Brendan Wall: swimmer who died in Youghal Ironman ‘lived life with a smile on his face’

Funeral remembers man who cherished family, made many friends and loved outdoor sports

One of the men who died during the Ironman in Youghal, Co Cork last weekend had a big smile on his face and waved goodbye to his family the last time he saw them, his funeral Mass has heard.

Brendan Wall (45) was one of two men who died in separate incidents during the 1.9km swim section of the Ironman event on Claycastle Beach on Sunday morning.

Addressing the congregation, Fr Gerry Boyle, parish priest at the Church of St Brigid, Grangegeeth, near Slane, Co Meath, said the community was “still in shock” over his passing. He sent prayers also to the family of Ivan Chittenden, who also died in the event.

Speaking about Mr Wall, Fr Boyle said he “had a happy childhood and lived life with a smile on his face”.


“He made many friends and never seemed to lose any, remaining friends with people from primary school, secondary school, college and the many places he worked. He was well loved and connected,” Fr Boyle said.

He loved outdoor sports: “He completed the London marathon, the Ring of Kerry Cycle, took part in the Gaelforce endurance cycle and I’m sure there were more as well. He trained hard and no doubt it gave him purpose and direction.

“He trained hard for the Ironman on Sunday, and was very excited about it. He had a big smile on his face and waved goodbye as he entered the water. Tina and his family were there to wave him off, as were his in-laws. An occasion of pride and joy, in a short time turned to sorrow and loss.”

Fr Boyle also paid tribute to the emergency services and first responders who sought to help Mr Wall in his time of need.

The funeral featured two Oasis songs: Live Forever and Don’t Look Back in Anger. Symbols of his life were brought to the altar, including a cycling helmet, a pack of playing cards, a Meath jersey and a golf ball.

On his coffin, there were two framed photographs: an image of Brendan, and an image of he and his fiancee kissing.

Mr Wall would have celebrated his 46th birthday next Monday and was due to marry his fiancee Tina next July, having proposed to her in Italy in May last.

“He loved his family and was loved in return. He had his love for Tina. There is now a huge gap and void in her life, and that of his family and workplaces. A gap we did not expect at this time, or, indeed, any time,” Fr Boyle said.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times