‘The room lit up with your smile and infectious laugh’: Devastation as Kimberly laid to rest 

‘The room lit up with your smile and infectious laugh’: Devastation as Kimberly laid to rest 

A guard of honour outside St Mary’s on the Hill Church in Knocknaheeny yesterday after the funeral Mass for Kimberly O’Connor, who died in a car crash last week.

MOURNERS at the funeral Mass of Knocknaheeny crash victim Kimberly O’Connor were told yesterday that she was so generous that she would halve ‘her heart with anyone’.

Her devastated sister Britney told the congregation at St Mary’s on the Hill Church she wished she could trade places with Kimberly, saying she had had her whole life ahead of her at just 16 years of age.

The transition-year student from Terence MacSwiney Community College was killed when the car in which she was a passenger collided with a wall on Harbour View Rd last Wednesday night.

Emergency services were quickly at the scene but she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Addressing Kimberly, Britney said: “You always made everyone smile. And at home, morning, noon and night, your beautiful singing would never stop.”

She added: “She was so generous.”

She said her younger sister had so much talent and so much beauty, and she described her as a superstar. She recalled sibling rivalry over clothes, adding that when Kimberly recently returned from India, she promised to share new clothes she had bought in Kolkata with Britney.

And she said: “I wish I could swap with you. You didn’t deserve this.”

Her other sister, Shannon, said that from the time Kimberly could walk and talk, she was a “drama queen”, always singing and dancing around their home.

Kimberly O'Connor (16) who was killed in a car crash on Harbour View Road.
Kimberly O'Connor (16) who was killed in a car crash on Harbour View Road.

“Everywhere you went, the room lit up with your beautiful smile and infectious laugh,” she said.

“She was the apple of my mother’s eye. She could do no wrong.”

Shannon promised Kimberly: “We will never let your memory die. There won’t be a day goes by that we won’t say your name.”

Speaking on behalf of their mother, Jennifer, Shannon said Kimberly made her the proudest mother ever, and her singing “made the hairs of her neck stand up”.

On behalf of Jennifer, she added: “The pain of losing you is unbelievable.”

Prior to the Mass, retired bishop Dr John Buckley met with the family to sympathise with them.

During the ceremony, Fr Greg Howard said her devoted and loving mother brought out the best in Kimberly, whose father, Mark, died when she was just four years old.

He added: “She encouraged Kimberly to develop her own unique gift, her exuberance of life. We commend you, Jennifer, for being such a beautiful, beautiful, tender mother.”

He prayed for Kimberly’s sisters and her baby brother, Cody, and her young niece, Tori, as well as her grandparents and Jennifer’s partner, Ken. He also remembered the two other victims of the crash, as well as her teachers and fellow students at Terence MacSwiney Community College. He said the school community had been very helpful and supportive in the days since the accident.

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 was baptised, got her First Communion, and had her Confirmation in the same church where her funeral mass was held yesterday.

Fr Howard said he was present for her Confirmation and recalled her performing ‘beautifully’ in the church at Christmas. Friends and relatives, including her mum’s partner Ken O’Donovan, said the Prayers of the Faithful.

Among those remembered in the prayers were her late father, Mark, and emergency services and medical staff who tended to Kimberly.

She 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 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 Stageschool and had been involved in an exchange programme with Co-operation Ireland. Among the gifts brought to the altar in her memory was a Hope Foundation t-shirt by one of her teachers Fr Howard said it was appropriate, as “we know the amount of hope that Kimberly spread throughout her short life.”

A microphone was among the gifts to represent her love of singing. Fr Howard said: “She gave joy and pleasure to many people when she sang.”

She was a member of Superstars Stageschool and attended practice three nights a week. Yesterday, her friends from the stageschool formed a guard of honour as her coffin was brought from the church.

During the ceremony, several songs were played, including ‘Jealous of the Angels’ at the start of Mass, and Miley Cyrus’s ‘The Climb’ as her coffin left the church.

Just minutes earlier, her mum and her sisters Linda, Valerie, and Susan removed the white pall from the coffin. Kimberly was laid to rest in St Catherine’s cemetery in Kilcully.

A Garda investigation into the crash is continuing.

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