Eimear Walsh’s father recalls ‘kind-hearted, generous’ woman
Jim Walsh speaks of trauma of having to bring home ‘our beloved daughter and sister’
The funeral of Eimear Walsh, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock, Co Dublin on June 23rd, 2015. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Some of the extensive crowd that turned out for the funeral Mass of Eimear Walsh at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
The father of Eimear Walsh (21) spoke of the terrible feelings of helplessness when he and his family heard the news that his daughter was critically injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse last week.
For several hours Ms Walsh clung to life, but she became the last to die in the aftermath of the collapse.
At her funeral Mass on Tuesday, he told the congregation of the trauma of having to fly to San Francisco and “bring our beloved daughter and sister home”.
The trauma was followed by a period of private relief when finally they arrived back in Dublin on Monday. “Yesterday evening we brought Eimear home to her own house for the last time.”
His daughter was “such a beautiful person, a wonderful daughter and sister. We are very proud of who she was and what she achieved.”
His voice broke as he recalled his daughter’s many qualities. She was “kind-hearted, generous, fun-loving, independent-minded, very bright, confident but never pretentious”.
She was a beautiful singer “just like her mum” (Patricia) and trained with Honor Heffernan, he said. She loved dancing and took part in school musicals and plays.
For a long time the family believed she would pursue a career in the theatre.
Yet she surprised her parents by announcing in sixth year that she wanted to pursue medicine, knowing the diligence and hard work that would be involved in just getting the points to study it.
“It’s easier said than done,” her father recalled. “In typical Eimear fashion, she knuckled down and obtained the grades to be able to go to UCD.”
Like every young person though, she was “interested in having a good time, hanging out with friends, essentially just living in the moment”.
Gifts were brought to the altar of a medical overcoat symbolising her studies, and make-up symbolising her love of having a good time.
Her father described her as “deceptively easy-going”, but determined when setting her mind to doing things. She taught herself to read music and passed her driving test “in as quick a time as was humanly possible”.
She loved both the academic and social side of studying medicine.
Her death had left a “huge void, but knowing Eimear she would want us to be strong for each other and keep ourselves going. We hope and pray that we will be reunited.”
Mr Walsh thanked neighbours who had been “unbelievably helpful”. He also remembered the other families of those who had died including the family of fellow UCD third-year medical student Lorcán Miller. The pair were “best pals”.
He also remembered those still recovering in hospital, including her good friend Aoife Beary.