Huge crowd gathers at heartbreaking vigil honouring Irish youngsters killed in horror crash after celebrating their exam results
- Mourners have filled Kickham Plaza in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for a prayer vigil
- READ MORE: Boyfriend of girl, 18, who was killed in horror crash with her brother and two friends tells how he ran to scene after receiving final message from her
Heartbroken friends and family of the four young victims of Friday’s deadly car crash in County Tipperary have gathered for a prayer vigil in their memory this evening.
Mourners filled Kickham Plaza in Clonmel, with hundreds coming together to remember Luke McSweeney, 24, his sister Grace McSweeney, and her friends Zoey Coffey and Nicole Murphy, who were all aged just 18.
Among those in attendance were first responders to the horror crash, as well as classmates of Grace, Zoey and Nicole, who had been travelling to celebrate their end of school exam results.
Young people overcome with emotion, many of whom were wearing their school leavers hoodies, were seen hugging and comforting each other as the service began with a hymn.
Father Michael Toomey said that everyone in Clonmel, Ballypatrick and across the country has been left speechless by the tragedy, and spoke directly to the youngsters at the service.
People light candles at the end of the vigil in Kickham Plaza, Co Tipperary, in memory of Luke McSweeney, 24, his 18-year-old sister Grace McSweeney, Zoey Coffey and Nicole Murphy
Young girls lit candles as they mourned the loss of the teenagers, who had been travelling to their exam results celebrations
Young people overcome with emotion were seen hugging and comforting each other at the vigil
Photographs of Luke McSweeney, 24, and his sister Grace McSweeney, were on display
Pictures of Nicole Murphy and Zoey Coffey, both 18, were on display in the area where mourners lit candles and left flowers
‘Particularly young people here tonight, I say the grieving process that many of you are experiencing, you’re probably going through shock or pain or denial.
‘If this applies to you, then you have begun what we call the grieving journey, the journey which will have most, if not all, of these emotions at different times in the days and years ahead.’
He said that some people will be struggling to make sense of it, and wondered ‘why them?’
‘The question we will certainly never get the answer to, not in this life anyway,’ he added.
Fr Michael Toomey told the crowd gathered at a vigil that the deaths of four young people was like ‘a massive stone’ disrupting still water, and had sent ‘shockwaves right across our family, our schools, our town, our country’.
Mourners have filled Kickham Plaza in Clonmel, with hundreds coming together to remember the four victims
Fr Michael Toomey told the crowd gathered at a vigil that the deaths of four young people was like ‘a massive stone’ disrupting still water
He urged people in the community to ‘stick together’ in the time ahead.
The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan, has told a vigil that when his brother and sister died, he felt helpless.
He said he received consolation from the coming together of family and friends.
‘It’s amazing to see so many of you here,’ he said, adding that there was a ‘goodness’ in the coming together of people to console one another.
He said people would support one another in the coming days and ‘find a strength in that’.
The vigil in Clonmel closed with the playing of the song Rise Up by Andra Day, prompting tears from some young people in the crowd.
Classmates of Ms McSweeney and Ms Coffey from Presentation secondary school wore lilac jumpers that commemorate their graduate class of 2023.
Grieving family members were also present at the Kickham Plaza gathering on Sunday evening.
The youngsters had been on their way to celebrate their Leaving Cert exam results, which they had received earlier on Friday.
Mr McSweeney had been driving the teenagers to a bus when the car overturned and crashed into a wall.
Bouquets of flowers, notes and candles have continued to be left at the wall of Loreto Secondary School, where Ms Murphy went to school and which is around the corner from the scene of the crash.
On Sunday, as Mountain Road was reopened, people covered a corner of a stone wall with more flowers, notes and candles. People also stopped their cars to stand in front of the scene and pay their respects.
Grace McSweeney’s boyfriend Aaron Costin (pictured with Grace on his right) revealed how he ran to the scene of the crash after receiving a final Snapchat message from her
Earlier today, it was revealed that the heartbroken boyfriend of Grace McSweeney rushed to the scene of the crash after receiving a final Snapchat message from her.
Aaron Costin, 18, said he had been tracking her location on Snap Map when he learned that a car had crashed in Hillview.
‘I was like, that’s her road. I ran from one side of the town over as quick as I could but I couldn’t get up because the guards had it all blocked off,’ he told The Sunday Times, adding: ‘There was something in me that didn’t want to believe it was their car but I could see the car and then I knew what it was. It was hard.’
Aaron, who had been dating Grace for two years, also revealed that he had received a Snap from the 18-year-old before she got in the car that night.
Aaron said he had been tracking Grace’s location on Snap Map when he learned that a car had crashed in Hillview. He said: ‘I was like, that’s her road. I ran from one side of the town over as quick as I could but I couldn’t get up because the guards had it all blocked off.’ The overturned car is pictured at the scene of the crash
Dozens of bouquets were left at the wall near the entrance to Loreto Secondary School, where Nicole had attended, which is around the corner from the scene of the crash
Aaron last saw Grace on Thursday, the day before the Leaving Cert results were released, the newspaper reported.
He claimed that Grace asked to meet up with him because she had been ‘stressing about her exams’. The pair went to Carey’s Castle where they walked and talked for nearly two hours.
Aaron, who is a programmer at an engineering factory, said that Grace had been ‘studying 12 hours a day, non-stop’ before she sat her exams. He also claimed that she was ‘still undecided’ about what she wanted to do after secondary school.
The crash happened on Friday night as Luke drove the girls to a bus that would take the girls to Carlow to celebrate their Leaving Certificate results.
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