'A gift taken too soon' - heartbroken mourners attend funeral of Irish teacher (21) who died in France
Teacher and musician Eimear Noonan was “a gift taken too soon” mourners were told yesterday.
At Eimear’s funeral mass yesterday in the tiny north east Clare village of Flagmount, Eimear’s brother, Michael recalled his only sister’s wonderful kindness, positivity “and her cherished love of family”.
The tight-knit community around Caher, Flagmount and Killanena has been plunged into grief following the accidental death of Eimear (21), who fell while our for a jog in the south east French town of Annonay.
A 1st class honours graduate in French and Irish at UCC, Eimear was teaching English at a school in the small town and her body was found on November 10th.
In an emotional tribute to his younger sister at the end of her funeral mass yesterday, Michael said: “Over the course of the last few days, we have had times whee we have been torn from grief at its most crippling and painful to moments of pure joy and laughter.
At St Mary’s Church, Flagmount, Michael said: “One would have to wonder how such a thing could be possible in the circumstances, but given the personality and nature of our Eimear, happiness, joy and laughter seem best for her.”
He said: “Eimear, we will always hold you in our hearts - you were a gift taken too soon.”
Michael is of one three sons in the Noonan family and he said that Eimear was “the only girl in Flan and Mary’s flock” adding that the family will return to Annonay “to make future dedications to our beloved sister”.
Michael said that “the warm sentiment shown to us by locals in Annonay helped us to cope with our grief in the early days of learning we had lost Eimear" and said that the family will return the favour "to all those kind people there".
Michael said that Eimear was always the apple of her father’s eye “and her infectious laugh, wonderfully bubbly personality and positivity meant she was always a tonic after a day’s graft on the farm”.
However, Michael said that it was in her mother, Mary’s footsteps that Eimear tried to follow by becoming a teacher.
He said: “They were best friends from the beginning and in more recent years both have fallen in love with the French language and culture.”
Michael said that Eimear’s sweet nature always won over her three brothers and “I think we were just jealous, and maybe in awe, that our younger sister was so much cooler than us”.
One of Eimear’s brothers, Cathal is an u-21 Clare hurler and Michael said that Eimear and Cathal had a special bond “and came as a pair”.
Michael said that Eimear had a great love of music and her violin was offered up as a gift during the funeral mass while friends from the UCC orchestra bathed the ceremony in music in tribute to Eimear.
Micheal said that family took great pride in Eimear being chair of the orchestra in her final year at UCC.
Michael said that Eimear’s great loves in life were language, nature and family and she was always fully immersed in these.
Poignantly, Michael said that Eimear’s final ‘To Do’ list demonstrated her passion for her family and her work and included practising new trad tunes and ordinary everyday things like ‘coffee’ and ‘chill out and listen to music’.
Michael said that Flan and Mary “were in awe of Eimear’s gifts” and recalled how Eimear sung a rendition of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ at a production of Wizard of Oz “that would have put Judy Garland in her box”.
At the end of the mass, Melissa Craig and Kevin Herron performed the song in dedication to Eimear.
Earlier at the mass, Fr Joe McMahon told mourners that Eimear lived a very complete and very beautiful life.
Eimear’s remains were later laid to rest at Killanena cemetery and she is survived by parents, Flan and Mary and brothers, Declan, Michael and Cathal.