'heartbroken' | 

‘Strong and kind’ Cian McHale remembered by brother after drowning

‘Cian was known by many people and any time I saw him with friends he was always smiling’

Cian McHale drowned in Crete

Tom ShielIndependent.ie

Cian McHale, who lost his life in a swimming accident in Crete ten days ago, was recalled at his funeral Mass as a kind and mannerly person whose face was always lit up with a smile.

Speaking in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, Torin McHale reflected on what Cian meant to him as an older brother.

“Cian was a strong and kind person”, Torin recalled. “He was also a very good brother to me. He was a very good grandson, nephew and cousin.”

Torin continued: “I just didn’t lose a brother. All of Cian’s friends have too. To have him taken away from us really breaks our hearts.

“Cian was known by many people and any time I saw him with friends he was always smiling”.

Fr Conal Eustace, parish priest of Castlebar, was joined in the funeral Mass by Fr Gerry Burns, parish priest of Clonbur/Cornamona, Co Galway.

Fr Burns warmly recalled how he first came to know Cian when he came to live in Clonbur and went on to play Gaelic football with distinction with the local club.

He said the question on everybody’s lips when they heard news of the tragedy was – how could this happen to such a fine, fit, young man?

Fr Burns said the condolence pages of funeral notice websites since the death had indicated Cian’s fuller life story of almost 22 years of living.

“It‘s a story of a smile, a story of manners, a story of being grateful, a story of his huge collection of friends. And that’s the story that I knew. That’s the person I would meet.

“In the club (Clonbur GAA) we would always talk about how mannerly he was and how grateful he was for anything you would do for him.”

Reflecting on the sadness that had engulfed local communities following the untimely death, Fr Burns told the large congregation: “Your darkness can be taken away by the lovely memories to have of Cian.

“In his short life here on earth he has left wonderful impressions, made wonderful friends”.

Symbols brought to the altar to signify Cian’s life and hobbies included a football, and a hair- clippers as an indication of “his great sense of style”. Small items of gym equipment, to show Cian’s “love for being fit and healthy and encouraging friends to do so too”, were also brought forward.

Fr Eustace and Fr Burns expressed their deepest sympathy with heartbroken relatives who occupied front pews of the church – Cian’s mother, Nicola, brother Torin, grandparents Frank and Mary (Castlebar), uncles Fintan and Sean, aunts Fiona and Vanessa, cousins Eoghan, Eabha, Fionn, Lanah, Keelyn, Katie, relatives, neighbours and friends.

Burial took place in the early afternoon in the New Cemetery, Castlebar.


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