Irish busker who died in Georgia remembered as ‘kindness personified’

An Irish street busker who died in Georgia last month was recalled by a brother at his funeral on Wednesday as a happy minstrel “who navigated through this world like a rainbow in a storm”.

Chris Kennedy, recited a poem specially written in honour of his brother, Tom Kennedy (28), at Tom’s funeral Mass in St. Patrick’s Church, Lahardane, Co Mayo.

Another brother, James also paid tribute describing Tom as “kindness personified” and a shining star in the Kennedy family who “never had a bad word to say about anybody”.

“Tom was gifted with his music and also had a great gift with people”, James said.

“He had only been in Georgia for five weeks”, he continued. The locals in Tbilisi, where he rented an apartment, spoke highly of the happy lad who graced their shops and cafes.

“He was good at football and many other things but his real passion was music. He took to the guitar like a duck to water. He learned to play many instruments. He busked on the streets of Castlebar and Cork and Galway and made many friends along the way”.

The casket containing Tom Kennedy’s remains were draped in the Tricolour throughout the hour-long funeral Mass which was celebrated by Fr John Reilly.

Tom was very proud of his Irish heritage, hence the national flag, Fr Reilly explained.

The late busker’s beloved guitar was displayed on the altar throughout the ceremony as was a bouquet of white flowers crafted in the shape of a guitar.

Fr Reilly told mourners the news of Tom’s tragic death had caused sadness, anger, loneliness, grief and shock not alone for the Kennedy family but for the entire community,” he said.

“Today, we are thanking God for the special gift of Tom Kennedy. He radiated goodness, beauty and kindness to all he met and came in contact with”.

Among the congregation were the deceased’s mother and father, Cathy and Eddie, his brothers, Sean, James, Chris, Pat (his twin), Jack and Noel, his grandmother, Anne Barrett and his grandfather, John Kennedy.

Following the Mass, the remains were brought to a private cremation ceremony.

Investigations into Mr. Kennedy’s death are continuing in Georgia where a number of people have been arrested and are being held on suspicion of murder.

The suspects are accused of assaulting the Mayoman and then throwing his body in a river.

A GoFundMe campaign set up to raise funds for the repatriation of the remains attracted donations of over €62,000, more than double the €25,000 target set by the organisers.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which assisted in the return of the remains, will benefit from excess monies raised by the initiative.

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