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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C

Hozier gives touching tribute at Olivia Burke's funeral by performing last song

Olivia Burke’s father said today was to be a celebration of his daughter’s life.

olivia Olivia Burke

HUNDREDS OF MOURNERS attended the funeral of Olivia Burke, the 21-year-old who was tragically killed last week when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California.

Among the mourners was award-winning Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne, otherwise known as Hozier, who performed one of the final songs at the ceremony this morning.

The singer performed an acoustic version of ‘The Work Song’ and received a rapturous applause.

Funeral of Olivia Burke. The funeral of Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Olivia’s funeral also had other well-known hymns and songs such as ‘Here I Am Lord’, ‘Amazing Grace’ as well as Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Fields of Gold’.

hoz Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Andrew Hozier-Byrne with his guitar at the funeral today. Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Today is the second day the funerals of the six students who lost their lives while on a J-1 trip to America. Yesterday, Eimear Walsh and Eoghan Culligan were laid to rest.

Niccolai Schuster’s funeral also took place today.

‘Celebration of her life’

Olivia’s father, Paul Burke, paid tribute to his daughter in the church, stating that today was to be a celebration of her life.

He began by saying this was the third time he had spoken before the congregation in Foxrock, stating that he had spoken at his mother and father’s funerals not so long ago.

However, he said it was “manageable” as they had experienced a full life, living into their 80s.

Funeral of Olivia Burke. The funeral of Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

This time around it is a challenge to stand here – no parent wishes to see their child part this life at such a tender age.

Funeral of Olivia Burke. The funeral of Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flangan TD in the crowd of mourners in Foxrock today. Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

He recounted his daughter’s life, saying she had a strong work ethic, was determined to achieve her goals,  but loved a “boogie” on the dancefloor.

She told him before she left that she was looking forward to beginning her fourth year in college in IADT and hoped she had received a good grade in the work experience she had completed only weeks before her departure to the States at East Coast Radio.

Close-knit group of friends 

Her father also paid tribute to her close-knit group of friends, stating that Olivia would be looking down on them and wishing them well for the future.

He said his daughter enjoyed her six years at Loreto College in Foxrock, where he said she entered as a shy child, but emerged with confidence.

Mr Burke also paid special tribute to the support both the families and students received over in the US, and also from home.

He paid special tribute to Olivia’s “cousin and soulmate”, Ashley Donohue, who was also killed in the tragic incident.

“You two guys departed this world side by side.”

He read out words which he said were also read at Ashley’s funeral in California, closing with:

“Olivia Burke, my darling, may you rest in peace.”

The parish in Foxrock has been mourning the loss of the young students since last week and have paid tribute in many ways, such as planting a tree and encouraging people to leave messages on ribbons.

The church has also remained open throughout the night on many evenings offering support to those in mourning.


Read: ‘Eoghan was our translator, sense-maker and peacemaker. He was our wiser brother’>

Read: Eimear Walsh funeral hears of kind-hearted, generous and fun-loving young woman>

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