Kodaline bring packed church to tears as band join thousands of mourners at Ciara's funeral
Irish band Kodaline flew in from the UK to pay their respects to Kilkenny teenager Ciara Lawlor, who collapsed and died following their concert in Marlay Park on Friday night.
Thousands of mourners who attended the popular schoolgirl's funeral at Saint John's Church yesterday wept openly as the band joined Ciara's classmates from the Loreto Choir and sang a heart-wrenching version of 'High Hopes'.
Tears streamed down the faces of teenage boys and girls, children, men and women, young and old as the haunting melody echoed in the Gothic church.
Speaking on behalf of the band after they performed 'Love Will Set You Free' at the end of the funeral Mass, drummer Vinny May told the packed church that they simply wanted to pass on their condolences to Ciara's loved ones after learning of her tragic demise following their open-air concert in Rathfarnham, Dublin.
Earlier, the 17-year-old's former classmates and friends from the O'Loughlin Gaels GAA Club and the Kilkenny City Harriers Athletics Club formed a massive guard of honour outside the church as Ciara's remains were brought to the same church where she was baptised.
Parish priest Fr Frank Purcell spoke of the tragic, untimely death of the "beautiful girl, inside and out", whose sudden death from a pre-existing medical condition has plunged the entire community into shock and grief.
"Ciara was suddenly snatched from this life as she was bopping and rocking with her friends to her beloved Kodaline," he said. "Ciara had a beautiful spirit and soul and was a beautiful looking girl."
Many of the mourners simply wept as Fr Purcell spoke of the "bubbly and vivacious" young woman who was a "treasured friend" to so many.
Fr Purcell said that Ciara's kindness, friendliness and zest for life always lit up whatever room she entered.
Her close friends presented some of her treasured personal belongings as symbols of her life and hopes for the future.
A rosette and badge that she won for a science project at the BT Young Scientist competition symbolised her drive and work ethic as a student at Loreto Secondary School in Kilkenny, where she was due to sit her Leaving Cert next year.
An 'L' sticker was presented by another friend, a symbol of Ciara's burning desire to get a full driving licence and fulfil her dream of owning her own car.
Like many of her generation, her smartphone was a symbol of her lifeline to her many friends.
A photo of her cherished family, including parents John and Eimear, and brothers Jack and Barry, was brought to the altar.
School friends were inconsolable as they made their way to her final resting place at St Kieran's cemetery.