Horse leads cortege during emotional farewell to rider
Heartbroken parents paid an emotional tribute to their youngest daughter "for 17 wonderful years" after the teen died following a horse-riding accident earlier this week.
Poignantly, Patricia Lynch's pony led the cortege to her final resting place at Killoo cemetery, Co Clare.
The church in Newmarket-on-Fergus filled up well before yesterday's funeral began.
From the Latoon area of the Clare parish, the 17-year-old Leaving Certificate student died from injuries she received after falling from her horse on Sunday while taking part in a 'Turkey Trotters' hunt.
A horse-riding helmet and photograph were placed on her coffin while Canon Ruben Butler told mourners that her "death brings home to us the fragility of human life".
Known as Trish to her family and friends, up to 200 Leaving Cert students and a dozen teachers from St Flannan's College in Ennis heard that hers was a "tragic death".
Prayers have been offered by her classmates all week and Fr Ignatius McCormack represented the school at the service.
Fr Butler recalled that last Sunday, Patricia Lynch went to Mass in Clarecastle and then went "to take part in the sport she loved".
The riding enthusiast fell from her horse while attempting to jump a low wall at Crusheen, Co Clare, and subsequently died at University Hospital Galway on Tuesday morning.
In a short but eloquent address to the packed congregation, Patrica's grieving parents Pat and Ida thanked all who had helped their family.
"Thanks to the doctors, nurses and ambulance crew who worked so hard for us. A very special thanks to all our neighbours and friends at home who have helped at home over the last long week," Pat said.
With his tearful wife standing by his side and his daughters Pam, Sarah and Jennifer looking on from behind their sister's coffin, Pat concluded: "To you Trish, for filling our life for 17 wonderful years -- a million thanks."
With many of Trish's friends hugging each other, applause rang out throughout the church and outside as her proud father honoured his daughter's life.
Fr Butler told the packed church that their presence "in such huge numbers" was a sign of the community expressing support for the Lynch family.
The priest said Trish's family had precious memories of a "bubbly, lovely and caring daughter and sister".
Noting her schoolfriends, Fr Butler drew smiles and laughter when he pointed that Trish "saw school as a necessary evil. . . but something that could be enjoyed". He said she was blessed with the gift of adaptability.
The congregation sang the teenager's favourite song -- 'Bright Blue Rose' -- as the service ended.
Patricia's father is a well-known horse trainer in the mid-west region and donations were made to the Injured Jockeys Fund.