Second victim of Baltimore drowning laid to rest

Funeral mass hears Barry Ryan was a ‘truly great man’ who sacrified his life to save others


Barry Ryan Sr was a truly ‘great man’, who sacrificed his life in an effort to save the lives of others, his funeral mass heard on Sunday.

Mourners who packed the Sacred Heart Church in Rath, Baltimore were told of Mr Ryan’s exceptional kindness, compassion, spirituality and generosity throughout his life.

He died in a tragic accident after his son Barry Davis Ryan (21) and his son’s girlfriend, Niamh O’Connor (20) were swept out to sea in his ‘beloved Baltimore’ earlier this week.

Chief mourners at the mass were his partner Ann Davies, his children Arthur and Charlotte, his mother Rose and father Arthur, founder of the Irish retail giant Penneys.

In a eulogy delivered by his brother-in-law, Danny Kelly, on behalf of the Davis and Ryan families, prayers were offered for the recovery of Barry Jr, who remains missing and for his ‘lovely’ girlfriend, Niamh O’Connor from Glanmire, who was laid to rest on Saturday.

Mr Ryan was ‘a good Samaritan,’ Mr Kelly said.

“Last Tuesday, without any regard for his own well being and personal safety, he sacrificed his own life in an effort to save his son Barry Jr and the lovely Niamh O’Connor,” Mr Kelly said.

“Barry was a very spiritual person, who always put others first, especially those in greatest need,” he said.

Mourners were told of Mr Ryan’s kindness and his keen intellect. He loved poetry and literature and wrote, illustrated and published a children’s book titled Puffer the Tugboat.

“Barry had great faith, he practised weekly with the Dundrum church choir and sang at Sunday mass,” Mr Kelly said.

He split his time between his native Dublin and Baltimore, working in management at Penney’s in Dundrum and commuting to see his family in west Cork.

“Baltimore was his second home. He worked in Dublin and commuted every week to his family. He was much loved and respected here,” Mr Kelly said.

Born in Foxrock and educated at St Gerard’s, Mr Ryan was an avid gardener and nature lover, who had wide and varied interests, including travel, horses, aviation and cricket.

In childhood, he was quiet and thoughtful, the apple of his mother Rose’s eye.

He was a free spirit, Mr Kelly said.

“Our Barry was special, he loved anything to do with nature. If he had his way Foxrock would have resembled Killarney National Park. If you rang the house looking for Barry the usual reply was, ‘he is out in the garden talking to his kids.’

“His great passions included poetry and photography. If you went into Barry’s room you could find endless books on all his interests and papers piled high. He could hold a conversation on any topic,” Mr Kelly said.

Above all, Mr Ryan treasured his partner, his three children and Baltimore.

“He was a doting father who loved to spend every minute with his family, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his children,” Mr Kelly said.

“He loved and lived for the beautiful Baltimore,” Mr Kelly said.

“We are deeply grateful to the RNLI, the Irish Coastguard, the naval services, Baltimore rescue services, the gardaí and every single volunteer for all their tireless work and support throughout,” Mr Kelly said.

On behalf of the Ryan family, he thanked those at the scene who came to Charlotte’s assistance as Tuesday’s tragic accident unfolded.

Baltimore RNLI coxswain Kieran Cotter lead representatives of the rescue services at the funeral mass, including the Irish Coastguard, gardaí and Civil Defence.

Mourners included representatives of the retail community, local politicians and businessmen including Cork developer Michael O’Flynn. The family extended their appreciation to those who travelled from all over Ireland, the UK and the US to the country church in Rath, outside Baltimore. Special thanks were extended to Garda Liaison Officer Pauline Reid for her support.

Gifts offered included Mr Ryan’s laptop - which Chief Celebrant Fr Chris O’Donovan said contained all of Mr Ryan’s personal writings - a copy of the children’s book he published and two miniature vintage buses, illustrative of his love of travel.

In a poignant personal message to her son read out by Mr Kelly, Rose Ryan thanked her son for the ‘great memories and the good fun.’

“I will always think of you and I will see you in heaven,” she said.

Mr Ryan was laid to rest in Tullagh cemetery in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, the search continues for Barry Davis Ryan, who has been missing since Tuesday.

Working from 9am, a team of a dozen divers completed two dive searches before lunchtime on Sunday and planned a third in the afternoon while conditions remain favourable.

Local diver John Kearney said the team were conducting an intensive search today, slightly south of the previous search site, in deeper waters on the advice of local fishermen.

Unfavourable weather conditions will prevent further dive searches until later this week, possibly Thursday, Mr Kearney said.