Heartbreak as tragic couple laid to rest
A pall of grief hung over Clonroche and Enniscorthy on Thursday as the funerals took place of engaged couple Melissa Giltrap, 32, and her fiancé Stephen De Loughry, 28, who were found deceased in Clonroche three days earlier.
Taking place within an hour of one another and in churches located within a short distance, the tragic fate of both Ms Giltrap and Mr De Loughry was interwoven into the morning's poignant formalities.
At St Senan's Church, a large crowd gathered, including pupils in support of Ms Giltrap's daughter Chloe, to bid their final farewells to a dear sister, friend and mother. Fr John Byrne summed up the mood of everyone when he said: 'Today we gather in tragedy. On Monday evening last into Monday night the tragic news of the deaths of Melissa and Stephen began to filter around the place. Since then Enniscorthy has been a sad place to be. It's a sad place to be here this morning as it is out in Clonroche as well and coincidentally on Monday evening when the news started to filter through of these tragic events many of us were here attending another sad event, the funeral reception in memory of Ann Giltrap with the connections that are there.'
Referring to the passing of Ms Giltrap's aunt by marriage at a young age, Fr Byrne said that the sudden deaths in Clonroche compounded what was already a very difficult time for the Giltrap family.
'It is not for us to go into the tragic circumstances of what has happened. These things are for another day. I know naturally enough we want to ask questions and to know all the answers.'
He said the day was about allowing the Giltrap family to mourn their beloved Melissa and urged the people in attendance to pray for her family.
'In the midst of this tragic event where can we find a spark of hope. We find some little thing in all of us who decided to come to be with Melissa's family here. We have to carry the family over these days as they are not able to do it themselves. We pray that she will rest in the hands of the Lord and that she will find peace,' he said.
A friend of Melissa's read a poem in her memory in which she described her as a wonderful friend and mother.
'You are a star in the sky that has no end. Memories from way back when, I will keep in my heart until we meet again,' she said. A large crowd attended as Ms Giltrap was laid to rest afterwards in Enniscorthy Cemetery.
In the Church of St Clement, Cloughbawn, Fr Bernard Cushen said both the Giltrap and the De Loughry families were experiencing great pain and loss.
Originally from Blanchardstown, Dublin, a large crowd of people from the Blanchardstown community attended the funeral of Stephen De Loughry, along with local residents who came out in force to support the family who lived at the Woodlands estate having moved from Dublin.
Fr Cushen called on those in attendance to pray for grace and consolation for the De Loughry family.
Mr De Loughry was laid to rest in Cloughbawn Cemetery where his mother Patricia, who died in her forties in 2010, is also buried.