‘Three beautiful, kind ladies gone in moment’

Tributes have been paid to the mother and her two daughters who died in a road traffic collision near Claremorris, Co Mayo, on Tuesday.

Una Bowden, 47, and her daughters Ciara, 14, and nine-year-old Saoirse, died when the car they were travelling in collided with a truck on the N17 near Claremorris.

The family had been living in the Maigh Cuilinn area of Co Galway, where they were involved in a number of local sports organisations.

Both Ciara and Saoirse were former players with Oughterard Rugby Club while Úna volunteered in providing IT assistance to the organisation.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Oughterard Rugby Club PRO Julie Ann Brown said: “We are all devastated in Oughterard Rugby and in the wider community.

“The Bowdens were very active in many sports, both in Maigh Cuilinn and in Oughterard, so it’s such a tragedy for the area. Three beautiful, kind, loving, caring ladies just gone in a moment,” she said.

Ciara was a first year student at Salerno secondary school in Salthill, Galway city, while Saoirse was a 4th class pupil at Scoil Bhríde, Tullokyne, Maigh Cuilinn.

Prayers were offered for the family at a service at Church of the Immaculate Conception in Maigh Cuilinn

Ms Brown, who also knew the family through her work in one of the local primary schools, said the family were multi-talented and as well as their sporting accomplishments had also been involved in music and choirs locally.

Prayers were offered at a service in the local church in Maigh Cuilinn for the family last night as the local community gathered to remember Úna, Ciara and Saoirse along with their husband and father David Bowden, who was working aboard when he learned of the tragedy.

Ms Brown said people are in shock but are coming together and remembering Úna and her daughters through talking about them and remembering their beautiful smiles.

“They were very quiet girls, yet they had this beautiful energy about them and their smiles really lit up the rooms and the playing fields and every photo we have of them through the Oughterard girls’ rugby is of them smiling.

“So it’s a beautiful tribute to have and a wonderful memory and legacy to have of their wonderful vibrant spirits,” Ms Brown said.

Parish Priest in Maigh Cuilinn Fr Martin Whelan said the local community has been left “so devastated”.

He said Una was very involved in the community from the parents’ association to fundraising for schools and the family was very involved in sports clubs and social clubs.

Fr Whelan said the prayer service held last night was dedicated to the Bowden family and to remember them.

“It was an opportunity for the community to gather also,” he said.

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