House fire victim was man from ‘Vanishing Ireland ’ cover

Body of Joe Hanrahan (85) found at Kilsheelan, Co Tipperary home

Joe Hanrahan ) who died in a house fire, featured on the cover of the book ‘Vanishing Ireland’ Photograph: James Fennell

Joe Hanrahan ) who died in a house fire, featured on the cover of the book ‘Vanishing Ireland’ Photograph: James Fennell

 

An elderly man who featured in a book chronicling how times have changed in Ireland over the last century lost his life in a fire at his home early this morning.

Gardaí­ do not believe the blaze which killed 85-year-old Joe Hanrahan at his house in Kilsheelan, Co Tipperary, started in suspicious circumstances.

Neighbours of the popular single man, who lived his entire life in the house in which he died in the centre of Kilsheelan, about eight kilometres from Clonmel, reacted with shock to the tragedy.

Mr Hanrahan was on the cover of a volume of the Vanishing Ireland series in 2011 and told his story to author and historian Turtle Bunbury for the book, with photographs by James Fennel.

He worked as a farm labourer earlier in his life, as well as a pony and trap driver, and also helped the local postmistress catch rabbits for export during the 1940s.

It is understood his body was found by firefighters in a bathroom on the ground floor of his two-storey house in Ballyknockane, Kilsheelan, shortly after 2am .

The alarm was raised at about 1.35am by a man who was walking along the street in the village and noticed flames. The elderly occupant may have been trying to escape from the fire before being overcome by smoke.

Fire crews from Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir were called to the scene and spent some hours bringing the blaze under control before leaving at about 5am. The house appears to have been completely destroyed internally and gardai­ have been working to try and establish the cause of the fire.