Service recalls brave climber

ONE of the last entries in the internet diary of extreme rock climber Michael Reardon simply sums up his feelings for the country: “I may live in California, but my thoughts are always in the place I feel most at home — Ireland.”

But it all finished tragically last Friday for the daring, 33-year-old American. He was swept out to sea after being hit by a rogue wave, having twice climbed a cliff several hundred feet above the Atlantic, at Dohilla, Valentia Island, Co Kerry.

In bright sunshine yesterday, upwards of 150 friends, admirers, members of the emergency services and some Valentia people assembled on a spectacular cliff-top, close to where he was claimed by the sea, for a memorial service.

His tearful wife, Marci, and daughter, Nicki, 13, who had travelled from the US, sat on rocks with arms wrapped around each other among friends.

Some in the cosmopolitan gathering brought bunches of flowers; a selection of his climbing photographs was on display and a plaque of famous Valentia slate was unveiled.

The memorial service opened with a brief account of his last moments, followed by a lament on harp and tin whistle.

Gardaí and Navy divers are continuing their search for the climber. Fr McNamara prayed for the recovery of his body so as to bring closure to his family.

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