Funeral of Niamh O'Connor hears of the 'love of her life' Barry who tried to save her
A young couple who died in a freak accident in West Cork earlier this week were 'soulmates' who radiated happiness when they were together, the requiem mass of one of the victims heard yesterday.
Niamh O’Connor (20) of Glanmire, Co Cork was swept out to sea by a freak wake in Baltimore on Tuesday evening. Her boyfriend Barry Davis Ryan (20) and his father Barry Ryan Sr (51) died as they made valiant efforts to save her.
At the Church of the Sacred Heart, Glounthaune, in Co Cork this morning, Paul O’Connor, father of Niamh, remembered his outgoing, vibrant daughter.
“From the moment she was born we used to say that Niamh was going to turn out to be a stunner. She was beautiful inside and out. Niamh lived her short life to the full refusing no invitation to party. I honestly believe my Niamh would go to the opening of an envelope.”
Mr O’Connor said it was very evident that Barry was the “love of Niamh’s life”.
“He idolised her and she idolised him. He was her soulmate. Niamh we love you and as the song states ‘this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.’ We love you always and forever.”
Among the offertory gifts at the mass was a silk rose which Barry gave Niamh to celebrate Valentines Day
Chief celebrant at the mass, Fr John Heinhold, said Niamh would now have the silk rose forever. Barry had presented it to her on February 14 last after the UCC student joked about fresh roses only lasting two weeks.
Other offertory gifts included a menu for KC’s takeaway in Douglas on the southside of Cork city. Fr Heinhold told the hundreds of mourners that although Niamh didn’t drive she often got her fast food of choice delivered by taxi.
Other offertory gifts included Niamh’s favourite sweets Polo Mints and a Harry Potter Book.
Fr Heinhold said Niamh’s parents Paul and Catherine and her sister Clodagh had been plunged in to darkness following the news of her tragic passing.
“Last Tuesday was just another day. All seemed normal. Life was carrying out just as it should be. Then out of the blue in an instant everything changed forever. Three people’s lives ended. Niamh was twenty years old and full of life. Beautiful, intelligent and so full of potential. She was just beginning to open up to life and life was just beginning to open up to her.”
Fr Heinhold said tragic death which is always sudden and unexpected is like a blackout.
“One minute the sun is shining. Next minute it is dark night. Without the slightest warning we are plunged in to an impenetrable darkness. The world is turned upside down. We felt and feel lost.
Prior to the 10am requiem one of Niamh’s favourite songs “Wings” by Birdy was played.
Her cousin Louise also read a poem recalling all her happy childhood members with the “calm and chilled” Niamh. She touched on the great love between Barry and Niamh.
“We must all remember Barry Niamh’s true gent, Barry became the apple of Niamh’s eye, They clicked and were far from shy
"So in love a lovely girl and guy.”
Niamh was laid to rest at St Catherine’s Cemetery in Kilcully, Co Cork. A guard of honour was provided by staff at Penney’s where Niamh worked part time.
Meanwhile, the search continues for Barry Davis Ryan, the CIT student who is still missing.
Around 60 people, including many local volunteers, are involved in the search, including naval, garda and volunteer divers, the Coast Guard, cliff top search teams, the Coast Guard helicopter and RNLI Lifeboats.