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*Photograph: Mike Mulcaire

White Strand in Miltown Malbay witnessed poignant scenes on Friday to mark one month since the sudden death of Clare lifeguard Fionn O’Brien.

Twenty year old Fionn died in July in what An Garda Síochána described as a tragic accident which occurred while he was surfing in Quilty.

Fionn was due to go into his second year of studying Technology Management at the University of Limerick this September. The 20 year old had worked as a lifeguard with Clare County Council, he was a dual-player with St Josephs Doora/Barefield and also lined out for Ennis RFC.

On Friday evening, Fionn’s memory was honoured when family and friends gathered for a paddle at White Strand. Organised by the O’Brien family, Clare Lifeguards and Clare Water Service, the informal gathering was viewed as a touching way to pay tribute to “a wonderful, smiling and talented young man” as he was remembered by teachers at Rice College.

Organisers saw the paddle as a way for his family, friends, teammates, coaches and classmates to pay their respect in a special way for Fionn. Personnel in attendance formed a large circle in the water where a minute’s silence was held in memory of Fionn.

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