The West Donegal skyline put on its bravest smile this afternoon as it bid a final farewell to one of its best-loved sons.
Stunning September sunshine greeted hundreds of mourners as crash victim Conor Boyle was laid to rest.
No detail was overlooked as hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to a young man held so highly in the affections of his local community.
Despite the heartbreaking sadness, locals put on their bravest of faces to do one of their own proud.
The 18 year old, from the village of Loughanure, lost his fight for life on September 20th, almost two weeks after he crashed his car in London on September 8th.
Conor was returning from working at his father’s tunneling company when he crashed his Volkswagen Passat car.
Hundreds of mourners had to stand outside St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Annagry today as people packed into the church to show their respects to the Boyle family.
Mourners were all given a small keepsake photograph of Conor that read “Conor Boyle, 1995-2013” as they entered the church.
Inside teenagers wept openly as Fr John Britto recalled how a community had been thorn apart by Conor’s loss.
But he added “What was more remarkable was hos Conor’s death has brought people of all ages together to share in grief the loss of this fine young man.”
The offertory gifts were carried to the altar by Conor’s three younger brothers and five of his friends.
Among the many songs performed during the touching mass was ‘Working Man’ recalling Conor’s great work ethic.
His brother Darragh carried Conor’s boxing gloves, Owen carried his football, while Shane took his first football boots to the altar.
The readings were by his godmother Brid Sweeney and close friend Lauren Walsh, while nine close relatives and friends recited the prayers of the faithful.
A booklet including a pencil drawing of Conor by students and teachers at Dungloe Community School was also distributed at the mass.
The eulogy at the end of the Mass was given by his uncle Daniel Boyle.
He said that although Conor was small in stature, his huge heart more than made up for his physical size.
“Everyone loved Conor and that was evident by the outpouring of hope and prayers that happened when Conor had his accident.
“He was such a great sportsman and a wonderful human being. The social media campaign that followed his accident was huge. He even had the Pope praying for him,” revealed Daniel.
Daniel also revealed that Conor hadn’t spent his last couple of pay cheques and said his family wanted the community to spend that money joining them for refreshments after his funeral.
Following the Mass the funeral cortege made its way the short distance to the new cemetery on the outskirts of Annagry village where it stopped several hundred yards before the cemetery to allow his coffin be carried.
School friends and pals from Loughanure and surrounding areas together with members of the Naomh Muire GAA Club and the Rosses Boxing Club took turns to help carry their friend’s coffin to his final resting place.
His father Hugh, godfather Paul Sweeney, and his great uncles Bernie Boyle and Charlie Rodgers took Conor the last few steps into the cemetery.
He was finally laid to rest as stunning September sunshine danced across the hills and fields of the West Donegal gaeltacht.
And the only dark cloud on the skyline was the loss of one of Donegal’s finest young sons all too soon.