Congregation pays tribute to ‘inspiring’ nuns drowned in Kerry

Two Presentation Sisters who died at Inch Beach on Dingle Peninsula last night named

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 13:39

The two nuns who died at Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula yesterday evening have been named as Sr Paula Buckley (70) and Sr Imelda Carew (67), of the Presentation congregation’s southeast province. Sr Carew was provincial of the southeast province.

Both nuns were among a group of three Presentation sisters who were on holiday in the Dingle peninsula.Their companion was waiting on the beach for them at the time they got into difficulty.

In a statement this afternoon, the Presentation Sisters said the nuns “were on holiday in Kerry and got into difficulties during an early evening swim at Inch Strand. They were taken from the water by the Valentia Coast Guard and airlifted to Tralee hospital, where they were later pronounced dead.”

Presentation congregational leader Sr Mary Deane said: “We are all stunned and shocked by this tragedy... as we come to terms with the tragic events that unfolded on a beautiful sunny evening. It is a tragic loss for all of us and for their families.

“These two wonderful women have been a source of inspiration and blessing to many people throughout their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, communities and friends of our beloved Sisters at this time.”

Those close to the tragedy are puzzled as to what exactly happened. The two women, with addresses in Terenure and Clondalkin, were just feet from the shore and were said to be in shallow water in calm conditions.

The third Sister was not swimming, and stood watching her companions from the shoreline, waiting for them to emerge from the water.

The two in the water had been standing up a short time before – not far from the strand. They had waved back to their companion. Suddenly she no longer saw them and alerted the lifeguards, whose station was nearby.

The lifeguards, summer staff employed by the council who were coming off duty at the time, were able to wade in and pull the two from the water. They did not have to swim to reach the women, who were apparently just 3 ft from shore.

A council spokesman said there were no currents, it was close to high tide at the time and the evening was calm.

The rescue helicopter was dispatched from Shannon and was on the scene at 7.56pm. It left the beach at 8.10pm and landed at Kerry General Hospital, Tralee, at 8.15pm. Two ambulance units and the Dingle coastguard unit also attended the scene.

One person close to the investigation described the puzzlement felt by the rescue services and others who were quickly on the scene. “It’s just not logical,” he said.

The community at Inch is shocked by the deaths. “It was a lovely evening. The beach wasn’t that busy because earlier it had been bad all day,” according to one local.

Postmortems are being carried out today and the results are awaited.