Wedding tragedy as bride's father collapses and dies
A bride watched in horror as her father collapsed on the dance floor at the height of her wedding celebrations and was later pronounced dead.
Karen O'Brien was sharing the dance floor with her father Tommy at around 9.30pm last Saturday when he collapsed of a suspected heart attack, shortly after the wedding band started playing.
Hours earlier, Mr O'Brien - from Quin, Co Clare - had proudly walked his only daughter up the aisle at the local village church to marry Mike O'Halloran.
The dance floor at the Bunratty Castle Hotel was cleared to allow an off-duty nurse and others work with the aid of a defibrillator to try to revive Mr O'Brien (70) before an ambulance arrived.
However, the father-of-two never regained consciousness and he was pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick later that night.
Mr O'Brien's wife Noreen and his son, Eoin, were also present when he collapsed.
Karen - still in her wedding dress - and other members of the family travelled to UHL to be with Mr O'Brien.
The newly-weds had booked a honeymoon to Mexico, but are instead preparing for Mr O'Brien's funeral tomorrow in the same church where they were married.
A friend of the O'Brien family, Sonny Scanlan, said the village of Quin was "numb and dumbfounded" following the sudden and tragic death of Mr O'Brien. He added that Mr O'Brien - who retired after working in Shannon Airport - was on a waiting list for a heart by-pass operation.
"Tommy was very much involved in the community. He was a very popular man and he got on with everyone. It is very sad for the family," he said.
Another friend of the family, Ger O'Halloran, said: "The very unfortunate set of events make Tommy's passing even more difficult."
He said local soccer club Rhine Rovers had recently made Mr O'Brien 'Life President' in recognition of his contribution to the club over 34 years.