Sunday 25 February 2018

'The same songs, hymns and flowers' - Devastated mum of US lecturer swapping wedding plans for funeral

Scene of the fire in Limerick and inset Grace McDermott
Scene of the fire in Limerick and inset Grace McDermott
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The family of the tragic US lecturer who passed away in a house fire in Limerick said they are now planning for her funeral instead of her wedding.

Grace McDermott lost her life in the tragic blaze which ripped through the house she was staying at in Annacotty, Limerick, in the early hours of Monday morning.

Ms McDermott, in her late 20s, was living in Dublin and was engaged to be married to fiancé Colin O'Neill, from Portmarnock, Co Dublin. She was a lecturer at Dublin City University and was a scholarship postgraduate student, studying for a PhD in communications.

Ms McDermott's devastated mum told the New York Post that the family have been forced to swap wedding plans for funeral plans.

Grace McDermott
Grace McDermott

“She was planning her wedding to the greatest guy in the world,” her heartbroken mum said at her home in the US.

“Now we’ll be using the same songs, the same hymns that she wanted at her wedding, the same flowers that she wanted at her wedding, for her service.

“They say the greatest tragedy is to die and to never have lived — and she lived every second and we’re blessed for that."

A woman and three male university students managed to escape from the burning house and raise the alarm. Firefighters later removed Ms McDermott's remains from a first-floor bedroom. More tests are being carried out at the house and gardaí are not treating the fire as suspicious.

Her parents are understood to have travelled to Ireland from New York yesterday.

Ms McDermott co-founded the popular academic website and blog 'Women Are Boring' which highlights thought-provoking research done by women, in every field from arts, politics, science and technology.

Ms McDermott co-founded the popular website with Catherine Connolly.

A tribute to was posted on the website yesterday morning.

"So devastated to share the news that our co-founder @grace_mcdermott died tragically yesterday. Women Are Boring is now on hiatus for a while.

"I will continue the project (Grace would be so mad if I stopped!) but will need a little time. Thanks to all for your support."

Speaking to Ms Connolly said the project was Grace's passion and it will be continuing into the future.

Members of UL Bohemians who escaped from the fire were too upset to talk to the media.

UL Bohemians spokesman Tony Quilty said the players who survived the fire were "devastated", while expressing his sympathies to the family of Ms McDermott.

"My concern now is just for our lads, it was a tragic house fire," said Mr Quilty.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the lady that has tragically died."

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