Belfast Telegraph

Karen Buckley: Friends pay tribute to girl with the smile

By Ralph Riegel

It was a cruel twist of fate that Karen Buckley, born to a loving Cork farm family, should be discovered on a lonely Scottish hill farm after one of the biggest missing person hunts in Glasgow history.

Her death robbed the world of a bright young woman whose entire motivation in life was to help others.

Karen had worked as a teen in the Hibernian Hotel in Mallow as a waitress - and was nicknamed the 'Cailin Gaelach' or the ever-smiling Irish girl.

"She was always smiling, that was Karen, no matter how hard the work at weddings or functions. She could never do enough to help you," one hotel supervisor said.

A nursing graduate from the University of Limerick, Karen told friends that she adored working with the injured to help them improve their quality of life.

She decided to specialise in occupational therapy - a career path that ultimately brought her from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex to Glasgow Caledonian University last January.

Travel was also a passion for the young woman and she toured extensively in Europe and the Far East. One of her cherished trips was a holiday in Thailand with college friends. Karen hoped, after her Masters degree, to visit her two brothers in Australia.

Her best friend, Claire Bowen, said she was excited about her future career.

Karen was the youngest of John (62) and Marion (61) Buckley's four children. Her parents farm a successful holding in Analeentha-Mourneabbey.

She had three older brothers: Brendan (32), Kieran (28) and Damian (27).

Karen attended St Mary's secondary school in Mallow in 2003. The principal, Yvonne Bane, said: "The community at St Mary's is united in grief at the sad news concerning Karen."

Karen played Gaelic football for Mourneabbey in her early teens before becoming a dedicated fan of both the club and the Cork ladies team.

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