Call for experienced divers to join Baltimore search for Barry Davis Ryan

An appeal has been issued for experienced divers to join searches for the last victim of last week’s wave tragedy off West Cork.

Call for experienced divers to join Baltimore search for Barry Davis Ryan

The appeal came last night after the funerals of two of the victims of Tuesday’s freak coastal accident near Baltimore.

Niamh O’Connor, 20, from Glanmire in Co Cork, died after being swept out to sea by a freak wake while walking on rocks near Baltimore on Tuesday evening.

Her boyfriend Barry Davis Ryan, 21, and his father Barry Ryan, 51, a member of the Penneys retail dynasty, both died trying to save her.

Niamh and Mr Ryan snr’s bodies were recovered a short time later. Niamh was buried after Requiem Mass in Glounthane on Saturday. Mr Ryan snr was buried after Requiem Mass in Rath, near Baltimore, yesterday.

Searches for Barry Davis Ryan’s body continued in the Eastern Hole inlet yesterday, east of Baltimore’s landmark Beacon.

Coast Guard and civil defence units maintained shoreline searches as a slight improvement in weather conditions allowed about a dozen divers conduct search dives at 9am and 2pm.

John Kearney of the West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue Team, said conditions were “challenging but improving”.

The forecast for the next few days is likely to prevent further dives.

But Mr Kearney appealed for experienced divers who have worked on specialist search and recovery dive operations, to join the recovery effort later this week.

Calmer weather is forecast around a key three-day window from Thursday to Saturday. “We would like to get as many experienced divers as we can in the water on Thursday, Friday and Saturday — any assistance would be appreciated. People should report to the local coast guard,” he said.

Father ‘sacrificed his life for others’

by Louise Roseingrave

Barry Ryan senior was a truly ‘great man’, who sacrificed his life in an effort to save the lives of others, his funeral Mass heard yesterday.

Mourners who packed the Sacred Heart Church in Rath, Baltimore, were told of Mr Ryan’s exceptional kindness, compassion, spirituality and generosity throughout his life.

He died alongside his son Barry Davis Ryan, 21, and his son’s girlfriend, Niamh O’Connor when they were were swept out to sea in his “beloved Baltimore” last week.

Chief among the mourners were his partner, Ann Davis, children Arthur and Charlotte, his mother Rose and father Arthur, founder of the Irish retail giant Penneys.

In a eulogy delivered by his brother-in-law, Danny Kelly, on behalf of the Davis and Ryan families, prayers were offered for the recovery of Barry jnr, who remains missing and for his girlfriend Niamh O’Connor.

Mr Ryan was ‘a Good Samaritan,’ Mr Kelly said. “Last Tuesday, without any regard for his own wellbeing and personal safety, he sacrificed his own life in an effort to save his son Barry and the lovely Niamh.

“Barry was a very spiritual person, who always put others first, especially those in greatest need,” he said.

“Barry had great faith: he practised weekly with the Dundrum church choir and sang at Sunday Mass,” Mr Kelly said.

He split his time between his native Dublin and Baltimore, working in management at Penneys in Dundrum and commuting to see his family.

“Baltimore was his second home. He worked in Dublin and commuted every week to his family. He was much loved and respected here,” Mr Kelly said.

Born in Foxrock and educated at St Gerard’s, Mr Ryan was an avid gardener and nature lover, who had wide and varied interests, including travel, horses, aviation and cricket.

He was a free spirit, Mr Kelly said. “Our Barry was special, he loved anything to do with nature. If he had his way Foxrock would have resembled Killarney National Park.

“Above all, Mr Ryan treasured his partner, his three children and Baltimore.”

“We are deeply grateful to the RNLI, the Irish Coastguard, the naval services, Baltimore rescue services, the Gardaí and every single volunteer for all their tireless work and support throughout.”

In a poignant personal message to her son, read out by Mr Kelly, Rose Ryan thanked her son for the “great memories and the good fun”.

“I will always think of you and I will see you in heaven,” she said.

Mr Ryan was laid to rest in Tullagh cemetery in Baltimore.

‘Soulmates’ idolised each other, funeral Mass hears

by Olivia Kelliher

College student Niamh O’Connor and the ‘apple of her eye’, boyfriend Barry Davis Ryan, were “soulmates” who idolised each other and radiated happiness when they were together, her Requiem Mass was told.

The 20-year-old Glanmire girl had been swept out to sea by a freak wake in Baltimore in West Cork on Tuesday evening last. Boyfriend Barry and his father Barry Ryan also died as they made valiant efforts to save her.

At the Church of the Sacred Heart, Glounthaune, Co Cork on Saturday, Niamh’s father Paul O’Connor remembered his outgoing, vibrant, daughter.

“From the moment she was born we used to say that Niamh was going to turn out to be a stunner. She was beautiful inside and out.

“Niamh lived her short life to the full, refusing no invitation to party. I honestly believe my Niamh would go to the opening of an envelope.”

The heartbroken dad said it was very evident that Barry was the “love of Niamh’s life”.

“He idolised her and she idolised him. He was her soulmate. Niamh we love you and as the song states ‘this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you’. We love you always and forever.”

Among the offertory gifts at the Mass was a silk rose which Barry gave Niamh to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Chief celebrant Fr John Heinhold, said Niamh would now have the silk rose forever. Barry had presented it to her on February 14 last after the UCC student joked about fresh roses only lasting two weeks. Other offertory gifts included a menu for KC’s takeaway in Douglas on the southside of Cork city. Fr Heinhold told the hundreds of mourners that although Niamh didn’t drive she often got her fast food of choice delivered by taxi.

Other offertory gifts included Niamh’s favourite sweets, Polo Mints, and a Harry Potter book.

Fr Heinhold said Niamh’s parents Paul and Catherine and sister Clodagh had been plunged into darkness following her tragic passing.

“Last Tuesday was just another day. All seemed normal. Then out of the blue in an instant everything changed forever. Three people’s lives ended. Niamh was 20 years old and full of life. Beautiful, intelligent and so full of potential. She was just beginning to open up to life and life was just beginning to open up to her,” the priest said.

Fr Heinhold said tragic death, which is always sudden and unexpected, is like a blackout. “One minute the sun is shining. Next minute it is dark night. Without the slightest warning we are plunged in to an impenetrable darkness.”

Prior to the 10am Requiem Mass one of Niamh’s favourite songs, ‘Wings’ by Birdy was played. Her cousin Louise also read a poem recalling all her happy childhood memories with the “calm and chilled” Niamh. She touched on the great love between Barry and Niamh.

“We must all remember Barry, Niamh’s true gent. Barry became the apple of Niamh’s eye. They clicked and were far from shy, so in love, a lovely girl and guy.”

As Niamh was laid to rest at St Catherine’s Cemetery in Kilcully, Co Cork, a guard of honour was provided by staff at Penneys where she had worked part time.

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