Friends and family of the 24-year-old gathered for his funeral mass at St Patrick’s Church in Skerries, north Co Dublin, this afternoon.
He had been living in Vancouver for a number of months when he was struck by a car as he walked with a friend in the Kitsilano neighbourhood on June 19. He died at the scene.
Eoghan’s sister Susan told mourners that her brother was “naturally energetic, relentless in his curiosity and fiercely sociable, eager to explore the world around him and explore he did”.
Eoghan was the middle child of three to his parents Eugene and Mary. Susan said he was the “perfect brother” to her and their younger brother James.
“As a brother he could be fiercely annoying but incredibly fun, like any brother he done his best to annoy me from time to time, once deciding to make a smoothie in the Nutribullet at 1.30am in the morning but he was kind, caring and protective too,” she said.
“On James’ first night home from the hospital a seven-year-old Eoghan, so excited for his new role as big brother, sat down at the kitchen table, took out an A4 sheet and proceeded to draw an upstairs and downstairs floor plan of the house, detailing where the sitting room, bathroom and kitchen was so the new baby wouldn’t get lost.
“He was the perfect brother, keeping me on my toes while also having my back, he was mine and James’ first friend and now forever our hero.”
Susan spoke of all Eoghan had achieved in his short but full life. She spoke of his time in school, receiving honours such as being elected head boy in his final year of secondary school and winning transition year person of the year.
She also told mourners of his kindness, generosity of spirit and gentleness, explaining how he travelled to Lourdes in France to volunteer with the sick and elderly.
He also went spent one of his summers in college working in a camp in the US for adults with additional mental and physical needs.
“Throwing himself into the unknown for the benefit of others, he truly believed in helping everyone and he didn’t just speak about it, he did it. What an example to set from such a young age, he was truly a man of his word,” she said.
Eoghan studied genetics in Trinity College Dublin, with Susan describing him as “the brightest Byrne, with the most incredible mind”.
One of his friends described him as “effortlessly popular”, who drew good people to him.
“His friends were a reflection of him, kind, outgoing yet unassuming people, he loved nothing more than being with you, his tribe, travelling around the world or just driving around the town,” Susan said.
A friend of Eoghan’s recalled to mourners the last week the two had spent together in Vancouver, describing the time as a “gift”.
“On our last night together, we brought our camping chairs down to Kitsilano beach and with the beautiful view, we reminisced about school, college, all the fun times we had,” he said.
“We spoke about our plans for the future all the places we were excited to explore, and all the people he was looking forward to visiting him in Vancouver.
“We also spoke of the things we achieved in life. Eoghan was a very modest guy but he told me he was proud of the life he had. He was proud to have been head boy in school, he was proud of his degree from Trinity College, he was proud of the life he had built for himself in Vancouver. He was proud seeing the people he loved having their own adventures in life.”
Susan finished with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Wish not so much to live long as to live well.”
She added: “Eoghan didn’t live nearly long enough but there is no doubt in our minds that he lived tremendously well.”