siblings were still in the nest with their parents.

Those were the days when family was at its finest as up to 25, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and grandchildren sat down together for Christmas Dinner.

That was well over half a century ago, amazing times, as granny Annie and granddad Joe played host.

Our loving elders were replicating the goodwill of one Santa Claus at a time when Yule was the only time of year when most enjoyed the rarity of a turkey dinner.

Slowly but surely, there were empty chairs, as family members moved on, married or hit for foreign shores.

A roll call of the then diners today would bring very few ‘anseo’ answers.

Father time has taken its toll.

But no one can ever deny us memories of great people on a happy family tree.

Funeral details will be announced shortly.

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