Kieran Foley

Huge crowds gathered in Butlerstown last week for the funeral of 13-year-old Jack de Bromhead
who died following a tragic accident at Glenbeigh Racing Festival in Kerry.


The remains of the late Jack de Bromhead are removed from the Church of the Nativity of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, Butlerstown.

The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was full to capacity on Wednesday last, with
hundreds of mourners gathered outside. More than 10,000 tuned into the live stream of the Funeral
Mass which was broadcast around the world.
Tractors led the funeral procession, flanked by stable staff from de Bromheads. Pupils from Scoil
Mhuire, Newtown School and Kilkenny College lined the route as well as members of Butlerstown
GAA Club and Waterpark Rugby Club.

Members of Waterpark RFC lined the route to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Pat Fitzgerald welcomed Jack’s parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles,
godparents, extended family and friends and all those who had travelled from abroad to attend.
Fr Fitzgerald described it as “an occasion heavily laden with grief and sadness” but “a fitting
celebration of Jack’s life”.
He was joined by Fr John Delaney, PP Kilrossanty, Fr Denis Hooper from Glenstal Abbey, and Fr Pat
Crean from the Diocese of Kerry. Bishop of Waterford & Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan sent his
apologies as he was unable to attend.
Representatives of President Michael D. Higgins and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin were also present,
as well as luminaries from the racing world, including jockeys Davy Russell, Barry Geraghty and
Rachael Blackmore, stable jockey at de Bromheads.
Mourners had been asked to wear bright colours and included among them were many young
jockeys wearing bright racing silks.
Symbols of Jack’s life were brought to the altar including horse riding items, a rugby ball, goggles, a
pair of Nike runners, and a Ralph Lauren togs. Prayers of the Faithful were shared by members of
Jack’s family and some of his many friends.
“Jack stood on the threshold of life,” said Fr Fitzgerald, describing him as “a child who touched many
“He was always cherished and loved. Jack was full of the joy of living, and he revelled in the
opportunities which surrounded him.”
Fr Fitzgerald said Jack engaged in the “joyous adventure of living”.
“Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life. In
a real way, Jack absorbed and lived the essence of life,” he said.

The late Jack de Bromhead had only recently moved to Kilkenny College and many pupils from the
school also lined the funeral route.

Fr Fitzgerald noted how Jack was “a budding horse whisperer” who possessed “an intuitive grasp of
equine nature”.
He said his “beloved” parents and sisters were the “bedrock of his happiness”.
“Love was received and given in abundance,” he said.
While such love may not always be visible, Fr Fitzgerald referred to a quote from ‘The Little Prince’
saying: “What is essential is invisible to the eye”.
“We think of him as a Little Prince,” he added.
In a moving eulogy, Jack’s grandfather Andrew Moffat outlined how he was present on Rossbeigh
Strand when “our hopes and dreams for our beautiful, charming, charismatic and wonderful Jack
were shattered”.
He spoke of Jack’s love of driving and diggers and outlined some amusing accounts of his escapades.
“Our 13 years with our beloved Jack will never be forgotten,” he said.
Jack’s father Henry spoke of the “unbelievable support and strength” which the family have received
from people in the aftermath of Jack’s untimely death.
“One of the greatest comforts is he knows how much we loved him, and we know how much he
loved us,” he said.
He described March 31st 2009, when Jack and Mia were born, as “the best day of our lives”. This
was followed by the “second best day” when sister Georgina was born, completing the happy family

Henry de Bromhead.

Henry said Jack’s first love had been surfing which was soon followed by farming. He recounted how
Jack would look to go for a spin on the tractors of local farmers in Butlerstown.
Jack went on to develop interests in many different sports, however, his “real passion” proved to be
pony racing. “He loved it and so many people supported him,” said Henry.
Along with wife Heather, he finished his eulogy by stating the words Jack said to them every night:
“Night, mum. Night dad, love you.”
Following the Funeral Mass, his remains were removed for private cremation. He is survived by his
parents Henry and Heather, sisters Mia and Georgia, grandparents Andrew, Marian, Harry and Sally,
aunts and uncles, extended family, and friends.