Sunday 18 March 2018

'Grace's fiancé was her first love, and Ireland her second' - Sister's tribute at funeral of fire victim

'Grace was full of life and love'

Fire victim Grace McDermott
Fire victim Grace McDermott

Alan O'Keeffe

The sister of fire victim Grace McDermott paid a moving tribute to her following her funeral in Dublin.

"She was my older sister and my other half," said Kristen McDermott (24).

Bride-to-be Grace (26) died in a blaze at a house in Annacotty in Limerick in the early hours of Monday, May 1.

"Grace was full of life and love. She was always searching for the next adventure," said Kristen, who travelled with her family from the US for the funeral.

Grace had a deep love for her fiancé Colin O'Neill from Portmarnock, Dublin, and a great love for Ireland, she said. Grace, from Long Island, New York, was working as a lecturer at Dublin City University where she was also study for a PhD.

"She was so excited to be with Colin, the love of her life. The second love of her life was Ireland," she said.

Her parents Robert and Leslie also travelled from New York for the funeral at Dardistown Crematorium last Friday. She is also survived by her brothers Matthew and Peter.

Read more: 'The same songs, hymns and flowers' - Devastated mum of US lecturer swapping wedding plans for funeral

Grace attended university in the US and travelled to Ireland to complete a college semester at the University of Limerick.

"Limerick was what made her fall in love with Ireland and her fiancé Colin was what made her stay in love with Ireland," Kristen told the Irish Independent.

She spoke of Grace's dedication to the blog she co-founded with her friend Catherine Connolly, entitled Women Are Boring which highlighted academic research by women.

"She was so dedicated to promoting other women's research.

"We're so grateful to everyone who came to the funeral. There were tons and tons of people and we're so thankful to everyone who showed up to show their support. It provided some comfort for my parents and for myself and my family," she said.

Grace's father Robert, a New York-based lawyer, was praised by Irish friends of Grace for showing so much concern for her friends following her death.

Her mother Leslie said Grace was "planning her wedding to the greatest guy in the world".

Irish Independent

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