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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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Trilogy of comedy on offer by Dóchas Drama

By Sean Moriarty Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week. All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Dóchas Drama Group will present a series of three short comedy plays next week.

All three plays are written and produced by Dóchas and will be acted out by the group’s members.

The opening act, ‘Flossing Around’ is written by Ger Madden and directed by Brian Bowler.

“A woman has an innate fear of the dentist. We go on the journey with her as she faces her fears, with hilarious consequences,” explained the group’s Liz Ryan.

This will be followed by ‘Faraway Hills’ which is written by Mary Quirke and directed by Michael Mills.
It is a tongue in cheek look at family life.

“A son wants to get away from small town life. His mother wants to keep him at home but his father can’t wait to see the back of him,” added Liz, who plays the mother in this short play.

Brain Bowler wrote the third instalment called ‘A Little Visitor’ which is directed by Ryan Jones.

“There are lots of misunderstandings when a hypochondriac visits a group of doctors who have other things on the their minds,” added Liz.

The run, which will feature all three performances each night, starts Wednesday next week and continues Thursday and Friday (February 8 to 10) at the Killarney Avenue Hotel. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door.

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Killarney secures three gold medals in national business awards

Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards. Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the […]

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Three hotels in Killarney have won gold medals at the Virgin Media Business Gold Medal Awards.

Now in its 33rd year, the awards the best of the best in the hotel and catering sectors across the country.

This year, judges received over 460 entries from 150 hotels, guest houses, country houses, restaurants, cafés, bars and catering companies from around Ireland.

“An important factor in the Gold Medal Awards is the credibility and impartial nature of the judging process. Every property that undergoes this process is subject to benchmarking against a strict set of criteria and a blind site inspection conducted by the judging panel,” said an event organiser.

“This panel comprises respected industry experts from across the hospitality, culinary and catering sectors.”

Three Killarney hotels took top awards in different categories at the awards ceremony held at the Galmont Hotel and Spa in Galway on Tuesday night.

The Great Southern Hotel was named as the best Business and Conference Hotel in Ireland.

“To be recognised among the greatest hotels in Ireland is a marvellous achievement for Great Southern. It is fantastic news and has provided all our staff with a little morale boost. Our Business & Conference partners and customers are extremely important to us with some relationships in place annually for over 30 years. Receiving this recognition for the service we provide is a fantastic achievement and testament to the incredible work of our outstanding staff,” said Michael Jacobi Managing Director said.

The best front of house team award went the staff at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa.

In the Hotel Casual Dining Experience category the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens came out on top.

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