Thursday 21 November 2019

Donal Walsh continues to inspire on second anniversary

Donal Walsh. Photo: PA
Donal Walsh. Photo: PA
Fionnbar and Elma Walsh, parents of the late Donal Walsh
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

One day after the second anniversary of her son's death, Elma Walsh will address a parish mission about inspirational Kerry teenager Donal.

Derry is today's destination, part of a gruelling schedule Elma and her husband Fionnbar have been keeping, ensuring their son's life-affirming message is kept alive.

Elma keeps Thursdays and Fridays free for travelling, while Monday is hotel manager Fionnbar's day on the road when he can usually be found addressing teenagers at schools the length and breadth of the country.

On one three-day period alone Elma clocked up 1,800 miles, but she says the long hours and the travel are worth it.

"If it keeps Donal's message out there, I don't mind," she told the Herald.

Donal Walsh. Photo: PA

Donal Walsh

It's been two years since Donal Walsh died, but he is still remembered fondly in his home town where people packed in to the Dominican Church in Tralee to remember a homegrown hero on his second anniversary yesterday.


Donal was only 16 when he died of cancer at the family home in Blennerville, near Tralee, on May 12, 2013.

He had battled the illness three times in the previous four years, but the extraor- dinary teenager also spoke of his burning desire to live and his hope that his death would make people appreciate life more.

Just weeks before his death, Donal made a recording of his anti-suicide message which is shown in schools as part of an HSE strategy to tackle youth suicide.

Yesterday's anniversary mass celebrated by Prior Joe O'Brien was attended by Donal's parents, his sister Jema and his closest friends James O'Connor, Hugh Stuart and John Kelly.


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