Mourners say farewell to ‘bright, bubbly’ girl (11) killed out cycling

Brigid Ward was hit by a car near Ballinasloe, Co Galway on Easter Sunday

The funeral of Brigid Ward (11), who died following collision with a car, took place at Ahascragh, Co Galway. Photograph: Alan Betson

The funeral of Brigid Ward (11), who died following collision with a car, took place at Ahascragh, Co Galway. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The children and teachers of Eglish national school, Ahascragh were lucky to have “lived, learned and laughed” with their “bright, blue-eyed friend” Brigid Ward (11), her funeral Mass heard on Thursday.

Known to friends and family as Briggie, the girl was killed while out cycling last Easter Sunday, close to her home near Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

She was with her brother, Paddy (9), when the two were hit by a car on the road. Paddy has since returned home after being treated at Portiuncula Hospital.

When four year-old Brigid entered junior infants seven years ago she was “bright, bubbly, energetic, enthusiastic and eager to learn,” school principal Siobhán Fitzgerald told mourners at St Cuan’s Church, Ahascragh.

“She looked up to and adored her older brother Michael. Soon after when her younger siblings Kate, Paddy and Shannon began to come to our school we saw how protective and proud she was of them too.”

A favourite memory of Brigid was of her doing cartwheels after a soccer match in a tournament last year. “I don’t even think we won but this picture captured her personality perfectly,” said the principal. “She loved having fun.”

She recalled the child as a great singer, talented speaker and eager to help, and always with a great sense of humour. “Her teacher told me when they were talking about St Brigid’s day this year her teacher asked her was she named after the St Brigid. Our Brigid quickly replied, ‘Miss, I am no saint’. Well none of us is but Brigid was a truly wonderful girl.”

She had been due to go to Portugal next month on an Erasmus exchange. “I know she was excited about this, evident in the many questions she asked about it.. Sadly she won’t make this trip now because another journey has been chosen for her,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

The church was full to capacity for the funeral which was very much led by children. Many young families were there with infants, while gifts were brought to altar by schoolchildren and the prayers of the faithful were led by Brigid’s young cousins and friends.

As the gifts, symbols of Brigid’s life, were brought up Ms Fitzgerald explained their significance. A book Brigid had written in school, titled Myself, was accompanied by a tin-whistle “to remind us of her love of learning and of music”. A chalice was “a reminder of Mass and the Eucharist here in St Cuan’s church where Brigid received her first holy communion in 2017”. Her best friend Katie Martin brought a wreath, “a symbol of love and friendship”.

Her cousin Shannon Corcoran (13) sang unaccompanied Brigid’s favourite song, Jealous of the Angels, which includes the lines: “Your love lives on inside of me / And I will hold on tight/ It’s not my place to question /Only God knows why/ I’m just jealous of the angels/ Around the throne tonight”.

Ms Fitzgerald told mourners the school community would support each other, and when they were ready to sing again it would be loudly as Brigid would be singing with them.

“Brigid Ward, our lovely, bright, blue-eyed friend was, is and always will be a special part of the school community at Eglish national school. For the last seven years we were lucky to live, laugh and learn together. Brigid, may your beautiful, gentle soul rest in peace.”

The funeral Mass was led by parish priest, Fr Kevin Reynolds. Mourners were led by Brigid’s parents and also her grandparents, Patrick and Brigid Ward.

Brigid Louise Ward was laid to rest in nearby Creagh cemetery.