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Tragic Drowning Incident : Young Limerick Boy's Heroic Rescue Effort |

Tragic Drowning Incident : Young Limerick Boy’s Heroic Rescue Effort

In a heart-wrenching event that unfolded yesterday at the popular bathing spot near Seapoint Baths, tragedy struck the O’Connell family, resulting in the loss of young Kathleen O’Connell, aged 20 years. The O’Connell family, taking a respite at Blackrock, faced this sorrowful incident while on a visit to relatives at Lansdowne.

The day began with a cheerful outing as the five ladies ventured near the baths outside the Seapoint railway station. However, joy turned to despair when Kathleen, lacking proficiency in swimming, tragically drowned despite the frantic efforts of her companions, Frances O’Connell and Miss Mills, who found themselves out of depth and in peril.

In a remarkable display of bravery, a young Limerick lad, George Ryan, only 14 years old and holidaying from Shamrock Villa, Limerick, witnessed the distressing scene. Demonstrating exceptional gallantry, Ryan managed to rescue Frances O’Connell and Miss Mills, one after the other, bringing them safely to shore with the aid of a lifebuoy thrown by an onlooker. This act of heroism amidst the unfolding tragedy has been the sole glimmer of hope, highlighting the young boy’s courage and quick thinking.

The local community, while mourning the loss of Kathleen, has rallied to commend young Ryan’s bravery. Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of bystanders, including John Dalton from Seaforth Avenue, Blackrock, and several Belgians who attempted dives for the rescue, Kathleen’s body was only recovered later in the evening by Kingstown fishermen.

The incident has cast a sombre shadow over the area, reminding the community of the unpredictable nature of water and the imperative need for caution. As the O’Connell family grieves, they, along with the entire Limerick community, also celebrate the bravery of young George Ryan, whose actions amidst tragedy have provided a beacon of hope and courage.

Freeman’s Journal – Thursday 19 August 1915

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