Tributes pour in for young boy with ‘bright smile and kind heart’ who died in tragic swimming pool accident

Seven-year-old Shay Lynch died in a tragic swimming pool accident this past Saturday (April 20).

THE EAST Clare community was rocked this past weekend by news of the death of a young boy in a tragic swimming pool accident on Saturday (April 20).

In the days since his death, seven-year-old Shay Lynch from Clonlara, County Clare, has been described as a “beloved pupil” whose “bright smile” and “kind heart endeared him to everyone”.

The young Clare boy died after getting into difficulty at the swimming pool at the Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre in Killaloe, County Clare, on Saturday afternoon.

Gardaí said the boy was rushed by ambulance from the hotel to University Hospital Limerick at around 3pm on Saturday, where he was later pronounced dead.

A post mortem into Shay’s death was due to be carried out on Sunday.

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It is understood that young Shay had been attending a Confirmation party for a family friend when the tragedy happened.

The young boy was a first class pupil at Scoil Seanain Naofa in Clonlara. In a tribute statement, school principal Donnachadh Kelleher said: “Our school community has experienced the tragic death of our beloved pupil, Shay Lynch. Shay is a much loved first class pupil in Scoil Seanain Naofa.”

“His bright smile and his kind heart endeared him to everyone in our school community. He will be greatly missed.”

The school is liaising with the National Educational Psychological Service to ensure grief counselling services are put in place for mourning pupils.

In an online post on X (formerly Twitter) Taoiseach Simon Harris described the young Clare boy’s death as “absolutely heartbreaking”.

“I know people right across Ireland are keeping this family and the community of Clonlara in County Clare in their thoughts and prayers at such a sad and difficult time,” Mr Harris wrote.

A statement from the Lakeside Hotel expressed “deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers” with Shay’s family, friends, and those who knew him following the tragic swimming pool accident.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our lifeguards, team members, and the emergency services who did all they could in responding to this incident.

“As a mark of respect, our leisure centre will remain closed for the coming days”.

The Clonlara GAA Club, for whom Shay was a regular fixture on the Under-9s team, wrote: “This evening, after a beautiful sunny Sunday and a titanic display of hurling in Ennis, we have the saddest news to reckon with as a club and a community as we learn of the death of one of our members, Shay Lynch.”

“Shay was a talented, loved, and valued member of our U9s team.”

The statement added that “all club activities will be suspended over the coming days as a mark of respect to Shay and the Lynch and Conroy families.”

Shay is survived by his parents James and Tania, sister Abi, grandparents Jerome, Joe, and Kathleen, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a wide network of neighbours and friends. He is predeceased by his grandmother Christina.

He will be reposing in McMahon’s Funeral Home, Blackwater, County Clare, on Tuesday (April 23) from 5pm to 7pm. Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday at St Senan’s Church in Clonlara at 11am, followed by burial at St Thomas’ Church grounds in Bridgetown.