London commemoration for famous Limerick exiles

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Catherine Hayes

by Alan Jacques

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Catherine Hayes
Catherine Hayes

THE Limerick Association of London will hold a special commemoration ceremony to honour two famous Limerick people who are buried in Kensal Green cemetery on Sunday, November 1.

The Association will firstly honour the legendary Limerick Gael Sean Og Hanley on the centenary of his death. A native of Kilfinane, he was a member of the Limerick senior hurling team of 1897 that captured Limericks’ first All-Ireland senior hurling title.

Shortly after this victory, Sean Og emigrated to London where he died at the young age of 38 and was laid to rest in Kensal Green in 1915. The grave has been carefully restored and maintained under the watchful eye of the Limerick Association of London.

A commemoration will also take place on November 1 at the graveside of Limerick opera singer Catherine Hayes. A native of Patrick Street, she achieved international fame with her magnificent soprano voice.

One of the best-known singers of the nineteenth century, she performed for Kings and Queens, even giving a performance for Queen Victoria and 500 guests at Buckingham Palace. She made her debut as prima donna at the La Scala opera house in Milan in 1846, the first Irish woman to do so.

She also lived in London and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.