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Sad goodbye Dad of tragic schoolgirl Aoibheann Duffy tells funeral she 'touched everybody with smiles'

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Aoibheann Duffy

Aoibheann Duffy

Aoibheann Duffy

The schoolgirl killed in a collision with a van while cycling near her home was a happy, funny girl who filled her home with laughter and singing, her father told her funeral Mass today.

The funeral of Aoibheann Duffy (11) was held today in St. Brendan’s Church, Ardfert, Co Kerry.

Aoibheann suffered critical injuries following a collision between her bike and a van near her Abbeydorney home in north Kerry shortly after 7.30pm on Monday evening.

Gardaí and paramedics were at the scene within minutes but, tragically, despite desperate efforts to stabilise her condition, the primary school student died shortly after being rushed to University Hospital Kerry (UHK) in Tralee.

The van driver, a man in his 50s, was also taken to UHK for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Speaking in his eulogy, her father Patrick said Aoibheann filled their house with laughter and singing.

“Aoibheann’s school friends would describe her as very happy, funny, kind and considerate,” he said.

“She loved horse riding. Aoibheann told me she would always like to be a jockey.

“She had a passion for cooking and baking and we often baked Christmas cakes together and that’s a very special memory for me.”

“Aoibheann was a girl that would try everything. If she was knocked back, she would pick herself, dust her down and start again,” he added.

Patrick said his daughter could often be seen walking the dogs and having a laugh and smile with neighbours.

“One of her favourite pastimes was TikTok. She spent time in preparation, perfecting her singing and dancing,” he said.

“Her new saying was “I don't have an attitude problem, just a personality you can’t handle.” that was Aoibheann, a sassy, classy young lady who is sorely missed by everyone.

“She touched everybody with smiles and her smile was infectious.”

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Speaking at the mass, parish priest of Ardfert Fr Pat Crean Lynch said Aoibheann had been looking forward to celebrating her twelfth birthday in three weeks' time.

“I know from her family that she was eagerly looking forward to her twelfth birthday because last year her eleventh birthday took place when there were a lot of restrictions in place and she couldn’t properly celebrate so she was expecting to have a much bigger better celebration of her twelfth birthday in three weeks time,” he said.

It was a private family funeral with a 50-person limit, with a video link available for those wishing to pay their respects.

Special guards of honour were provided at the funeral by schools, clubs and organisations in the Abbeydorney-Ardfert area, where the tight knit communities are shocked and heartbroken at the tragedy.

The priest invited the family to place symbols and gifts that represented different parts of Aoibheann’s life.

A horse-riding helmet was presented to show Aoibheann’s love of horse riding.

Aoibheann was a keen equestrian and had her own pony called Spirit.

A hurley and GAA jersey were displayed to represent Aoibheann’s love of the sport.

The fifth class pupil was a devoted juvenile member of Abbeydorney Ladies’ Gaelic Football Club and was excited at the recent return to training following the easing of level 5 restrictions.

As a mark of respect, all training was cancelled by the club on Tuesday.

Kerry and Clare jerseys were brought up to represent Aoibheann’s support of both counties.

Schoolbooks and a tin whistle were also brought up to show Aoibheann’s love of learning.

Aoibheann was a student at Ardfert National School where pupils and staff are devastated by her passing.

School Principal Betty Stack earlier in the week described Aoibheann as an active, outgoing, fun-loving girl who was always smiling, kind and considerate of others.

Aoibheann’s phone was also brought up as she often enjoyed texting her friends and making TikTok videos.

Aoibheann was buried near Sofia in Ardfert's Abbey Cemetery following the private Requiem Mass.

Aoibheann is survived by her parents Patrick and Nuala and siblings Michael, Katie, Gavin, Ruth, Michaela and Daniel.

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