Tributes paid to 'three beautiful, kind, loving, caring ladies' killed in Mayo crash

Tributes Paid To 'Three Beautiful, Kind, Loving, Caring Ladies' Killed In Mayo Crash
The Bowden family had moved to Moycullen a number of years ago and had quickly become involved in numerous activities and sports in the area
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Vivienne Clarke

A community in Co Galway felt shock and grief when news filtered through on Tuesday evening about a road crash in which a woman and her two daughters were killed.

The collision involving a lorry and a car occurred in the Castlegar area outside of Claremorris in Co Mayo on Tuesday.


Una Bowden (47), who was driving the car, and the two girls who were passengers in the vehicle, were fatally injured.

Ciara was aged 14 and Saoirse was aged nine.

Their bodies were taken to Mayo University Hospital and post-mortem examinations were conducted on Wednesday morning.

No other injuries were reported.


A friend of the family, Adrian Devane, told Newstalk radio that his children had attended school and were involved in many of the same organisations as Ciara and Saoirse, while his wife had taught one of the girls.

He had last spoken with Una Bowden at a school gathering on Friday last week when they discussed plans for Easter and the school.

The Bowden family had moved to Moycullen, Co Galway, a number of years ago and had quickly become involved in numerous activities and sports in the area, he said.

They were involved in gaelic, camogie, rugby and art.


News of the tragic accident had caused a numbness in the village, he said. Support had been set up in schools and clubs with grief counsellors for all the children, parents and friends. Parents were taking guidance from the grief counsellors. “It’s just about being there, about being patient, there’s no right or wrong way [to cope with grief].”

There had been a gathering in the local church on Wednesday evening to pray for the family and provide comfort.

“They were the most engaging family, and they were involved in everything.”

Mr Devane said it was his understanding that Mr Bowden, who frequently works abroad as a project manager with the United Nations, had been expected home at Easter. The mother and her daughters had been either on the way to or from Raphoe to visit her father when the accident occurred.


Julieanne Browne said she worked in the primary school in Moycullen and knew the family in and out of school and through music and the choir.

“What a joy they were, such a multi-talented family and a pleasure for all to meet them. Always with beautiful big smiles on the sideline for all the girls rugby or getting in with the tackles and running and scoring the tries in the rugby club and at the many games that they played.

“We are all devastated in Oughterard rugby and in the wider community. The Bowdens were very active in many sports, both in Moycullen and Oughterard. So it's such a tragedy for the area. Three beautiful, kind, loving, caring ladies just gone in a moment.

“The community are in shock. The majority of them are coming together. The people have been going to the church praying together. People have been coming together. They're talking to the children. And talking is very, very important, especially for young children to get them aware of what has happened and not to shy away from the wonderful personalities that were Ciara and Saoirse and indeed Una, and to remember them fondly through talking about them and remembering their beautiful smiles, remembering the energy that they had and the quiet energy that they had.


"They were very quiet girls. They had this beautiful energy about them, and their smiles really lit up the rooms and the playing fields in every photo we have of them. It's a beautiful tribute to have and, a wonderful memory and legacy to have of their wonderful, vibrant spirits.”

Basketball player Cian Ryhill paid tribute to 14-year-old star Ciara. “It's a shock throughout the club, obviously. She was a fabulous young player. She had been a player with the club for a long number of years,

"It’s a tragedy all round. She was due to head down to Limerick on Monday with the Under-14 Galway team. It’s little things like that that start to bring home the magnitude of the tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and teammates.”

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