Dad of boy who drowned in quarry with pal dies off Lahinch beach

Fran Harding drowned off popular Co Clare seashore which is popular with local surfers

A man who died after getting into difficulty while swimming off Lahinch, Co Clare, on Sunday morning had lost his son in a double drowning tragedy two years ago.

Fran Harding, aged in his 40s, was the father of 15-year-old Shay Maloney who died alongside his friend Jack Kenneally in a disused quarry on the outskirts of Ennis in May 2018.

Emergency services received several calls warning that Mr Harding was in trouble while swimming off Lahinch beach, which is popular with surfers, at about 10.40am.

Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter Rescue 115 arrived at the scene shortly before 11am and lifted the man from the water.


The helicopter landed Mr Harding on the beach where attempts to resuscitate him began with assistance from the National Ambulance Service.

A short time later, he was returned to the helicopter and flown to University Hospital Limerick. A Garda spokeswoman said he was pronounced dead at the Limerick hospital on Sunday afternoon.


A spokesman for the Coast Guard said that its nearby Doolin and Kilkee units were alerted and that the Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat was sent to the incident.

Éire Óg Inis GAA paid tribute to Mr Harding on Monday: "The Tipperary native hurled for two years with our Junior B team after moving to Clare."

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway described Mr Harding as "a gentleman and always so helpful on the many occasions our path met".

“Profound sadness across the county yesterday afternoon as we learned of the tragic drowning of Fran Harding at Lahinch,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the community.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times