A 26-year-old New York native who tragically died in a house fire in Ireland this week was engaged to marry a man from Dublin, according to the Irish Independent.
Grace McDermott from East Islip, Long island, had traveled to Limerick City for the Irish long weekend before being caught in a house fire in the early hours on Monday morning that was believed to have been caused by a faulty cell phone charger.
While another woman and three men who were also present in the Limerick home managed to escape when the fire broke out at 3.20 am, McDermott’s remains were found by emergency services in the second-floor bedroom of the three-storey house where it is believed she had been sleeping.
A Ph.D. student and lecturer in Dublin City University, McDermott was to wed Colin O’Neill from Portmarnock, Co. Dublin. She was a founder and editor of the popular academic network and blog “Women Are Boring”, and tributes are pouring in for McDermott as a champion of feminism and equality. The website highlights outstanding academic research from female scholars in every field.
McDermott’s friend and fellow co-founder Catherine Connolly has stated that the website will be going on a short-term hiatus but that she will continue to carry on the work in promoting women’s research.
"So devastated to share the news that our co-founder @grace_mcdermott died tragically yesterday. Women Are Boring is now on hiatus for awhile,” she posted on Twitter.
I will continue the project (Grace would be so mad if I stopped!) but will need a little time. Thanks to all for your support - Catherine.— Women Are Boring (@WomenAreBoring) May 2, 2017
"I will continue the project (Grace would be so mad if I stopped!) but will need a little time. Thanks to all for your support."
Former students of McDermott’s have also expressed their sorrow at her death.
She was the first really good educator I encountered in UL and it was my first class where it felt like people were excited to be there.— Matthew (@mattVSmarkham) May 2, 2017
Having achieved her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations at SUNY New Paltz, the Long Island native received her master’s degree in international tourism from the University of Limerick before beginning on her Ph.D. in communications research in DCU. The young lecturer was investigating Middle Eastern/Arab identity and Islamophobia in U.S. news and digital media.
Those who were in the house with McDermott at the time of the fire are said to be too upset to speak to the media but the three men are understood to play with University of Limerick Bohemians rugby team and are current students of UL. The other woman present is reported to be a friend of McDermott’s who traveled with her to Limerick for the weekend.
“My concern now is just for our lads, it was a tragic house fire,” said Bohemian’s spokesperson Tony Quilty.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the lady that has tragically died.”
The 26-year-old victim’s last social media posts include a photo from the Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run in which she participated on Sunday.
Gardaí do not believe the fire to be suspicious but further tests are underway. It is understood that McDermott’s parents have travelled to Ireland to identify the body.