Northern Ireland news

Heartfelt video made in honour of west Belfast teacher who died after Camino pilgrimage

The late Seamus McDonagh (middle) pictured with friend John Craig and Kip Redick, who has created a tribute video
Gareth McKeown

Pilgrims who crossed paths with a west Belfast man who died hours after completing a two-week Camino walk have composed a video in his honour.

Retired teacher Seamus McDonagh (60) collapsed with a heart-attack on Sunday night, shortly after finishing a 320km route from Ovideo to Santiago.

Following his death a tribute video has been created by an American man who walked arm in arm with Mr McDonagh through the gates of Santiago on Sunday as they completed the pilgrimage.

Kip Redick from California was one of the last people to see Mr McDonagh alive. They attended Mass together and had a meal on the night of his death.

In the moving video Mr Redick said he was in "deep shock and disbelief" when he learnt of the passing of his friend.

The eight minute tribute is filmed at a beach in Santiago that Seamus loved and Mr Redick has a final drink for his "brother".

"Here's to you my brother. I will see you again on the eternal Camino," he says.

A candle is also lit in memory of the Belfast man, with pilgrims from America, Spain and the Czech Republic paying their respects to Mr McDonagh.

In the video Mr Redick says he is looking forward to seeing his friend again at the "heavenly gate".

"He will say 'Kip, come, come and meet the saints and Christ' and I will walk together into glory".

A former pupil at De La Salle College in west Belfast, Mr McDonagh was also an art teacher there for 30 years, before taking early retirement in 2009.

He has been described by his son Barry as an "inspiration" and former colleague John Craig hailed his friend as a "fantastic human being" who "touched the hearts and minds of generations of boys who attended De La Salle College".

Mr McDonagh's funeral is set to take place in Dunmurry next week when his body is returned to Ireland.

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