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Tragic death Tributes paid to James Harrison (17) who fell to his death during cliff walk in Kerry

Body recovered after major rescue operation


James Harrison

James Harrison

James Harrison

A teenager who died in a tragic cliff fall in Kerry has been named locally as James Harrison, from Salthill in Galway.

The 17-year-old was fatally injured when he apparently lost his footing while out walking with family members in the Cinn Árd area of Dingle in west Kerry yesterday afternoon.

After slipping, the teenager tumbled over a steep cliff and into the sea below.

It is understood the cliff involved was more than 30-metres high.

The accident occurred shortly after 1.30pm with weather conditions locally described as good, though there was ice and frost on higher ground.

The area is popular with walkers and hikers given the dramatic views over Dingle Bay.

Shocked family members immediately raised the alarm with Coast Guard, RNLI, Kerry Mountain and Cliff Rescue as well as gardaí racing to the scene.

The Shannon-based Rescue 115 Sikorsky helicopter was immediately dispatched to the west Kerry area to support the search operation.

The body of the teen was sighted but accessing him proved extremely difficult given the challenging nature of the terrain at the foot of the cliff.

James is survived by his parents Máire and Matthew, his brother Daniel and sister Aoife and wider family.

James is understood to have numerous family members living in the Dingle area where his mother hailed from.

He was a student at the Jesuit Secondary School Coláiste Iognáid, Galway, and a prominent and dedicated member of Salthill / Knocknacarra GAA and Knocknacarra Football Club.

In statement released on Facebook, Cumann Salthill Knocknacarra has said: “Everyone is deeply saddened… at the loss of our minor star James Harrison.”

The club posted a tribute photograph of James with messages of support from club members.

His funeral is due to take place at St. Ignatius Church, Sea Road, Galway on Wednesday under HSE Covid guidelines.

Afterwards his remains will be buried in Rahoon Cemetery.

In his death notice, the family has requested that donations, if desired, be made to RNLI and Dingle Coast and Cliff Rescue.

Coast Guard units working with the RNLI’s Valentia lifeboat and Dingle volunteers managed to recover the body at around 3pm after a painstaking operation.

His remains were then transferred by boat to Dingle by emergency services.

A full post-mortem examination will be now conducted at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) later today.

A file will be prepared for the Kerry Coroner with an inquest to be staged later this year.

Locals expressed shock at the freak accident which cast a pall over the new year in west Kerry.

Friends were trying to comfort the teen’s family.

Prayers were being said for the teen and his heartbroken family at masses being celebrated remotely across west Kerry.

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Irish Independent