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Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed Launched

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Photos by Michelle Breen Crean 

Kerry Motor Club and the Ballyfinnane Community Council launched The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.

Cllr Fionnán Fitzgerald speaking at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening. PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Mike Carroll (Chair of the Board of Management at Ballyfinnane National School) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

John Edwards and Tomás O’Connor enjoying the fun at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Tadgh Kelly (The Shanty) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

A large crowd gathered for the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Clerk of the Course Sean Moriarty Cyril Wharton (C. Wharton Tool Hire Ltd) Mike Moriarty (Moriarty’s Central Car Sales) Brian O’Neill (Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers) and Des O’Neill (Milltown) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

PJ O’Dowd (Kerry Motor Club) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Des O’Neill (Milltown) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Cllr Bobby O’Connell (Leas-Cathaoirleach Kerry County Council) speaking at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

David Griffin Gene Griffin and Declan O’Sullivan all from Keel at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

TD Brendan Griffin speaking at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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A large crowd gathered for the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.

David Slattery having the craic while enjoying sitting in a real rally car at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.

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Dave Jack Norrette Slattery with David Slattery (seated in rally car) with Daniel and Denis Coffey at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.

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David Slattery having the craic while enjoying sitting in a real rally car at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday eveningPHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Martin Quirke (Camp) and Mike Moriarty (Moriarty’s Central Car Sales sponsor) at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Kerry Motor Club members Stephen O’Connell Sean Moriarty (Clerk of the Course) Jonathan O’Shea PJ O’Dowd Sean Hegarty Emma O’Shea Kerry O’Shea and Richard Talbot at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.

Keith and Cathal O’Connor from Ballyfinnane pictured at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Keith and Cathal O’Connor from Ballyfinnane pictured at the launch of The Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers Ballyfinnane Festival of Speed in the mid-Kerry village on Monday evening.PHOTOS: MICHELLE BREEN CREAN PHOTOGRAPHY

This brand-new event will celebrate 120 years of closed-road motorsport in County Kerry on July 16.

On July 15 1903, Charles Rolls, who a year later became a founding partner of the Rolls Royce Motor Company won the Kerry Hillclimb, the final event in the first-ever Irish Speed Fortnight. The event paved the way for closed road motorsport in County Kerry and today the county boasts two very
active motor clubs and four events ranging from an international rally, a national rally, a club rally and a historic rally.

Next month Kerry Motor Club and Ballyfinnane Community Council will join forces to run a festival of motoring in Ballyfinnane. The highlight of the July 16 event will be a recreation of a speed hill climb in the area. It will be the first time since the mid-1980s that Kerry Motor Club has hosted a speed
event in Kerry and as well as a host of local rally cars several single-seater formula racing cars are expected to contest the event.

Local business, Brian O’Neill Garden Equipment and Trailers was announced as the event’s title sponsor at Monday night’s launch. Additional support comes from Wharton Tool Hire and Moriarty’s Central Car Sales.

Modern safety rules prevent the original course from being used but a new course has been identified by both Kerry Motor Club and the Motorsport Ireland Hillclimb Commission that will see the finish line almost beside the entrance to the Ballyfinnane Community Council’s hall.

As a result, the famous crossroads beside the Shanty Bar will become a hive of activity on the day with the official pitstop for the event set to take place within 500 metres in each direction of the pub.

Around 80 cars are expected, and each competitor will get between three and five runs over the course with the overall winner decided by the driver who sets the fastest time of the day on any of the runs. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the local community, whose unwavering support has made this event possible.

Their enthusiasm and generosity have provided us with the resources and encouragement needed to bring this celebration of motorsport to life. Thank you for embracing our shared love for motorsport and for being an integral part of this event,” said the clerk of the course Sean Moriarty at the event’s launch.

The weekend’s activities kick off on Saturday when The Kingdom Veteran, Vintage and Classic Car Club and the Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club host a road run of period and classic cars from Castlemaine Village to their monument at the top of the original hill. The KVVCC will issue full details of their event in due course but over 100 cars including close to 30 period cars are expected at this event which is due to pass through Ballyfinnane on the afternoon of July 15.

Later that day the first of the Kerry Motor Club-hosted activities will begin with the safety inspection on competing cars set to take place from 2pm at Kerry Agricultural Services in the heart of Ballyfinnane. Drivers briefings and marshals’ sign-on will take place in the Community Hall from 2pmuntil 7pm. A driver and car parade will take place in the village on Saturday night with a ceremonial start set to take place at the crossroads at around 9pm. Afterwards, there will be entertainment in the Shanty Bar.

The main action is scheduled for Sunday and a massive traffic management plan is in place for the day. Roads will be closed from at least 3kms from the village, there will be designated parking at these points. The organisers will provide a free shuttle bus service into the heart of the village. This service is only open to people who buy official programmes, and these will be available to buy (cash only) from the car park attendants. A more detailed traffic management plan will be published nearer the event.

As well as the racing activities on Sunday, the Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club have come on board to organise a massive classic car display near the village. Over 200 cars are expected to go on show all day and a dedicated classic car-only entrance will operate from the Tralee/Farmer’s Bridge
side. The Killarney club will also host live music and catering vans at their display.

There will also be a dedicated ‘Blue Badge’ holder entrance and a dedicated parking area will be available in the old creamery yard in the village – access from the Farmer’s Bridge/Tralee side. Meanwhile, the village itself will be very busy on Sunday. There will be live commentary of the day’s proceedings from a broadcast unit in the village. The organisers have secured spectator zones thanks to the support of local farmers and landowners. Other areas will remain strictly out of bounds for safety and operational reasons and attending spectators should seek advice from the many volunteer marshals on duty.

Adding to the occasion there will be a static display of local road racing motorcycles and other side shows.

“I extend my gratitude to the hill climb competitors and fellow organisers who have poured their heart and soul into making this event a reality. Your unwavering commitment to excellence and your camaraderie have created an atmosphere that is filled with anticipation, excitement, and friendly competition,” added Mr Moriarty. “Our hope for this event is not only to witness incredible feats of speed and skill but also to foster an environment of enjoyment and friendship. Let us embrace the spirit of sportsmanship, share our stories and experiences, and forge lasting connections that will endure far beyond the finish line. Together, let us create memories that will be treasured for years to come.”

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Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

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St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

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Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

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A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

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