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Mourners attend the funeral of Nicole Murphy at St John the Baptist Church in Kilcash Alamy Stock Photo

Mother of Clonmel crash victim Nicole Murphy pays tribute to her 'beautiful angel' during funeral

A joint funeral for Grace and Luke McSweeney will take place tomorrow while Zoey Coffey will be laid to rest on Saturday.

LAST UPDATE | 31 Aug 2023

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to Nicole Murphy, one of the victims of a road crash that claimed four lives in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, during her funeral service today. 

The funeral for Nicole, 18, took place this afternoon at St John the Baptist Church in Kilcash, near Clonmel.

Nicole, along with Zoey Coffey and Grace McSweeney, both also 18, and her 24-year-old brother Luke, were killed when their car overturned and crashed into a wall in Clonmel.

They had been travelling to an event to celebrate their Leaving Cert results, which they had received last Friday.

Members of the McSweeney and Coffey families were also present at what was the first funeral following the tragedy.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church as the hearse carrying the teenager’s white coffin arrived just after 12pm.

Classmates from Loreto Secondary School formed a guard of honour as the casket was brought into the church.

There were tears as some members of the congregation comforted each other with hugs.

the-coffin-of-nicole-murphy-is-carried-into-st-john-the-baptist-church-in-kilcash-near-clonmel-co-tipperary-ahead-of-her-funeral-picture-date-thursday-august-31-2023 The coffin of Nicole Murphy is carried into St John the Baptist Church Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Nicole’s mother Serena Murphy paid an emotional tribute to her daughter at the funeral today. 

She described Nicole as  “truly beautiful inside and out”.

“We always told her how she lit up a room when she walked in,” she told mourners.

“She was the life and soul of our family, especially at Christmas. In fact, she was the boss of Christmas. She told us when and how to decorate the tree, and sometimes those decorations never came down.

“I remember she would stare at the angel on the top of the tree and admire how beautiful it was.

“Now she is our beautiful little angel. We would like to ask you when you are putting an angel on top of your Christmas tree this year will you please think and pray for our angel Nikki, that she is somewhere more beautiful than any Christmas she can think of.

“We only had Nikki for 18 years but they were amazing. She was so caring and too good for this world.

“I was so lucky to have been her mother and I thank God every day for giving her to me.

“We wish we could have had her for eternity but now she will live in our hearts forever.”

a-picture-of-nicole-murphy-on-display-as-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-coff A picture of Nicole Murphy on display at a vigil on Sunday Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking at Nicole’s funeral Mass this afternoon, Father Brian Power said: “As we gather we are conscious of the McSweeney and Coffey families who mourn the loss of Grace and Luke, and Zoe, and our prayers are with them at this time of heartbreak. 

“We are also conscious of another family in Cashel who are facing the same grief and pain that you have endured these last few days.”

Father Power said Nicole was a “caring, kind and loving person”. 

“This was something that she learned from her mum and dad, and this was reflected in the vocation of midwife that she wished to pursue to help bring new life into the world and to care for the mom and baby,” he said. 

Father Power said Nicole was “a young person of faith, whose faith was important to her”. 

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan also spoke at the Mass. 

“The whole country has been affected by this tragedy and by the loss of such wonderful young people whose lives have been cut short,” Bishop Cullinan said. 

He offered his “sincere sympathies” to Nicole’s parents and extended family and friends.

the-hearse-carrying-the-coffin-of-nicole-murphy-arrives-at-st-john-the-baptist-church-in-kilcash-near-clonmel-co-tipperary-ahead-of-her-funeral-picture-date-thursday-august-31-2023 The hearse carrying the coffin of Nicole Murphy arrives at St John the Baptist Church in Kilcash Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Around 2,000 people attended a vigil for the four young people in Clonmel on Sunday evening.

A joint funeral for Grace and Luke McSweeney will take place in Clonmel tomorrow while Zoey Coffey will be laid to rest in the town on Saturday.

The diocese of Waterford and Lismore has issued guidelines for those attending the funeral from outside of the community.

Photography is not permitted inside the church before or during the funeral masses. Congregation spaces are reserved for families and parishioners. The masses will be livestreamed where possible.

The diocese has said that these are the wishes of the families involved.

With reporting by Press Association

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