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Tragic loss Kitesurfer who died at Dublin beach was a 'gentleman' who 'wore his heart on his sleeve', funeral told

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Dublin kite-surfer, triathlon and ironman competitor Ger Fennelly, who died while kite-surfing on Dollymount Strand last Saturday morning, has been remembered as a gentleman who wore his heart on his sleeve and made every day count.

Ger (39), from Beaumont, had been surfing the waves off the north Dublin coast when he got into difficulty.

The father of one was taken from the water but pronounced dead at the scene.

Before his funeral mass today, Ger’s remains were brought one last time to Dollymount Strand on the way to the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in Beaumont.

In a show of strength, support and solidarity, more than a hundred friends from his sporting clubs formed a guard of honour on the Causeway Road as a mark of respect to him.

After his coffin was carried into the church Ger’s surf board was laid against it at the altar.

A photograph of Ger was then placed on top of it.

Ger’s friend Fionn told the mourners how they had known each other for 16 years and spent a summer in San Diego together on a J1 visa.

He spoke warmly and proudly of his friend.

“It was during that trip that Ger was diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that he never let get in the way or put him off any task or goal he had set for himself. I say ‘condition’ because Ger would never let his diabetes be considered a disease,” he said.

“His determination and positivity is always what I found most inspiring about him,” Fionn added.

He explained that he got into running marathons himself, largely because of Ger’s influence.

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Ger Fennelly competing in an Iron Man tournament

Ger Fennelly competing in an Iron Man tournament

Ger Fennelly competing in an Iron Man tournament

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He said Ger had signed up for a half ironman event in Cork next August, and Fionn hopes to run it in his place and in his memory to raise money for a charity of his family’s choosing.

“Family and friends were always the most important thing for Ger. He was a salt-of-the-earth, make every day count, heart on his sleeve kind of guy,” he said.

“The most common description I’ve seen used in messages of condolence for him is the word ‘gentleman’.

"This he certainly was. He was kind, warm hearted, fun loving, generous and compassionate. He never failed to put other people’s needs before his and would go a million miles out of his way to help a friend in need,” he added.

In his homily, Fr Robert Smyth said the community of Beaumont, and all of Ger’s circle of friends and family, were in shock at his death.

“Ger’s family spoke to me of the full life that he squeezed into his 39 years on this earth.

"How he used the gifts and talents that God gave him, and how he used them to do good,” he told the mourners in the church and those who accessed the funeral through a live Facebook broadcast.

Fr Smyth told how Ger had worked for the Cluid housing charity providing affordable, quality homes to people in housing need.

He was made permanent there just a month ago and had been due to start a new position with them just last Monday.

Ger also held an annual fundraiser for the Peter McVerry Trust, and had been engaged in raising money for the Mental Health Ireland charity at the time he died, and encouraged people to donate to mentalhealthireland.ie

He is survived by his parents Gilbert and Mary, sister Elaine, nephew Calvin and daughter Lauryn.

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