Family announce memorial walk for man with Di George syndrome who died while sleeping rough

Kieran O'Hagan (sitting down at front centre) with his children (from left to right) Owen, Louise and Conor.
By Noel Baker
Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent

Family members of a young man who died while sleeping rough aged just 25 are to walk from Galway to Tullamore in his memory.

Conor O’Hagan died in the Co Offaly town in February 2017, having previously lived in Manchester, West Cork and Galway.

A musician who was diagnosed with Di George syndrome from a very young age, he had a number of underlying health issues as well as a drink problem when he died in Tullamore. His death sparked a swift and emotional response from local people who knew him as a musician and led to a number of commemorative events.

Ahead of the second anniversary of his death, Conor’s father, Kieran, alongside his wife Ann and Conor’s twin brother, Owen have said they will embark on the inaugural 'Conor's Walk', commencing on Conor’s birthday on May 3 from the Spanish Arch in Galway City, and finishing in Tullamore at the 'King Tree' on May 6.

The main aim is to raise funds for Cork Simon Community and 22q11 Ireland, which raises awareness of Di George syndrome, symptoms of which include congenital heart problems, developmental delay, and cleft palate.

Kieran O’Hagan said: “We just related with them from the point of view that 22q are an organisation that had been involved for a long time with Conor. I had been in touch with them since Conor was a young boy and when Conor became a young adult they were the people that I turned to for advice and help.

"Conor also used the services of Cork Simon occasionally.

"At the end of the day Conor was homeless but he never considered himself homeless, he considered himself a travelling man. He was a complex young man and we wanted his story to be told."

The trio will take on the walk on their own but a number of people have said they will walk sections at the start and finish of the event, particularly when it concludes in Tullamore at the tree under which Conor would sleep.

"He would have been 28 this year," Kieran O'Hagan said. "The hope is it would be a regular thing, that we would do it each year."

Anyone wishing to learn more about the campaign or to donate to the named charities can visit www.conors-walk.com for details.

According to the site: "The happiest year of Con’s short adult life was spent in Galway City, especially during the lovely summer of 2013 where he made friends and spent long days around Spanish Arch.

"His untimely death occurred in Tullamore just a few years later where he had gone to find ‘The Dew’ and spent many a night sleeping beneath the stars, sheltering under the King Tree. Conor was a free spirit and loved music, especially Heavy Metal."

Most Read in Ireland