Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Donegal woman Dawn Croke, who tragically died in a freak accident last Thursday evening.  

The community of Dungloe, Co Donegal, gathered on Monday to mourn the tragic loss of local woman Dawn Croke, who was killed tragically just a few yards away on Thursday evening.

The mother-of-two, who was in her early 30s, died instantly in the freak accident last week in which she was struck by her partner’s jeep. Before the car struck, the young teacher succeeded in pushing to safety her partner Patrick McHugh's six-year-old daughter. Nobody was driving the car at the time of the accident.

Hundreds of people gathered in St Crona’s Church in the west Donegal to say farewell to the physical education teacher, as symbols were brought to the altar to showcase the loves of her life, including a picture of her two young sons, Jason and Callum.

Read more: Death of Irish American family in 2017 Wexford car crash officially ruled an accident

Dawn Croke. Image: Mary of Dungloe/Facebook.

Dawn Croke. Image: Mary of Dungloe/Facebook.

While several rings were brought forward to represent her love of jewelry, the most important ring of all was the engagement ring McHugh had placed on her finger the day after her death.

“He wanted Dawn to go to heaven carrying it with her,” Croke’s sister Emily told the congregation, adding that it had been “the start of her dream to become a real family.”

“For the Croke family, and for Patrick, life had changed that day. It was a terrible thing to have happened, a terrible thing for this family to endure and our hearts go out to them,” said Fr Pat Warde at the funeral mass.

“Dawn Croke was an exceptionally gifted individual with a massive personality and warmth that radiated from her on each occasion you met her"

Dawn Croke's funeral has taken place today in Donegal.

— The Times IE (@thetimesIE) January 14, 2019

“Every parent knows that they need to comfort their children, they need to love their children and I know that last Thursday so many people went home and hugged their children that night. They knew something had changed in the whole town.

"It would not be fair to remember Dawn as somebody who had just died tragically,” he continued.

“Dawn was beautiful. She carried her beauty with great grace and with great poise but her beauty wasn’t just her external looks. Her beauty was also within her. It was all that she was, it was her personality, her care for others.”

Croke was standing in the grounds of St Crona’s National School in Dungloe, Co Donegal, at 6:30 pm on Thursday evening with her partner Paddy McHugh and McHugh’s six-year-old daughter.

Read more: US citizen arrested in Ireland after fatal car crash

Life, love and beauty of Dawn Croke remembered at heartbreaking funeral -

— Donegal Daily (@DonegalDaily) January 14, 2019

In what appears to be a freak accident, McHugh’s white Ford Ranger jeep began to travel in the direction of Croke and the young girl, with the young teacher pushing the six-year-old away before bearing the brunt of the impact of the car herself.

Croke, who was a teacher in the nearby Rosses Community School, died instantly while the young girl was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital having suffered a broken pelvis and foot injury.

An investigation is currently underway to discover what caused the jeep to move forward.