Brave paralysed nightclub roof fall teen: I'm grateful...there are people so much worse off

Kinsale teen Ciara O'Brien
Kinsale teen Ciara O'Brien
Berkely survivor Clodagh Cogley
Berkely survivor Clodagh Cogley

A brave teenage girl who was paralysed when she fell from a roof at a club in Kinsale, Co Cork has revealed how she considers herself lucky, despite her injuries.

Ciara O’Brien (18) is currently Ciara is receiving treatment at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin and has been told by doctors that she will never walk again after the incident last August.

However, speaking for the first time since the fall to the Irish Sun on Sunday, she defiantly said: “Adapting to the wheelchair is life changing. I have been warned I will be permanently paralysed but it is early days and this is a long-term road to recovery.”

Kinsale girl Ciara has struck up friendships with both Aoife Beary and Clodagh Cogley — who survived last summer’s balcony collapse fall in Berkeley, California — when she entered the National Rehabilitation Centre.

The tragedy claimed the lives of Irish students Eimear Walsh, Lorcan Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Olivia Burke and Irish-American citizen Ashley Donohoe.

Despite suffering paralysing injuries, Ciara – who travels by herself to Dublin on the train for rehabilitation – explained how she was thankful to spend Christmas at home with her family in Kinsale.

 “When you are surrounded by people with all sorts of injuries it is a real eye-opener,” she said.

“I am even grateful for what happened to me because there are people so much worse off. When you see people in a worse condition then you say ‘thank God’.

“There are so many with brain injuries and higher spine injuries that leave them completely immobile and you realise that you could be worse.

“It’s also a great experience to meet so many great people and my friends are just brilliant. It’s an eye-opener. You just have to get on with it.”

The Caring for Ciara O’Brien Trust will be launched this Thursday at the White Lady Hotel in Kinsale, while February 14 sees a 5k walk in her hometown to raise funds for the teen.