Saturday 1 October 2016

Berkeley tragedy: Mourners gather in massive numbers for Eoghan's wake

Sam Griffin and Sarah MacDonald

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

Mourners outside Fanagan’s funeral home, Dundrum, Dublin, for the wake of Eoghan Culligan
Mourners outside Fanagan’s funeral home, Dundrum, Dublin, for the wake of Eoghan Culligan
Eoghan Culligan
A Garda gives a salute of honour at Dublin Airport as Niccolai Schuster one of the four students who died in the balcony collapse in Berkeley, California passes
The Burke family (from right), father Paul, mother Paula and brother Gavin at the funeral service at the weekend for cousins Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohoe
Mourners at the funeral service at the weekend for cousins Olivia Burke and Ashley Donohoe at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cotati, California
Amanda Donohoe at the funeral service at the weekend for her sister Ashley Donohoe
The remains of Niccolai Schuster are driven from Dublin Airport yesterday
Eimear Walsh
Niccolai Schuster
Olivia Burke
Lorcán Miller

Devastated family, friends, classmates and well-wishers turned out in massive numbers to mourn at the wake of Eoghan Culligan in Dublin last night.

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Gardaí were in attendance and blocked off some of the streets near Fanagan's Funeral Home in Dundrum to prevent congestion, as huge crowds paid tribute to the DIT student from Rathfarnham.

The wake was the first to be held in Ireland ahead of five funerals which will take place in the middle of this week.

Funeral ceremonies have already been held for Irish-American Ashley Donohoe (22) and her cousin Olivia Burke (21) from Foxrock, whose Irish funeral will take place on Wednesday.

There were emotional scenes last night as those who knew Eoghan (21) gathered and comforted his grieving parents Marie and Gerry and brothers Andrew and Stephen.

The St Mary's alumnus, who was studying logistics and supply chain management at DIT, reposed at home privately last night. He will remain there today before his removal tomorrow to the Church of the Annunciation in Rathfarnham, for his funeral Mass at 11am.

In the days since his death, tributes have flooded in for the "popular and friendly" 21-year-old, including those from his beloved Ballyboden GAA club as well as from his classmates and staff at DIT.

A special memorial service was held in the college last Wednesday where he, and the other victims, were recalled.

Afterwards Eoghan's classmate Louise O'Connor said he had touched so many lives and was universally liked in the college.

"He was a great guy. Really laid back but with a great sense of humour and always made me feel at ease."

That service was presided over by the DIT head of chaplaincy Fr Alan Hilliard, who also con-celebrated Mass on Saturday evening in the Pro-Cathedral with Archbishop Dermot Martin for the Berkeley victims.

Fr Hilliard told the Irish Independent the loss of Eoghan had been devastating for all in the college.

"The impact on the class and among staff has been shattering.

"For a third-level institution that is focused on getting these young people out there and watching them grow up - seeing that stolen is just tragic."

Fr Hilliard paid tribute to the emigrant chaplains in San Francisco and how they had helped the families and the students who were traumatised.

He said the Irish chaplains had tried to create a sense of familiarity in a strange place. "When you are stressed, simple things become difficult and there is a longing for the things that make you feel comfortable, where you can grieve and mourn and be reassured."

Irish Independent

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