LOCALS HAVE EXPRESSED their shock and sadness at the deaths of two tourists involved in a pony and trap incident on a narrow mountain path that serves as a top tourist attraction in Kerry yesterday.
RTÉ has named the couple, who were aged in their 60s, as American Rosalyn Few and her Canadian partner Normand Larose. They both lived in Phoenix, Arizona.
The pair died after the carriage they were travelling in went off the road at around 1.40pm yesterday afternoon at the Gap of Dunloe.
They were pronounced dead at the scene and taken to Univerity Hospital Kerry. The driver of the trap was taken to hospital but it is understood he was unharmed.
Postmortem examinations are due to take place on their bodies today or tomorrow.
A Garda Family Liason Officer is currently assisting four extended family members who are staying at a local hotel. They were also at the Gap of Dunloe when the incident happened.
Superintendent of Killarney gardaí Flor Murphy said they will officer every assistance to the family of the deceased.
Speaking to Radio Kerry, Kerry Mountain Rescue team member Gerry Christie said it was a tough operation for everyone involved.
“Obviously, we would prefer to take people alive, maybe twisted ankles and stuff,” Christie said.
Taking the bodies of two tourists… it’s a tough one. It’s tough on the whole Gap community, I mean, they’re a tight close-knit group of people.
“I’m used to training with Kerry Mountain Rescue high up in the Gap and watching happy tourists. It casts a huge cloud over the whole thing,” he said.
If I wasn’t shocked I wouldn’t be human, would I? Sleep didn’t come as readily last night as it normally does.
A book of condolence has been opened by the Mayor of Killarney, Councillor Niall Kelleher, at the Town Hall, according to RTÉ.
Speaking yesterday, Kelleher extended his sympathies to those affected.
“On behalf of the people of Killarney, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the two people who lost their lives in such tragic circumstance in the Gap of Dunloe,” he said.
“The tragic incident has caused great shock and upset throughout the entire community,” he said.
The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the entire country but there is a very dark cloud overhead this evening as everybody tries to come to terms with what has happened. If I can be of any assistance in any way to the relatives of the deceased I am only a phone call away.
The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain. The path is popular with visitors, with locals often guiding tourists who sit on the trap, a light form of carriage, that is pulled by the horse.
The route, approximately 11 kilometres long, passes five lakes, including Auger Lake and Black Lough.
With reporting by Sinead Baker.