Man who died in stabbing ‘would do anyone a good turn’, funeral told
Kildare church ‘crammed’ for farewell to David Boland
Rows of bikers line the street as the remains of David Boland, who died after he was stabbed on Halloween night, are carried from the Sacred Heart Church, Nurney, Co. Kildare to the local cemetery. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins.
About 300 people were crammed inside but outside, there were perhaps 1,000 more – neighbours and friends, and biking enthusiasts from all over the country. Mr Boland, stabbed to death on the street in Athy last Thursday, was a keen motorcyclist and a member of the Brotherhood Motor Cycle Club based around the Kildare village.
The wider Irish motor-biking brotherhood came out in solidarity with him and his family. There were bikers and their machines from the Devil’s Disciples, a national club, the Freewheelers from Waterford, Tramps from Limerick, the Vikings from the Midlands and Druids, another Kildare club.
“He was the one that taught me everything that I know about bikes,” said an emotional best friend, Kevin Bracken, at the start of the Mass. “He had the biggest heart and anyone who had the pleasure to know him, knows what I mean. David was the sort of chap who would do anyone a good turn, whether he knew you or not, anytime day or night.”
The chief mourner was eight-year-old Cormac, Mr Boland, and his former partner Audrey’s, son. Cormac sat at the head of the church with Mr Boland’s parents, Lily and Peter, his sisters, Cathriona and Maria, and Mr Boland’s girlfriend, Sarah.
The symbols of Mr Boland’s life represented what was important to him – a photograph of him with Cormac, placed on his wooden coffin along with a spray of lilies and greenery; a home-made model of a chopper motorcycle; a high-viz vest (representing Mr Boland’s successful business), and a photograph of a family celebration.
The family was struggling “with the terrible darkness of his death,” said Fr Carbery, the chief celebrant who was supported by five priests, Fr Liam Merrigan, Fr John Stapleton, Fr Joe Brophy, Fr Ger Breen and Fr Gaspar Habara.
The Christian message, from the Gospel according to St Matthew and readings from the Book of Lamentations and the First Letter of St John, was of eternal life, said Fr Carbery.
Violent death was particularly difficult, he said.
“One is never really prepared for death, the death of somebody who is close. No matter how old the person is, or how ill they may have been, death always brings a great element of shock . . .
“In the case of a person like David, in the prime of his life . . . it is simply impossible for us to appreciate it – the unspeakable pain and anguish of his loved ones as they try to come to grips with this awful reality.
He said that unfortunately, violent death "is happening all too frequently in our country. But when ’tis far away, the horror of it does not register with us. . . This is different.”
Though buoyed by the support of the community, Mr Boland’s family was devastated.
“This is the most horrible moment of their lives; they never thought that they would ever have to deal with anything like this,” he said.
Cathriona gave a brief eulogy of thanks, with Maria standing by her side.
“We have the most wonderful family, friends and neighbours anyone could wish for,” she said. “You have flagged us through these darkest of days and we are eternally grateful.”
Their brother had been “kind, loving, generous and very hard working but more importantly, he was the most devoted son, brother and father”.
“He was so proud the day Cormac was born, he stood 10 feet tall. We promise you David, we will look after your little man.”
David Boland’s remains were carried from the church to the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man – And be a simple kind of man/ oh be something you love and understand/ baby, be a simple kind of man/ won’t you do this for me, my son, if you can, goes the chorus – along the road and up the hill, past rows of bikes and bikers, to the nearby cemetery.
There, Cormac, his aunts and grandparents tossed single stem red roses into his grave.