Investigation underway into cause of incident that claimed lives of couple in Kerry
THE family of a tourist killed alongside his partner in a freak horse and cart accident at a Kerry beauty spot have spoken of their deep shock.
Normand Larose (62) and Rosalyn Joy Few (64) were killed on Monday afternoon in an accident at the Gap of Dunloe in Co Kerry.
The couple had travelled to Ireland from their home in Phoenix, Arizona, at Easter with Ms Few’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
They had been enjoying a family holiday and were staying in the Killarney area.
Niece Maude Larose told the Irish Independent that Normand, originally from Quebec in Canada, would be sorely missed. She said: “My uncle was a very happy person who loved life very much.
“He always took care of the people he loved, the whole family is shocked by this tragedy.
“I know he would want us to remember him with his smile and his jokes.”
A Garda investigation has been launched into the tragedy, with officers still attempting to establish the exact cause of the crash.
A source told the Irish Independent that early indications were that the horse became startled and bolted.
As a result, the couple were thrown from the cart and fell 20ft down steep terrain, suffering catastrophic injuries.
It is understood that family members – who were close behind on another pony and trap when the tragedy happened – travelled from their Killarney hotel to Dingle to formally identify the bodies of the couple.
Lord Mayor of Killarney Niall Kelleher said they must let the investigation into the accident take its course, but lessons may have to be learned.
“When we get the findings of the investigation, if there’s lessons to be learned then it is incumbent on us to act upon it,” he said.
“Anything that is being said about it is just hearsay so we have to wait for the investigation.”
Mr Kelleher opened a book of condolences in Killarney yesterday with dozens of locals arriving to pass on their respects. He described the accident as “absolutely tragic”.
None of the horses and carts were in operation at the Gap of Dunloe yesterday. However, many tourists followed the trail by foot.
The horse-drawn carts are a big tourist attraction out at the Gap – the oldest route for such trips in Kerry.
The route is immensely popular, with one local saying that thousands may have taken it last week during the Easter break.
A source in the insurance industry told the Irish Independent that premiums may increase due to the accident.
However, they said it was unlikely that any jarveys would be unable to get insurance.
Yesterday evening – some 24 hours after the dreadful accident – around 30 locals arrived outside the horse and cart yard near Kate’s Cottage at the Gap of Dunloe.
A vigil was held as a mark of respect to the family.
Prayers were also said in Killarney for the couple.
One jarvey said the accident was the worst tragedy to ever take place in the area.
It is understood the couple had begun their day out at the popular Kate Kearney’s Cottage, located around 3km from the scene of the incident.
Ms Few’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were travelling in a separate cart and came across the scene moments after the accident.
A Garda liaison officer has been assisting the family and it is understood a diplomat from the US embassy had also travelled to offer support.
The bodies of the two victims were transferred by hearse to Kerry General Hospital shortly before 6pm on Monday.
The Office of the State Pathologist was notified and post-mortem examinations took place yesterday afternoon.