A jury has recommended the erection of a barrier at the site where a couple lost their lives in the Gap of Dunloe.
64-year-old Rosalyn Joy Few and her partner 62-year-old Normand Larose from Phoenix, Arizona died when the pony and trap they were travelling in left the road and ended up down a ravine, landing on rocks on April 9th last year.
They had been holidaying in Killarney with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, and took a pony and trap ride from Lord Brandon’s Cottage on the day of the accident.
The inquest into their deaths at Killarney Courthouse today returned verdicts of accidental death.
No family of the deceased attended, but they had legal representation present.
Normand Larose and Rosalyn Joy Few were travelling in a trap with Dan Casey, a pony man for 37 years; Ms Few’s family were following behind in two other traps.
Mr Casey said his horse, Johnny, a six-year-old of quiet demeaner, bolted; he tried to stop him but fell backwards – the pony man had been standing on the back of the trap.
The pony, trap and the couple went off the side the steep road, down into a ravine, landing on rocks.
An off-duty paramedic arrived at the scene and administered CPR to Mr Larose; he said Ms Few’s injuries were incompatible with life; both were later pronounced dead.
Ms Few’s daughter and son-in-law questioned the speed Dan Casey’s trap was travelling at, but the other pony men said it was going at a normal pace, and forensic collision investigator Garda James O’Brien also noted the pony would have been at a walking pace.
The Garda said it was his belief the horse lost traction on his left front leg on the steep downhill section, and despite trying to stop, he couldn’t and went straight over the edge, down into the ravine.
He said a barrier would be useful in that location as it’s a straight drop down onto rocks, and that brakes on the traps would make them more effective.
Results of post mortems by Dr Margot Bolster revealed the couple died of blunt force trauma.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and recommended a barrier be erected at that section of road to avoid future accidents.