Christmas Eve death of much-loved farmer (56) rocks Knocknagoshel

Much-loved Knocknagoshel farmer Bertie O’Rahilly is to be laid to rest today (Wednesday), nearly a week since his tragic death in an accident on his farm on Christmas Eve.

ews of the death of the hugely-popular 56-year-old shattered the festive peace of Knocknagoshel, as the community rallied to the side of his stricken family, in an outpouring of messages of sympathy, in the hours and days following the incident.

Mr O’Rahilly died in a work-related accident on his farm in Ballinahown near Headley’s Bridge before 1pm on Christmas Eve.

The tragedy was discovered by a family member after he had failed to return home amid the Christmas preparations as expected.

The 56-year-old farmer was pronounced dead at the scene, which was preserved by gardaí pending the removal of his remains to Kerry University Hospital, where the post mortem was carried out.

The Health and Safety Authority was also notified of the fatality as it happened in the workplace.

It was a tragedy that rocked the greater area of Knocknagoshel and far beyond as word of the death of the popular farmer spread.

He is remembered as a man of deep generosity and great humour, a wonderful family man who thought nothing of going out of his way to help others, family and friends, whenever they were in need.

A stalwart member of the North Kerry Harriers Hunt Club, he was a renowned horseman whose dynamic presence astride his beloved animals contributed greatly to so many hunts over the years.

Indeed, he was known as having a special way and affinity with horses, never happier than when out riding or looking after his animals.

Mr O’Rahilly had also driven for Bus Éireann, plying the Kerry to Limerick route initially and, later, the Kerry to Cork route; in work that saw him make new friendships far and wide.

“He was just a fantastic neighbour,” one friend told The Kerryman.

“He was just a man you could really rely on to help whenever you needed it and we’re completely shocked by his loss,” they said.

It was a testament echoed widely as tributes to the Knocknagoshel man came pouring in amid a surge of messages of sympathy for his heartbroken family at their home in Ballinahown.

Wife Mary, daughter Miriam and his sons Billy, Bartley and Danny – the three sons having returned from Australia by Monday – received messages of comfort from hundreds in the days since the terrible tragedy; as did Mr O’Rahilly’s sisters Mairead, Joan, Marie (who returned from her home in Colorado in the US) and Sheila; their families and his many relatives near and far.

His beloved hunt club was among the first to lead tributes posting a poignant video of images of Mr O’Rahilly riding in hunts over the years to social media.

Accompanying the piece was the following tribute from the North Kerry Harriers: “Bertie was well known on the hunting field and the wider community.

“A friend to all those he met. Someone you could always rely on and who you would enjoy the great company of.

“We have many fond memories of our days together. May our friendship and prayers ease his family through this very difficult time.”

His Funeral Mass is to take place at 11.30am on Wednesday. – News