Mikey and Thelma Dennany funeral

Siblings Mikey and Thelma Dennany laid to rest

Two siblings who died in a car fire in Westmeath have been described as “vibrant children” who “were inseparable in life” during their funeral Mass on Thursday.

Thelma, five, and Mikey Dennany, two, died in the fire at Multyfarnham while a passerby pulled their mother Lynn Egar from the vehicle. She remains in hospital.

Speaking at the funeral, Father Sean Casey, Parish Priest of Killoe, said their lives were “so tragically cut short in the full bloom and promise of childhood”.

Prayers were said for “the comfort and consolation” of the sibling’s parents and for their brother and sister Eddie and Katelyn, “all of whom are weighed down by sorrow”.

The children were “inseparable in life” and so it was fitting that they should share a coffin, carried by members of their heartbroken family to the mass before travelling to their final resting place in Cullyfad Cemetery.

“In the words of their Dad, Michael – the only thing that separated them was school as they went their separate ways each morning,” said Fr Casey.

“Thelma attended dancing classes and football training, Mikey always came to watch her training from the side-line.

“On Saturday week last, he ventured onto the pitch for the first time to join her in the sport she loved. 

“They loved to run and laugh and, feel the wind in their hair and to pick wildflowers. They looked forward to trying out their fishing rods. They are together now exploring the highways and byways of heaven.”

Speaking of the children’s respective school and preschool, Fr Casey said “their teachers and staff had a unique relationship with Thelma and Mikey and with the older brother and sister”. 

Fr Casey, who baptised both children, said Thelma and Mikey “will remain forever young in the hearts of their parents and brother and sister”. 

“In quiet times they will sense their presence consoling them with memories of golden days in the past; and with the promise of togetherness in that place where there is no more pain or sorrow and where all tears are wiped away.” 

Two fishing rods were brought forward at the beginning of the mass by the childrens’ aunt, Aline Fitzgerald and uncle, John Dennany, as symbols of the young lives that were so tragically lost last Friday afternoon.

Thelma and Mikey
Thelma and Mikey Dennany

Other symbols included artwork by Mikey, aged two, brought forward by Niamh Anderson of Toddlers and Waddlers Pre-School in Rathowen, and artwork by Thelma, aged five, and a collage, brought by her class teacher, Joan Hickson.

Emotions were high as Eimear Reynolds and Vincent Tully provided the beautiful, poignant music for the service.

Also present at the mass was Bishop Pat Storey, Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare; Fr Tom Healy, Diocesan Administrator of Ardagh and Clonmacnois; John Galligan, Acting Principal of Wilsonn’s Hospital School; Reverent Luke Hawkins, Chaplain at Wilson’s Hospital School; Reverend Christian Snell, of Longford and Edgeworthstown Group of Parishes; Prefects from Wilson’s Hospital School; Father Conor McGee, Parish Priest of Multyfarnham Parish; Karl Dermody, Principal and Staff Saint Cremin’s National School, Multyfarnham; and Vivienne Mulvey and Niamh Anderson of Waddlers and Toddlers Preschool Rathowen.

A message from the family, read out at the mass, expressed sincere gratitude to those who supported them through this time of heartbreak “We’d like to thank everyone for helping us to say farewell to Thelma and Mikey,” they said.

“We use ‘farewell’ because with the memories they left us through their short lives and their infectious smiles, they will be with us forever.

“Your heartfelt sympathy and offers of help have touched us deeply at this very difficult time. Once again we thank you all.”

Mikey and Thelma

Follow @jessicadotie

First published in the Irish Examiner

Written by Jessica Thompson