Funeral of Ian McKeever is held
Ireland has lost a charismatic leader, the funeral mass for the Co Wicklow-based adventurer Ian Mc Keever, has been told.
Speaking at the requiem mass in Roundwood parish church today, Fr Liam Belton told the congregation that Mr McKeever’s charity work, sports and record-breaking achievements were an indication of the man’s “very great enthusiasm for everything he approached”.
Mr McKeever (42) was killed by lightning on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as he led a group of about 20 amateur climbers including his fiancee Anna O’Loughlin, earlier this month.
Ms O’Loughlin, who was also injured in the lightning strike, attended today’s funeral on crutches.
Welcoming the chief mourners, Mr McKeever’s father Neil, mother Aedeen, sister Denise and Ms O’Loughlin, Fr Belton said death had come suddenly and without warning.
He said the Christian message was about saving the person “but it also reminds us of the fragility of life”.
Fr Belton also welcomed the Taoiseach’s aide de camp Comdt Michael Treacy.
A group of Mr McKeever’s friends including Dave and Rob Burke, Jason Stubbs and Brenda Bourke formed a choral group which opened the ceremony with the hymn Here I am Lord.
Luan Parle sang Give me Shelter, which was written for Mr McKeever and named after his book about his efforts to become the world’s Seven Summits record holder.
Other music included the works of Bob Dylan, Herb Albert and Elton John.
Prayers of the faithful were read by Mr McKeever’s cousin Judy McKeever, who asked that his spirit continue to guide, inspire and protect Ms O’Loughlin “over all the days of her life”.
The offertory gifts of bread and wine were brought forward by Mr McKeever’s uncles Luke and Peter McKeever.
Three eulogies were read during the ceremony. Dave Burke said he had known Ian McKeever since they were children at school, describing the adventurer as “fantastic” and “heroic”. He said Mr McKeever was “bright and tough” but had humility and “did not have an arrogant bone in his body”.
He said in inspiring young people in clubs and schools across the country Mr McKeever had “found his purpose in life, doing what he was born to do”.
A second eulogy read by Eugene Grey spoke of Mr McKeever’s innate talent for communication. Mr Grey said Mr McKeever could genuinely not recall whether it was “15 or 16 Irish, European and world records” he had broken. Mr McKeever was, he said, “a wonderman”.
Gordon Macanbhaird of the Kilmanjaro Achievers charity said Mr McKeever had the attitude that “one day your life will flash before you and you should make sure it is worth watching”.
Mr McKeever’s remains were taken by close friends and family for a private cremation ceremony after the service.