'Cheerful, considerate, energetic and enthusiastic' - tragic Katie (16) laid to rest
The life of an incredible teenager was outlined by Irish Army Chaplain Fr Paul Murphy who described his "cheerful, considerate, energetic and enthusiastic" niece at her funeral Mass in Waterford city.
Katie Murphy (16) was killed in a single vehicle crash on Wednesday evening near the entrance to the Carrigeenlea estate on the Cliff Road in Tramore.
The male driver of the car (17) escaped with minor injuries, while two others, a boy and a girl also aged 17, were seriously injured when the car collided side-on with a wall.
Hundreds turned out to fill the large church of Sacred Heart at The Folly to celebrate the life of popular Katie, of Castlewoods estate at Ballinamona between Waterford city and Tramore.
Bishop of Waterford Alphonsus “Phonsie” Cullinan was joined by Fr Murphy, her granduncle Fr Ailbhe Murphy, Fr Tom Rogers PP, Fr Gerry Chestnut PP, Father Liam Power PP and nine other clerics at the Mass yesterday afternoon.
Fr Paul Murphy said: "Those 16-and-a-half years were, literally, the time of her life. And in those [years], she had the time of her life.
"She was animal-loving, bright, cheerful, considerate, energetic, enthusiastic, funny, musical, talented, school-loving and studious..okay, maybe that's pushing it a bit. She was beautiful; just like her mam.
"She was the kind of person you would need to make an appointment with, as Leon said. [It was] because so many wanted to share her time and her company.
"Today, we come her to thank God for the gift that Katie was to us; for the brightness that she brought to our lives and her bright smile that made all of us smile too."
The teenager is survived by her father Hilary, mother Vivienne and brothers, Leon, Stephen and Scott.
There was a large turnout from St Angela's School, where Katie was a Fifth Year student.
Stephen thanked "everybody that worked so tirelessly on Wednesday night to save my sister".
He said: "From the day that Katie was born, she had personality. She shook up our home from the minute she came into it... she made it clear there was only ever going to be one boss.
"It wasn't just Katie that came into our World; it was hamsters, gerbils, kittens, rabbits, puppies, birds.
"Babysitting Katie was an experience in itself, with her mad antics and non-stop energy. She had a natural way with animals and her mam and dad fostered and nurtured that passion from the beginning."
Vivienne read from a poignant letter she had written to her daughter during a tough family time. "I'm sitting here, the proudest mum in the World. You were so protective of me - I felt like your child...the way you would wrap me in your arms. I could never tie you down; one of life's Free Spirits.
"No matter how long we may live, we will hold you up as a beacon of light and show everyone your beautiful heart."
Leon also spoke with love of a great sister, while Eoin Mahony tell of his "best friend".
The driver of the car, Eddie O'Shea (17) escaped from the crash with minor injuries, while Jessie Flynn's injuries were described as "serious". Meanwhile, fellow passenger Joe Walsh was said to be "critical but stable".
Fr Murphy added: "As we gather around Katie's lifeless body, we think of our friends who were in the car with her... that they will make a full recovery."
Hilary, Vivienne and Scott brought up a picture of Katie, a smoothie and apple, along with an iced cupcake "because there was always that tension between good and bad", Fr Murphy said with love and humour.
At the Bicentenary celebrations of St Angela’s at the church on Friday, Principal Edel Connolly said: “We acknowledge the thousands of young women who have passed through the gates full of hope an confidence…full of an ability to face the World.
“And today, in the marking of our 200 years of achievement, we are also marking a beautiful life cut short.”
Crowds of funeral-goers sympathised with the Murphy family at the church centre following the Mass, while Katie is to be cremated in a private ceremony.