Saturday 19 January 2019

Croke Park 'epicentre of universe' for hero Dublin Diving instructor

Stephen Keenan’s coffin is taken out of the church – tributes were paid to the diving instructor, who died in Egypt
Stephen Keenan’s coffin is taken out of the church – tributes were paid to the diving instructor, who died in Egypt

The Dublin diver who died after helping a distressed student in Egypt has been remembered as a man who loved his work and travel - and loved the Dubs.

Stephen Keenan (39), from Glasnevin, is understood to have gotten into difficulty while assisting an Italian woman who was 'freediving' at the Arch of the Dahab Blue Hole, where Stephen worked as a diving instructor.

It is a popular location for freediving - an increasingly popular sport where people train to dive on just one breath.

The site is said to be the world's most dangerous diving location as people often try to reach the Arch - which connects the Blue Hole to the open water of the Red Sea - but the risk of potentially fatal nitrogen narcosis is significant.

At the Church of the Holy Family in Aughrim Street, family and friends gathered to pay their respects.

Symbols of Stephen's life brought to the altar included a hurley and sliotar, a copy of Ulysses given to him by his late mother Maura, a Dublin GAA flag and a diving safety shirt.

Croke Park was the "epicentre of Stephen's universe" despite his world travels, Stephen's father Peter said.

He thanked all of Stephen's friends for attending, especially those who travelled from Dahab. "It is so consoling," he said.

"His favourite places were Dublin, the northside, Dahab and Sinai. He loved it there. He was embedded with the Arabic people there, loved it there and spoke the language fluently.


"It's comforting to know that when Stephen died that he got up that morning and went to do a job that he loved doing," Mr Keenan added.

"He loved doing what he was doing and where he was doing it. Although Stephen is gone, he lives on in all of us."

His family were overwhelmed by the support and kindness that had been expressed by so many since his death, Stephen's brother Gary said.

When the funeral Mass was ended, Stephen's coffin was walked from the church to The Auld Triangle, sung beautifully by a female soloist. His remains were buried with his mother in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, Balbriggan.

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