Son (16) of l'Ecrivain owners buried
Andrew Clarke, the only son of l’Ecrivain restaurateurs Derry and Sallyanne Clarke, was remembered as a lovable rogue, a kind-hearted boy and a fantastic son and brother at his funeral Mass at Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare, today.
The 16-year-old motorsport enthusiast died on New Year's Eve following an accident the previous week while fixing his car. He had been working underneath the vehicle in the garage at the family home in Saggart before his mother discovered him unconscious. He was taken to Tallaght Hospital, but subsequently died.
The fifth-year student attended Clongowes Wood, which his father Derry described as “his second home”.
The funeral Mass was celebrated by the school headmaster Fr Leonard Moloney in the boys’ chapel, which was packed with family and friends. Hundreds more watched the ceremony on screens erected in the college. Fr Moloney said Andrew’s death was “a devastating experience and incomphrensible. He was so young.”
He recalled a “loveable rogue” who had coined nicknames for every teacher and prefect at Clongowes within two weeks of his arrival at the boys’ boarding school near Clane, Co Kildare.
“There was much hidden talent, much energy, and he liked to live on the edge,” he said. “He came across as a young man in good form, always smiling. And we’re all familiar with that impish grin.”
His mother Sallyanne said he may have been 6'4" in height and 17 stone, “but he was still my baby boy”.
“Andrew had confidence beyond his years. He was a very witty boy with a heart of gold. Loved everyone and everyone loved him. And if prayers and goodwill alone could sustain life over the last few days then Andrew would be jumping up and down at this moment.”
His father said Andrew was very kind-hearted. “Andrew lived for just 16 years but he lived those years fully and with joy,” he said. “He always seemed older than his years, free-spirited and determined.”
He thanked the staff at Tallaght Hospital and the members of the ambulance and emergency services who helped his son. “And finally Andrew, thank you for being the son any dad would be proud of, you beautiful young man. My feelings for you will never ever change. You’ll always be my heart.”
His only sister Sarah May said her younger brother was a “real funny kid” who constantly had her in stitches. “He was fearless and a true hero. He was my best friend and the love of my life and he’ll never be forgotten.”
Mourners included figures from the restaurant and food industry such as Dylan McGrath, Paul Rankin and Myrtle and Darina Allen. Also present were RTÉ broadcasters Pat Kenny and Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, and food critic Paulo Tullio.
Clongowes students lined the college avenue as the funeral cortege made its way to Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin for his burial.