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Ireland remembers their victims of 9/11 in nationwide ceremonies

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An Irish family gathered at a Cork graveyard on Sunday to remember their little angel killed on 9/11 – as they unveiled a new memorial to Juliana McCourt and her mum Ruth.

Juliana was just four and on her way to a dream vacation at Disneyland with her 45-year-old mother when their plane was hijacked and flown into the South Tower.

Ruth’s family gathered in Cork to remember their sister and their niece at one of many 9/11 memorials in Ireland as the nation paid tribute to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Centre.

“We all have our memories of that day and it’s still horrible and hard to understand,” said Ruth’s brother Mark Clifford after the private family ceremony at St Finbar’s Cemetery in Cork.

“We had a lovely family event. All our family gathered in St Finbar’s  and we unveiled a new stone for Ruth which isn’t 100 per cent finished but it’s nearly there. It represents Ruth, Juliana and everyone who is in the family grave.”

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The Cliffords, whose New York based brother Ron survived the attacks, read poetry and some said a few words at the ceremony.

“It was emotional,” added Mark. “We had generations of the family there, cousins and new children. It was important for us to have the children there.

“Ruth’s husband David McCourt was in touch by phone and he plans to visit the family in the coming days. He is just reflecting on the day, it’s very sad for him. He has remarried in the last couple of months.”

The Cliffords were just one of many families to remember the six Irish born victims of 9/11 and the several thousand Irish Americans affected by the attacks on the Twin Towers.

Galway girl Ann Marie McHugh was remembered at a moving ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in her home town of Tuam.

Ann Marie was just 35 and working on the 84th floor of the South Tower at the time of the attack.

“People say time is a great healer but the problem is we’re reminded of that day constantly so it’s a never-ending affair for us,” her father Padraic McHugh told friends and family.

“A lot of people from Tuam who travel to New York visit Ground Zero and see Ann Marie’s name on the memorial plaque.

“They often visit the church nearby and say a few prayers and then, when they come home, they tell us about it.”

Tipperary born carpenter Martin Coughlan was remembered at Sunday mass in his native Cappawhite.

A carpenter, Martin was 54 when he was killed as he refurbished offices in the South Tower when the first plane struck.

“We had a Mass on the day after the terrorist attack and there were throngs of people at it and he is remembered every year in Mass,” local councilor Mary Hanna Hourigan told the Irish Independent.

“We are thinking of him at this time and even though it’s 10 years it doesn’t go away.”

Hero Franciscan priest Fr Mychal Judge, killed by falling debris from the collapsing South Tower as he tried to help victims and offer prayers for the dead, was remembered at his ancestral homeland in Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim.

Fr Judge was the first certified fatality of 9/11 after New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had met him on site and asked him to pray for the city and its victims.

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