Tuesday 20 November 2018

'I wanted to see what you would grow up to be' - parents of tragic Annabel (3) give moving eulogies

Annabel (3), from Delvin, Co Westmeath, who died on Friday, was the only daughter of well-known hurler Enda Loughlin and his wife, Eileen
Annabel (3), from Delvin, Co Westmeath, who died on Friday, was the only daughter of well-known hurler Enda Loughlin and his wife, Eileen

Ian Begley and Will Slattery

THE heartbroken parents of little Annabel Loughlin gave moving eulogies at her funeral today - and her father's hurling team held an emotional minute's silence in her honour this evening.

Hundreds of people turned out in the pouring rain to say goodbye to the girl who died in a tragic accident in her family home late last week.

Annabel (3), from Delvin, Co Westmeath, who died on Friday, was the only daughter of Clonkill stalwart and former Westmeath hurler Enda Loughlin and his wife, Eileen.

About 300 mourners packed into the Church of The Assumption in Delvin to pay their respects to the heartbroken family and to celebrate a young girl “whose smile would light up heaven”.

Annabel’s parents, a pillar of their Westmeath community, talked about a short life that was nonetheless lived to its fullest.

“I used to call her ‘my little woman’ and she’d reply ‘my dadda’,” said her father Enda.

6 November 2018; Members of the Clonkill team stand for a minute's silence in memory of the late Annabel Loughlin prior to the AIB Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship quarter-final match between Ballyboden St Endas and Clonkill at Parnell Park, in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
6 November 2018; Members of the Clonkill team stand for a minute's silence in memory of the late Annabel Loughlin prior to the AIB Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship quarter-final match between Ballyboden St Endas and Clonkill at Parnell Park, in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“She had a heart of gold, a smile that would light up heaven and a temper that would put the fear of God into the strongest and bravest of us all.

“Annabel loved life and chasing her brothers around. Being the smallest in Delvin didn’t mean a thing to her as she had the biggest personality.

“Words can’t described the loss you are to your mammy, daddy, Senan and TJ… Sleep tight missy moo, we love you.”

The little girl's mother Eileen also paid tribute to her daughter in a beautiful description of her life.

Annabel Loughlin
Annabel Loughlin

“From the moment I knew I was having a baby I really hoped it was a girl. Annabel meant so much to so many people.

“As a baby, right through to a three-and-a-half year old, Annabel never really liked to sleep, but now I realise she was just trying to cram in as many hours of living as she could.

“For a little girl, she’d lived life to the fullest. Every morning she’d wake up with her blonde hair and a smile ready for each day.

“I wanted to see what you would grow up to be. You had beauty, brains, personality and determination. When god made you, he made perfection.

“I wanted to hug you when there was boy troubles. I wanted to watch you fall in love and sit while you chose the perfect wedding dress. I even wanted to watch you have babies because you told me you wanted to be a mammy.”

Ms Loughlin then expressed her wish that her daughter’s name is never forgotten and is spoke about regularly.

Fr Seamus Heaney, who delivered the sermon, prayed for support and comfort for all those who were affected by the tragedy.

Gifts brought up to the altar as symbols of Annabel’s life included her cherished hurley stick, wellies, dolls, and her baptism candle.

Before the sermon ended, mourners were invited to pay their respects to the Loughlin family in person.

Her remains were then carried out of the church where she was laid to rest at Taghmon Cemetery.

Meanwhile, this evening, players from Clonkill and Ballyboden St Enda's stood for an emotional minute's silence at the Leinster club hurling quarter-final in memory of Annabel.

The Leinster club hurling quarter-final was postponed from Sunday until Tuesday evening after the news broke at the weekend.

Ahead of the game, players stood for a minute's silence at Parnell Park in Dublin, wearing black armbands to mark the devastating loss.

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