Final touching tribute as Kodaline perform 'High Hopes' at tragic fan Ciara Lawlor's funeral
Irish chart-toppers Kodaline flew in from the UK this morning to pay their respects to Kilkenny teenager Ciara Lawlor who collapsed and died following their concert in Marlay Park on Friday night.
Thousands of mourners who attended the popular schoolgirl's funeral at Saint John's church in the town on Wednesday wept openly as the band joined Ciara's classmates from the Loreto choir and sang a heart-wrenching version of "High Hopes."
Tears streamed down the faces of teenage boys and girls, children, men and women, young and old as the haunting melody echoed in the pews as they streamed out of the church, utterly bereft.
Earlier, the 17-year old's former classmates and friends from the O'Loughlin Gaels GAA club formed a massive guard of honour outside the church as Ciara's remains were brought to the same church where she was baptised not long ago.
Parish priest Fr Frank Purcell spoke of the tragic, untimely death of the "beautiful girl, inside and out" whose sudden death from a pre-existing medical condition has plunged the entire community into shock and grief.
Her family, including parents John and Eimear, brothers Jack and Barry and extended family, were inconsolable as they made their way to her final resting place at St Kieran's cemetery in the town.
Much-loved Ciara was enjoying the Kodaline open air concert at Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, Dublin, on July 9 when she suddenly became ill.
Ciara lived at Richview in Kilkenny city and was attending the concert with a relative.
Her parents John and Eimear told the Irish Independent how "family meant everything to Ciara".
"Ciara was a beautiful, vivacious 17-year-old girl," they said. "She was full of life, loved music and despite a pre-existing medical condition was active in the local athletics club."
She was a member of the Kilkenny Harriers athletics club.
Ciara, who was due to sit her Leaving Cert exams next summer at Loreto Secondary School in Kilkenny, was also a qualified lifeguard.
"Ciara was down to earth, a friend to everyone, a real people person. Family meant everything to Ciara," said her grieving parents.
They said the schoolgirl would be "dearly missed" by them and her two brothers, Jack and Barry.
Kodaline band members said they were "shocked and devastated" by Ciara's death.
In a statement signed by the four band members, they said their thoughts and prayers were with her family and friends.
They said: "We are so saddened to say that during our concert at Marlay Park, a 17-year-old girl with a pre-existing medical condition suddenly became ill.
"The on-site medical team immediately treated the girl who was transferred directly to hospital by an on-site ambulance.
"We were shocked and devastated to be informed yesterday that despite the best efforts of all medical teams, she passed away in hospital.
"Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased. We wish to extend our condolences on behalf of us and all of our crew."
Gardaí are not treating the sudden death as suspicious as it is understood that Ciara had underlying health issues.