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138-year-old handcrafted furniture returns to Killarney

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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.

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Happy Birthday Sham

Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole. Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters. One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday […]

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Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole.

Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters.

One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday has amassed 7.5 million viewers.

Yesterday he visited one of his favourite pubs, Jack C O’Shea’s on High St, where proprietors John and Joan O’Shea and their ever-present dog Ginny placed decorative balloons around the bar to mark the occasion.

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Killarney acts excited to play outdoor mini music event

By Michelle Crean ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend. On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that […]

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By Michelle Crean

ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend.

On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that evening, from 7 to 9.30pm, acts such as The Rising, Cathal Flaherty, and Truly Diverse, will play.

It’s all part of two weekends of entertainment including tomorrow (Saturday) at the Town Square Listowel where Eoghan Duignan, John Browne and Brendan O’Sullivan, Tim O’Shea & Afro Trad Ireland, as well as Liam O’Connor and Family play from 1pm to 3.30pm, followed by an evening show from 6pm to 8.30pm featuring Seamus Begley and Donogh Hennessy, Sephira, and Peter Staunton and Super Ceili.

In Tralee on Saturday September 25, acts such as Inish, Lorraine Nash, and Oracle will put on a show from 2pm to 4.30pm, with Mark Leen: ‘the man with many voices’, Aisling Urwin & Andy Yelen, and Renovator playing from 7pm to 9.30pm.

ANSEO Kerry, supported by Kerry County Council, has been created to celebrate and support local artists and get them back out performing via a live outdoor music event for those who love Kerry and its talent.

Culture and local art will also be celebrated on a big screen at all of these events highlighting local talent including super works from visual arts Kerry, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Me + The Moon, Kerry Biosphere, St John’s Theatre, as well as Landscapes + Seascapes film, animations and mapping.

“It’s been an unbelievable feeling to be back performing again after what was the longest 18 months for everyone but I feel especially musicians because we were the first to close and just about the last to open again properly,” Cathal from Beaufort, and now living in Killarney town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“When I read the news a few weeks back that we can perform indoors again it didn’t quite sink in until I was actually playing indoors a few days later. Since then my phone has been hopping with bookings and I’m just so grateful for anyone who has booked me so far. It’s still not entirely back to normal but I won’t be complaining for a while as it’s just so great to be back at it again. I want to give a special thanks to the guys behind ANSEO who have booked me for their Killarney run of shows which I’m really excited for, and also to be sharing the stage with two other incredible Kerry acts – The Rising and Truly Diverse. I know the Truly Diverse lads very well over the last decade so I know it’s gonna be a great show and I can’t wait to get up on that stage and play my own songs in front of real people again!”

ANSEO Kerry will be a family-friendly, alcohol-free, ticket only event for 200 people in pods of four. The concerts will be free of charge and there is expected to be much demand for these socially distanced shows. Tickets are limited but the shows will also be streamed online for those who can’t be there in person. ANSEO Kerry is being run in-line with full Government guidelines and protocols in place.

Tickets are bookable via www.anseokerry.com.

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