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Celebrations for Killarney’s latest centenarian



CELEBRATIONS: 100-year-old John Coffey, Lewis Road Killarney, with his daughters Noreen Coffey and Mary O'Rourke and extended family members at the 100th birthday celebrations at the Dr Crokes GAA Clubhouse on Monday evening. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

By Sean Moriarty

The county’s latest centenarian, Lewis Road resident John Coffey, was surrounded by family and friends from all over Ireland, Australia and America who gathered for an enormous party in Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, to celebrate his 100 birthday on Saturday.

Over 200 family members and friends attended the party where members of the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club’s male choir provided the entertainment.

“It was great that he was able to catch up and reminisce about old times,” his daughter Mary O’Rourke told the Killarney Advertiser. “He sang with the choir, ‘Goodbye from the Musical White Horse Inn’, a song he would have performed when he was involved in the ‘Tops of the Town’. He felt the whole night was an affirmation of his life. He gave a great speech, it lasted 13 minutes, and he had no problem facing the 200 audience. It gave him the confidence to look ahead to many more years. His grandson Liam is getting married in October 2020 and that is the next big milestone for him.”

Continuing the celebrations, neighbours and friends organised a Mass for him at Dr Crokes Clubhouse on Monday – the day of his actual birthday.

Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, also presented the President’s cheque to him.

“That was a very proud moment for him,” Mary added. “Michael Gleason spoke in a very personal way on how he first met my father around Beaufort. He had two great loyalties, Dr Crokes and Beaufort GAA, and it was a source of great pride for him that both teams won All-Ireland finals in recent years.”

Ahead of his two parties, he asked that people would not give him presents, instead donations to two local charities, Down Syndrome Kerry and the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit.

Over €4,000 euros was raised this way.

“He was blown away by the generosity of the people who donated and gave cash gifts.”

His first job was when he took over the role as a Cottage Rent Collector from his father from 1939 to 1948, cycling from Beaufort back to west Kerry on a daily basis - which he now attributes to his good health and long life.

He then took a job in Killarney Town Council as a Community Welfare Officer and built the family home on Lewis Road with his wife Kitty O’Shea from Brandon, who he met on his travels. They had five children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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John Coffey celebrating his 100th birthday with members of the extended Coffey family at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, Killarney on Saturday.



Carols by Candlelight

    St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]






St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.

Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.

“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.

Choirs include:
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Harmonisers
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir

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The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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