Aoife Berry funeral: ‘He didn’t let Berkeley’s balcony collapse or make him a victim’

Berkeley survivor Aoife Berry is told at the funeral service that she didn’t let tragedy define her and insisted on living life well.

Our people gathered in South Dublin this morning to pay tribute to the 27-year-old who passed away on New Year’s Day.

Ms Berry suffered serious injuries after a balcony collapse in California on June 16, 2016, which also claimed the lives of six Irish students as they celebrated their 21st birthday.


A commemorative card at Aoife Berry’s funeral. Pictured: Steve Humphries

This morning at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Sucker, Foxrock, the congregation was told how despite her injuries she insisted on living a life of meaning and purpose.

A Guard of Honor, including students from his former school, was formed as the chariot brought Aoife’s remains to this morning’s service.

The wicker’s coffin was then taken to the church, whose voice amazing Grace Before paying tribute to a young woman who had “the courage to take on the world”.

Parish priest Father Kieran Dunne said that Aoife was a “team girl”, both loving and loyal, who had a heart big enough to be involved in many charity and fundraising functions.


Aoife Berry’s family at her funeral at Our Lady of Perpetual Sucker in Foxrock. Pictured: Steve Humphries

Father Dunne said she was a daughter who had the courage to face the world in her journey, and was warm enough to meet new friends.

He told the church that Aoife overcame obstacles he had never asked for, and embraced life and its possibilities despite deep loss of personal friends and hurt.

Prayers were also offered for Aoife’s caregivers and six of her friends who lost their lives in the tragedy: Eimer Walsh (21), Lorcan Miller (21), Nikolai Schuster (21), Eogan Culgan (21), Olivia Burke (21), and Ashley Donohoe (22).


Mourners watch Aoife Berry’s funeral from a distance outside the church at Foxrock. Pictured: Steve Humphries

Aoife’s uncle and godfather, James O’Doherty, said in a moving eulogy that he did not allow himself to become a victim after the accident and instead continued to build on his innate abilities.

He told the congregation that his granddaughter fought such a good fight and insisted on living life well, despite the injuries.

It is full of meaning and purpose, he said, based on Aoife’s ability to connect with people and the friendships it has forged.

Mr. O’Doherty said, “You didn’t forget them, your friends, when you sat in front of lawmakers in California and you said the words that I think everyone here remembers, that your birthday will always be their anniversary.” “

He said what people loved about Aoife was his courage and sense of adventure, and how he made new friends after the accident and was determined to travel to 25 countries by his 25th birthday.

Mourners were told that she was always courageous, and especially showed this in response to the accident.

“She continued to build on all her innate abilities. She didn’t let accident define or victimize her,” he said.

“One way to think about it is that Aoife earned her degree in pharmacology before Berkeley, and she was on her way to earning her occupational therapy degree at Oxford Brookes after Berkeley.”

Mr O’Doherty said parents raise their children and launch them into the world, but hope to make phone calls to the other side of the world to care for their sick child, give them back health do not.

“No parent should worry about his recovery, no parent should worry about his future, no parent should bury his child,” Mr. O’Doherty he said.

Addressing Aoife’s parents, he said: “Your duty is now done, to explain to Hopkins, Angela and Mike.”

Mr. O’Doherty concluded by saying that people might take the time to mourn his granddaughter later, but today he has to celebrate her life as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend and an inspiration. needed.

Earlier in the service, presents were brought to the altar that represented Aoife’s love and passion in life.

These included shoes for Irish dancing, which she participated in from ages six to 21; A new map of the world, as traveling was his greatest passion; And served with a coffee cup, telling her that the vanilla latte was an important part of her routine.

Clodagh Cogley, a fellow survivor of the Berkeley tragedy, brought a Spanish textbook. Mourners were told that Aoife had begun learning the language during the lockdown and was able to converse fluently with local people when she and a friend visited Spain last October.


Berkeley survivor Clodagh Cogley attending the funeral of Aoife Berry. Pictured: Steve Humphries

Her school jumpers were also from St Patrick’s GNS Holypark and Loreto Foxrock, where she attended primary and secondary education and added to her circle of friends.

Brought to the altar are his UCD degree scrolls, a place where he immersed himself in college life and various fundraisers, and his occupational therapy uniform when Aoife began a new chapter of his life at Oxford Brookes University.

She began her studies in 2017 and Sewa was told that Aoife preferred her new independent life.

Irish poet Nessa O’Mahony also recited a poem she wrote in the aftermath of the tragedy. A poppy for Aoife.


A guard of honor stands outside as Aoife Berry’s coffin is carried to the church. Pictured: Steve Humphries

Among the main mourners were Aoife’s parents, Angela and Mike, and their siblings Tim and Anna. President Michael D. Higgins was represented at the funeral by his colleague, Colonel Stephen Howard.

Ms Berry’s coffin is taken out of the church after the funeral service: Over the Rainbow Khela, before being brought to Newlands Cross Crematorium for cremation.