Saturday 19 April 2014

McKeever's life was one worth viewing, his funeral hears

MOUNTAINEER Ian McKeever lived a life "worth watching", mourners at his funeral have been told.

The adventurer, 42, died on Africa's highest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro, this month after being struck by lightning.

Many young people who scaled the Tanzanian peak with him were among the congregation at the packed Church of St Laurence O'Toole in Roundwood, Co Wicklow.

His fiancee Anna O'Loughlin, who was on the mountain during the accident, was helped on crutches by his frail elderly parents Niall and Aideen.

Friend Gordon Mac an Bhaird said: "They say that one day your life will flash before you and you should make sure it is worth watching. Well, Ian's certainly was. It certainly made good viewing."

A smiling photo of the climber sat on his coffin during a mass high in the Wicklow mountains attended by hundreds of close friends and family.

He was struck down in the freak New Year tragedy as he led a group of hikers up Kilimanjaro, one of many expeditions the experienced expert has organised on the peak.

Others in the group, mostly from Ireland, needed medical treatment for minor burns and shock.

The lecturer and broadcaster from Lough Dan in Wicklow was known for many feats including climbing Mt Everest.

He regularly mentored hikers including schoolchildren through his Kilimanjaro Achievers organisation. Many of them were at his funeral.

A guard of honour was formed by two dozen players from St Peregrines Gaelic Athletic Club in Dublin. One young sportsman put the club scarf on top of the coffin.

The funeral took around an hour and a half.

The Taoiseach was represented by his aide de camp Comdt Michael Tracy.

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