UP to two years ago when cystic fibrosis began to overwhelm her, Siobhán Ryan was regarded as one of the best Irish dancers in the east Limerick parish of Pallas.
Since she was able to walk, Siobhán, aged 15, had attended dancing classes at Teach in Cloverfield.
Yesterday, in St John’s parish church, her favourite reels were played by friends, Gerda Murray, Aileen Murray and Michael O’Gorman, as her set dancing team filed up the aisle and placed their hands on her white coffin.
Dancing teacher Pat O’Dea said Siobhán loved Irish dancing and this was their own final special tribute.
Pat said: “She was one of the best dancers we ever had. She kept at it despite the cystic fibrosis up to about two years ago when her illness worsened.”
Siobhán died at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital on Tuesday, just hours after her family learned that she was next in line for a life-saving lung transplant in the UK.
The Aer Corps even had an aircraft on standby.
But the news they had waited for years, came too late. Siobhán’s parents, Anne-Marie and Peter were at her bedside with her seven older brothers and sisters when she lost her long battle.
Fr James Holloway recalled to a packed congregation yesterday that he first met Siobhán when she was brought as a baby to the church on January 23, 1993 to be baptised.
He said: “Our little friend Siobhán did not live a terribly long life. But from her we learned a lot of life and the love you lavished on her.
“Her family lavished love on her. We should be grateful for the health we have. Poor Siobhán did not have it, but she struggled on.”
He said her family had watched her battle to the verge of a breakthrough with an imminent transplant.
“Then she is taken away,” he said.
Curate, Fr Anthony McSweeney, who recited the Cystic Fibrosis Prayer, said while her life was too short, Siobhán was an inspiration to her family and many others.
He said: “She touched so many lives in such a wonderful way.”
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