THE family and friends of an Irishman who drowned while on holiday in Australia have paid tribute to him.
John Holland, a grain merchant from Kilkenny, was visiting his daughter in Melbourne when he died on New Year’s Day.
The 63-year-old, from The Square in Ballyragget, drowned after getting into trouble while swimming.
He had gone to the beach with his daughter Emma, who had recently moved to Australia, his friend, the local parish priest in Ballyragget, Father Eamonn O’Gorman said this week.
In a statement confirming his death, Mr Holland’s family said they were “heartbroken” by the loss.
Mr Holland’s wife Marie died in 2022 following an illness.
A spokesperson for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance to Mr Holland’s family.
“As with all consular cases, the department does not comment on the details of individual cases,” they added.
Tributes have flooded in for the father-of-three, who has been remembered as a “gentleman” by friends.
“It's heartbreaking news to learn of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the untimely passing of John,” Noel Kilduff said.
“John was a wonderful, kind and warm gentleman with his affectious smile,” he explained.
“It has been a pleasure to have been embedded with many fond memories of friendship and camaraderie shared over the years.”
The Westmeath-based man added: “Spread your wings John and fly like the lovely person you are.
“You’ll be sadly missed - god only takes the best.”
Long-term friend Shirley Dowd described the grandfather of two as a “gentleman and a friend to everyone who met him”.
“Maire and John were the kindest and nicest people I ever met,” she added.
“We had great times on our cycles and nights out - I will cherish the memories and never forget my dear friends.”
The Naomh Brid Camogie Club in Ballyragget have also paid their respects to the man they claim was one of their great supporters.
“Sincere condolences to all the Holland family on the sudden death of John,” they said.
“A great supporter of our club over the years and a terrible loss to all who knew him.”
Mr Holland is survived by his son John, daughters Emma and Kate, sister Mai, grandchildren Andy and Nell and extended family and friends.
Funeral details have yet to be confirmed.