'Live your life like Patrick had, with a smile and a song' sister tells mourners
The sister of DCU student Patrick Halpin paid an emotional tribute to her brother telling the packed congregation at his funeral to live life like he would have - with a smile and a song.
More than a thousand mourners packed into St Brendan's Cathedral in Loughrea for the funeral mass of the 18-year-old actuary student who died in London while on a trip to the city with the DCU drama group.
Regina Ni hAilpin remembered her brother for his love of sports, theatre and reading.
She recalled his love of sport; playing volleyball for Ireland, represtening his community in hurling and following his mother in karate.
But it was his love of theatre and his time with Loughrea Youth Theatre that gave him his confidence.
Telling mourners that Patrick's life was full of song, she said that he was never happier then when on the stage.
She told of how they would spend hours at home singing songs from musicals with Patrick knowing every word.
"In many ways Patrick really came into his own in the confidence he gained and the friends he made at LYT," she said.
She urged the congregation not to think of his death as a tragedy but to remember how he had reached perfection in his short life.
"I want to go back to this idea of tragedy and I tell you this isn't one. He had reached perfection and God took him, he won't be reduced by the evils of this world. He is not gone too soon, he is gone just in time," she said.
Speaking to the 1,000 strong congregation she urged them not to leave the Church in sorrow but asked them to live their life as her brother would.
"Forget old arguments and invite old friends back into your life. Do not worry, live your life as if you are forever 18."
"Live your life like Patrick had, with a smile and a song," she said.
Patrick Halpin was found dead on a roof of a Burger King outlet in Leicester Sq on Thursday, February 6.
He had gone missing just after midnight on Wednesday, February 5 after he became separated from his group.
As Patrick's body was taken from the church, a guard of honour was formed by a range of clubs and societies he had played a role in. Members of the Kilnadeema-Leitrim club carried his remains from the local church to the cemetery where he was laid to rest.