Saoirse Kennedy Hill's dad honors 'love of his life' with fear-conquering feat

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shared the special moment as the family in mourning continues to remember the late daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill and Paul Hill.

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By Stephanie Larratt

Just a week after the sudden death of Saoirse Kennedy Hill, her uncle shared a touching family moment that honored the memory of the 22-year-old granddaughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the former New York senator and U.S. attorney general who was assassinated in 1968, revealed on Instagram that his late niece’s father, Paul Hill, conquered his fears of “both heights and water” to jump off a buoy in Massachusetts’ Hyannis Harbor.

"Having grown up in the Catholic ghetto of the Falls Road in Belfast, and spent most of his adult life in 38 British prisons, he never learned to swim,” wrote Kennedy in the caption. “Nevertheless, he wanted to jump off the HH buoy in Saoirse’s honor. He asked us to be there to rescue him when he hit the water."

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Paul Hill served 15 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings in England along with Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson. The group became known as the Guildford Four and their story hit the big screen as the movie "In the Name of the Father," starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Not knowing how to swim didn't prevent the grieving father from taking the memorial jump. When Hill plunged into the harbor, the Kennedy family was waiting with a flotation device to support him.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr wrote "baptized" to accompany the photo of Hill's plunge, and "rescue" to go with the picture of him triumphantly holding the life buoy while surrounded by family members.

“If anybody ever wondered whether God loves the Kennedys the proof is that he gave us Saoirse, this brilliant beam of light and laughter,” wrote Robert F. Kennedy.robertfkennedyjr/Instagram

Kennedy also shared photos of his niece, including one of her holding hands with cousin Caroline Shriver on the Hyannis Port jetty. In her lifetime, Saoirse Kennedy Hill and her family spent a lot of time swimming in the water at Hyannis Port, where the Kennedy compound is located.

The Boston College student was found dead of an apparent overdose at the family's Massachusetts property on Aug. 1. Her funeral was held on Monday at the Our Lady of Victory Church in Massachusetts.

According to People magazine, during the service, Paul Hill referred to his late daughter as "a rebel."

"Saoirse was the love of my life," he said. "I loved her to death."