Family and friends of Deirdre Lynch made her funeral Mass into a heartwarming celebration of a girl described as “a wonderful, shining light”.
While chief celebrant Fr Noel Kehoe acknowledged that there were “no words to make sense of such a young death”, he, her parents, sister Kate, and the small army of friends present in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ballinlough yesterday, spoke with genuine warmth and laughter about Deirdre’s popularity, sense of humour, exuberance, and her constant concern for others.
A second-year arts student at University College Cork, Deirdre was working at Eco Restaurant in Douglas when she collapsed on Saturday. Paramedics rushed to the restaurant but she never regained consciousness.
Fr Kehoe, who knew the arts student well as she had taken part in the Redemptorist order’s youth ministry, La Scala, described her as a “natural leader”, who had “lived a life of goodness and fun”.
He said she was “a positive person who never focused on a problem but on how to solve it”, and always went out of her way to help others.
The packed church was silent as Deirdre’s older sister Kate recited WH Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’.
Deirdre’s UCC student card, her head girl and prefect badges from her time at Christ King Secondary School in Douglas, her Irish dancing shoes, and a feather boa “which represented her vibrancy and love of fashion” were brought up to the altar by friends as symbols of her life.
Deirdre’s former dance school, the Attridge Academy of Irish Dance, led a guard of honour as her coffin was carried from the church. She was laid to rest at St Michael’s Cemetery in Blackrock.
Her death is the third in 11 weeks which may have been caused by sudden adult death syndrome.
Sixteen-year-old Shane Horgan, from Clondrohid, Co Cork, died unexpectedly during the Cork Vocational Schools county senior B football semi-final against Kinsale on Monday. He was a fifth-year pupil at Coláiste Ghobnatán in Bally-vourney.
Shane’s funeral Mass will take place at St Abina’s Church in Clondrohid at 1pm today followed by burial in the local cemetery.
It will not be known until the coroner’s inquest whether both or either of the young people died of sudden adult death syndrome.
* RELATED STORY: ‘I would have done anything for her... We love you Deirdre’
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