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Three die in tragic ice skating misadventure in Dublin
Mr Charlie Blake, ice skating on The Lough in Cork. There were also some incidents of the ice breaking and revellers falling through, although thankfully in these instances the water was shallow and there were no serious injuries Photo: Irish Life, 22 Dec 1916. Full collection of Irish Life available at the National Library of Ireland.

Three die in tragic ice skating misadventure in Dublin

Dublin, 19 December 1916 - Three patients of the Peamount Sanatorium, near Lucan, have died while ice skating on a frozen pond.

More than 20 patients had been enjoying an afternoon of Winter merriment. There was fun and laughter and childlike pleasure in the sharp air. Three of the skaters – John Flaherty, James Lynn and Michael Cannon – spun off in a different direction from the other skaters.

The three men embraced, and as they did so they fell through the ice, into 12 feet of freezing water. Five others rushed to save them and they, too, ended up in difficulty. They were saved only when the remaining patients made a rope of their coats and pulled them to safety.

Later that evening, the pond was dragged and the bodies were recovered. The watch in John Flaherty’s pocket stopped at 7pm – he was 24, the eldest of the three who drowned.

Further scenes on The Lough in Cork. Hockey players and skaters jostling for space. (Image: Irish Life, 22 Dec 1916. Full collection of Irish Life available at the National Library of Ireland)

A similar tragedy was only narrowly averted in Cork when a young girl was pulled from breaking ice by a Protestant clergyman.

The weather – the coldest to hit Ireland for a generation – saw 100 cases treated in hospitals for 'broken and dislocated limbs and cut heads' caused by the treacherous icy conditions of the streets and pavements.

All around the country normal life stopped as services were paralysed in the grip of a deep freeze.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.