Connect with us


138-year-old handcrafted furniture returns to Killarney



A PIECE OF HISTORY: James Flynn pictured with the rare 138-year-old piece of handcrafted furniture which he brought back to Killarney from Boston.


By Sean Moriarty

A rare piece of handcrafted furniture, that dates from just after the famine era, has made its way home to Killarney thanks to the efforts of a local woodworking enthusiast.

James Flynn is a former ESB district supervisor for South Kerry. Since his retirement he has devoted his time to tracing the history of Killarney’s Arbutus Furniture Industry and restores pieces that he finds in online auctions all over the world.

In October he discovered a games table for sale in Boston. He bought the beautiful handcrafted item which was only delivered to Killarney late last month.

While he was waiting for the table to arrive he traced the history of his new found purchase. He discovered it was made in a workshop where Reidy’s Bar now stands on Main St. It was made by a local craftsman by the name of James Coakley in 1882 or 1883.

Mr Flynn was able to source an original sales brochure from one of the Boston World Fairs.

The table was listed for sale in the brochure which said it was made by Coakley, further authenticating his new purchase.

The Arbutus Tree, sometimes called the Killarney Strawberry Tree, is more prevalent in Killarney National Park than any other region in the country.

There was huge furniture manufacturing industry in Killarney and particularly in the Gap of Dunloe area between the 1820s up to the close of the industry in 1953.

The American Exhibition of the Products, Arts and Manufactures of Foreign Nations was held in Boston in 1883 and 1884.

“I'm big into the craftsmen of Killarney town and every chance I get I highlight the skills that they had. There are three just like it on display in Muckross House,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “It is a beautiful piece of work but what I am really trying to highlight is the great work that Killarney’s Arbutus craftsmen did. They exported stuff all over the world in the height of the famine. Up to 60 or 70 people were employed in this industry and they competed with some of the best furniture makers in the world. James Coakley of 4 Main Street manufactured the table and he took it to the foreign exhibition with other stuff in 1883.”

Last week Mr Flynn decided to bring the handcrafted piece of furniture back to its correct home and, without telling anyone, put the item on display outside Reidys. He attracted a great deal of local attention from a safe distance.



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


Continue Reading


A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

Continue Reading

Last News