The late Anastasia (Ana) Kriegel
None of us want to be here to say goodbye to Ana, the gathering at Newlands Cross Crematorium this afternoon was told by civil celebrant Padraic Cawley at the start of the 14-year-old’s Leixlip girl’s funeral service.
But an entire community was there, and colourfully dressed too, as requested, ready for the 2.30pm start. The late teenager’s family requested that dress code for the funeral, to reflect Ana’s love of ‘sparkle and colour’.
A 13-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was last week charged with Ana’s murder. She had been reported missing from her Leixlip home on Monday, May 14, and her body was found at a derelict farmhouse in Lucan three days later.
Ana’s family was delighted by the support it has received, said Padraic. Yet they were numbed, confused and angry about the loss of the most beautiful, caring, kind, strong and sometimes cheeky Ana, described by others as loving, decent and reliable, a person who never pushed herself ahead of others.
Her adoptive parents, Patrick and Geraldine, travelled to Russia to bring Ana to Ireland when she was two and a half. She arrived, her Aunt Jan told the congregation, on August 10, 2006. She settled in well at her new home in Leixlip.
During the ceremony, in which Ana’s own poetry was recited, a moving slide photographic slide shown at the end summed up so much.
Those gathered heard about how Ana was born under the Aquarius star sign, on February 18, 2004, and how she loved life and, especially, the water.
Family friend, North Kildare Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, recalled how her parents’ hearts were in their mouths as their “water baby” swam out far into the lake on holiday in Annecy, south east France, and how Finnstown House had accommodated her swimming in her mermaid suit.
The congregation heard how, when small, Ana talked of opening the Ana Love Hotel and charging guests €1 a night, and building a cottage behind it for her grandmother.
She was a natural on stage, and, on behalf of Confey College, history teacher, Owen Marron, told of her interest in Renaissance art and how she loaned him books on art to help him teach his class. Passionate about dancing and performing, he recalled the 5ft 8 inch high Ana teaching classmates how to walk on the catwalk. There was laughter when he said: “She even taught the teachers how to walk properly.”
Claire McHugh, a teacher at Scoil San Carlo senior primary school, described how, unlike most past pupils, Ana called in to see them after she moved on to secondary school at Confey College. “She was beautiful, not just physically, but on the inside,” said Claire.
She remarked how Ana used to move, “like a swan...glide down the corridor.”
Ana was adopted from Russia and proud of her Siberian origins. “She said she was beautiful because she was from Siberia,” the representative of the Russian Irish Adoption Group told mourners.
Aaron, Ana’s brother, and Art, her cousin, brought the Russian flag as a gift. The Russian ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, attended the ceremony.
Gifts brought up reflected her love of France, of dogs, of dance and her original style. A memory box came from her student colleagues at Confey College, which arranged for a number of double decker buses to bring classmates to the ceremony.
She also loved dance and her Leixlip dancing group, Dance LA, were well represented.
Apart from Patrick and Geraldine, Ana is also survived by her brother Aaron, grandmother Eva, aunts Jennifer, Jan and Lynne, uncles Kevin, Ray and Phil, cousins Bruno, Philippe, Natalie, Mérone, Carla, Darragh, Martha, Art, Sadbh, Cillian and Fiadh, relatives and friends.
The family has asked that donations, if desired, go to the Russian Irish Adoption Group.