Michael O’Riordan from Riverdale, Skibbereen, was re-erecting a telephone pole, which had fallen in last week’s storms when the accident occurred last Saturday.
The 65-year-old Eircom subcontractor suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was working for subcontractor KN Network Services at the time.
Mourners packed St Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday in the West Cork town to offer their sympathies to his wife Mary, his children Conor, Dervla and Rose- Marie and to his extended family.
Before the service his son Conor read an email sent by his father’s cousin, Fr Gerard Creedon, to the family on Sunday.
“Michael was always a caring and generous man and it may be some consolation (to the family) to know that he died trying to bring relief and help to others,” he said.
The funeral Mass was concelebrated by the father of three’s first cousin, Fr John Galvin, Bishop John Buckley, who is a friend of the O’Riordan family, and six priests. Fr Galvin told those gathered that he felt contradictory emotions in saying the Mass.
“There’s a deep sense of gratitude and admiration for a life that was well lived, and just as distinctly a sense of sorrow at the loss of a relative, a friend.
“All of you and all of us who knew Michael feel a deep sense of loss, the loss of a friend, a family member. His presence will be missed. You can expect that and count on it,” he said.
“There is simply no way to replace a person of this calibre. And it would be strange indeed if the atmosphere surrounding this occasion were anything less than grief.”
A book about car rallying and CDs of Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen were among gifts carried to the altar during the ceremony.
Prayers were also said for all those who “work in challenging conditions”, as well as for the 65-year-old’s colleagues and friends.
Outside the church, after the ceremony, members of the Skibbereen and District Car Club braved the elements to perform a guard of honour. The father of three was a prominent member of the club and was involved in the Fastnet Rally, the club’s biggest annual event.
Club members then paid tribute to their colleague by carrying his coffin to the edge of the town before he embarked on his final journey to the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.