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RIP Family of man who fell to death on Connacht mountain told him it was 'misty and to be careful'

Teacher Kieran Halliwell (35) died while climbing  Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain

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Kieran Halliwell sent a selfie to family members from the summit of Mweelrea that afternoon. Photo: Bernadette Halliwell / GoFundMe

Kieran Halliwell sent a selfie to family members from the summit of Mweelrea that afternoon. Photo: Bernadette Halliwell / GoFundMe

Kieran Halliwell sent a selfie to family members from the summit of Mweelrea that afternoon. Photo: Bernadette Halliwell / GoFundMe

A coroner has urged hikers not to climb Ireland’s mountains alone after hearing how a teacher (35) fell to his death on Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain, after his parents texted him urging him to be careful.

Climbing alone is far too great a risk”, coroner for Mayo, Pat O’Connor, told the inquest into the death of Kieran Halliwell of Lime Avenue, Urmston, Manchester at Swinford courthouse today.

Mr Halliwell was holidaying with his parents, Robert and Mary, in the Renvyle area of Co Galway in August of last year when he decided to climb Mweelrea, which sits on the Galway/Mayo border.

Mary Halliwell, who did not attend today’s inquest, told gardaí in a deposition which was read to today’s hearing she and her husband received a WhatsApp message on August 16, 2021, from Kieran saying he had made it to the top.

“We texted him back saying that it looked misty behind him and to be careful”, Mrs Halliwell outlined in her statement.

“We didn’t hear from Kieran after that”.

Daniel Sammon, of Tully, Connemara, the last person to see Kieran alive, said that when Kieran told him he was going to climb the mountain the next day he advised him against doing so as he “considered it quite dangerous”.

Mr Sammon said the following morning before making the climb he remarked to Kieran on the heavy cloud that was covering the top of the mountain and wished him luck but cautioned him to be “very careful of the dangers it posed”.

“He was in good form as he left and I never saw him again”.

The deceased’s father, Bob, told the inquest his son had climbed Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, the previous year in adverse conditions and intended scaling Ben Nevis in Scotland later in the year.

Dr Tamas Nemeth, consultant pathologist, who carried out a post-mortem examination, gave evidence of multiple lung punctures.

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He said it appeared the deceased had fallen off a steep cliff near the summit.

The medical cause of death, Dr Nemeth explained, was due to lung haemorrhage due to (or as a consequence of) lung contusion and puncture due to (or as a consequence of) traumatic chest injury.

After returning a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said that if there was a lesson to be learned from the death it was that people should be careful of climbing mountains, especially alone.

“Climbing alone is far too great a risk”, Mr O’Connor cautioned.

The coroner also advised that mountain climbers should carry a compass, check the weather beforehand and wear good clothing.

He also advised that mountain climbers should have training in climbing mountains beforehand.

Sergeant Anthony Coyle, on behalf of An Garda Síochána, joined the coroner in expressing sympathy to the family and other relatives of the deceased.

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