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Nation mourns as two more girls buried after tragic Athy crash that left parish 'overpowered with darkness'

Hundreds of mourners attended the funerals today of 19-year-old Niamh Doyle and 19-year-old Ashling Middleton, two of four women who died in a car crash near Athy on Tuesday night.

The funeral of Niamh Doyle took place in Askea Church in Carlow earlier this morning.

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Ashling Middleton's funeral Naas  Picture: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Middleton's funeral Naas Picture: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Middleton's funeral Naas Picture: Gerry Mooney

The chief mourners at the funeral were her parents Ber and Veronica, her sister Louise, her brother Kevin, boyfriend Shane and niece Rachel.

It was also attended by members of the family of Dayna Kearny, who survived the crash which claimed the lives of Doyle (19), Ashling Middleton (19), Gemma Nolan (19) and Chermaine Carroll (20) on the N78 outside Athy on Tuesday night.

Ber Doyle told the congregation about a conversation with his daughter which he remembered on Friday morning. He had asked her which human quality she admired most. Niamh replied, “kindness” and Mr Doyle said the person who taught her most about kindness was Niamh’s mother Veronica.

Father Tom Little, who said the funeral mass, told the congregation that the crash happened he crash happened last Tuesday on the Feast of the Three Wise Men. They followed a bright star, he said, but the collision had left the parish “overpowered with the darkness of the death of the four beautiful girls”.

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Aisling Middleton

Aisling Middleton

Ashling Midddleton's mother Sharon outside the church after the funeral mass  Picture: GERRY MOONEY

Ashling Midddleton's mother Sharon outside the church after the funeral mass Picture: GERRY MOONEY

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Aisling Middleton

He mentioned her great interest in social care, saying that “it is often through helping people in a caring way that the light of God’s love shines brightly in us”, adding that “It is through her gentleness and encouragement that we remember her most with affection.”

Louise Doyle, Niamh’s sister, told the congregation that she could not fins the words to sum up what her sister meant to her and her family. Instead, she quoted lyrics from the Paramore song, entitled Misguided Ghost: “I’m going away for a while.

But I’ll be back, don’t try and follow me, Cause I’ll return as soon as possible, See, I’m trying to find my place, But it might not be here where I feel safe, We all learn to make mistakes.”

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Ashling's remains are taken from the church after the funeral mass.  Picture: Gerry Mooney

Ashling's remains are taken from the church after the funeral mass. Picture: Gerry Mooney

A mourner outside the church as Ashling's remains are placed into the hearse after the funeral mass.  Picture: Gerry Mooney

A mourner outside the church as Ashling's remains are placed into the hearse after the funeral mass. Picture: Gerry Mooney

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Ashling's remains are taken from the church after the funeral mass. Picture: Gerry Mooney

On Saturday afternoon the funeral of Ashling Middleton took place at the  Church of Our Lady and St. David on the Sallins Road. Father Liam Morgan told the congregation of Ashlings great love of reading and creative writing.

A novel was placed on her coffin to symbolise these loves along with a ticket for a One Direction concert this year. The mourners were lead by Ashling’s mother Sharon, grandmother Teresa, uncle Robert and grandfather David, who delivered the homily.

He paid tribute to the staff and students of St Leo’s secondary school, which Ashling attended, and to the staff of Maynooth where she would go on to study- both institutions had a lasting influence on her short life he said.

He spoke of Ashling’s upringing: she had lived for a time in Naas with her mother Sharon and her father Ray, who passed away seven years ago. the congregation heard that in recent years she had become her mother Sharon’s “best and dearest friend.”

Ashling’s grandfather David told the congregation that his granddaughter had taken her deceased father’s name at her confirmation. Her laugh could brighten the darkest night and she was a naturally funny girl, Mr Tormey said.

He read out a few lines from a poem written by Ashling before she died: “We are not our future, we are not our past”, she wrote, “we are our present.” "Ashling left us with wonderful memories”, Mr Tormey said. “And we will take great strength and solace from these memories.”

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