West Belfast Camino pilgrim Seamus McDonagh laid to rest

The grandchildren of Seamus McDonagh carry his picture and walking boots into Our Lady Queen of Peace yesterday for his funeral. The retired teacher (60) died after completing the Camino walk in Spain. Picture by Hugh Russell
Gareth McKeown

THE grandchildren of the retired west Belfast teacher who died after completing a two-week Camino pilgrimage in Spain carried his walking boots to the church yesterday in a poignant tribute as he was laid to rest.

Retired teacher Seamus McDonagh (60) collapsed with a heart attack on Sunday July 10, shortly after finishing a 320km route from Oviedo to Santiago.

Mr McDonagh's death, followed the completion of his fifth Camino trail. He had also been on pilgrimages to Croagh Patrick and Lough Derg in the past.

A father to Barry and Clare, Mr McDonagh, from the Glen Road, also had six grandchildren.

Following his unexpected death son Barry described him as "inspiration".

"He loved his family, he loved his grandkids, loved walking, just living life to the full really. He was just an inspiration to everybody," he said.

Former colleague John Craig, who taught with Mr McDonagh for 25 years, hailed him as an "outstanding teacher".

"He was also a fantastic human being. He had no equal on any front and he combined a philosophical approach to life with a mischievous sense of humour. Everyone who met him even for a short time, was touched by his presence," he said.

As the funeral cortege made its way into a packed Our Lady Queen of the Peace Church Mr McDonagh's grandchildren walked ahead of the coffin carrying a picture of their beloved grandfather, along with his walking boots.

Following Requiem Mass he was buried at Blaris Cemetery alongside his late wife Anna.

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