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Calls to honour Killarney’s unknown World War 2 heroine




By Sean Moriarty

Efforts are being made to honour a Killarney woman who played a key role in opposing the Nazi occupation of France during World War 2.

Janie McCarthy was born Bohereen na Goun, New Street, in 1885.

She was educated at The Convent of Mercy and went to France in 1910 where she worked as an au pair in Brittany and as a teacher for 15 years in Vannes.

She was teaching in Paris when the Germans occupied the city during World War 2 and she immediately joined La Résistance.

Her heroic efforts were similar to those on Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty’s efforts in Rome.

She specialised in rescue work and saved many lives during the occupation of France, including members of the allied armies and intelligence services.

She was awarded France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honour, the Croix de Guerre and a Croix de la Resistance. The United States of America also honoured the Killarney native with the Medal of Freedom while Britain awarded her the Tedder Certificate.

Monsignor O’Flaherty has already been remembered in his home town. A town centre street bears his name and there is a mural painted in his memory on the gable of a High St building.

There are now two separate calls to honour Janie McCarthy in a similar fashion.

Mayor Marie Moloney wants to erect a plaque at her reputed birthplace on Bohereen na Goun and eventually name the proposed new inner relief road after her.

The road will link Bohereen na Goun with New St and the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Road on the top of High St.

“There is a huge lack of women being recognised for their humanitarian, community and business work in Killarney town. I am now asking that a plaque be erected to commemorate the work and the heroism of the late Janie McCarthy, in France during World War 2,” Cllr Moloney told Wednesday’s Killarney Municipal District meeting.

“It is now time for Killarney to honour our own native. In addition to a plaque, I am asking that when the time comes that serious consideration be given to naming the new link road at Bohereen na Goun after Janie McCarthy.”

Cllr John O’Donoghue had a similar motion before the meeting.

Heroic deeds

“Her heroic deeds are too numerous to list in their entirety today but she visited the civilian camp at Saint Denis, to whom she donated much of her wages, and was also involved in numerous dangerous missions, risking her own life to rescue parachutists and bring them to safe houses in Paris,” he told the meeting. “In recognition of her contributions, she has received some of the highest awards that can be bestowed upon a civilian by the French, American and British Governments, but she is yet to be recognised by her own people and it is time we put that right.”

Cllr O’Donoghue is also asking for people who have a historical knowledge of Janie to come forward. His council predecessor, his uncle Michael Gleeson, made several attempts to honour the war hero in 2005 but they never came to fruition.

“The purpose of my bringing this motion before you today is to ask that this Council immediately initiate proceedings to honour Janie, and also to launch an appeal to members of the public for further information regarding her life. Michael Gleeson is in contact with a person who is carrying out research for a proposed thesis on her life and legacy, and when this research is complete we would be delighted to bring more information before this Council.”

According to research by Gleeson, Janie (or Janíl as she was known in France) was born in 1885, probably in High Street Killarney to Michael and Margaret McCarthy and was baptised on January 20 of that year.

The family initially lived here but by the time of the 1901 Census, the family are listed as living at number 15 New Street. While it is impossible to state with absolute certainty where number 15 New Street is today, there is evidence to support it approximately being where Dr McCullough now resides.

There are additional mentions of the family living at 74 New Street but these are difficult to verify. The latter New St address would tie in with an older Bohereen na Goun address.

Janie also featured in a booked called ‘Hidden Kerry’, published in 2014, by local author and journalist Breda Joy.

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New  bio-energy therapy clinic open on Beech Road

Have you ever wondered what happens when you deal with an emotionally charged situation or experience high levels of stress daily? Your mind sends alarm signals to your body which […]




Have you ever wondered what happens when you deal with an emotionally charged situation or experience high levels of stress daily?

Your mind sends alarm signals to your body which must adapt to this emergency mode.

Muscles tense up, heart beats faster, vessels get compressed, blood pressure rises, body retains water etc. Most of us subject our bodies to this emergency mode without being aware of it.

Irina Sharapova MH has just opened a new Herbal Medicine and Bio-Energy Therapy clinic at Horan’s Health Store on Beech Road by appointment each Friday.

Both Herbal Medicine and Bio-Energy Therapy, support the body’s natural ability to heal.

During a herbal consultation the therapist suggests necessary corrections to the client’s diet and lifestyle aiming at reducing the elements that contribute to inflammation, stiffness and pain, and increasing the elements that aid healing.

Then they prepare herbal remedies specific to the client. Client’s medications are also examined to ensure that there are no conflicts with the herbal treatment.

Herbs support healing by relaxing the body and improving sleep; they are used to treat various ailments from digestive and reproductive issues to insomnia and migraines.

Bio-Energy therapy is a complementary non-contact treatment that helps to release tension from the body caused by injuries, traumas or stress.

During a Bio-Energy session the therapist scans the client’s body for signals that indicate that the energy is not flowing smoothly – these are the areas that have reacted to the Client’s emotions of fear, worry, hurt, anger, sadness etc.

The therapist “clears out” these areas until the energy flow feels smooth. Bio-Energy is helpful in the treatment of physical and emotional pain and other ailments.

It is suitable for people who do not like massages and other treatments that are performed directly on the body.

Disclaimer: Alternative therapies are not substitutes for medical advice.
For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Irina at 086 9878941 or via email at Website:


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Spotted an otter lately?

Users of Killarney National Park are being asked to keep an eye out for otters – one of the country’s rarest mammals. The National Parks and Wildlife Service IS launching […]



Users of Killarney National Park are being asked to keep an eye out for otters – one of the country’s rarest mammals.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service IS launching a new National Otter Survey and has teamed up with researchers in Queen’s University Belfast and the National Biodiversity Data Centre to collect and collate otter records from right across the country.

The new survey will map otters and compare results to the last survey, carried out in 2010-11.

NPWS teams will be looking for characteristic signs of otters at over 900 sites throughout the country, including rivers, lakes and the coast.

Members of the public are asked to keep their eyes peeled for otters and to get involved in this national survey by adding their sightings to the survey results.

Otters are mostly active at night and most typically seen at dawn or dusk. They may be spotted from bridges swimming in rivers or along the rocky seashore.
Otters are brown, about 80 cm (30 inches) long and can be seen gliding along the water surface before diving to show their distinctive long pointed tail which is almost as long again as their body.

Dr Ferdia Marnell, Mammal Specialist with the NPWS, said:

“The otter is one of Ireland’s most elusive animals so getting as many people involved in the survey as possible will be important if we are to get good coverage. Otters are rarely seen, so instead, over the coming months, NPWS staff will be searching for otter tracks and signs.”

Dr Ferdia Marnell, Mammal Specialist with the NPWS, said:

“Otters have large, webbed feet and leave distinctive footprints, but these can be hard to find. Fortunately, otters mark their territory using droppings known as spraints. Otters deposit spraints conspicuously on boulders along riverbanks, logs on lake shores or the rocky high tide line. Spraints can be up to 10 cm or 3 inches long, black through to white but commonly brown, tarry to powdery in consistency and straight or curved making them tricky to identify. Luckily, they commonly contain fish bones and crayfish shells which are the otters favoured diet making them easy to tell apart from the droppings of birds and other mammals.”

The otter and its habitat are protected under the EU Habitats Directive which requires that Ireland reports on the status of the species every six years. The next report is due in 2025.

The otter suffered significant declines across much of continental Europe during the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s but remained widespread in Ireland. The most recent Irish survey (2010-2011) found signs of otter from all counties of Ireland and from sea-shore to mountain streams.

The otter hunts in water, but spends much of its time on land, and as a result is vulnerable to river corridor management such as culverting, dredging and the clearance of bankside vegetation, as well as pollution, pesticides, oil spillages, coastal developments and road traffic.

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