Olivia the last Berkeley student to come home as funerals begin
BERKELEY tragedy victim Eimear Walsh will be remembered as a "beautiful singer", "a healer" and for "all the joy she brought into our lives" mourners at her funeral were told.
The horrific balcony collapse that saw six young people die has left the country "united in grief," Fr Paul Ward said at the service in Foxrock for the 21-year-old this morning.
Not far, away in Rathfarnham, family and friends of Eoghan Culligan - also aged 21 - gathered for his funeral.
With more funerals in the coming days, hundreds turned out to grieve as the first Dublin victims of last week's tragedy were laid to rest.
Crowds spilled out onto the grounds of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at the service for Ms Walsh.
Fr Ward began his homily saying that he had known the young medical student for most of her life.
He recalled her involvement with the church music group while she was in secondary school.
"She was a beautiful singer and she advanced to take lessons with Honor Heffernan, who is here with us today," Fr Ward said.
The former Loreto College Foxrock student was studying medicine in UCD.
"It's interesting, but not surprising, that Eimear chose medicine for her third level studies," Fr Ward said.
"I say that because she comes from a family who are most considerate and caring. They constantly look outwards to their neighbours and to the community.
"Eimear made a life-choice to be a healer.
"The purpose of our coming together today is to seek healing," he added.
Chief mourners at the funeral were Eimear's parents Jim and Patricia and her brother Robert.
A medical book, some music, dancing shoes and a hair straightener with tan and lipstick were left at the altar to commemorate the student.
She had been working in a Japanese restaurant in California along with her friend Olivia Burke, who also died and will be laid to rest later this week.
"The past week has been long and harrowing for so many people involved in the Berkeley tragic accident," Fr Ward said.
He said that young people in Dublin use the expression 'story bud' to greet each other adding that it's short for 'what's the story friend'.
"They want to hear about what's happening in each other's lives.
"Telling our story helps. The story of Jesus Christ has lasted over 2,000 years.
"I think it's very important that we all gather to tell Eimear's story as often as possible.
"In that way we remember, or put back together again. 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," he said.
Well-known singer Ms Heffernan sang the recessional hymn, For Good.
In Rathfarnham there was a guard of honour as the coffin bearing Eoghan Culligan's body was brought to Church of the Annunciation
It comprised students from St Mary's in Rathmines, his former school, and members from Ballyboden St Enda's, where Eoghan had been a valued team player.
His grieving parents Marie and Gerry and brothers Andrew and Stephen, accompanied the young man's remains on the short walk from their house.
They were followed silently by a stream of mourners.
The devastatingly haunting song Forever Young was played as the coffin arrived at the church.
The chief celebrant of the funeral mass was Fr Richard Olin of Mary's College.
Symbols of Eoghan's life were brought to the altar by his friends from school, college and fellow football team mates, with a commentary read by his uncle Henry.
They included his grandfather's old watch - which Eoghan had fixed up and worn proudly, an Obey hat which had been a gift from his girlfriend Sarah and a staff from a production of his beloved Lord of the Rings.
"This is not the end...death is a journey we must all make," his uncle Henry quoted.
The J1 student who had been working in Berkeley for the summer had been studying logistics and supply chain management at DIT.
Tomorrow, the funeral of another victim Niccolai Schuster (21) will take place at 11am at the Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar.
The body of Olivia Burke (21) was the last to arrive home on Irish soil.
After a double funeral with her beloved cousin, Ashley Donohoe (22), in California on Saturday, another funeral mass for Olivia will be held tomorrow at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock.
Funeral details have also been announced for Lorcan Miller (21). It is taking place on Thursday at 11am in Rathmichael Parish Church, Shankill.