The funeral has taken place today in Sligo of Pat Ward, the 30-year old man whose body was discovered two weeks ago in an alleyway in Clogher, Co Tyrone.
Two people have since been charged with his murder.
It was to this song, ‘The Galtee Mountain Boy,’ sung by Christy Quilligan from Limerick, that Pat Ward’s remains were taken for the final time today from St Anne’s Church, in Sligo.
It was in this same church that he received his First Communion, as well as having been confirmed there by the late Bishop Christopher Jones in May 2001.
It was also in St Anne’s where he and his wife Eillie were married in October 2009.
Today, family and friends were back in that church again, including many from the Traveller community, north and south, this time as mourners attending for Pat Ward’s funeral Mass.
Yesterday evening, his remains, in a green, white and orange-coloured casket, were taken to St Anne’s, where they reposed overnight before a wreath-covered altar area .
Among the many large wreaths were those from family members, as well as one with the name ‘Big Bang’, to whom many the late Pat Ward was known.
Symbols of his sporting interest are also evident; the large display included a pair of boxing gloves.
Many of the men and women in attendance wore white shirts and tops, with ‘Rest in Peace Pat’ emblazoned on the back.
In his homily, the celebrant of the funeral Mass, St Anne’s Parish Priest Fr Pat Lombard, extended his deepest sympathy to Pat’s wife, Ellie and their children, Tom, Leonie, Chanara and Pat Jr, as well as to Pat’s mother and father, Tom and Brigie.
Fr Lombard said that at this time of immense shock and sorrow, they all prayed for healing and peace.
He pointed out that practically every day, we hear about assaults and killings throughout the country.
He said every human life is precious, adding that violence is never the answer to any of our problems, only making a bad situation worse in reality.
Fr Lombard added that there are never any winners, and that not only families of the victim suffer; those responsible and their families too have to carry a great heartache of pain and regret, he said.
‘We pray also for them today,’ he continued, adding that the community prayed for peace and healing upon the Ward and McDonagh families and all affected by, what he described, as ‘this deeply distressing event.’
Those present at St Anne’s Church today also remembered Pat Ward’s 27-year old brother Tom, who was murdered in Sligo town in 2007.
After Mass, Pat Ward’s funeral cortege went through his home community of nearby Cranmore.
As the funeral made its way, accompanied by mourners on foot, it was accompanied by a variety of recorded music, ranging from country to Bruce Springsteen to U2.
For part of the journey, Pat’s father Tom led the procession carrying a Manchester United flag. The Irish tricolour was also carried.
In Joe McDonnell Drive, in Cranmore, Pat’s tri-coloured coffin was taken from the hearse and borne more than shoulder high for a time, before being replaced in the hearse again — and then continuing on his final journey to St Columba’s Cemetery in Carrownanty, Ballymote, where he was laid to rest.