Berkeley tragedy: 'Wonderful Eimear would want us to be strong for each other', funeral hears
BERKELEY tragedy victim Eimear Walsh was "a beautiful person and a wonderful daughter and sister", her heartbroken dad told hundreds of mourners at her funeral.
"We were very proud of who she was and what she achieved," Jim Walsh said in a moving tribute to his 21-year-old daughter.
He also asked those in the church to pray for the injured survivors of the balcony collapse and for those other young people that died, including Eimear's "best pal" Lorcan Miller and her school friend Olivia Burke.
Family friend, Fr Paul Ward, led the service at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock.
The chief mourners were her dad Jim, mum Patricia and brother Robert.
Jim Walsh spoke warmly of his daughter's personality.
"She was, among other things, kind-hearted, generous, fun-loving, independent minded, very bright, confident, but never pretentious," he added.
He said that Eimear was "deceptively easy going", but was very determined once she set her mind to something.
He said his daughter - a medical student in UCD - had many talents including singing and dancing.
"For a long time we thought Eimear might pursue a career in the theatrical arena.
"Sometime around the start of sixth year she surprised us by saying that she had a desire to do medicine - which is easier said than done.
"She was really enjoying her three years in UCD - the social side just as much as the academic side.
"I'm very certain that she would have enjoyed a successful and fulfilling career."
He said that the last week had been "traumatic" for the family and that they had been left feeling helpless by the events in California.
"Now that we have lost Eimear so tragically there is a huge void in our lives.
"However, knowing Eimear, she would want us to be strong for each other, pick ourselves up and keep going," he said.
Speakers were set up outside the church so that the vast crowd outside could follow the ceremony.
Fr Ward spoke of how Eimear was a "beautiful singer". Her teacher, well-known performer Honor Heffernan sang the closing hymn, For Good.
"Eimear made a life-choice to be a healer," said Fr Ward.
"The purpose of our coming together today is to seek healing.
"We keep her memory alive and we make her present to us in a special way and I have no doubt that it will create as much laughter as it will tears."