Friday 28 October 2016

Tributes after Irishman drowns on Thai holiday

David Houlihan
David Houlihan

Tributes have been paid to a 24-year-old Irishman who drowned in Thailand.

David Houlihan went missing on his way back to his hotel in Koh Samui on Monday night.

Last night it emerged that his family had just got over the death of his mother before the tragic accident.

David, from Dungarvan in Co Waterford, had stopped in Thailand on the way to visit friends before an extended holiday in Australia when he went missing on the way back to his hotel on the Thai island.

The family were notified that his body had been found yesterday morning.

A keen GAA player, David lined out for his club Dungarvan last Friday before departing on Sunday.

Dungarvan GAA Chairman Tony Ryan said that David was a tremendous clubman and was well liked around the community. "He played for us last Friday night and he scored a point for us in a championship match," said Mr Ryan.

"He left on Sunday to go over to see some very good friends he has in Australia.

"He had a huge range of great friends from within our club, our rival clubs and everywhere, really. David was very well liked," he added.

The club arranged a gathering of their teams last night to pay their respects to David.

"Only last Friday he was playing a match with us," Mr Ryan said.

"He was such a great character. One of the best things about him was that he was able to make friends everywhere.

"His best mates were from other clubs. Everyone loved him. The guy he went to Thailand with was from one of the local rivals and they couldn't have been closer."

The Houlihans had suffered another tragedy in recent years. His mother Bernie died in 2011 after a battle with cancer, seven years after their father John passed away following a heart attack.

His brothers Paul and Adam made arrangements to travel to Thailand yesterday to bring their brother home.

His other brother Jonathan (14) remained at home, while another brother, Patrick, is believed to be in the US.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that they were providing consular assistance to his family.

The Chairman of Dungarvan GAA said that David was an all-round "great sports man".

"He played football and hurling with us in Dungarvan and he will be a huge loss to the area," Mr Ryan added.

"He played soccer with Lismore and had recently taken up golf and would play in golf days at the club.

"He won under-14 championship medals with us and then in 2011 - the year his mother Bernie passed away - he captained our under-21 football team when we won the county's western championship."

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