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Thursday 26 April 2018

Fishing village shocked by triple tragedy on coast walk

Veteran RNLI official, Kieran Cotter, struggled to find words for the triple tragedy which turned a hazy late June evening in the idyllic west Cork village into one of the worst tragedies ever experienced locally
Veteran RNLI official, Kieran Cotter, struggled to find words for the triple tragedy which turned a hazy late June evening in the idyllic west Cork village into one of the worst tragedies ever experienced locally
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

In forty years of volunteering with Baltimore RNLI, coxswain Kieran Cotter has seen more than his fair share of maritime tragedies.

Kieran reckons he has dealt with around 50 drownings in various call-outs since the 1970s.

But even the veteran RNLI official struggled to find words for a triple tragedy which turned a hazy late June evening in the idyllic west Cork village into one of the worst tragedies ever experienced locally.

Barry Ryan Snr (51), his son Barry Davis Ryan (20) and his girlfriend Niamh O'Connor (20) died when a freak wave swept the young woman off rocks near the Beacon Point - and the father and son died in a desperate, heroic bid to save her.

The Ryans are a popular family locally and have become very involved in the Baltimore arts and social life.

The family, who are related to Penneys/Primark founder Arthur Ryan, have also been stalwart supporters of the local RNLI unit.

In a tragic coincidence, the trio died within sight of the new RNLI station.

The coastal walk the family group were on - at East Hole - is not regarded as especially dangerous.

Kieran reckoned it had been over 30 years since anyone drowned near the Beacon headland.

Irish Independent

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