Families pay poignant tributes at funerals of young men who died suddenly in India
The families of the two young Irishmen who died suddenly in India 10 days ago paid poignant tributes to them at separate funeral Masses in Sligo Cathedral and St James's Church, Athboy, Co Meath, yesterday.
Mr Padraig McGowan told the congregation in Sligo that his son, Eoin (23), who died along with his friend, Aodan Geraghty (22), in Varanasi, had brought joy into his life.
He said they had always been more like brothers than father and son.
"Eoin's world was a small place. He would say `Why don't you come out here? It's only a few hours away'," Mr McGowan said.
There was applause in the cathedral as Mr McGowan said goodbye and wished his son well on his final journey.
The bodies of the two men, who had spent the previous three months travelling in India and Nepal, were flown home at the weekend.
Post-mortems were conducted in Dublin on Saturday, but the exact cause of death is still unknown.
A third friend who also became ill on the night the two men died remains in India.
Eoin was the eldest of three sons.
A graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, he was a keen chess player and had represented Ireland several times.
His mother died three years ago. Before travelling to Asia in September, he had been working in the Netherlands.
Father Ray Browne said Eoin's sudden death would leave "many hearts deeply distressed for many a day".
He described the young man as "caring, simple-living, sensible, true and trustworthy".
Eoin had lived for a time with his grandmother, Bridgie, and had telephoned Sligo Hospital from India only two weeks ago to ask about her health, the priest said.
Some young people in the congregation had also spent time travelling, and one group played guitars and drums and sang A Pair of Brown Eyes as a tribute to Eoin.
An aunt of the deceased also addressed the congregation, saying her nephew had grown into "a gentle, big man" who was passionate about everybody he loved and everything he did. "He always made people feel special, when in fact he was the one who was special," she said.
Friends of the late Aodan Geraghty came from all over the world to join his family for his burial at St James's Cemetery, Athboy, Co Meath, yesterday. His father, Mr Declan Geraghty, said he was confident that the pathologist report expected after Christmas would give the causes of death.
A coroner's inquiry was held in Dublin when his son's body was flown home.
Mr Geraghty and his wife, Josephine, son, Donncha, and daughter, Cliona, led the mourners at the funeral after Requiem Mass in St James's Church. The mourners also included the deceased man's grandfather, Mr Joe Geraghty, and friends who travelled from Spain, Australia and the Netherlands, where Aodan had worked in the horticulture industry.