Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tragic Donal laid to rest in heart-rending service

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen was among the hundreds of mourners at the funeral of the Irish backpacker who died in a freak accident in Australia earlier this month.

Donal Bolton, a welder, died in Cairns when he was hit by an out-of-control car while sitting on a park bench. His girlfriend Justine Walsh escaped with injuries to her legs.

Ms Walsh (22) visited the scene a few days after the crash, and her tribute was repeated on Saturday at St Mary's Cemetery, Raheen, in Offaly. But this time it was Donal's uncle, Joe Bolton, who spoke on her behalf.

"You are the love of my life, my knight in shining armour, I love you babe," he said.

Ms Walsh sat alongside Donal's family for most of the emotional service, and Mr Bolton described her role in giving Donal confidence.

"She was the ying to Donal's yang," he said.

He described his nephew as "a dedicated son, a caring brother and a loving boyfriend". He spoke of his nephew's GAA career with Raheen and said he was a keen fan of the Offaly teams and Manchester United.

Mr Bolton thanked the staff at the Departments of the Taoiseach and of Transport, the Irish embassy in Canberra, and the emergency services and police in Australia.

Gifts brought to the altar in memory of Donal included a history book, a football jersey, work boots, and a hurley wrapped in the colours of his Raheen GAA Club.

Mr Bolton is survived by his parents, Eugene and Margaret, sister Elaine and brother Eoghan.

Irish Independent

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