A SISTER of a man who drowned while on holiday with his wife and two children has described him as a "true gentleman" and a "fantastic father".
A New Year's break in Lanzarote turned to tragedy after Ciaran Brown (43), from Ballyfermot in Dublin, apparently got into difficulties while swimming.
He was pulled from the sea unconscious in front of his wife Celine and sons Ciaran Jnr and Eoin.
It was the second tragedy to strike the family in three years. Mr Brown's eldest son Michael was killed in a car crash in December 2009.
Mr Brown, who worked as a bricklayer, was the second youngest of a family of 14 – nine sisters and four brothers.
His sister Barbara who lives in Southampton and who had just learned of the tragedy, said Ciaran and Celine had been due to return home yesterday with their sons from their holiday on the Spanish island.
"As far as I know they had all been together on the beach but I don't know what exactly happened," she said.
"Ciaran was a true gentleman, a complete and utter gentleman, a fantastic father and a great brother."
Mr Brown was pulled unconscious from the water by lifeguards but desperate attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Paramedics spent 40 minutes trying to bring the Ballyfermot man back to life but he was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday afternoon.
A spokesman for Emerlan, the island's volunteer emergency service, said: "The waters were extremely dangerous at the time, which is why the red flag was flying. It is a terrible tragedy."
Tributes to Mr Brown were posted on his son Ciaran Jnr's Facebook page.
"Just want you to know we're all here and your dad was a gentleman, a true legend that not one of us will ever forget," said one message.
Another friend wrote: "Sorry to hear the news pal head up thoughts and prayers are with you and your family."
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it would be offering any consular assistance that might be needed.