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The late Hernán Lopéz Shanahan, son of Leona Shanahan from Ennis.

Clare family’s grief as young man loses life in Canaries accident

AN Ennis family has been left heartbroken following a tragic diving accident in Lanzarote. 18-year-old Hernán Lopéz Shanahan, son of Leona Shanahan from Ennis, lost his life while free diving at Playa Chica on the Canary island.

During his now short life he had lived in Ennis, France and Lanzarote. 

Hernán went to primary school in Ennis Educate Together before moving to France with his mother and later to Lanzarote where he was a student.

Ennis remained close to his heart and he regularly returned to see his extended family including grandparents Cornelius and Nora Shanahan.

A resident of Tías in Lanzarote, Hernán was a student of Underwater and Hyperbaric Activities at the Escuela de Pesca in Arrecife.

His death on August 29 was met with shock and among the local headlines in Lanzarote were, “The death of young Hernán Lopéz Shanahan makes Lanzarote cry.”

Paying tribute to her grandson Hernán’s grandmother Nora describes this headline as “touching” with the sentiment evident by the huge turnout for his wake in Lanzarote.

She along with her husband and children immediately flew out to Lanzarote once news of the tragedy emerged. Hernán’s loss is “devastating” she says, adding “this has left a big void in our lives.”

“He was a young man full of life who pursued his dreams and had just successfully completed his first year studying subaquatic activities at the Escuela de Pesca and had just returned to the island to commence his second year. Hernán packed so much into his life.”

Hernán, who was her first grandchild, was a man who loved the outdoors and to travel.

“Home was where his hat was, he was a very capable young lad. He was as much at home here as he was anywhere and he was fierce close to us.

“He had been back in Ennis for three weeks just before the pandemic, he would have been here more only for that, but he regularly was in touch with us.”

The family were moved to see how well-loved Hernán was, with large numbers turning out to remember his life at a service in Lanzarote.

“The mayor of Lanzarote remembered him for representing the island for Canarian wrestling as part of his Union Sur Tias team. School friends reminisced about basketball school games.
“The running club recalled how he completed his first marathon in 2021. The cycling club honoured him with a jersey and recalled Hernán’s ambition to do a triathlon and no doubt he would have achieved it.

“His rock climbing buddies showed videos of the fun and laughter they had. His other interests were computer games and chess.”

His cremation was held in Lanzarote attended by family and many friends. His family has decided that his ashes will be spread in the three places he lived and loved, Lanzarote, France and Ireland.

A special rose made in Lanzarote to house some of his ashes is now one of Nora’s most precious possessions.

Hernán is survived by his heartbroken mother Leona Shanahan, brother and sister Kahlan and Sienna Lopéz Shanahan, Gael (Leona’s partner) and Gael’s son Aloise. grandparents Cornelius and Nora Shanahan, uncle Michael, aunt Lynda and her husband Thomas Clancy, cousins CJ, Abbie and Toby, extended family and the Lopéz family in Lanzarotte.

“As a family we would like to thank everyone for their kindness and expression of sympathy,” she concluded.

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