A former GAA star was killed in a single vehicle accident in Kilkenny in the early hours of this morning.
The victim, who has been named locally as James “Shiner” Nolan (34), died when the car he was driving hit a wall at Carn in Dunbell, Co Kilkenny at 2.30am.
Mr Nolan, who played at corner forward for the Kilkenny senior hurling team and for his local Clara GAA club, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.
His body was removed to St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out at University Hospital Waterford shortly.
The road was closed for several hours to allow for an examination of the scene by forensic collision investigators, but it has now been reopened.
The Nolan family suffered a separate major tragedy some years ago, when two of James Nolan’s older brothers died in a slurry tank accident.
Mr Nolan worked on the family farm with his father Gerry.
He was also a cousin of 13-year-old Harry Byrne, who died following a tragic accident at St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny city in November 2021.
A close neighbour, who did not want to be named, said of Mr Nolan's death: “We’re all just devastated at the news of his passing. The parish, which is tight-knit, is just in shock.
"James was so gifted at sport – every sport he played. He played soccer for Bennettsbridge as well.
“James was a really hard worker and so many people loved being in his company as he was a really good laugh. Words can’t explain how upset everyone is.”
The community has suffered a number of tragedies in recent years. The father and uncle of former All-Ireland Kilkenny senior captain Lester Ryan died in separate accidents.
Johnny Ryan, father of Lester, died when he was pinned against a wall by his tractor at his farm at Dunbell near the village of Clara in 2015.
His uncle Lester, a former Kilkenny hurler, was killed in a cycling accident involving a tractor near his home in 2020.
Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this morning’s incident to come forward. Road users who were travelling in the area at the time, who may have camera footage (including dash cam), are asked to make it available to gardaí.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Thomastown Garda Station on 056 775 4150, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.