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Donie was “a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit”

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By Sean Moriarty

A wave of sadness swept across the town today (Thursday) with the news of the passing of bona-fida town legend Donie Sheahan at the age of 95.

There isn’t one aspect of town life that doesn’t have Donie’s influence on it. Best known as one of the town’s leading pharmacists, he was also embedded in the history of Dr Crokes GAA Club and Killarney Racecourse.

Donie had many claims to fame; he was born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth of England, April 21, 1926, was the winner of a County Championship medal with Dr Crokes in 1951, as a coach he led East Kerry to an All-Ireland club title in 1971 before joining Micko Dwyer’s backroom team during the Golden Years of Kerry football in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was a successful racehorse trainer and owner. He was also a key figure behind the development of Fitzgerald Stadium.

He has been described by the business community as a "larger-than-life personality" who contributed enormously to the commercial life of the town where he ran a very busy pharmacy at 34 Main Street since 1953.

“Above everything else, Donie Sheahan was a true gentleman, a warm personality and a great wit and so many people loved meeting him on his travels. He will be greatly missed,” Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, said. “Sheahan’s Pharmacy is a real landmark in Killarney and Donie was always a welcoming presence behind the counter where his experience and expertise helped many people in so many ways for close on 70 years. His son Liam, and grandson William, are still providing that wonderful service to the local people and to visitors, and our thoughts are very much with the extended Sheahan family at this sad time.”

Donie's Killarney life began when he was appointed the pharmacist for the Killarney District Hospital and St Columbanus’ Home in 1950s. From then on he played a leading role in the commercial development and sporting excellence of the town.

DR CROKES

Officials from his beloved Dr Crokes described him as a giant of a man whose words of wisdom will be missed by all associated with the black and amber. Only last Sunday, days before his passing, he placed a call to club chairman Matt O’Neill to get the weekend results.

Donie was the most recent Club Patron, the highest office bestowed upon a member of the club, but served in several key roles within the club, including over 20 years as chairman.

“Our condolences are extended to the entire Sheahan family,” Mr O’Neill told the Killarney Advertiser. “His proudest moment was the club winning the 1992 All-Ireland, he never thought he would see the day. He was involved in every aspect of the club and never missed an AGM. It was never a proper AGM without Donie’s input and wise words. He had a huge presence around the club, a giant of man and he will be sorely missed."

HORSE RACING

Donie, from Main Street and Lewis Road, will be missed at racecourses all over Ireland, particularly at his two home venues, Ross Road and Listowel.

“He was also famous for his involvement in horse racing and he enjoyed nothing more than when the racehorses he owned competed in Killarney or in his native Listowel, often with great success,” added Mr Kelleher.

Killarney Racecourse Manager Phillip O’Brien said he was an internal part of the racing scene, not just in Kerry, but all over Ireland and beyond.

“Since I was a boy Donie was part of the racing scene,” he said. “Everyone knew him, even young jockeys, 17 or 18-years-old had huge respect for him. Some days I used to go up town for lunch and he would drag me into the back kitchen of the pharmacy and we would sit there and watch the racing and have a sandwich. It’s a sad day and he will be missed.”

This time last year Donie was unable to attend the annual Listowel Harvest Racing Festival in the town of his birth due to COVID-19 travel and crowd gathering rules - the first time that he missed the meeting in over 80 years.

Two of Donie’s most-famous horses were 'Dromhall Lady' and 'For William'. The latter finished second on two occasions in the Kerry National Handicap Chase, the biggest race of the annual Listowel Harvest Festival.

Donie passed away the day after the 2021 Kerry National took place.

Family and close friends will gather at O'Shea's Funeral Home tomorrow evening (Friday) from 6pm to 8pm.

Donie's Funeral Mass will take place in St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday morning at 10.30am, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery. The Requiem Mass will be live streamed on www.churchservices.tv/killarneycathedral.

Donie was predeceased by his beloved wife Carmel (née Dowling), and his sisters Sheila and Maureen and his brother Tommie.

He is survived by children, Liam, Kieran, Aileen, Kathryn and Paul, grandchildren Ciara, Dónal, William, Kevin, Fionán, Gráinne, Peter, Cathal, Caitríona, Eoin, Sinéad, Amy, Clodagh, Megan and Andrew, and great-grandchildren Amelia, Evie, Will, Daniel, James, Lyla and Eleanor. He is also sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Siobhán, Janet and Louise, son-in-law Seán, his sisters Catherine, Margaret and Anna, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and his pharmacy staff and colleagues.

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Headford man’s 1948 Jaguar the star of car run

A staggering 157 classic and vintage cars and motorcycles took part in the 12th annual Car and Honda 50 Run, organised by Ballymac Vintage Club on Sunday. The O’Riada’s Bar […]

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A staggering 157 classic and vintage cars and motorcycles took part in the 12th annual Car and Honda 50 Run, organised by Ballymac Vintage Club on Sunday.

The O’Riada’s Bar and Restaurant-based event raised money for the nearby Glanageenty Walkways and followed a new for 2022 route via Ballymac, Raemore, Knocknagoshel, Brosna, and Mount Eagle before the finish line in the Mart Yard in Castleisland.

Gerard Healy from Knockysheehan, Headford, Killarney had the oldest cars on the run.

He has owned his 1948 Jaguar Mark 4 saloon for the last seven years.

“This car was manufactured in Coventry after World War Two,” he said. “And it was then shipped to Ireland in kit form to avoid high import duty on complete cars. It was reassembled in Dublin and painted emerald green. This is a Sligo car, the first owner was a Miss Teresa Ferry, it was very unusual for a lady to own a car in those days.”

The car was then sold to a vicar and then a soldier before, somehow, ending up in The Netherlands. There it underwent a full restoration in 1999.

Gerard bought the car from a restorer called Roberto Verboon.

“I was proud to bring the car back to Ireland,” he added.

Thanks to generous support from local businesses and sponsors including O’Riada’s and BG Motors over €500 worth of spot prizes were handed out on the day.

Listry’s Tony and Kay Darmody were prize winners after judges were impressed with their Hillman Minx Convertible.

George Carey from Tralee won the motorcycle award with his finely turned out 1986 Honda 90.

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White Tailed Sea Eagles released into Killarney National Park

By Sean Moriarty Four White-tailed Eagle chicks have been released into the wild in Killarney National Park. The National Park is one of three locations in Munster as well as Lough […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Four White-tailed Eagle chicks have been released into the wild in Killarney National Park.

The National Park is one of three locations in Munster as well as Lough Derg and the lower Shannon Estuary where a total of 16 of the once extinct in Ireland birds have been released in recent days.

On Friday last, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin was in Tarbert where a number of eagles were released into the wild as part of a project to re-establish a population of this iconic species in Ireland.

This was followed by a further release today (Tuesday) in Killarney National Park by the Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, TD, accompanied by the Norwegian Ambassador, Mari Skåre.

Also in attendance were a group of visiting Norwegians who were responsible for the collection of the eagle nestlings in Norway earlier this year.

These white-tailed Eagle chicks arrived in Kerry Airport last month as part of a long-term wildlife reintroduction project.

The four eagle chicks brought to Killarney National Park have been held in special aviaries in a remote part of the Park where they have been carefully looked after by National Parks and Wildlife Service staff.

“It has been wonderful to watch the release of the magnificent White Tail Eagles collected in Norway. The friendship between the people of Norway and the people of Ireland runs deep. The eagles we see fly free and strong in their natural habitat here today are spreading their wings as a result of the voluntary work of so many,” said Ambassador Skåre.

“Biodiversity is essential for all life on Earth. Yet we are seeing an extremely rapid loss of species world-wide. Through joint efforts we can halt this decline.”

As in previous years, the young eagles were collected under licence in Norway by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and co-workers. All the birds were fitted with satellite tags in Ireland to enable their progress to be followed and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population monitored.

One of the first pairs of White-tailed Eagles to breed in Ireland was in Killarney National Park in 2013 and the pair have remained in the Park since, once again fledging a chick this year. Their nest is in a tree on an inaccessible cliff, but visitors may be lucky and catch a glimpse of the eagles soaring over the mountains or catching fish in one of the Park’s many lakes.

As they mature, these chicks will join and strengthen the small Irish breeding population that has become established since the reintroduction programme began in 2007. So far, 47 young eagles from Norway have been released over the last two years.

FLYING HIGH: One of the White-tailed Eagle chicks released into the wild in Killarney National Park on Tuesday.
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