Castleisland Family Caught up in Unimaginable Tragedy

The late TJ O'Herlihy (left) enjoying precious moments with friends, Stephen Culhane and John O'Sullivan.
The late TJ O’Herlihy (left) enjoying precious moments with friends, Seamus Culhane and John O’Sullivan.

While it was no secret since last evening that one of the Thomond Bridge accident victims was T.J. O’Herlihy, his name and that of his tragic comrade, 29 year old Brian Whelan from O’Brien’s Bridge, Co Clare, have only been released to the public this afternoon.

The late TJ, a son of Timothy and Sheila O’Herlihy, was a lively and uncompromising debater on many issues and had a great sense of humour which lodged well to the left of centre.

He liked the lack of distraction in Sheila Prendiville’s Bar and Grocery whenever he returned to Castleisland from his travels. Sheila’s allowed a clear run for open and frank debate on the issues of the day.

He often expressed an appreciation of the comfortable silence the house afforded its patrons when the mood took it.

TJ is survived by his Swedish born partner, Therese and their two children. Along with his afore mentioned parents, he has two brothers, Michael and Shane and two sisters, Elaine and Maureen. Maureen celebrated her birthday yesterday and now on a day which will be forever engraved as one of immense family tragedy.

The well known Thomond Bridge  - with King John's Castle  - which was the scene of Saturday's terrible accident.
The well known Thomond Bridge – with King John’s Castle – which was the scene of Saturday’s terrible accident.

There are no funeral arrangements yet as Therese – who was in Sweden at the time of the accident – is preparing to fly back.

News of unimaginable tragedy had to be broken to the O’Herlihy family yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the crane tragedy on Limerick’s Thomond Bridge.

The accident happened soon after 3pm and the Castleisland native was one of the two men who lost their lives. A third man managed to detach himself from his safety harness and swim to safety before being picked up by emergency services. He is still receiving treatment in hospital in Limerick this morning.

The accident happened as the men were carrying out routine pointing and maintenance work on the bridge.

The men were removed from the water by Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service, with the assistance of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue.

The two men were unresponsive when they were removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, where they were pronounced dead. The third man was conscious and informed emergency responders what had happened in the incident.
“Limerick City and County Council wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the families and colleagues of the deceased,” – according to a report from the scene of the accident by Alan Owens from The Limerick Leader.   You can read the Limerick Leader report by Alan Owens here: