It was Jane O'Connor's dream to swim with the dolphins. But just a few hours after the devoted mother-of-two fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition in a Florida waterpark, she died of a huge heart attack.
Her body was met at Dublin Airport yesterday by her husband, Niall, who found his wife of 23 years after the cardiac arrest last Friday in their holiday home.
The Dublin couple and their two teenage sons, Luke (18) and Aaron (15) were coming to the end of a two-week holiday to celebrate Jane's 50th birthday, which was to take place next week.
They had spent the day in Discovery Cove theme park where Jane had realised her dream to swim and play with dolphins.
“She always had a thing for dolphins. She always wanted to swim with them. She didn't want a big party for her birthday, so we said we would go and do a trip to Orlando,” Mr O'Connor said.
“It was a dream of hers to swim with them. She had the most wonderful day with the dolphins. I have fantastic footage of her.”
Prior to her death, the 49-year-old worked as a special-needs teaching assistant in St Louis school in Rathmines. She was also heavily involved in St Mary's College, where her sons were pupils.
After a meal out following the day at the park, the family had returned home to their rented holiday home where Jane was later found collapsed in a bathroom just before midnight.
Efforts by members of the emergency services to revive her proved unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead about an hour later in hospital.
Her funeral Mass will be held on Monday in the church of St Paul of the Cross in Mount Argus, where the couple were married.