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Commemoration planned to mark 100 year anniversary of Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen

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Next month marks 100 years since the deaths of National Army Officers Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen and a special commemoration is being planned.

The public are invited to a gathering in Old Kenmare Cemetery to remember Tom and John O’Connor-Scarteen on Sunday September 4 at 1.30pm where they'll be an oration by Minister Peter Burke TD.

The brothers grew up on a farm at Scarteen, Blackwater, between Sneem and Templenoe. They adopted the name ‘Scarteen’ after the townland. Their parents Michael and Deborah owned and operated a bakery and grocery shop at 5 Main Street, Kenmare.

Tom and John were both active members of the Irish Republican Army and fought in many engagements against the Crown Forces during the War of Independence between 1919 and 1921. Tom played a prominent role in the Headford Junction Ambush, Killarney in 1921, one of the major incidents of the Anglo-Irish War.
The Treaty which followed the end of the war and which was signed in December 1921 divided Ireland. The terms of the agreement split the Irish Republican Army, Sinn Féin and the wider community. It also divided Dáil Éireann but a majority of members, 64, voted in favour, with 57 against. Three Kerry TDs voted for the Treaty and three voted against. Michael Collins became the leader of the Pro-Treaty faction and Éamon de Valera became head of the anti-Treatyites.

Tom and John O’Connor Scarteen were among those who listened to Michael Collins speaking at a Pro-Treaty meeting in Killarney in April 1922 and they were motivated to join the new army of the Free State. They, along with other local lads, enlisted in the army on their return to Kenmare. As experienced combatants during the War of Independence, they rose through the ranks, Tom to the rank of Brigadier General and John to the rank of Captain.

The bitter divisions over the Treaty led to the outbreak of the Civil War which began on June 28 1922 when the Provisional Government launched an assault on the Four Courts in Dublin which had been occupied by anti-Treaty republicans for several weeks. Among those fighting in Dublin when the war began were the Scarteen brothers.

Kenmare was among the large towns in Kerry which came under the control of the Free State Army during August 1922. The O’Connor-Scarteens led a large landing of over 200 troops by boat at Kenmare on August 11 and seized control of the town. Many local men enlisted under their command. A few days later, Tom commanded a seaborne army detachment which captured Cahersiveen and Waterville.

Anti-Treaty forces in south Kerry launched an audacious attempt to recapture Kenmare on September 9 1922. As the republican assault on Kenmare began, at about 7am a group of Anti-Treatyites burst into the bakery owned by the O’Connor-Scarteen family at 5 Main Street. Tom and John were asleep in their beds upstairs. The sentries keeping an eye out for Anti-Treatyites had earlier been sent home. It was a premeditated attack: it was later claimed that the local IRA had ‘cast lots’ to decide who would carry out the killings.

Tom was just 20 and his brother, 25.

The shooting of the Scarteen brothers took place within weeks of the deaths of Michael Collins. The incident resonated beyond Kenmare and beyond the confines of the Civil War.

The funerals which followed saw the town come to a standstill.

The Scarteens were among approximately 175 people who died in the Civil War in Kerry which claimed the lives of almost 90 Pro-Treaty National Army soldiers, over 70 Anti-Treaty IRA, and 15 civilians.

Politically, the death of the Scarteens would remain to the fore in the history and politics of the county for over a century, with two of their brothers, a nephew and a grand-nephew all serving in either local or national politics as representatives of Fine Gael.

One hundred years later the O’Connor Scarteens are still heavily involved in politics in Kerry: Tom and John’s brother, Timothy, served on Kerry County Council alongside another brother, Pat, who also served in Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann. Pat along with his son, Michael, and grandson, Patrick, have 74 years unbroken service on Kerry County Council. Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen was Mayor of Kerry/Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council in 2020-2021 and was elected Cathaoirleach of the Kenmare Municipal District in June 2022.

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Roger and Brendan really into the SWING of things

A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves […]

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A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves a regular challenge against local players.

Roger O’Sullivan, originally from Loreto Road and a member of the Rainier Golf and Country Club in Seattle, has linked up with another Killarney man, Brendan Keogh of SWING Golf, on several occasions to bring a group of golfers from the Seattle club to play a number of Kerry and Irish courses.

They compete for the Cider Cup which is their own unique take on the Ryder Cup.

In 2010 Roger led a group of 18 golfers from the US to play in Ireland and they repeated the journey and the adventure again in 2012, 2014 and 2017.

They had another trip planned in 2020 but that was cancelled due to Covid but they returned again in 2022 and a group of 44 golfers were back in Killarney in recent weeks to test their skills on the Kerry courses and against local players.

“Since we first started doing this in 2010 we have had 102 different golfers travel from Seattle,” Roger explained.
“I met Brendan Keogh on one of my visits home and he travelled to Seattle, at my request, and organised sponsorship at my golf club.

“Since then our trips have been expertly organised by SWING Golf who book us preferential tee-times, set up the schedule and coordinate our bus drivers. We have never had an issue or anything to worry about. Being friendly with Maurice O’Donoghue, we have always stayed at Scott’s Hotel,” he added.

The US visitors take on local players when in Killarney and this year there was 100 golfers playing on the Killeen course on the first day of their visit.

“The support of the locals has been incredible and I wouldn’t do this without them,” said Roger.
“There have been numerous friendships made over the last 14 years. We have supported a local charity on every trip and for the last two it has been the palliative care unit at University Hospital Kerry. This year we raised €5,100,” he said.

A former student at St Brendan’s College, Roger’s parents were Tony and Juliette O’Sullivan and his father was the head chef in the Gleneagle Hotel for over 20 years before the family purchased Danesfort Lodge at Woodlawn Cross on the Muckross Road.

Roger has been married for 20 years to Amy from Tampa, Florida and they have one daughter, Gracie.
Brendan Keogh joined SWING in the early days of its operation as financial operations manager, working alongside the late Paddy O’Looney.

A member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for 40 years, he is the current CEO and he will have served 33 years next September.

SWING, the brainchild of former Kerry Group chief, Denis Brosnan, markets and promotes the premier golf clubs in the south west and also runs an incoming golf agency.

Records show that the company has booked over 350,000 rounds of golf in the south west alone but it also facilitates golfers wanting to play elsewhere in the country.

The company’s senior team of Brendan, Eileen O’Sullivan and Tommy Pierce have 60 years of experience bringing golfers to these shores.

Killarney has been a huge beneficiary as it is a base for most visiting golfers while on the Kerry part of their trip. The locals like seeing the high spending golfers arrive in April for a season than runs until mid October.
2024 is busy and it is also looking positive for 2025.

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Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

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Over 30 members, past and present, gathered last Tuesday in The Dromhall Hotel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Killarney Toastmasters club.

Several founder members were present including Frank O’Sullivan and Bernadette Noonan, who are still current members of the club.
Members embrace the core values of Toastmasters International which are “respect, integrity, service and excellence”.
This year Killarney Toastmasters welcomed eight new members of various nationalities, who have brought many talents with them to this international club.
Outgoing president Anthony Walsh said: “I am heartened by the progress of new members and, following the success of the current year, I am looking forward to a bright future for the club.”
Anthony passed the chain of office on to incoming President Ann Hannan, who is very excited about leading the club in the year that Toastmasters International celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

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