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03rd Jan 2024

Tributes paid to Irish father-of-three who died tragically on Australia holiday

Simon Kelly

Irish father

“He was just a lovely gentleman.”

Tributes are being paid to a ‘wonderful’ Irish father-of three who died in Australia while visiting his daughter for Christmas

63-year-old John Holland from The Square, Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny was in Melbourne when he got into difficulty sea swimming on New Year’s Day.

Mr Holland, who was over visiting his daughter Emma, is a well-known local grain merchant. He lost his wife Maire to illness in May 2023.

Tributes paid to Irish father-of-three who died tragically on Australian holiday

Speaking to the Irish Times, Fr Eamonn O’Gorman, Parish Priest in Ballyragget and Lisdowney, said that Mr Holland went to the beach with his next-door-neighbour and friend, along with his daughter Emma.

“He seemed so happy, so happy out there with Emma,” he said. “A holiday of a lifetime but little did we think that we’d be bringing him home dead.

“He was just a lovely gentleman who would help people out,” said Fr O’Gorman. “He had great love for his family and his family came number one. He had great love for his wife Marie and Marie’s passing, he said – it doesn’t get easier as the time moves on.”

Fr O’Gorman explained that while Mr Holland was a strong swimmer he was weakened due to being unwell in recent months.

His friend who travelled with him to Melbourne is now supporting his daughter with repatriation arrangements.

Mr Holland is survived by his children John Jnr, daughters Emma and Kate and sister Mai.

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