An Irish street musician who died in Georgia last month was remembered by a brother at his funeral on Wednesday as a merry minstrel “who sailed this world like a rainbow in a storm”.
Chris Kennedy, recited a specially written poem in honor of his brother, Tom Kennedy (28), during Tom’s funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Church, Lahardane, Co Mayo.
Another brother, James, also paid tribute by describing Tom as “cuteness incarnate” and a shining star in the Kennedy family who “never had a hard time talking about anyone”.
“Tom was good with his music and also had a great gift with people,” said James.
“He had only been in Georgia for five weeks,” he continued. Residents of Tbilisi, where he rented an apartment, praised the happy boy who graced their shops and cafes.
“He was good at football and a lot of other things, but his real passion was music. He took to the guitar like a duck in water. He learned to play many instruments. He has performed in the streets of Castlebar, Cork and Galway and made many friends along the way ”.
The coffin containing the remains of Tom Kennedy was draped in the tricolor throughout the hour-long funeral mass celebrated by Father John Reilly.
Tom was very proud of his Irish heritage, hence the national flag, explained Father Reilly.
The beloved guitar of the late busker was displayed on the altar throughout the ceremony, as was a bouquet of white flowers in the shape of a guitar.
Father Reilly told the bereaved that the news of Tom’s tragic death had caused sadness, anger, loneliness, grief and shock not only for the Kennedy family but for the entire community, ” did he declare.
“Today we thank God for the special gift from Tom Kennedy. He radiated goodness, beauty and kindness to all those he met and with whom he was in contact ”.
Among the congregation were the mother and father of the deceased, Cathy and Eddie, her brothers, Sean, James, Chris, Pat (her twin), Jack and Noel, her grandmother, Anne Barrett and her grandfather, John Kennedy.
After mass, the remains were taken to a private cremation ceremony.
Investigations into Mr. Kennedy’s death continue in Georgia, where a number of people have been arrested and are being held on suspicion of murder.
The suspects are accused of assaulting the Mayoman and then throwing his body in a river.
A GoFundMe campaign set up to raise funds for the repatriation of remains has attracted more than € 62,000, more than double the goal of € 25,000 set by organizers.
The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which assisted with the return of the remains, will benefit from excess funds raised by the initiative.