Sister Roses and escorts bid final farewell to 'gift from God' Dorothy
A GIFT from God to her grieving parents was how the 2011 Washington Rose was described at her funeral Mass.
The 'Rose of Tralee' entrant Dorothy Moriarty Henngeler was born just two years after the death of her older sister.
And yesterday, just 30 years after losing their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Treasa to meningitis, her heart-broken parents, Eibhlin and Dick, suffered the "unimaginable grief" of saying goodbye to a second child.
The sisters were laid to rest side by side at Aghadoe Cemetery in Dorothy's beloved Killarney in Co Kerry.
The 27-year-old would have celebrated her 28th birthday on Thursday, one week after she passed away at the family home in Baltimore in the USA from a brain tumour.
Her remains were returned "home" to Killarney yesterday, her mother's hometown, where 18 of her "sister Roses" turned up to say their goodbyes.
Her dad, Dick told mourners how he and his wife had prayed for another daughter after the death of Treasa while on holiday in Killarney.
He said 28 years ago their prayers were answered when Dorothy came into their lives.
He said for the last five months they had been on Dot's final journey to heaven where he was sure she had now been reunited with her sister and they both would look over the family. He said nothing would have pleased his daughter more than seeing her sister Roses and brother escorts at her funeral.
"The joy and love she has given us has been immeasurable. Over time Eibhlin and I slowly realised that Dorothy was also a gift to so many others," he said.
"She made friends feel like family and she made family feel so special and since her illness we've come to know just how many people were deeply touched by her.
"Our gift from God became your gift from Dorothy, which is God's love."
There were laughs from the congregation when he mused his daughter's hobby was collecting friends because she seemed to have so many but each one felt they were special.
Her mother Eibhlin sang the 'Ar nAthair' during the moving ceremony for her daughter as she had done for her during her illness.
All wearing purple – the colour to highlight brain cancer awareness – each of the 18 Roses who had met Dottie at the 2011 festival carried a red Rose and formed a guard of honour as their friend's remains were carried from St Mary's Cathedral as the choir sang 'The Rose of Tralee'.
The sight moved her mother to tears and she mouthed 'thank you' at the girls.
Among them was the 2011 Rose of Tralee, Tara Talbot, who represented Queensland that year, as well as Dorothy's escort Barry Donnelly, who poignantly carried a single red rose to the altar that was offered among other symbols representing her life.
She is survived by her parents, brother Franz and his wife Amber, her adored nephew Conrad (2), aunts, uncles and cousins.