Funeral services were held on July 20 at St. Theresa church in West Roxbury for Gobnait Conneely, who died on July 11 after a long illness. A native of Mervue in Galway, where as a young woman she was crowned “Miss Galway,” Ms. Conneely emigrated to Boston in 1982 at the age of 21, and was undocumented for more than 10 years. In the 1990s she received a “Donnelly Visa” and later became a US citizen, an event she said was “one the proudest moments of my life.”
She was a longtime advocate for immigrants at the Irish International Immigration Centre (IIIC), where she worked as community outreach manager for many years. In later years she worked for the City of Boston with the city’s housing authority.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Gobnait Conneely’s passing,” the IIIC said in a statement. “Gobnait was loved across the Irish community, and this was truly reflected in her work here at the IIIC. She had ‘style, grace, and a heart of gold’, and generously contributed her time, wisdom, and experience as a member of our staff and as President of our Board.
“The IIIC sends sincere condolences to Gobnait’s friends and family - she will be greatly missed by all.”
Ms. Vonneely leaves a sister, Sheila Farragher, and her husband Jerry of Dublin, and a brother, Anthony, and his wife Consilia Conneely of Galway. She was the aunt of Laura, Gillian and Kevin Farragher and Jacob Conneely, and dear friend of Kathy Doyle of Saugus.