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'He lived his life to the fullest': Sister pays tribute to man who died on Carrauntoohil

The sister of a man who died while climbing Carrauntoohil in Co Kerry last weekend has paid tribute to the “hero” father of three.

Miriam Duffy said her family were trying to come to terms with the sudden loss of her brother Ger Duffy, who was 59.

Mr Duffy, a native of St Joseph Street, Limerick city, and who was living in Clonlara, Co Clare, died last Saturday after falling on the mountain.

An experienced mountain climber, Mr Duffy had been accompanied by a male friend at the time, explained his sister.

“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 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 where he will be waked 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,” offered 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, 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, Independent councillor 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.

An obituary published online stated Mr Duffy had died “following a tragic mountain climbing accident”.

“Beloved husband of Carmel (nee Madden), and wonderful dad to Siobhán, Aisling and Gavin. Deeply regretted by his loving wife and family, his mother Bernie, sisters Miriam, Ruth, Helen, Tessa, Maggie and Rachel (Derryfadda), sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours, and his many many friends.”

“Reposing at his residence (Eir Code V94 EKF1) this Tuesday evening (14th May) from 5pm to 8pm.”

“Arriving for Funeral Mass in St. Senan’s Church, Clonlara on Wednesday (15th May) at 11.30am with burial afterwards in Teampaill Cemetery.”

“Donations, if desired, to Kerry Mountain Rescue.”