THE PEOPLE of Kilmuckridge are struggling to come to terms with the loss of 18 year old Laura Donnelly who died tragically at her home at Ballinahask last Wednesday.
The Waterford IT student was heavily involved in her local community, and the Guards of Honour provided at her funeral by members of St. Joseph's FC, Buffers Alley GAA Club, Realt na Mara Ballygarrett GAA Club, Kilmuckridge Drama Group and the local Pantomime Society, showed just how multi-talented she was.
She was also a gifted artist, an accomplished Irish dancer, and a black belt in Taekwondo.
Like everyone, parish priest Fr. Seamus Larkin was at a loss for words at her Funeral Mass in St. Mary's Church in Kilmuckridge on Saturday afternoon. HEARTFELT and emotional tributes have been paid to talented Laura Donnelly of Ballinahask, Kilmuckridge, who passed away suddenly and tragically at her home last Wednesday evening, just two weeks short of her 19th birthday.
Laura would have turned nineteen on Christmas Eve, and her loss has left a deep and indelible mark on her family, friends, and the wider local community.
A former pupil of the Presentation Secondary School in Wexford, she completed her Leaving Cert last June. She had since begun the course she had dreamed of, Health and Leisure in Waterford IT, and was loving it there.
The principal of the Presentation Secondary School, Breda Cogley, was among those who paid tributes..
'Laura was a very committed student and was respected and loved by all,' said Breda.
She added that students and staff at the school are deeply saddened by her passing, and that their thoughts and prayers are with her family. 'We can only imagine how devastated and heartbroken they must be by her untimely death,' she said.
Laura's heartbroken parents Bill and Joanne, sister Sophie, brother Robert, grandfather Billy Donnelly and grandmother Anne Furlong, uncles, aunts and cousins have been comforted in the past week by family, friends and neighbours.
At her Funeral Mass on Saturday at St. Mary's Church in Kilmuckridge, Laura's achievements and contributions to her local community were recalled.
Among the items brought to the altar during the Mass were a pair of Irish dancing shoes, signifying her talent and accomplishments as an Irish dancer. Laura was due to dance on stage with her sister Sophie and aunt Andrea in the local pantomime on Thursday. It was postponed to January following the tragedy.
A pair of soccer boots were also brought up, remembering her sporting talent. She played soccer with the local St. Joseph's Club, as well as camogie with Buffers Alley, and Gaelic football with Realt na Mara/Ballygarrett.
Also presented to the altar was her black belt in Taekwondo and a medal won when she was runner-up in the World Taekwondo Championships in her grade several years ago.
A mug representing her love of a good cup of tea was also offered, as was one of her art works. Laura was an exceptionally talented artist and loved painting and drawing. She was very involved with the local drama group painting backdrops and sets for various productions.
'She was a quiet girl, but basically anything she did, one hundred cent wasn't enough for her,' said her uncle Jimmy Furlong. 'She did swimming, but that wasn't enough. She went on to qualify as a Lifeguard. There was very little that she didn't get involved in locally.'
At her Funeral on Saturday, tributes were paid to Laura by Fr. Seamus Larkin who knew her as an altar server during her primary schooling in the village. He spoke of the sense of shock in the local community at her sudden loss. Her neighbour Michael Murphy also gave an emotional eulogy.
Guards of honour were provided by members of St. Joseph's, Buffers Alley, Realt na Mara Ballygarrett, Kilmuckridge Drama Group and the Pantomime Society. She was laid to rest in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Predeceased by her grandmother Beth Donnelly, and grandfather Jimmy Furlong, Laura is survived by her loving parents Bill and Joanne, sister Sophie, brother Robert, grandfather Billy, grandmother Anne, uncles, aunts, cousins, and a wide circle of family friends and neighbours. May she Rest in Peace.