Father of University of Limerick student who died in kayak accident pens emotional open letter

Rebecca Laffan


Rebecca Laffan



'Even in death, Aisling continues to care for, enrich and help others in need'

Picture: Aisling O'Connor - Facebook

THE FATHER of the University of Limerick student who tragically died this Monday following a kayaking accident has said his daughter's organs are being donated. 

The 21-year-old woman's father made an emotional appeal to highlight the importance of organ donation in an open letter to Cork's 96FM broadcaster PJ Coogan.

Corkman David O'Connor said: "There would not be enough time or words for me to convey to you the essence and character of this simply wonderful and special person.

"She enriched the lives of everyone she encountered... loving, bubbly, bright, vivacious, caring...I could go on and on.....always taking care and looking out for others. She was a role model in every sense of the word and set the example for many especially for her brothers Ciaran and Matthew and her sisters Clodagh and Maeve.

"The reason I write to you is to highlight the importance of organ donation. I know you have covered this topic before but if you could please spare another 30 seconds or so to reach out to your listeners and emphasize the importance of organ donation I would be very grateful.

"As I write this, my beautiful baby organs are being harvested to help the lives of others. Incredibly, within 10 minutes of her being pronounced dead yesterday, the liver transplant team identified Aisling as a perfect match for a patient of theirs.

"Even in death, Aisling continues to care for, enrich and help others in need. My hope is that all of her organs are viable and will give the gift of life to those who need it. Aisling would not have had it any other way.

"Whilst our lives are shattered and will never be the same again it is important for your listeners to know the gift of life we all possess through organ donation-  even in the face of tragic loss and heartbreaking senseless death of someone so young.

"Please think of Aisling and wish her well on her onward journey where I know she is lighting up the lives of everyone she encounters.

Aisling O'Connor, who was from Skibbereen, Co Cork and later moved to Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, was a third-year Industrial Biochemistry student. 

The young woman was on a trip with the UL's kayaking club in Glencar, Killarney, when she got into difficulty in rough waters and her kayak upturned on Saturday, November 2. 

Another student, a 21-year-old male, was also rescued from the waters located 2km from Lake Caragh, and remains in a stable condition in University Hospital Kerry.