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Monday 24 June 2019

'Great shock and upset' as family see grandparents die in beauty spot crash

Couple who died in freak accident named locally

Kerry Mountain Rescue arrive at Kate Kearney's to drive to the scene where two visitors were killed off a trap up the Gap of Dunloe Road on Monday Photo: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD ©
Kerry Mountain Rescue arrive at Kate Kearney's to drive to the scene where two visitors were killed off a trap up the Gap of Dunloe Road on Monday Photo: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD ©

Ralph Riegel, Robin Schiller and Sinead Kelleher

A grandmother and her partner died while on a family holiday after a freak incident involving a horse and cart.

The two victims, an American couple in their 60s, were on a family day out when the tragedy occurred at the Gap of Dunloe, Co Kerry, yesterday afternoon.

They are understood to be of Irish extraction and had been living in Phoenix, Arizona.

They have been named locally as Rosalyn Joy Few (64) and her partner Normand Larose (62).

The deceased were part of a group of six, which included Ms Few, Mr Larose, her daughter, her son-in-law and her two grandchildren.

They had all travelled to Ireland at Easter for a family holiday and were staying in the Killarney area.

A Garda investigation has been launched into the tragedy, with officers still attempting to establish the exact cause of the crash.

A senior source last night told the Irish Independent that early indications are that the horse became startled and bolted.

As a result, the couple were thrown from the cart and fell 20ft down steep terrain, suffering catastrophic injuries.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, but the couple were pronounced dead a short time later.

The driver of the horse and cart, a local man and an experienced jarvey, escaped serious injuries but is said to be “very distressed”. He was treated for shock at the scene. The horse that was pulling the cart also died in the accident.

Gardaí were last night continuing to inform the victims’ next of kin abroad about the tragedy and were liaising with the US Embassy in Dublin.

Ms Few’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were travelling in a separate cart and came across the scene moments after the accident.

A source last night said: “The deceased are a couple from the US, and they were around 3km into their journey when the fatal incident occurred.

“They were with another group who came across the scene in the immediate aftermath, and they are absolutely distraught as you can imagine.”

It is understood that they began their day out at the popular Kate Kearney’s Cottage, located around 3km from the scene of the incident.

The bodies of the two victims were transferred by hearse to Kerry General Hospital shortly before 6pm yesterday evening.

The Office of the State Pathologist has been notified and post-mortem examinations were due to be carried out today.

Gardaí and emergency services at the scene of the tragedy were assisted by members of the Kerry Mountain Rescue teams, whose expertise was required given the steep nature of the terrain involved.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce expressed its sympathy to the family at the centre of the Gap of Dunloe tragedy. Chamber president Paul O’Neill said the loss of two lives had stunned the entire Kerry community.

“We are all shocked and saddened by this most tragic accident,” he said.

“The Gap of Dunloe is one Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, a place that brings joy to tourists the world over and we are devastated that  a visit to it by this couple would end in such tragic circumstances.

“The people of Killarney extend our heartfelt sympathies to all affected by this tragedy and will do whatever we can to support the family during this very sad time.”

Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher also expressed his condolences to the family.

“The tragic accident has caused great shock and upset throughout the entire community,” he said.

“The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the entire country but there is a dark cloud overhead this evening as everyone comes to terms with what happened.”

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