There was a huge attendance at the funeral of Des Butler
“HE was a real fun guy, a lovely guy who loved life. He lived life to the full, and loved people who could make him laugh.”
The words of Des Butler’s best friend Eoin Kirwan at the father-of-two’s funeral Mass, which was held in Christ the King Church, Caherdavin last Thursday.
Hundreds of people have paid their last respects to Des, who died at the age of just 50 while cycling near Bunratty on Mothering Sunday.
A guard of honour was formed outside the church by members of his beloved Caherdavin Celtic, and members of the Hub Cycling Club, where Des was a keen cyclist.
And it was the blue flag of Caherdavin Celtic, which draped over the coffin as the remains of the popular man entered the church.
Addressing the congregation, Eoin – who was Des’s best man as he married Val in 1992 – said: “Dessie was a rock to his family, a fantastic trait for anyone to have. All his family can be very proud of him, as I know I am”.
He recalled how his friend – who he has known since 1982 – shared more than just a familial relationship with his children.
“Aisling and Rioghan were more than his two children – they were his best friends. Aisling was always his pet number one, and Rioghan shared his love of superheroes, gaming and soccer,” he explained.
A huge fan of horror movies – zombies were his favourite – Eoin recalled the ‘Horror Sunday’ meetings he and Des used to enjoy.
While the rest of their families went to Christ the King Church for Mass, Des and friends stayed in and put the television on.
“The only downside was: we never got to see all the movies, as Mass was only 45 minutes long – or 25 minutes if there was a game at the Gaelic Grounds. Isn’t that right, Fr Tom,” he said to Fr Tom Carroll, who led the Requiem Mass.
Back in 1990, at the Trip to Tipp Music Festival in Thurles, Eoin also recalled how they hatched a plan to make sure their tent stood out from the rest.
“Pat decided he would buy a luminous yellow ribbon and tie it to the tent so we could find it later. During the concert, we managed to get separated so individually, we made our way back to the tent. There were thousands of tents now, and yes, you guessed it, lots had luminous yellow ribbons. Dessie spent a few hours calling out our names. But these were memories he loved – funny, happy stories,” Eoin recalled.
A huge U2 fan, a number of tracks from the Bono-fronted band were played by Emma Culhane at the Mass.
Des was also a massive Liverpool FC fan, and a jersey of the Anfield club was placed at the altar by members of his family. Also placed was his beloved Playstation console, a family photo, and a coffee cup to reflect his love of the caffiene drink.
Des is a brother of Limerick leader photographer Adrian Butler, and a son of Billy Butler, who was formerly head of the lithographic department with this newspaper. There was a strong attendance of current and former Limerick Leader staff at his removal on the Wednesday, and the Mass.
Eoin concluded: “Thankyou Dessie for being an unbelievable best friend. All the lads and I are proud to have called you a friend. And in the words of the famous anthem of the greatest football team in the world: Dessie Butler, you will never walk alone.”
Des is survived by wife Valerie, daughter Aisling, son Rioghan, brothers Adrian and Jordan, sister Susan and parents Billy and Peggy.