A teenager just weeks away from celebrating his 20th birthday is among those to have died in a bank holiday horror crash.
Two people died after a car with four occupants veered off a mountain road and crashed into a swollen roadside stream.
The tragedy took place on the Kenmare Road, just outside Glengarriff village in west Cork, shortly after 5am yesterday.
It occurred on a stretch of road where a mountain stream runs behind a stone wall and is directly parallel to the roadway some 2km from the village.
The stream was swollen due to recent heavy rainfall and the accident happened near one of the deepest sections of the waterway.
A horrified passerby spotted the wrecked car and raised the alarm.
Gardai, paramedics and Bantry Fire Brigade raced to the crash site. Two occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.
They were named locally as Michael Bowen (40) from Ahakista, Cork, and Tadhg Murphy (19) from Glengarriff, Cork.
Mr Murphy would have celebrated his 20th birthday in just over two weeks.
A third man was airlifted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
He remains in a serious but stable condition in CUH. A fourth male occupant of the vehicle miraculously escaped uninjured from the horrific collision. Both men who survived the collision are in their 20s and from the greater Glengarriff area.
Post-mortem examinations will be conducted on the two deceased at CUH.
It was a grim weekend on Irish roads as an elderly Polish woman died on Sunday evening from injuries she sustained in a Cork collision on Friday while a motorcyclist died in Wexford on Saturday.
Celina Gosz (94) died at CUH after suffering critical injuries in a three-vehicle collision at Killeagh in east Cork shortly after 5pm on July 31.
She was a back-seat passenger in one of the vehicles involved. The tragedy brings to 87 the number of people to have died on Irish roads this year - nine more than for the same period last year despite the three-month Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
Gardai closed the Glengarriff road to facilitate the work of accident scene investigators and the emergency services.
The stretch of road lies at the bottom of a relatively steep descent into the west Cork village from Kerry.
The car was later recovered and removed from the scene for a full inspection by Public Service Vehicle (PSV) experts.
Bantry gardai appealed for any witnesses to the collision or the movements of the car involved to come forward and assist their inquiry.
"We are appealing for any witnesses that may have seen a black Volkswagen Jetta prior to the accident or in the general vicinity of Glengarriff last night to contact us," Supt Declan O'Sullivan said.
Gardai are also appealing for any road users who may have camera footage (including dash cam) who were travelling in the area at the time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Bantry Garda Station on (027) 20860 or the Garda Confidential Line on (1800) 666111. Cork South West TD Michael Collins said the entire community was in total shock at the scale of the tragedy.
"A tragedy like this is a cause of great upset to the whole community from Bantry to Kilcrohane and beyond," he said.
"It is hard to comprehend the scale of the tragedy. Your thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved who are heartbroken. This is a very tight-knit community and it is a truly shocking loss of life for them."