An inquest has been told how a young couple were swept out to sea by a freak wave while fishing off rocks in west Cork, and the young man's father died while trying to save them.

Barry Davis Ryan, 20, his girlfriend Niamh O'Connor, 20, and his father Barry Ryan, 51, all died in the accident which happened near Baltimore on 30 June.

The Coroner's Court was told that all three, and Barry Davis Ryan's 13-year-old sister, Charlotte, were fishing on rocks off Beacon Point near Baltimore, when the wave struck.

It swept Mr Davis Ryan and Ms O'Connor into the water. Mr Ryan then dived in to try to save them.

Charlotte raced back up to Beacon Point flagging down some tourists who made a 999 call.

Mr Ryan senior and Ms O'Connor were recovered from the water by the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat but the court was told it was ten days, following a massive sea and air search, before the body of Mr Davis Ryan was recovered.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the inquest that all three died from acute cardio-respiratory failure due to drowning.

Traumatic brain injury with sub-arachnoid haemorrhage was also a significant factor in the deaths of the young couple.

The coroner for west Cork Frank O'Connell said he had enough evidence to register all three deaths and adjourned the inquest until 16 February next when the remainder of the evidence will be heard.

Mr O'Connell extended his sympathies to both families on their loss following such a freakish accident while out fishing.

Mr Ryan and Mr Davis Ryan were the son and grandson of Penney's founder Arthur Ryan, while Ms O'Connor was the grandniece of former Cork GAA stars Bertie Óg and Tadgh Murphy.