'It was no sight for a parent to see': Mother remembers 'vivacious' Ciara Lawlor a year after her death at Kodaline concert

Last year, 17-year-old Ciara Lawlor left her home in Kilkenny to attend a Kodaline concert in Marlay Park. She didn't make it home, writes Denise O'Donoghue.

Her parents, John and Eimear, got a call from her friend at the concert to say she had collapsed and immediately left their home in Kilkenny and drove to Tallaght hospital.

"They brought us into the room. I still didn't think the worst, I couldn't. I just could not bring myself," Eimear told reporter Brian O’Connell on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1.

"I couldn't take it in at all. Immediately a lady came in, a lady doctor and a male nurse and they sat down. She just said 'I'm sorry to tell you, Ciara's died'. John started to cry. I didn't get upset, I just couldn't take it in, it wasn't real. It just couldn't happen.

"We went in to see her. It was no sight for a parent to see."

Today, as her first aniversary approaches, Eimear spoke about about Ciara’s loss, the generosity of both their community and the band Kodaline, and questions the family still has about Ciara's death.

"We didn't do anything, everybody was just so good," she said. "On the Monday evening she arrived back to the house. I just wanted to have a little hug. We slept in the room for two nights. The funeral then was on Wednesday.

"Nobody should have to bury a child...And she was so vivacious; there was nothing there when she was just full of life.

"We were just so close. It must have been one of the biggest funerals in Kilkenny, there was thousands of young people."

Eimear said Kodaline were very kind to them at the time of the funeral and they have since kept in touch.

Kodaline attending Ciara Lawlor's funeral

"Nobody knew Kodaline was coming. They were all in shock. Kodaline came out and spoke. I just remember them being very emotional and very sensitive, which was absolutely lovely. They spoke from the heart. And it was later on when I was talking to Mark (Prendergast, the band's lead guitarist and singer), months later, [I found out that] a very good friend of theirs passed away a couple of years ago.

"They sang 'High Hopes' and a couple of other songs, I think. Nobody took out their phones and started taking pictures of them or anything, it was just total respect, for us, for Ciara."

Eimear revealed the band has written a song about her daughter and it will appear on their new album.

"Mark came down just a few weeks ago with his parents, just chatting away. He said they made a song but it was absolutely beautiful. I can't name the song because the album's not out, but even the name of the song is quite poignant."

Ciara was diagnosed with a problem with the electrics of the heart. She had a procedure which was partially successful and was then put on medication to help control her palpitations.

Mum Eimear says Ciara was awaiting a test when she died and had been on a waiting list for ten weeks. The family think it might have picked up on the secondary heart issue that caused her death.

"One evening she came home and said her heart was racing and I just thought, everybody's hearts race, but I could actually physically see it on her chest, pounding out. It was discovered then that Ciara had SVT, supraventricular tachycardia. It's an electrical issue and it's just out of sync.

"I wrote to Crumlin in January of this year. I wanted to ask for a full investigation. By April, it would have been Easter weekend, they hadn't come back so I wrote to them again and just highlighted it on their complaints section on the internet and the last line was that we would respond within 30 days.

"I emailed that to them Easter weekend. Within the week I got two emails, a registered letter and two phonecalls. I just asked them could you please ensure a thorough investigation if you can't send out a letter to me. And I've heard nothing since."

Since the interview, Crumlin have written to the family in the last few days and confirmed an investigation will take place. They have commissioned an external expert to do this as well as starting an internal review and they have circulated draft terms of reference to the family.

Listen to the interview in full here:


More in this Section

Gardaí appeal for witnesses to accident that left teenager seriously injured

Children who sexually abuse need more help, says Children's Ombudsman

Counterfeiting in Northern Ireland ‘has grown due to internet’

Newbridge Gardaí ask for help to find missing teenager


Breaking Stories

A tempting taste of what is on offer in Dingle

Too much information? Lindsay Woods on 'sharenting'

Graham Norton: ‘If it was hard work I couldn’t do it’

Saying yes to the dress: Behind the scenes at the royal wedding

More From The Irish Examiner