Farmer dies in slurry pit while rescuing calf

Abbeydorney in shock at tragic accident that claimed pillar of the community Barney Dowling

Dónal Nolan

Abbeydorney is reeling from the tragic death of much-loved farmer Barney Dowling in an accident on Monday evening.

Mr Dowling's remains were recovered from a slurry pit in his yard at Kilbrickane on Monday night, hours after he was reported missing by a family member. It is believed that Mr Dowling fell into the pit in a tragic accident while trying to rescue a calf - less than a day after he had returned from the Kerry/Dublin game in Croke Park.

The alarm was raised when a family member discovered Mr Dowling's tractor running in the yard, with no sign of the farmer. Born in 1946, Mr Dowling was raised in Mounthawk in Tralee, taking on the running of the farm in Kilbrickane he inherited from his uncle. He is remembered in Abbeydorney as an extremely generous member of the community who was involved in everything from the the local Vintage Club to the Abbeydorney and Kerry Ploughing Associations.

The community is this week rallying to the side of his wife Rose, their daughters Gráinne, Laoise and Niamh, siblings and extended family. "Anything he could do for you he would. He was very generous and will be sadly missed by his many friends,"

Tom O'Mahony of the Abbeydorney Ploughing  Society said. "Barney was very active in many community groups from the Vintage to the Ploughing and he attended ploughing matches all over. On behalf of the Abbeydorney and Kerry Ploughing Association we extend our sincerest and deepest sympathies to his wife and family and all the extended Dowling family," Mr O'Mahony added. Last year's Abbeydorney ploughing match marked a particularly proud occasion for Mr Dowling and his family as they hosted the event on their land.  Vintage Society member Mike Baker described Mr Dowling as an 'absolute gentleman'. "The place is in desperate shock," Mr Baker said.