Thousands pay their respects to Gilmore sisters
on 25/10/2012 00:00:00
Thousands of mourners gathered in support at the church, where the couple were married just over four years ago.
Their daughters died after a car crashed and struck them on the hard shoulder of the N17.
Mr Gilmore had taken them for a stroll in their buggy, a short distance from their home at The Meadows in Tuam.
The north Co Galway community came to a standstill yesterday in an outpouring of grief as the girls were laid to rest toge-ther in a single white coffin at Killower Cemetery.
The Church of the Sacred Heart in Belclare, a few kilometres from Tuam, was packed to capacity over an hour before the Mass.
The grief-stricken parents thanked the public for their thoughts and prayers.
Parish priest Fr Martin Gleeson said John and Michelle Gilmore were grateful to all who were assisting them.
"They would like to thank everyone who helped in any way over the last few days. In their own words, 'everybody has been amazing'," he said.
Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary, who concelebrated the mass with Fr Gleeson along with priests from Tuam, Galway University Hospital, Westport, Parke, and Dunmore, said the community was shocked by the tragedy.
"We want to express our sincere sympathies and the support of our prayer to the parents, John and Michelle, to grandparents John-Francis and Ann, Michael and Margaret, and to the Newell and Gilmore families at this time of tragedy and loss," said Archbishop Neary.
Local residents opened up their driveways to facilitate the large number of vehicles in the area, while a local bus company carried mourners from a sports field to the church.
"The events of last Sunday have left us all in deep sorrow," said Fr Gleeson. "The death of two beautiful children, Kate and Grace - shattered is the only word to describe such a loss. Having two children to put to bed on Saturday night and being left with two corpses on Sunday, that's the stark reality."
A poem, I'll Be There, was read by Mr Gilmore's cousin Tom: "Daddy don't look so sad, Mommy please don't cry, because I'm in the arms of Jesus and he sings me lullabies."
Family and friends of Kate and Grace prayed for the strength to deal with the loss of their "two princesses" during the ceremony.
The mourners queued to sign books of condolence to the families.
The choir sang 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' as the single white coffin was taken from the church for burial.