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A case of high treason at the International Hotel

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By Sean Moriarty

 

The centenary of one of the most unusual acts of historical importance to Killarney is set to be re-enacted in new the Cultural Centre next weekend.

This Thursday (October 10) will mark the centenary of Archdeacon Thomas Joseph O’Donnell’s visit to the hotel. The Tasmanian was appointed Chaplain to the 11th Battalion on the Western Front and in late 1919 he was granted leave to visit relatives and friends in Ireland, including a cousin in Killarney.

On October 10, 1919 O’Donnell was dining in the International Hotel in Killarney, engaged in animated conversation with William Marsh, a slightly deaf Northern Unionist.

It was later alleged by JS Chambers, an off duty officer of the King’s Liverpool Regiment, dining at a nearby table, that O’Donnell made seditious remarks about the King and the British.

The incident was reported and two days later O’Donnell was arrested under a charge of speaking disloyally in Killarney against the King and the Empire. O'Donnell was escorted to London where he spent time in the Tower of London in the very same cell occupied by Roger Casement three years earlier. The priest faced a trial in London’s Guild Hall but was acquitted following a testimony by International Hotel’s manager Georgina Bennett.

O'Donnell sued the British Government and such was the notoriety of the whole matter by this time, parliamentary questions were raised on a number of occasions in the House of Commons, and these were fielded by none other than Winston Churchill, the then Secretary of War and the Armed Forces.

“Rich in history, the walls of the International hold some secrets and could tell some stories!,” General Manager, Tracy Coyne, told the Killarney Advertiser.

Pride

“It is with great pride that we are commemorating the centenary of a historic event that happened in the dining room of the International Hotel in October 1919, which caused an international diplomatic incident during World War 1.”

The events are of much interest to historians, but also to those old Killarney families who remember stories of war and espionage passed from elder generations, she added.

“One of the central figures in this tale of treason and accusations was the then manager of the International Hotel, a Miss Georgina Bennett of Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary, who gave evidence in London’s Guild Hall. In fact, Miss Bennett’s evidence was the turning point in the whole affair, changing the outcome of what would surely otherwise have been the imprisonment of the accused, Captain Rev. Thomas O’Donnell, a Chaplin of the Australian Army.”

These historical moments from the International Hotel will be played out in the Cultural Centre on Saturday next (October 12), through a historical reading and a re-enactment by members of the Tipperary War of Independence Tours historical society.

The event begins at 8pm.

 

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Family to run in memory of the late Linda Eviston

By Sean Moriarty The family of a much-loved Killarney woman who passed away from cancer almost a year ago plan to run a marathon past her favourite local landmarks in her memory. Linda Eviston died on October 10 last after a long battle with cancer. Her husband Patrick and son Erik, with the support of […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The family of a much-loved Killarney woman who passed away from cancer almost a year ago plan to run a marathon past her favourite local landmarks in her memory.

Linda Eviston died on October 10 last after a long battle with cancer.

Her husband Patrick and son Erik, with the support of her daughter Alannah, will run a 42.2km course, on the day before her anniversary to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.

The route will be based on landmarks that were an important part of Linda’s life. Starting from the family home in Dromkerry, before heading for the town centre and passing the Eviston House Hotel, Linda’s grandmother’s home at Park Road, Linda’s childhood home and national school in Glenflesk, Loreto where Linda attended secondary school, back to Killarney and finishing at Linda’s pride and joy – Brook Lodge Hotel.

“It is tough but we wanted to do something in Linda’s memory and help other people who might find themselves in similar circumstances,” Pat told the Killarney Advertiser. “We originally hoped to do the Dublin City Marathon but that got cancelled. This route is much better, but much tougher as it’s more hilly.”

All proceeds will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society and donations can be made via: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/inhonouroflinda.

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Women bravely bare all for Kerry’s first ‘Dip in the Nip’

By Michelle Crean  It really was girl power at its finest – as 170 women of all ages braved the elements on Sunday to bare all for charity at the weekend. Shore Acre in Camp was the location which was only revealed to the participants for Kerry’s first ever ‘Dip in the Nip’. And amongst […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

It really was girl power at its finest – as 170 women of all ages braved the elements on Sunday to bare all for charity at the weekend.

Shore Acre in Camp was the location which was only revealed to the participants for Kerry’s first ever ‘Dip in the Nip’. And amongst the all female grouping were some Killarney ladies who joined in the empowering adventure for what was described as “a special and unforgettable morning” all in aid of Recovery Haven Kerry.

According to Marisa Reidy from Recovery Haven, the women were of all ages and all walks of life who came together for so many personal reasons.

“Some were still on their own cancer journey, some were celebrating coming out the other side and of course, many were there to honour friends and loved ones who they had lost to cancer, but we were all equal on the day – flaws and all,” Marisa, who also took part in the event, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was a truly uplifting and exhilarating experience and we are so, so grateful to each and every lady who joined us for a morning we will never forget. One woman described it as ‘companionship among strangers’ and that really sums it up perfectly. It was emotional, there were some tears, but lots of laughter and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. When the ladies hit the water, they all formed a circle and held hands in a gesture that was totally unplanned – it just happened organically and it was quite overwhelming.”

She added that a very special mention has to be made to Michaela and John Edwards and their team from Wild Water Adventures for their support and expertise in ensuring no stone was left unturned in making it a fabulous, safe event.

“It was an all-female team from beginning to end, from our own volunteers, stewards, registration, Gardai, teas and coffees, lifeguards, sea rescue – girl power at its finest! Now all that’s left to do is start planning for 2022!”

Donations are still being taken via the link on the Recovery Haven Kerry Facebook page.

“So far we are close on €9,000 which is just fabulous.”

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