A HEARTBROKEN father wept yesterday as he told mourners at his daughter’s funeral that he will never get the chance to give her away on her wedding day.
Amy Byrne, who died in an accident on Saturday hours after making her First Communion, was laid to rest yesterday in Co Waterford as her friends said goodbye along with her parents, brothers, family and community.
Silence descended over St Gobnait’s church and cemetery in west Waterford as the eight-year-old was brought in a white coffin from her house to the place of worship where she had celebrated her First Holy Communion just three days before.
After Mass of the Angels offered by parish priest Fr Michael Kennedy and more than a dozen co-celebrants, she was then brought to her grave.
Her parents Paul and Lorraine Byrne and Amy’s brothers Thomas and Michael were comforted by family members and friends as they looked on while the stark white coffin, containing Amy in her Communion dress, was placed in the ground.
Earlier, Paul briefly told the packed church of the enjoyment Amy got from life and the sense of fun and friendliness she brought wherever she went.
He recalled how she was recently looking at photographs of her uncle’s wedding when it was put to her that the next time her father would be making a speech would be at her own wedding, when he would be giving her away.
Her dad told her at the time: “I’d never give you away”. “But today I get to make that speech,” he told the emotional congregation.
She loved cooking and baking and “feeding everyone”, he said, and once got up to chop carrots at 7am.
Recently, when asked by her family how she got on at her First Confession with her classmates, she said: “Will you say a prayer for me that Fr Kennedy won’t tell anyone my sins?” As the mourners laughed through their tears, Amy’s dad added: “Sure what sins had she?”
Items brought to the altar at the Mass included a Roald Dahl book, colouring pencils, a piece of her artwork, a brownie’s neckerchief, dancing shoes, and a sports top. Eddie O’Halloran, principal at Scoil Naomh Gobnait in Coolnasmear, brought a montage of last Saturday’s Communion ceremony.
Amy died after playing on a bouncy castle that evening in her garden. It’s understood a gust of wind caused her to lose her footing and she hit her head on the ground, losing consciousness. She died later at Waterford Regional Hospital.
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