Two words have been used repeatedly to describe Ashling Murphy since her shocking murder a week ago – and they are a ‘bright light’.
Those words were used by James Hogan, the principal of Durrow National School, the day after her death, where she was a highly regarded and well known employee.
She was also a much-loved teacher to her first-graders, who today pay a touching tribute to her by each one holds her photo before the funeral service.
Those words were used by hundreds of her friends across the country as they paid tribute to the 23-year-old – who the brutal murder caused a hideous horror from Offaly to Dublin, from London to New York and Boston, to Australia and even at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
And today these words were used by Ashling’s boyfriend, her “soulmate” Ryan Casey, when he send a heartbreaking eulogy beside the grave of his mate of 5 years and his best friend.
The plan for the future of the young couple now goes up in smoke because of the most callous, random and inexplicable act of barbarism.
But these words are testament to all those who knew her of a talented musician and educator.
Before Ryan talking at Lowertown Cemetery, he was comforted by loved ones as he joined Ashling’s devastated family, her parents Ray and Kathleen and siblings Cathal and Amy, as they entered St Brigid’s Church in the small village of Mountbolus in Co. Offaly, a few miles from the town of Tullamore.
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Thousands of people flocked to rural communities early in the morning, anxious to pay their respects and stand with those deeply affected by last Wednesday’s events.
The issue of women’s safety was once again raised in the public, by Ashling’s cousin Rachel O’Shea during the Loyalist Prayer and by the Bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, who described the murder as an “act of depraved violence”.
Mountbolus and the surrounding area were full for the funeral this morning.
A strong Garda presence patrolled the vicinity, while local farmers extended their fields to cars for thousands of mourners to pay their respects.
POLITICAL LEADERS IN PARTICIPATION
Taoiseach Michael Martin was greeted by Parish Priest Michael Meade in front of the church, and shortly after by the President’s car drove Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina to the parking lot.
The presence of Ireland’s top political leaders is a clear indication of the impact over the past few days.
They were closely followed by Attorney General Helen McEntee, Education Secretary Norma Foley and Arts Minister Catherine Martin.
And shortly after 11 a.m., the hearse carrying Ashling’s remains plowed down the narrow, 3km-long road leading to the church gate.
On their way there from the family’s home in Blue Ball, they passed a house, which had a memorial flower placed in the driveway.
Deeply imprinted is also the jersey of the local Killoughey-Kilcormac GAA club, where Ashling has worn the camogie shirt several times over the years. It has the number 23 on its back to pay homage to her youth.
DARLING FIRST CLASS Cluster
Other club members and teachers’ friends wore GAA colors and held yellow roses as the funeral procession passed, the magnitude of an emotional occasion too great for many.
And then Ashling’s adorable first-graders, dressed in their polite navy uniforms, each held up a copy of their teacher’s familiar graduation photo and a red rose as they were assigned. honor guard duty before enlistment.
They made their family, community and most importantly their late teacher very proud.
Traditional Irish music, one of Ashling’s greatest passions, filled the air the morning before her coffin arrived – but it paused as the hearse reached the church, followed by a stream of cars. carrying her family, loved ones and best friends.
And as soon as her coffin was turned inside, the morning sunlight gave way to raindrops.
Even so, huge crowds continued to stand in the rural streets of Mountbolus while the volume was relayed through loudspeakers.
Hundreds of mourners flocked to the adjoining Killoughey Community Center, where the funeral was broadcast on big screens.
‘WE CAN BE RECOVERY’
Many locals volunteered to serve as last-minute traffic planners, while others allowed their land to be used for the thousands of cars that dumped the area.
Many people on the street didn’t know Ashling a week ago. But after the events of recent days, they feel like they have come to know her as every heart, yet loving, story about her has been told.
Ashling’s tragedy has led to a surge of emotions and many prayers being held not only in Ireland, but around the world.
At 12:45, Ashling’s remains were taken from the church to a waiting hearse, to make the short journey to the cemetery.
Her parents, brother, sister and boyfriend Ryan held hands as they tearfully walked behind, as several traditional Ashling Irish musicians sat on chairs in the middle of the street, providing the soundtrack for Her final journey.
All that remains is for someone as close to her as Ryan to have the last word on the most difficult days for a family, a town and a country.
“I hope that one day, by the will of God, we can be reunited again and continue the wonderful plans we made for each other,” he said.
“Goodbye now, but not forever, honey.”
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8227645/ashling-murphy-funeral-pupils-uniform-guard-honour/ Dressed in polite uniforms, Ashling’s beloved students lined up to tell her ‘We Love You Miss Murphy’ one last time.