Greece tragedies – Leaving Cert class assembles to bid final farewell to friends

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

The funeral of Max Wall, one of two Leaving Certificate students who died while on the Greek island of Ios, took place in Dublin on Monday last.

Max died on Sunday, July 2, two days after his St Michael’s College classmate, Andrew O’ Donnell, died in a separate incident at the same holiday destination.

An estimated group of over 80 students from the Ballsbridge school had travelled to Greek island to celebrate the end of their Leaving Certificate examinations.

Fr. Moran, chaplain of St Michael’s College, recalled seeing the sea of “young energetic men ready to take on the world” at the school’s recent graduation ceremony, lamenting that the same group was gathering again so soon in “the most tragic of circumstances.”

The 18-year-old’s funeral mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart heard that Max was walking to a ferry while speaking to his father on the phone when he collapsed.

The service was attended by hundreds of mourners, including Max’s parents Niall and Fiona, older brother Charlie, relatives, friends from St Michael’s College, the rugby community and President Michael D Higgins.

Donnybrook’s parish priest, Fr O’Carroll, described the young man, who had survived heart surgery three years ago, as a larger than life person, who looked out for people wherever he went.

The postmortem conducted by Greek authorities would indicate that Max Wall’s death could be connected to a heart problem.

Friends carried  a number of symbols representing Max’s life during the service, such as a Manchester United jersey, a pool cue, a megaphone and signed Leinster rugby jersey.

Max was later laid to rest at Kilternan Cemetery.

The funeral Mass for Andrew O’Donnell took place in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook yesterday, July 12. 

The e18-year-old’s parents, Bebhinn and Gavin and brother Rory, said that Andrew brought immense joy to the lives of his family, friends, and all who knew him and his death leaves “a void that can never be filled.”

It is believed that Andrew fell on a rocky hill on the edge of Hora, the island’s main town, after being separated from a friend while walking home after a night out. His body was found the next day.

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