Hundreds of mourners attended a memorial mass celebrating the lives of JohnJohn Heneghan (33), from Tourmakeady and Caitlin Holtzman (32), from Pennsylvania, in Mr Heneghan’s native parish yesterday.
The couple died after a suspected drunk driver collided with their vehicle as they drove to a friend’s wedding close to Albany, in upstate New York on May 25. Three other people who were travelling with the couple survived the collision.
According to the Irish Independent, in her eulogy, Mr Heneghan’s sister, Maire Ivanna O’Reilly, told mourners "Caitlin was JohnJohn’s treasure, of that I am sure. They were beautiful people in their own right, but together they were really a beautiful couple. Their sparkling eyes, their bright smiles, their warmth, their love, their charism. The energy they possessed and exuded became inextinguishable.
Ms O’Reilly thanked the couple for "the laughter, the craic, the company, the loyalty, the generosity, the friendship, and most of all, thank you for letting us be part of your story".
She also thanked Caitlin’s parents for "bringing into this world such a wonderful daughter".
She thanked Ms Holtzman’s parents for allowing their only child’s remains to be with her husband, and promised them her family would take care of them forever in their native Tourmakeady
Family and friends from across Ireland, the US and Austria attended the mass yesterday in St Mary’s Church in Tourmakeady.
Mourners were led by JohnJohn’s father Tom, Caitlin’s parents Donald and Claudia Holtzman, and John John’s siblings Orla, Olga, Maire Ivanna, Michael as well as members of both extended families.
The couple – who wed in Ballintubber Abbey in Co Mayo in 2015 – lived in Manhattan for a number of years before their untimely deaths. Yesterday’s mass was celebrated by Fr John Kenny, with eulogies delivered by JohnJohn’s sister Maire Ivanna O’Reilly, and Corey Salko, a close friend of John John and Caitlin.
The couple’s remains are to be interred during a private ceremony expected to take place today.