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Sunday 22 October 2017

Triple drowning tragedy: Funeral of 'diamond girl' Niamh O'Connor takes place in hometown

Niamh O’Connor, who drowned in Baltimore, West Cork
Niamh O’Connor, who drowned in Baltimore, West Cork
Barry Ryan senior who tragically drowned off Baltimore, Co. Cork, on Tuesday evening.
Barry Davis Ryan (20) tragically drowned with his father off Baltimore, West Cork
Rescuers search for the body of Barry Davis Ryan, who died after diving into the sea to save Niamh O’Connor, who was swept away by a wave.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The funeral of a 20-year-old woman who died tragically in a triple drowning incident in West Cork is taking place this morning.

Niamh O'Connor, from Blossomgrove in Glanmire, Cork drowned alongside her boyfriend, Barry Davis Ryan (20) and his father Barry Ryan Sr (51) at a beauty spot in Baltimore, West Cork on Tuesday evening.

Mr Ryan Sr will be buried tomorrow, while the search for the body of Mr Davis Ryan, a Cork Institute of Technology student, will continue for a fifth day off Baltimore harbour as deteriorating sea conditions yesterday hampered dive operations.

It is understood Mr Ryan Sr drowned while heroically trying to save her and his son Barry Davis Ryan.

Barry Ryan senior who tragically drowned off Baltimore, Co. Cork, on Tuesday evening.
Barry Ryan senior who tragically drowned off Baltimore, Co. Cork, on Tuesday evening.

Niamh, whose funeral takes place at the Sacred Heart Church in Glounthaune this morning, was described as a "cherished eldest daughter, an adored sister and a dear girlfriend".

The two families were united in heartache last night to support each other after the triple drowning tragedy.

Barry Davis Ryan (20) tragically drowned with his father off Baltimore, West Cork
Barry Davis Ryan (20) tragically drowned with his father off Baltimore, West Cork

Ms O'Connor's granduncle, Cork GAA legend Tadhg Murphy, admitted that the family was "heartbroken at losing our diamond girl".

Hundreds last night queued at the O'Connor family's Glanmire home to pay their respects.

Rescuers search for the body of Barry Davis Ryan, who died after diving into the sea to save Niamh O’Connor, who was swept away by a wave.
Rescuers search for the body of Barry Davis Ryan, who died after diving into the sea to save Niamh O’Connor, who was swept away by a wave.

Mr Ryan Snr and Mr Davis Ryan are the son and grandson of Penneys/Primark founder Arthur Ryan.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney, who lost his own father Hugh (62) to a drowning accident in 1998, said that the Ryan family was enduring "an agony".

"This is heartbreaking stuff. I know what it is like when you have lost someone to drowning and you are trying to find a body," he said.

"Losing somebody to the sea is heartbreaking in itself but not having a body is terrible for the people concerned."

Irish Independent

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