Father-of-three loses life in mountain climbing tragedy

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A SISTER of the Limerick man who died climbing Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry last weekend has paid tribute to the “hero” father-of-three.

Miriam Duffy said her family trying to come to terms with the tragic death of Ger Duffy (59) who lost his life on Ireland’s highest mountain last Saturday.

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An experienced mountain climber, Mr Duffy was accompanied by a male friend at the time of the accident. A native of St Joseph Street in Limerick city, he was living in Clonlara.

“We believe he was making his way up the mountain, and as he gripped something it crumbled in his hand and he fell,” Ms Duffy added.

A major search and recovery operation took place over serval hours last Saturday, which involved Kerry Mountain Rescue Team and the Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116.

Ms Duffy thanked all those who helped recover her brother’s body.

A post mortem was conducted at Tralee General Hospital and Mr Duffy’s body was later taken to his home in Clonlara for his wake on Tuesday.

Mr Duffy was also passionate about motorbikes which fitted in well with his “love” of the “outdoors”.

“He was such a kind guy and he would have helped anybody that ever needed it,” said Ms Duffy, who is well known in her role as Director of Rape Crisis Midwest.

“He was only in Cambodia a few weeks ago, on a motorbike tour, and he was up a mountain in Wales a few weeks before that. He loved the outdoors life. He was very fit, and he lived his life to the fullest,” she said.

“He was the best brother you could ever wish for. His wife Carmel – and his children Siobhan (24), Aisling (22), and Gavin (18) – who were his pride and joy – idolised him.”

Ms Duffy fondly recalled how Ger had “delivered” his daughter Aishling as he and his wife were making their way to the Limerick’s maternity hospital.

“Ger and Carmel were on their way to the maternity hospital, and as they were crossing Thomond Bridge there was a shout from Carmel to ‘stop the car’. Ger delivered Aisling himself there on the bridge. He certainly was a hero, in every sense of the word.”

Family friend and Fine Gael Senator, Maria Byrnes, offering her sympathies to the Duffy family, said Mr Duffy was “a gentleman” who had been “taken too young”.

Mayor of Clare Michael Begley also paid a personal tribute as “a neighbour, a friend, and as mayor of Clare”.

“I’d like to express my sympathies to the Duffy family, and their relatives in the extended parish. It’s a terrible tragedy,” Mr Begley added.

Some of Mr Duffy’s friends in the biker community posted tributes online.

One wrote: “Tragic news..a lovely gentleman..devastating loss for everyone who knew him.”

by David Raleigh

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