MOURNERS at the funeral of Knocknaheeny crash victim Kimberly O'Connor have heard she was a charming extrovert who spread joy wherever she went
In his homily, Fr Greg Howard, parish priest at Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill, today said there was an "incompleteness, an unreadiness and even a certain brutality" to Kimberly's death.
"She was too young, so fragile still, so unprepared to give up life," Fr Howard said.
The 16-year-old was killed when the car, in which she was a passenger, collided with a wall on Harbour View Road last Wednesday night.
Emergency services were quickly at the scene but she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
A male passenger who was badly injured remains seriously ill. A third occupant of the car, the driver, presented himself at the Mercy University Hospital in the hours after the crash.
Kimberly recently returned from a volunteering trip to Kolkata with the HOPE Foundation, as part of a group of five from Terence MacSwiney Community College.
She was a transition year student at the school.
She was a previous award winner at the UCC Plus + programme in March 2018 for excellence in Maths, Gaeilge and foreign languages.
She was also a member of Superstars Stage School and had been involved in an exchange programme with Cooperation Ireland.
Fr Howard said: "A cloud came over this community on Wednesday evening when word spread about the crash that took Kimberly’s young life. Nothing prepares us for that.
"Since then the community here in Knocknaheeny / Hollyhill have prayed. We have prayed for Kimberly, her family, her friends, and the others hurt in the crash.
"Even for people of faith, including myself, this is a time when finding perspective and consolation is difficult. What words can help bathe and soothe the wounds of grief, hurt and utter devastation?"
Fr Howard recalled the many tributes paid to Kimberly.
"Over the last six dark days here in Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill, we have been consoled by the beautiful words spoken about Kimberly.
"Her mother Jennifer says of her beloved daughter: 'Kimberly was a very kind and generous person who was loved by so many people.'
"Her sister Britney Marie says of Kimberly 'I love you forever - always our beauty. Rest in Paradise princess'.
"Shannon her other sister wrote: 'My beautiful baby sister, there are no words but absolutely heartbroken I love you forever.'
"Her friends through social media posted comments like 'You were the nicest girl ever, you didn’t have one bad bone'."
Fr Howard also recalled the words of Kimberly's school principal Phil O'Flynn who said, “Kimberly was so intelligent, so bright and so able. She was full of fun. She was such a bright light.”
He added: "Kimberly was given many talents and she used them generously and unselfishly. She was charming, a total extrovert.
"She spread joy and happiness wherever she went. She empathized with people and was always a voice for her fellow classmates. She had lots of sass.
"Kimberly had a great interest in drama and singing and was very talented. She played a leading role in two musicals at the Cork Opera house prepared in the Terence McSwiney college over the last two years with her friends and teachers."
She received an award from UCC plus programme in March 2018 for excellence in maths, Gaeilge and foreign languages.
"Kimberly was one of five students who travelled to Kolkata, India, in January with the Hope Foundation. She spent months fundraising with her friends to help the poor of Kolkata.
"She helped to improve the classrooms and orphanages in the Hope U Can Paint Project there, making them colourful and engaging places to be for Kolkata’s street children.
"Kimberly was also involved in an exchange programme with cooperation Ireland, with students in the North of Ireland.
"This is a life fully lived — talents used for the benefit of others."