• Lastwords.ie


    For an eloquent and appropriate tribute to a loved  one

    Are you paying final tribute to a loved one? Are you entrusted with the task of writing a eulogy or an obituary? This is an honour and a privilege but it can sometimes be a daunting task. There is so much to say and trying to compress a whole life into a few minutes can seem impossible. The challenge can be overwhelming – especially at a time of grief and emotional turmoil.

    I can help.

    I can give your tribute - whether it be a eulogy, an obituary or both - form and structure. I will work with you to compose, in your own words, a suitable monument to the life of your loved one.

    In preparing an obituary, you and I will work together. We will compose a testimonial that is warm, expressive, complete and appropriate.

    With regard to the eulogy, for many people giving any type of speech without conscious preparation is a scary prospect. There can be a tendency to drift off topic or lose the thread that connects memories or ideas. Without the safety of professional design a eulogy can become a bad speech with no obvious purpose or direction.

    You want to do the best you can.

    I can help.






    Fee Structure

    Standard Rate: For €150 I will communicate with you by e-mail or telephone, gather all the information you wish to impart and compose a comprehensive, sensitive and professional memorial.
    Premium Rate: For €250, if you are located in Dublin, I will visit you, converse and, again, draft an appropriate tribute. If you like, I will also help you rehearse and prepare you to deliver your eulogy and convey your emotions without being overwhelmed by them.



  • About Brendan


    Dublin-born Brendan performed his first act of public protest at the age of 14 when he wrote a controversial letter to a newspaper complaining about the use of corporal punishment in schools, which was then in vogue. “That was the first time my words appeared in a widely read publication,” he says. "And seeing them in print lit a fire in me that has never been extinguished."

    Throughout his adult life Brendan was writing – poetry, short stories and, when he was away, long, rambling letters to his family and friends. In late 1982 he saw his first published work when one of his short stories appeared in Ireland’s Own. “The publication of that story gave me a great lift,” he says. “It delivered a huge boost to my confidence in myself as a writer. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Ireland’s Own because of it. I still send them the occasional short story.”


    In October 1984 he went to Toronto, Canada, at the invitation of Dara, the woman who would later become his wife. He studied journalism at Ryerson University, where in 1989 he won the Ontario Women’s Press Club Award for Excellence in Writing.


    He then embarked on a varied career as a writer, journalist and editor. His journalism has been published in a wide variety of mainstream Irish, Canadian and US publications, including The Irish Times, Suburbia Magazine, The Globe and Mail (Canada), The Vancouver Sun, This Magazine, Compass Magazine and Emmy Magazine (USA).


    He has also written for a number of publications that cater to the expatriate Irish community and people of Irish ancestry, including Irish America Magazine (New York), The Irish Post (Great Britain), The Irish Echo (Australia),The Celtic Connection (Vancouver) and The Toronto Irish News.


    He was Publisher and Managing Editor of Ireland’s Eye, a magazine for Irish Canadians, and Editor of the Irish Canada News, a Toronto-based monthly newspaper. He was also copy editor with the Northern Miner, a daily internet publication and weekly hard-copy newspaper which caters to the North American mining industry.


    Brendan’s short fiction has won prizes in the Dalkey Creates writing festival (2016), the Dunlavin Arts Festival Short Story Competition (2006), the James Plunkett Memorial Award (2004), the Sunday Tribune/Education Matters Short Story Competition (1996) and the Toronto Star Short Story Competition (1995). Other accolades include Canada’s Off The Wall Award for Fiction (1993).


    His first novel Milo Devine was published to critical acclaim by Poolbeg Press and his short stories have appeared in publications such as Whispers & Shouts (Ireland), The Sunday Tribune (Ireland), Ireland’s Own (Ireland), Ireland’s Eye (Canada), The Celtic Connection (Canada), The Toronto Star (Canada), The White Wall Review (Canada) and Storyteller Magazine (Canada).


    Praise for Brendan Landers’ writing


    “Brendan Landers is one of the most insightful writers working in Ireland today. He’s often surprising and always sharp, always interesting.”

    Roddy Doyle


    “Brendan Landers makes you sit up and take note. His words are punchy, his sentences crackle. His writing resonates with an in-your-face quality.”

    Peter Murtagh, Irish Times



    Patricia Harty, Editor-In-Chief, Irish America Magazine


    “His talent has earned him a loyal readership who appreciate his ability to turn a phrase on a dime.”

    The Celtic Connection (Canada)


    “Landers makes an instant connection with the reader.”

    Sunday World


    “Intensely readable and enjoyable... he ranks with any other writer of his generation.”

    Toronto Irish News


    Check out my website -  




  • Sample Eulogy


    Ta ar mathair imithe go Neamh agus is bocht an domhain ar son a bas.

                Our ma is gone to Heaven and the world is a poorer place for her going.


    On behalf of the family I’d like to thank you for coming along today

    to share this time with us and help us celebrate Aine’s life.

    My ma was tough as nails, as I’m sure some of you can testify. Thinking about her I am often reminded of the kind of women John Steinbeck wrote about in his great American novel The Grapes of Wrath.

    The book is about the migration of many thousands of homeless people from the dustbowls of Oklahoma to the state of California, where they hoped to find a land of plenty but in reality were met with only poverty and oppression. The Joads are one of those families and while the main breadwinner, Tom Joad, joins the union and fights the good fight, his mother, Ma, struggles to keep the family together. In one scene she gives her take on the differences between men and women.

    She says, “Man, he lives in jerks. Baby is born and a man dies and that’s a jerk. Gets a farm and loses a farm and that’s a jerk. Woman, it’s all one flow like a stream. Little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river goes right on.”

    That was my ma to me. A river. A river of strength and constancy.

    She was a brick.

    I have special knowledge of her toughness because there was a time, many moons ago, while she and I fought like cats and dogs. That was during my formative years when it seemed like we couldn’t agree on anything and we were forever at each other’s throat.  We had hundreds of altercations. And I never won one of them.

    After a few years of this we both got sense. We decommissioned our animosities and we came to live in a state of happy armistice and in time we came to look back on our old battles with a fond amusement. But throughout those years when we were frequently at loggerheads I never once felt that she didn’t love me and I never doubted that, if the worst came to the worst, I would always find sanctuary with my ma, my da and my family.

    The best time of her life was the years she shared with my da. Fiona there is the oldest of her grandchildren and it was to Fiona that she has entrusted the caretaking of the family history. She put together a fantastic scrapbook, which contains some great stuff like old photos, family papers and mementoes and much reflection. I’d like to read for you a short passage she wrote about her love life.

    She says, “I miss your granddad so much. He was such a gentle, kind man, a marvellous husband and a wonderful father who worked very hard and loved his children and myself very much. I look forward with God’s help to being with him again someday. My married life was the happiest time of my life for 33 years and nine months.”

    Isn’t that a lovely thing to be able to say in the twilight of your life?

    Mam was very much a woman of Dublin. When she and Dad first got married Dad took her down to live in his native Tralee. But she couldn’t hack it down the country and after a few months Dad had to packs his bags and she whisked him back to Dublin, where she could again enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city’s life and indulge her passion for shopping.

    For us kids Kerry than became a place of magic for our annual summer holidays. It’s a link that we are all proud of and it’s especially gratifying to see the Kingdom well represented here today.

    We were afraid we were going to lose her after Dad died. For two years or so she was very depressed and she often wanted to be gone. But even despite herself her constitution wouldn’t let her give up. Like the river, she carried on.

    In time, her grandchildren began to arrive and they refilled her emptied heart. The grandchildren have had a hard time of it over the past two-and-a-half years with how sick she was after her first stroke, but I hope that they’ll come to remember the good times and how when she needed them most they made their nana happy again.

    She had another 20 years of good living in Bayside, where she enjoyed her family, her good neighbours, the Church and her involvement in the community library and the local Good Neighbours Club.

    My ma valued her friendships highly and it’s gratifying to see so many of her old friends and comrades here today. She was a staunch and proud republican all her life. This was important to her. She loved her country and its people dearly. She also wrote of this in Fiona’s scrapbook. Speaking directly to Fiona, she says, “I was in Cumann na mBan. We were all striving to a united Ireland and for the British to leave our shores. However, it has not happened. It may, with God’s help, come about before you have grown up.”

    Being an old republican, she saw many splits in her lifetime and it’s a testimony to how she valued friendships that she kept friends in all camps, as is indicated by the presence of many of you here this morning.

    She derived great comfort from her faith. It was a large part of what made her strength so formidable. Even over the last two years, when sickness tried its best to batter her down she’d drag herself out of bed and get dressed when it seemed like a miracle that she could move a muscle.

    Whenever I called to the house and she wasn’t there, the first place I’d look for her would be this church and more often than not I’d find her kneeling towards the back with her head lifted in prayer. It was a great comfort to me that she could find such sanctuary and peace in a time of such adversity.

    My ma was many things. A fulfilled lover. A tenaciously loving mother. A doting, proud grandmother. A true and faithful soldier. A loyal friend. Did I mention a natty dresser?

    And a Dubliner to the core.

    There’s a show called Strumpet City on RTE Television at seven o’clock on Sunday evenings. It’s based on a book by James Plunkett about the infamous Dublin lockout of 1913 and it’s brilliant. Strumpet City is a synonym for Dublin and Plunkett lifted it from The Old Lady Says No by Dennis Johnston. In the play a character speaks of Dublin and I think his words are as true to my mother as they are to the city that was hers. It goes like this:            

                                         Old Mother;

    Some, they say, are damned

    But you, I know, will walk the streets of Paradise,

    Head high and unashamed.

    We’re going to take her out to Ashbourne now and bury her beside her husband. Afterwards there will be grub and refreshments available at the Ashbourne House Hotel. We’d love you all to join us.

    Go raibh maith agaibh.





  • Sample Orbituary


    MIKULAK, SHELAGH LORETTA NEARY March 6, 1953 - July 14, 2013


    I could not stay another day,

    To love, to laugh, to work or play

    Tasks left undone must stay that way.


    At the Calgary home that she loved, surrounded by the family she loved, her heart embraced by the touch of the hand of Murray, the husband she loved, Shelagh Mikulak has passed away after a heroic struggle with the ravages of a terrible disease. She was only 60 years old and her departure was far too premature for her and all who loved her; nonetheless, she lived a full and fruitful personal and professional life.

    In 1957, Carmel and Gerald Neary left their home in Ireland to make a new life in Calgary with their daughters, Shelagh and Dara. Two more girls, Geraldine and Donna, were born in short succession. The family embodied the classic immigrant success story in that they prospered and all four girls grew up to embrace the opportunities on offer in their new homeland. In Shelagh, the principled rebelliousness of her Irish heritage fused with the Albertan spirit of pioneering enterprise to forge an ambitious, determined, tenacious character with a zest for life, a strong work ethic, a mighty heart and an enormous capacity to love.

    And if my parting has left a void
    Then fill it with remembered joy.

    She loved books and reading and decided early in life that she wanted to be a librarian. She earned a BA in English (with Distinction) from the University of Calgary, and a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of British Columbia. She went to work at the University of Calgary library, where she was one of Alan MacDonald’s cadre of feisty, opinionated and clever young go-getters. While she was involved in many U of C initiatives, the legacy she was most proud was the Business Library in Scurfield Hall.

    After 18 years at the U of C she was ready to seek new challenges and she headed downtown to Bennett Jones, one of Canada’s premier business law firms, where she provided energetic leadership. Sometimes willful and always passionate, she was supportive of her staff, providing them with mentoring and opportunities. The last major project which benefited from her vision and hard work was the creation of BenNet, the firm’s intranet which was recognized with a platinum award in international competition. In 2012, in acknowledgement of her formidable leadership abilities, the Calgary Law Library Group dedicated a Leadership Award in her name to be granted annually.

    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss

    Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.

    My life’s been full, I’ve savoured much
    Good times, good friends, a loved-one’s touch.

    She was married to Murray for 38 happy years. Like all couples they faced their trials together, not least of which was the ten long years they waited for their son Sean to enter their lives, bringing with him joy and love. More fulfillment came three years later with the arrival of Kevin. She loved her boys profoundly and was immensely proud of the fine men they have become, and her family was enhanced yet again when Kevin married Alexandra.

    Shelagh loved Calgary and retained a strong affection for her Irish roots but her favourite location was the family retreat at Duck Lake, Montana, which became her sanctuary and the place to which she removed herself to read, to rest, to contemplate and to become reenergized.

    A devout feminist, she worked assiduously to promote the ordination of women to priesthood in the Catholic Church. She was a devoted member of the Saint Bridget of Kildare Catholic Faith Community and a supporter of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an international group seeking to reform the Church. Implacably opposed to injustice and unfairness, she was a formidable campaigner and she encouraged others to question misguided allegiance to the status quo.

    Tragedy struck in November 2011 when she was diagnosed with ALS. This was the most daunting challenge of her life but she stepped up to the plate and confronted her fate with resilience, courage, grace and true grit. She was supported magnificently by her family, friends, colleagues and the ALS Palliative Home Care team. Special mention must go to the wonderful Tina Lorenzo, Shelagh’s constant carer, for her professional skills, her unwavering devotion to duty and her unstinting kindness.

    Shelagh faced her final days and hours with her customary consideration for loved ones and with a fortitude that was inspirational. Such was her life and such was her death.

    She will be missed.

    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief

    Don’t shorten yours with undue grief

    Be not be burdened with tears of sorrow

    Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.


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