Bouncy castle girl (8) buried in dress from communion
AN EIGHT-year-old girl who died in a freak fall from a bouncy castle will be buried in the white communion dress she had proudly worn at the altar just hours before the tragedy.
Amy Byrne (8) will be wearing her prized communion dress and will have her first prayer book and rosary beads by her side as she is buried after Mass of the Angels in west Waterford today.
Her 14 classmates from Scoil Naomh Gobnait national school in Coolnasmear -- all of whom made their first holy communion alongside Amy last Saturday -- will form a special guard of honour for her white coffin at St Gobnait's Church.
Sporting and farming groups in Coolnasmear and Kilgobnait will also mount special tributes for Amy's heartbroken parents, Paul and Lorraine, and her younger brothers, Thomas and Michael.
Fr Michael Kennedy, who gave Amy her communion, will today celebrate her funeral Mass -- with the flowers from Saturday's parish celebration still fresh on the altar.
Fr Kennedy said the entire community now wanted to offer their support to the Byrne family and pay their respects to "a beautiful little angel" who brought so much joy into her family's lives.
"No one thought that a day which dawned with such joy and happiness on Saturday would end up like this -- it is just so hard to believe," he said.
The principal of Scoil Gobnait national school described Amy as "a model student" whose death had numbed the entire community.
"We are all heartbroken over what happened. It is a desperate time for everyone involved," Eddie O'Halloran said.
The Irish Independent has learned that the large bouncy castle was fully supervised and properly tethered. Wind has been blamed for Amy losing her footing and then suffering her fatal fall.
Amy's fall was described was one local man as "a one-in-a-million accident -- she just got a knock on the wrong part of the front of her head."
A leading doctor warned yesterday of the risks bouncy castles and trampolines pose.
"There is no question but that they can pose a hazard," emergency medicine consultant Chris Luke said.
"It is a question of balancing the fun and enjoyment with the risk attached," he added.