'They touched so many lives' – Family of US couple killed in freak horse-and-cart tragedy in Kerry pay tribute for first time since accident
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'They touched so many lives' – Family of US couple killed in freak horse-and-cart tragedy in Kerry pay tribute for first time since accident

THE family of a US couple who died in a freak horse-and-cart accident in Co. Kerry this week have paid an emotional tribute to their tragic loved-ones.

Joy Few, 64, and her Canadian-born partner Normand Larose, 62, were fatally injured when they were thrown from a pony-and-trap into a ravine close to the Gap of Dunloe at around 2pm on Monday.

The tourists, who were visiting Ireland from Phoenix, Arizona, were pronounced dead at the scene after falling some 20ft when their horse bolted.

The driver of the jaunting car survived without injury, while the horse also died in the incident.

The couple were on holiday with Ms Few's daughter Tonya Tier and her husband Bill Walthers, as well as their children Caitlin, 15, and Gavin, 8.

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Ms Tier, her husband and their two children were travelling in another pony-and-trap just behind Ms Few and Mr Larose at the time. They did not witness the accident, but came across the horrifying scene moments after it had occurred.

The Gap of Dunloe in Co. Kerry is one of Ireland's most popular tourist destinations (Image: Failte Ireland)

Speaking today, Ms Tier said her mum and her partner "radiated happiness" and "touched many people's lives".

In a statement issued through the Irish Daily Mail this morning by family friend Laura Davey, Ms Tier said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of two amazing loved ones.

"At the moment, we are focused on getting the bodies home, as well as getting the kids home.

"Joy and Norm, they touched many people's lives. They radiated happiness everywhere they went.

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"They loved their family and their friends deeply and unconditionally and they both loved life and lived life to the fullest.

"We did want to express our thanks and gratitude to the community of Killarney for the support that has been given to the family".

Last night a mass for Ms Few and Mr Larose was held in Our Lady of the Valley Church in the Black Valley, near the Gap of Dunloe.

Also yesterday, the bodies of the deceased couple were cremated following a ceremony at the Island Crematorium in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork.

A book of condolences has been opened at Kate Kearney's Cottage pub and shop, which is just a stone's throw away from the site of Monday's tragedy.