04 Oct 2022

Heartbreak in Letterkenny as Hughie Merlehan is laid to rest

Fr Brendan Ward urged those gathered to pray for Hughie's family at this difficult time

Hughie Merlehan

Shock and sadness at the untimely death of Hughie Merlehan

The untimely death of 25-year-old Hughie Merlehan has deeply shocked and saddened the Letterkenny community. 

Described as a friendly and outgoing young man, he will be greatly missed by his wide circle of family and friends.

At Friday’s Funeral Mass in the Church of the Irish Martyrs, Letterkenny, Fr Brendan Ward told mourners: “None of us expected to be here today. It has been a difficult few days, traumatic.”

He said that as a faith community, the belief was that life had changed, not ended. He urged mourners to take comfort in that. 

Fr Ward offered deepest sympathy on behalf of himself and Fr Brian Quinn PP, to Mr Merlehan’s parents and immediate family, his extended family and friends, mourners gathered in the church and those watching via Facebook.

Speaking about the changing nature of communication, Fr Ward said: “When I was growing up you had no phones and the computer was something you would see in a computer room in school and you had to queue at a phone box to ring home if you were living away from home at that time. 

“Now we are living in an information age where the phone is never far away from us. It is in our pockets; it is usually beside us when we sleep at night.

“The phone was designed to help us communicate better and get messages to others faster. 

But I think the opposite is now the case. 

“It may be easier to communicate with each other but we are further apart than ever. 

“The most important part of communication that we need in our lives is communication with God.”

Fr Ward reminded mourners of Mr Merlehan’s baptism in the same church 25 years ago.

“Hughie was baptised into the love of Christ in that baptismal font here at the Easter Vigil in 1997, an ideal night to be baptised,” he said. 

“He lived out that baptism. 

“He was kind, thoughtful, loving. He was great fun and brought a smile to the many people who knew him, especially those here today.

“But sadly he had his crosses. 

“For those who love him, it is important to hold on to the happier times and to cherish the great memories, and especially to pray for him.

“Pray especially for his immediate family.”

Mr Merlehan had been living at Ard an Rí, Letterkenny. 

Predeceased by step-brother Michael and uncles Ciaran and Brendan, he will be missed hugely by his parents, Una Carthy and Patrick Merlehan; his sisters Trisha, Amy, Annie and Emma; stepfather Dearn; brother-in-law to be Ronan, his grandmother Margot, aunts Darina and Katherine; uncles Sean, Seamus, Eoin and Colm, uncles-in-law, aunts-in-law, cousins, neighbours, relatives and friends. 

He was laid to rest in Conwal Cemetery on Friday afternoon following Funeral Mass at the Church of the Irish Martyrs, Letterkenny. Mass was con-celebrated by Fr Liam Boyle, Chaplain to Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

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