Cork village in shock after man dies while swimming in Spain

Ballyvourney priest pays tribute to 35-year-old who had been walking Camino in Galicia

Tim Kelleher (35) from Slievereagh on the western side of Ballyvourney died in Spain on Thursday evening. Photograph: Facebook

Tim Kelleher (35) from Slievereagh on the western side of Ballyvourney died in Spain on Thursday evening. Photograph: Facebook

 

A priest has spoken of the sense of shock and sadness that has enveloped a close-knit Cork community after learning that a local man has died while swimming after walking the Camino pilgrimage in Spain.

Fr Donal O’Brien, parish priest in Ballyvourney in the Múscraí Gaeltacht, said people had been stunned and saddened to learn of the death of local man Tim Kelleher (35) in Galicia.

“News only began to filter back yesterday evening but there’s a real sense of shock and sadness here today as there always is when a young person dies tragically,” said Fr O’Brien.

“The Kellehers would be well known and well respected in the community and Tim was a mighty worker – we prayed for him at Mass this morning and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he added.

It is understood that Mr Kelleher, who was from Slievereagh on the western side of Ballyvourney, is survived by his parents, Tony and Bernie and his brother, Anthony.

He had worked for a time with his family’s building firm, Ó Céileachair Tógálaithe before studying architecture at St John’s Central College in Cork and later Cork Institute of Technology where he qualified as an architect in 2015.

According to reports from Spain, Mr Kelleher had completed the Camino and arrived at Santiago de Compostela and then proceeded on with friends to Cabo Finisterre, a rock-bound peninsula some 90km further west.

It is understood that Mr Kelleher was with two friends at a beach in Cabo Finisterre when he went for a swim but got into difficulty at around 8pm on Thursday evening.

He was dragged from the water but was discovered to be unresponsive and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it is aware of the tragedy and is providing consular assistance to Mr Kelleher’s family and friends as they work to bring his remains home.