Mourners pay tribute at Wicklow climber's removal
People knew what the word “challenge” meant as a result of Ian McKeever’s leadership, the congregation at the mountaineer’s removal in Roundwood, Co Wicklow, were told last night.
Welcoming Mr McKeever’s remains to the church of St Laurence O’Toole, Fr Liam Belton said Mr McKeever, through his leadership and charity work, had shown people “how to get the best out of themselves”.
Mr McKeever, who was known for his record-breaking climbs and charity fundraising 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, on January 2nd.
Fr Belton said Mr McKeever had been baptised in the same church some 42 years previously and was “a huge Christian person”.
In a short reflection, he said the first mountain Mr McKeever had climbed was “Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain”.
He said he had been hugely interested in sport in school and the number of representatives of sporting and charitable organisations who had travelled long distances to attend the removal, was a tribute to the late mountaineer’s character.
Representatives of charities included Adi Roche of Chernobyl Children International.
Fr Belton said death had come “like a thief in the night” and he offered the prayers of the congregation for the principal mourners who included Mr McKeever’s father Neil, mother Aedeen, sister Denise and his fiancee, Ms O’Loughlin.
The principal mourners were supported by the extended McKeever and O’Loughlin families. pallbearers included friends and family members Lorcan Sweetman, Eugene Grey, Gordon Mac Anbhaird and Paul McCormack.
Mr McKeever will be cremated in a private ceremony today after requiem Mass at 11.30am in Roundwood.