Limerick biker died on way home from fundraising rally

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Hundreds attended the funeral on Wednesday of the late Liam Fitzpatrick
THE MOTORCYCLIST who lost his life in a collision outside Bruff at the weekend was on his way home from a fundraising rally in Meanus when the accident occurred, mourners at his funeral were told.

THE MOTORCYCLIST who lost his life in a collision outside Bruff at the weekend was on his way home from a fundraising rally in Meanus when the accident occurred, mourners at his funeral were told.

Huge crowds gathered at Knocklong church this Wednesday for the funeral Mass of Liam Fitzpatrick – “a man with a great capacity for helping people in trouble”.

Such was his popularity within the South Limerick community, for nine hours on Tuesday - from 3pm to midnight - people paid their respects at his mother Eileen’s home in Knocklong.

Bikers, over 70 of them, from Donegal down to Cork, escorted the coffin carrying the body of the father-of-two to the local church on Wednesday for his funeral Mass.

Liam, mourners were told, loved the freedom of being out on the road on his bike but also loved being in the garage fixing bikes and tinkering with them. He made friends “all over the world” through his love of bikes and thanks to his “character, social ability, good humour and love of having the craic.”

His uncle, Fr John Fitzpatrick, a native of Knocklong now based in Dublin, described Liam’s death as “a tragic event - a real shocker as we would say”.

Liam died after his motorbike collided with a wall at Kilballyowen, just outside Bruff, shortly after 5pm on Sunday.

Fr Fitzpatrick, who was assisted by 13 priests including Fr Willie Hennessy and Fr John Ryan from the parish of Knocklong and Glenbrohane, recalled how he visited the scene of the accident on Sunday evening where one friend commented “it would make you think”.

“God has called Liam home at the age of 45 and we are left with memories of Liam,” Fr Fitzpatrick said.

He recalled how on Saturday evening, family and friends had come together in Galbally to celebrate his own Golden Jubilee “and Liam was right there in the middle of it all – always a source of laughter and fun”.

“The following day, he was dead, gone from us.”

Liam, who ran a shop in Hospital for many years specialising in farm equipment and water pumps was a hard worker. Gifts brought to the altar included a pipe wrench which he used in every farmyard he went to. The tool symbolised “his ability to turn his hand to any job” and his “great capacity for helping people in trouble and never letting anyone down be they customer, friend or family.”

A miniature bike symbolised his “passion in life and also his passion for life”.

Throughout the day Liam would constantly be fielding calls from people looking for assistance. When he did take time off he would get on his bike and “disappear” on the open road, travelling across Europe, or going as far as Serbia or Montenegro. “And no matter where he went, he always found a biker,” said Fr Fitzpatrick, raising smiles from the mourners.

Liam lived on the side of a hill in “a beautiful setting” in Kilfinane. He loved the town and its people. Fr Fitzpatrick said he was slightly baffled however by Liam’s decision to build his bedroom downstairs while having the living room and sitting room upstairs.

“Liam’s answer: ‘You go to bed to sleep, not to view the countryside’.”

Liam Fitzpatrick is survived by his daughters Michelle and Sarah, their mother Triona, mother Eileen, five sisters and Jackie, his partner.

He was laid to rest in the local cemetery in Knocklong