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End of an era as Moriarty’s Centra changes hands




By Sean Moriarty

Today marks the end of an era of one very popular Farranfore business.

Moriarty's Centra has changed hands and proprietors Mike and Margaret Moriarty are looking forward to retirement.

First opened in 1999, the landmark shop has grown to become a central part of the community.

There was always at least one member of the popular couple on hand to greet regulars and newcomers that walked into the shop.

And it was always a warm welcome, punctuated by a joke or some easy-going banter because both Mike and Margaret had an incredible knack for making everyone feel welcome.

Their tenure at the shop, at the crossroads of Kerry, started on December 4, 1999.

Just five short days before their 23rd anniversary, their time has come to an end.

Last night (Monday) they completed the final preparations ahead of the arrival of the new owner this morning.

"I don't know what it feels like," said an emotional Margaret. "I want to thank our loyal staff, many of who have been with us for years and years and all the wonderful customers we have met. 23 years is a long time, some customers first came to us in prams and now they are pushing their own prams through the door."

Moriarty's Centra grew to become a central icon in the village of Farranfore. They supported several community activities, and Margaret's love of athletics ensured that Farranfore-Maine Valley AC was also looked after. Mike's love of motorsport meant their shop sponsored the county rally championship and their dual love of the GAA meant Firies GAA could always rely on support.

Margaret was, and is fiercely proud, of the village and often volunteered to litter pick Farranfore's streets and sideroads.

That kind of local loyalty paid dividends and customers from all walks of life and sporting backgrounds rarely passed the door without calling in for a chat and to catch up on local news.

Sam Maguire, Liam McCarthy and the Rose of Tralee were regular visitors over the years.

The business has grown from humble beginnings back in December 1999.

Mike was so determined that his new shop would open in time for Christmas shopping that he was stocking shelves while the builders were still putting the finishing touches to the building.

A memorable story from this era comes from a local who, while passing the passing the construction site in late November, asked if Moriarty's would be open for Easter.

It was opened a few days later and the Moriarty family has not looked back since.

But the time is right for them to retire to allow them to spend more time with their daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren.

They have witnessed multiple changes in the locality, the ever-expanding airport and the relatively new Farranfore Business Park are just two examples, but the shop remained a constant throughout that period of time.

"The time is right," said Mike. "I will miss it, I will miss the people, but I won't be too far away as I will keep the car sales going across the road."

Last night Margaret and Mike locked the door of the shop that bears their name for the final time.

This morning new owner Peter Keane of Keane's SuperValu in Killorglin turned that same key to begin a new era in one of the most famous shops in the county.

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]




A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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