Renowned Belfast undertaker Hugh Dougal laid to rest
Funeral told Hugh Dougal was part of city's history
The funeral of one of Northern Ireland's best-known undertakers took place yesterday.
Hugh Dougal, proprietor of O'Kanes Funeral Directors, passed away in the Northern Ireland Hospice on Sunday.
At his Requiem Mass in St Brigid's Church, Belfast, parish priest Fr Edward O'Donnell described Mr Dougal as "the best friend you could have ever hoped to find".
He described the fourth generation funeral director, who retired a few years ago and was affectionately known as 'Daddy Hugh' in the business, as "a modest man who did not let excess be his travelling companion".
"He brought compassion and sensitivity into the lives of so many grieving families," Fr O'Donnell said.
"He treated every family as one of his own."
Fr O'Donnell told mourners that the family funeral business often became part of Belfast's history.
Hugh was forced to dive for cover at Milltown Cemetery in March 1988 when Michael Stone tried to kill leading Sinn Fein members attending an IRA funeral. The cleric commented that Mr Dougal treated everyone with the same care and respect "regardless of the situation".
"It was no surprise when he was chosen to be president of the National Association of Funeral Directors," he added. In a separate tribute, Carnlough funeral director Michael McSparron said: "Hugh's death will be a great loss to the business in Northern Ireland. The whole trade is completely numb."