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Karen Buckley: Friends pay tribute to girl with the smile

By Ralph Riegel

Published 17/04/2015

Missing student Karen Buckley
Missing student Karen Buckley
Marian and John Buckley, parents of missing girl Karen Buckley, make a statement during a press conference at Govan Police Office in Glasgow.
Police outside the building in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow which comta9nsthe flat which was visited by missing student Karen Buckley in the early hours of Sunday.
Police at the entrance to High Craigton Farm in Glasgow during the search for Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service vehicles arrive at the entrance to High Craigton Farm in Glasgow, where police have been searching for Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days.
Police stand at the entrance to Windyhill Golf Club near Milngavie, north of Glasgow, which has been cordoned off, as part of the investigation into the missing student Karen Buckley on April 15, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Police Forensic officers at the front door of a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow, as they search for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days.
Police stand at the entrance to High Craigton Farm near Milngavie, north of Glasgow, which has been cordoned off, as part of the investigation into the missing student Karen Buckley on April 15, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Police search garages and the surrounding areas near a block of flats in Dorchester Avenue in Glasgow for any trace of Irish student Karen Buckley who has been missing for three days.
Karen Buckley failed to return home from a night out at the weekend
Police block a road near Windyhill Golf club, Glasgow, as they search for Karen Buckley
A police officer searches the undergrowth in Dawsholm Park in Glasgow
Police search the grounds of a flat in Glasgow in the hunt for missing student Karen Buckley
The money has been raised to help support the family of Karen Buckley
Tragic: Student Karen Buckley (24)
Classmates of Karen Buckley comfort each other at Glasgow Caledonian University yesterday

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.

Belfast Telegraph

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