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Businessmen inducted into the Order of Innisfallen

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Two entrepreneurs who have built up an empire creating thousands of jobs, from very humble beginnings, have been honoured in recognition of the enormous contribution they have made to the economic and social fabric of the community in which they live.

INDUCTION: Brothers-in-law Donal Ring (2nd Left) and Michael O’Donoghue (1st right) were inducted into the Order of Innisfallen at a reception in historic Muckross House in Killarney on Wednesday evening. The two entrepreneurs received their induction from Acting President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Conor Hennigan (left) and Cathaoirleach Killarney Municipal District Cllr Niall Kelleher. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Donal Ring (2nd left) along with his brother-in-law Michael O’Donoghue were inducted into the Order of Innisfallen at a reception in historic Muckross House in Killarney yesterday evening (Wednesday). Donie is pictured with his wife Noreen Ring and Michael with is wife Mary. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Donal Ring (sitting) along with his brother-in-law Michael O’Donoghue were inducted into the Order of Innisfallen at a reception in the historic Muckross House in Killarney on Wednesday evening. Donal is pictured with his wife Noreen daughters Angela Ring Gemma Ring son-in-law Paul O'Neill daughter-in-law Caroline Ring and his son Alan Ring. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Brothers-in-law Donal Ring and Michael O’Donoghue were inducted into the Order of Innisfallen at a reception in historic Muckross House in Killarney on Wednesday evening.

The awards scheme, a collaboration between Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Kerry County Council, was initiated in 2005 to recognise outstanding contributions by people to the economic development of the town and, in particular, its tourism industry.

Donal Ring is the founder of Munster Joinery and the O'Donoghue Ring Hotels Collection. He and his brother, Patrick, since deceased, established Munster Joinery in 1973 with a small operation at the rear of their family home in Ballydesmond, on the Kerry-Cork border.

The company employs in excess of 1,800 people with a further 900 on the payroll in the UK and has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers of windows and doors in Europe. Next year they will celebrate 50 years in business.

In 1978, he and his wife, Noreen (née O’Donoghue) purchased the property then known as the East Avenue Hotel – now the 66-bedroom Killarney Avenue Hotel.

Noreen’s brother, Michael O’Donoghue, then a qualified electrician, joined them in the hospitality business at that stage and became one of the tourism industry’s most successful and respected operators for over 40 years.

The company expanded in 1989 with the purchase of the Killarney Towers Hotel, with 182 bedrooms, and the 52-bedroom River Island Hotel in Castleisland before the flagship Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa opened in 2002 with 198 bedrooms.

Michael was at the helm as managing director of the O'Donoghue Ring Collection until his recent retirement and the O'Donoghue Ring Collection is now one of the largest employers in Kerry.

Donal and Michael also expanded into the UK hospitality market with Centre Island Hotels which now has hotel properties based in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

At the induction ceremony in Muckross House, President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Niall Kelleher, said both Donal Ring and Michael O’Donoghue are prime examples of what can be achieved in life through hard work and sheer determination and they have set a great example for future generations to follow.

“Wherever and whenever you see a very successful business, it is always worth reflecting that, somewhere along the way, someone made a very courageous decision. Donal Ring and Michael O’Donoghue are a wonderful example of how such courageous decisions can pay off so handsomely,” he said.

Deputy Mayor of Killarney, Cllr John O’Donoghue, remarked: “There is scarcely a family in Killarney, or indeed its hinterland, who have not benefitted from the work of these two men, be it through employment or the services they provide. We are extremely fortunate here in Killarney to have them both to the fore of social and economic life within our town."

MC at the ceremony, Geraldine Rosney, said Donal Ring was a remarkable businessman whose contribution to the community has been “absolutely enormous”.

“He has every right to be proud of what he has done and achieved and for what he continues to do and achieve. May the next chapter in the Munster Joinery story be as successful as the story has been so far, under your visionary leadership,” she remarked.

She said when Michael O’Donoghue commits himself to something, he does so totally and when he dreams, he dreams big.

“What he has achieved, what he has done and what he has contributed to the overall benefit and well-being of Killarney and Kerry is spectacular,” she added.

Previous Order of Innisfallen recipients include actor Michael Fassbender, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, industrialist Isolde Liebherr, Charles, the former Prince of Wales and now King of England and entertainer Daniel O’Donnell.

Innisfallen Island is one of Killarney’s best-known and most historic heritage sites. It began as a place of healing and became a major centre of learning where the Annals of Innisfallen, the oldest contemporary source of the history of Munster, were scripted.

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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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