A man whose body was found trapped in a cage last Saturday in the River Shannon had lived for his family, his craft and his interests, mourners at his funeral Mass were told.
Hundreds packed into Castleisland Parish Church in Co Kerry to say a final goodbye to TJ O’Herlihy, a “gentle giant” who adored his partner Tessa and their two small children.
Mr O’Herlihy (36) from Tullig in Castleisland died alongside his workmate Bryan Whelan (29) from Blackwater, Co Clare, when a cable held by a crane snapped as they worked at Thomond Bridge in Limerick.
His brother Shane told mourners it was up to everyone who knew TJ to give him their own eulogy.
“He loved his family, he loved Tessa, he loved Conor and he loved Katie,” he said.
“He loved stone, he loved talking, he loved learning, teaching, eating and drinking.
“It’s up to you who knew him to make up your own eulogy and remember him as you see fit.”
Symbols brought to the altar included a block of limestone, representing his love of his craft, a basket of food, symbolising his love of cooking, and a rugby ball for the sportsman who lined out with Castleisland RFC.
A book of maps, representing his love of travel and the book ‘The History of Kerry’ were also offered.
Mr O’Herlihy, a stonemason, had only recently returned home from working in Sweden.
He and his Swedish partner had planned to raise their children, Conor (3) and Katie (six months), in Kerry.