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tragic loss Priest says 'words seem hollow' ahead of today's funeral of boy (13) who died in sliotar accident

Harry Byrne will be laid to rest later this morning in the Church of the Assumption, Gowran, Co Kilkenny.


Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

A large crowd is expected to attend the funeral of a teenager who died in a tragic sliotar accident at school later today. 

Harry Byrne, who was from Gowran in Co Kilkenny, was taken to St Luke's Hospital where he was pronounced dead following the tragedy at his school, St Kieran's College, on Monday.

His classmates are expected to attend his funeral service in Church of the Assumption, Gowran later this morning.

Harry's school is expected to remain open today with other classes watching the live stream of the service.

Speaking on local radio station KCLRfm, Fr Patrick Dalton said it is hard to find something of comfort to say following such a tragic death.

“Words seem to be hollow at this stage and you talk about Baptism and the promise of Resurrection - and all that’s planned and it does help to consol - but here and now it doesn’t change the fact that the body is lifeless there.

"But it does in the long run click in that there is another side of life and the beyond life that we hope to go into”.

Fr Dalton asked people, including Harry's friends, attending the funeral service to bear in mind the government's advice on Covid.

"We can only allow in so many of them, we can’t let them all in, but I think his class is coming and we’ve a place reserved for his class and some from other schools.


Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

"So we have a section of the church for his age group and the rest will be mourners and other people.

"Thank God the restrictions are lifted and we have leeway to let in people they just have to be careful themselves and try have some bit of distance between one another.

"But there isn’t any restrictions as such now but we ask that they take care of themselves”.

Garda have said they are treating Harry's death as a ‘tragic accident’.

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In a statement, St Kieran’s College described the accident as a “terrible tragedy”.


St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

The schoolboy was the second eldest of four children to parents, Fergal and Annette, and was described last night as a passionate sports player who enjoyed hurling, golf as well as pitch and putt.

They are a farming family and it is understood his parents rent out a luxurious Scandinavian-style cabins beside their home.

Harry's death notice on RIP.ie states: "Our dear Harry left us suddenly and unexpectedly.”

Harry is predeceased by his grandfather James and is survived by his "heartbroken parents Fergal and Annette, his adoring brothers and sister Jake, Aimee and Sam, and his much cherished grandparents Teresa Byrne, Martin and Mary (Nolan)."

The notice also refers to his aunts, uncles, grand aunts, grand uncles, cousins, relatives and a wide circle of friends.

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