Sea of Irish wreaths to surround the coffin of baby Karol at Polish funeral
A sea of wreaths from Ireland will surround the family of baby Karol Rozycki, who will be laid to rest today in Poland.
The 11-month-old was found smothered to death in a Killarney apartment last Sunday, leaving the Kerry town stunned.
Karol is being buried in his maternal homeland just four weeks before he was to celebrate his first birthday on April 17.
The toddler was also to visit Poland later this year to meet relatives who had not yet seen the bubbly, blonde-haired child.
Karol's father, Andrzej Piolunowicz (32), was found just metres from the little boy he had smothered to death, lying unconscious in a pool of blood.
Mr Piolunowicz, a hotel worker, had sustained self-inflicted stab wounds and died in Cork University Hospital on Thursday.
Karol will be laid to rest today by his heartbroken mother, Anna Rozycka (24), who paid a moving tribute to the Kerry community for how they had rallied to support her after the shocking events of Mother's Day. Anna was so moved by the support she received in Kerry, she has now vowed to return to Killarney once her son's funeral is concluded in Poland.
Before leaving Ireland, Anna said she was "very proud" to be part of the kind-hearted Killarney community.
She had discovered the toddler lying unresponsive in the Park Place apartment complex on Upper High Street, Killarney, shortly after 6pm last Sunday after she returned from work as a chef in a local hotel.
Karol will be buried today in Bielsko-Biala, a small town just outside the southern Polish city of Krakow, where Anna hails from.
Anna, accompanied by her mother, Teresa, flew back to Krakow from Dublin yesterday with her son's remains. Before leaving, she paid a heart-moving tribute to the Irish and Polish community in Kerry for doing so much to help her endure the unendurable.
In a statement released on Anna's behalf, she said: "I am impressed how (the) inhabitants of Killarney can rally around in (the) face of tragedy.
"Me and my family are proud to be part of this community. We have met a lot of wonderful people to whom we want to express our gratitude."
The statement thanked the gardaí, the Polish interpreter, Aghadoe Heights Hotel staff and Killarney priests, Fr Piotr Delimat and Fr Kieran O'Brien.
A picture of the Divine Mercy from the Krakow Basilica that was passed around Polish families in recent weeks had hung in the room where Anna had slept over the past week.
"We unite in prayer for the soul of our little angel as well as his wonderful, loving mother Anna ... I cannot express in words the gratitude for the support of all of you," the statement added.
Dozens of Kerry families, hotels, clubs and associations have also made arrangements for wreaths to be sent to little Karol's Mass of the Angels as a mark of solidarity.