Daughter's desperate efforts to save her drowning father
Niall O'Connor of the Evening Herald reports how the daughter of a retired lecturer who drowned on a family day out has been left "devastated" after her desperate bid to save him failed.
Eileen Buck jumped into a swollen river after her father slipped into the water in front of his daughter and three grandchildren.
But Dr Julian Hart (73), a former Trinity College maths lecturer from Dalkey, Co Dublin, was swept to his death by the force of the river.
He had been enjoying a day out with his family on Saturday in Avoca when it's believed he slipped and fell while walking on the riverbank.
Eileen then dived into the river in a frantic bid to rescue her father – a non-swimmer – but was forced back by the fast-flowing waters.
Her husband, Brendan Buck, said his wife was left "devastated" after seeing her father drown.
"She hasn’t been able to sleep. She’s been replaying it all in her head," he told the Herald today.
"He was just a very well-loved man. His family and friends will greatly regret his passing but will celebrate his life," Mr Buck added."Eileen is devastated that she was unable to rescue her father.
"The three kids are thankfully okay.
"Due to the high level of rainfall over the last week and the confluence of the water, it was extremely high and fast.
"He lost his balance in a way that someone who didn't have a balance issue probably wouldn't have," he added.
Mr Buck said that the heavy coat being warn by his father-in-law made it "impossible" for his wife to rescue him.
"He was wearing a big heavy coat and everything, so it's impossible that Eileen would have had any chance in saving him," he said.
And he described Dr Hart as a man who was "always full of life".
"He lived his life in a way that many of us would wish we could." Anyone who came across him stuck to him like a fly to flypaper, Mr Buck added.
Another family member, Caroline Buck, said it was a "miracle" that the three young children -- Finn (six), Eanna (five) and Lara (two) -- did not end up in the water themselves.
She added: "It is such a tragedy as Julian was such a gentle and lovely man. He loved to go to the Meetings of the Water in Avoca -- it was one of his favourite places to go to anytime he visited Eileen and the kids, who live close by at Ballinatone, Ballinaclash."
Rescue workers spent over an hour searching for Dr Hart's body, which was eventually pulled from the river close to Woodenbridge Golf Course.
Eileen Buck and the three children were taken to a nearby B&B where they were treated for shock.
Local councillor Nicky Kelly called for Wicklow County Council to carry out a "review" of the safety issues in the area surrounding the river.
Dr Hart retired from Trinity College 17 years ago and was living in Dalkey, South Co Dublin. He took early retirement from Trinity at the age of 56, having been treated for stage three cancer by oncologist Dr John Crown.
Against the odds, he survived the disease and ultimately took early retirement to spend more time with his family.
He is survived by his wife, Dr Nora Hart, daughters Blathnaid and Eileen and his three grandchildren.
Dr. Hart's funeral arrangements are as follows
Devoted husband of Nora, loving father of Bláthnaid and Eileen. Very sadly missed by his wife, daughters, son-in-law Brendan, his adored grandchildren, Finn, Éanna and Lara, brother, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and many friends.
Removal on Thursday from Quinns of Glasthule to The church of the Assumption, Dalkey, arriving at 5pm. Burial, after 11.30am Mass, in Shanganagh Cemetery. No flowers, please, donations, if desired, to a charity of your choice.