Wednesday 13 December 2017

‘You saved my life’ note left by Donal’s graveside

The late Donal Walsh
The late Donal Walsh
Joyce Fegan

Joyce Fegan

Inspirational Kerry teenager Donal Walsh’s writings are being brought to the Vatican as his family mark his 18th birthday.

“Donal’s message about living life to the full, that he died wanting us to spread, has been translated into Latin and we handed it over to the church this morning (Sunday),” said his mother Elma.

Donal would have celebrated his 18th birthday yesterday and to mark the occasion his writings will be relayed out of Tralee as 23 cyclists leave Ireland this Wednesday to hand deliver it to the Vatican.

Ms Walsh also told the Herald that the Donal Walsh LIVElife Foundation has raised €150,000 so far.

“We’ve given out approximately €50,000 for teenage rooms for Pieta House and Console,” explained Ms Walsh.

The main bulk of the money is to “kit out” a teenage room in the planned Tralee hospice, added Donal’s mother.

She also said that she has found flowers and notes from strangers on her son’s grave as people visit it for inspiration.

“I went to the grave the other day and I found a card on it from a girl in Dublin and it just said, You saved my life’.

“People leave flowers and cards on it from all over the country,” said Ms Walsh.

And last night Donal’s father Fionnbar, sister Jema and mother went for a private “stroll” to remember him on his 18th birthday.

Donal would have just sat the Leaving Certificate and his mother believes he would have aimed to have gone on to do sports journalism.

“It seemed to be the way he was going. He had a way with words and a love of sports,” explained Ms Walsh.

She also said that his best friends all referenced her son in their English exam.

“They all used Donal in their English essay because they were asked to write about an inspirational hero.

“There’s a rumour going around that 80pc of students wrote about Donal in their exam,” she added.

Donal’s close friends plan to study business, psychology and teaching when they start university this September.


But Elma says the family is being kept very busy in Donal’s absence.

And a non-alcoholic teenage disco is planned for the Rose of Tralee Festival in the Dome on August 16.

“We’re hoping for The Coronas,” said Ms Walsh.

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