Corkman missing since 2004: A community waits ... and hopes

Corkman missing since 2004: A community waits ... and hopes

Barry Coughlan has family and friends who care deeply about him - and who all continue to hope that one day they will know what happened to him.

Barry Coughlan, from Crosshaven, was last seen outside the Moonduster Bar in the harbour town at 1.30am on May 1, 2004. He was just 23 years old. ELAINE DUGGAN recalls how family, friends and a community never gave up hope that one day he would be found.

WAIT… what can anyone do, but wait.

Wait and pray. Wait and hope. Wait and cry… Just wait...

Family, friends, an entire community, all just wait.

We wait for the news that we’ve all been hoping for, for almost two decades. That a son, a brother, a friend… has been found.

When news started to filter out about activity at the pier in Crosshaven on Wednesday night, people’s first thoughts turned to a possible recent tragedy.

 Gardai at Hugh Coveney Pier, Crosshaven for the recovery of a vehicle found in the water.
Gardai at Hugh Coveney Pier, Crosshaven for the recovery of a vehicle found in the water.

Right then, nobody could have imagined that these events could be linked to a missing person’s case from 2004.

And as other pieces of information continued to filter out… divers, a car, a number plate… it was clear that a mystery that had haunted a young man’s family for so long, might finally be resolved.

But first the waiting continues...

Deep respect and care for Barry and the Coughlan family

I won’t claim to have known Barry Coughlan well - what I do know is that his family, his dad Jim, his mum Marie and sister Donna, are much respected and very well liked in our little village. I have a beautiful baby blanket that his mum crocheted for my first born. From mother to new mother… It's something I will always treasure.

Barry also has friends who care deeply about him - and who all continue to hope that one day they will know what happened to him.

When Barry went missing back in 2004, a huge search was mounted in Crosshaven and beyond - a community came out in their hundreds to help look for him.

And when the search fell quieter over the years - they won’t have seen or heard it - but the community’s thoughts were with the Coughlan family always - our hearts continued to ache for what they were going through. The not knowing. So many questions.

Never forgotten 

When you’d bump into a family member, or see a friend, we’d all think of Barry… he was never, ever forgotten.

The years passed, but every May 1 we’d all share his poster on social media, on the anniversary of his disappearance, in the hope that someone out there would see something that would lead to some new clue… it’s just a few weeks since we all did that - not knowing then what would transpire as the month came to a close - 17 years on since he vanished. Hope always remained.

Solidarity

Last night people turned to social media again - this time sharing pictures of candle light - as a show of solidarity. It was emotional to see people’s feeds, school pages and sporting club's Facebook pages, fill up with the pictures. Many feel helpless… not knowing what to do, or what to say - but they want family and friends to know that they care.

I can’t even begin to imagine what the past 17 years have been like for them…. and even more recently the events of the past 48 hours.

Everyone has grown older, Barry became an uncle, friends have grown up and started their own families too since he disappeared. Life went on…but there was always a piece missing.

Will it be a source of comfort or confusion, that he could have been so close to home all this time? He was last seen outside a bar, close to where his car was found, on Wednesday night.

Hopefully the days ahead will be able to provide some closure to those close to Barry, yes. But I’m sure it still won’t provide all the answers. He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him.

And so we wait…. yes, we still wait - family, friends, a community - we wait...

More in this section

Sponsored Content

summersoaplogosml

Called Droid, our next story is about a boy who designs a robot at UCC and chaos ensues. It was written by Margaret Gillies, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more