The mother of a man who drowned at one of the country’s most popular bathing spots two years ago begged her son not to get into the water as the sea was too dangerous.
An inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court into the death of Vincent Senezio while swimming at the Forty Foot in Sandycove, Co Dublin on September 29th, 2019, heard his mother advised him that there was nobody else swimming because conditions were "windy and rough".
Several eyewitnesses also claimed conditions at the Forty Foot on the day were “unswimmable”.
Mr Senezio (54) a single man from Shankill, Co Dublin, was pronounced dead at St Vincent’s Hospital despite efforts to resuscitate him after he was rescued from the water by crews from the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard.
In a written statement, the victim's mother, Maria Senezio, said she had continued to call to him to get out of the sea after he had jumped into the water.
Ms Senezio said she realised after about 10 minutes that her son was in difficulty as he was no longer moving in the water.
She recalled seeing a large wave knock him off a big rock and some time later realised he was dead when she saw his body floating on the water.
Ms Senezio said her son had become a regular swimmer at the Forty Foot in the five months before his death and had also been swimming there just two days earlier.
An eyewitness, Mark Murphy who had gone to the Forty Foot to swim with friends said they had decided it was too dangerous to get into the water and had gone instead to a more sheltered swimming area nearby at Sandycove.
Mr Murphy said he ran back over to the Forty Foot after someone had alerted swimmers to someone in difficulty in the water.
He found several people standing on the rocks trying to hold onto Mr Senezio who had also been thrown a number of lifebuoys and ropes.
Because the victim appeared to be a heavy-set man, Mr Murphy said it was not possible to pull him out of the water in such rough conditions.
Mr Murphy said he became concerned as the swimmer was visibly fatigued and then submerged after he was dragged off the rocks by waves.
He noticed the body of the victim was being badly scratched by constantly being thrown on the rocks.
At one stage, he managed to grab Mr Senezio by the hand but he was pushed away again by the waves.
Mr Murphy said the victim was still conscious but had swallowed a lot of water.
A short time later, he appeared to be floating unconscious about 8-10 metres away from people on the rocks.
The inquest heard Mr Murphy and another female swimmer got into the water to try and rescue Mr Senezio but they were forced to get out again for their own safety.
“It was very difficult to get back on the shore,” the witness recalled. “I was in trouble myself.”
Mr Murphy, who said he had swum at the Forty Foot all his life, said it was only in the wildest conditions that one could not swim in the area.
“On the day, getting in was very easy but getting out of the water was very challenging,” he observed.
Mr Murphy said the Irish Sea could be deceptive as many people regarded it as “much safer than it actually is.”
He expressed hope that it provided some solace to the victim’s family that “he died with people trying to help him.”
The coroner, Dr Clare Keane, praised the witness for what she described as "a heroic effort" and returned a verdict of death by misadventure.