Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken boyfriend says she was the greatest love of his life

The boyfriend of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy broke down in tears as he told the hundreds gathered at her grave that she was the greatest love of his life.

Yan Casey, who had previously attended Ashling’s funeral mass alongside her family at St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus, told how the 23-year-old, who was attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore last Wednesday afternoon, was their “shining light”.

“What Ashling meant to me, his family and his friends needs a few brief words,” Ryan said during the burial at Lowertown Cemetery.

“What I would like to say right now is that Ashling was actually our shining light. She loved her mother Kathleen so much, her father Ray, her big sister Amy and her big brother Cathal and all of her family and his friends.

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Ashling Murphy who was killed while jogging along a canal bank in Tullamore pictured on her graduation day. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Ashling Murphy who was killed while jogging along a canal bank in Tullamore pictured on her graduation day. Photo by Steve Humphreys

“She was always there, always ready to help anyone, anywhere and anytime and always put herself last.

“She had so many qualities and talents that all combined to make her an incredibly loving and beautiful person that we were blessed to know and enjoyed spending as much time with as possible.”

As he broke down sobbing, a heartbroken Ryan said Ashling was “so much more to me than a girlfriend. She was my soul mate; she is my soul mate and always will be.

“She was the greatest love of my life,” he added. “I will cherish the last five years we have spent together and hope that one day, God willing, we can be together again and continue the great plans we had made for each other.”

He finished: “Goodbye for now but not forever darling. Ashling, you will live on in all of our hearts and memories.

As he was comforted in the arms of supporters, a round of applause broke out around the cemetery.

A family friend then addressed those around him to say that the family had asked for a few words to be said about Ashling.

“She was born into a close family where love was freely given and in turn Ashling learned how to freely express that love,” he said.

“His parents, Ray and Kathleen, watched with pride as their youngest grew into a beautiful, confident, vibrant young woman who lived and loved life to the fullest.”

He said teaching had “come naturally to Ashling” and his family home was filled with traditional music every weekend.

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Ashling Murphy's funeral procession arriving at St Brigid's Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning for her funeral mass.


Ashling Murphy’s funeral procession arriving at St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning for her funeral mass.

Ashling Murphy’s funeral procession arriving at St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly this morning for her funeral mass.

Her “big sister and best friend Amy” had put on many shows and when asked, Ashling willingly gave up her time to play the violin at St Brigid’s Church, where she was baptized and received the Blessed Communion.

“Her other passion was camogie,” and her involvement at the junior and senior level was “core to who she was.”

“She was a team player and loyal to her teammates from her Kilcormac/Killoughey.

“So much has been written about Ashling, but I want to say who she really was,” he added.

“She loved fashion and when another purchase she had arranged arrived at the family home, she would say to Cathal and Amy, ‘I love clothes, but my wardrobe is not closing’.

“She loved nature and she loved animals, but she hated pulling tires on silage. That just wasn’t what a princess did.

“Her smile would light up any room and she would leap and jump on her reclining seat, make a cup of tea and catch up on all the (gossip).

Ashling, 23, was, in her very large family, the baby of her older cousins, yet a role model for her younger cousins.

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The funeral mass showed photographs of Ashling Murphy with loved ones


The funeral mass showed photographs of Ashling Murphy with loved ones

The funeral mass showed photographs of Ashling Murphy with loved ones

“She loved to socialize and never confined herself to any particular standard but was a friend to all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

“His partner of five years, Ryan, was the love of his life and they had a clear vision for their future. Ryan’s family was like his second home,” he added.

“She was everything you could hope for in a young woman and she will never be out of our hearts,” he added. “We will cherish his memory and keep alive his legacy and accomplishments during his short life.”

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