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Historical podcast of Killarney launched

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By Sean Moriarty

A whole new understanding of what Killarney was like in the early 20th Century will be revealed in a brand new podcast.

TOURIST OFFICE: This is where Jer 'Gaze' O'Connell worked at the turn of the last century. Photo: Switzer Archive

PODCAST: British Army recruiter Jer 'Gaze' O'Connell is mentioned in the new Killarney podcast. Photo: Switzer Archive

COLLEGE ST: 'Down the Cobbled Lanes' takes its name from the way the streets of Killarney looked in the early 20th Century. Photo: Switzer Archive

Put together by the Muckross House Research Library the historical project is spearheaded by Dr Patricia O’Hare, staff at Muckross Library, and broadcaster J.J. O’Shea.

It takes listeners on a journey down memory lane and explores life in Killarney in the early 20th Century.
Over the course of several months in 1985 an oral history project was undertaken by two members of the Trustees of Muckross House, Tadgh O’Sullivan of Kerry Mineral Waters and Paddy MacMonagle of Killarney Printing Works, who endeavoured to record their early memories of life in Killarney town.

The recordings took place in the kitchen of Paddy’s house on Countess Road, with the assistance of Ned Myers, Manager of Muckross House.

“As might be expected of home-made recordings of that time, the sound is not always of a very high quality. However, the recordings do provide us with valuable glimpses of life in Killarney in the early 20th Century. Extracts from the recordings will be uploaded as a series of podcasts, entitled ‘Down the Cobbled Lanes’ over the coming months,” Dr Patricia O’Hare said.

In the first podcast listeners learn of the former whereabouts of the British Army recruiting office in the town and of the efforts made by local boys to fly the tricolour over Main Street in the period leading up to the War of Independence.

Local historian Damian Switzer was one of the first to listen to the podcast. He says that the recordings mention several shops on Henn St (now Plunkett St) in the early 1990s.

Over one of these shops were rooms that were offered for rent and one of them was rented by the British Army and used by army recruiter Jer 'Gaze' O'Connell.

“He was nicknamed 'Gaze' because he worked for Gazes [tour operators in College Street, Henry Gaze & Sons Tourist Office] and he was a tour guide. He played the bugle and his bother Timothy rowed boats for Hazes on the Gap trips. Jer was a World War One veteran and the British Army recruiting officer for World War One is mentioned in the piece.”

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Housing Will Never Be The Same

Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors. Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, […]

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Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors.

Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, it’s easy to see why real estate functioned as the de facto investment portfolio for an entire generation.

Wealth creation was a rinse-and-repeat function where couples put money away until they had enough for the ‘next house’. As a result, we have an economy where 70% of household wealth is tied up in real estate.

Driven by the profits it created, Ireland became obsessed with owning real estate.

But real estate as an investment won’t be nearly as successful for our generation. (If you are able to get a house, that is)

All you have to do is look at the anecdotal evidence all around us to confirm this.

My parents bought the house they currently live in for 30k (pounds) 35 years ago. The house is now worth roughly 450k.

I typically despise these back-of-the-envelope calculations when It comes to property, given the endless variables and ongoing costs involved, but bear with me.

That’s a gross return of 15 times the original value. Now there are upgrades, a change in currency and other adjustments to consider here, so for argument’s sake, let’s call it 10X.

To achieve the same level of growth over the next 35 years, you would be left paying 4,500,000 euros for what is a pretty modest house.

Sure, we will still see property prices increase over time, but the rate of growth won’t be anywhere near as meaningful for one simple reason.

Interest rates.

Artificial Growth

Over the last 30 years, real economic growth has been stagnant, yet Ireland has experienced enviable nominal growth.

How did we manage it?

We created imaginary wealth.

We pushed interest rates lower and lower to stimulate economic growth.

And it worked.

After all, if you make 100k/year you can probably afford a 400k mortgage at 4%. At 2%, with the same 100k/year salary you can now take on 600k in debt.

So, were we getting richer, or was the debt just easier to afford?

Where do we go from here?

We have now squeezed interest rates as low as they can go.

The house price appreciation we have seen was justifiable because the mortgage rates on housing continued to fall in recent decades. This allowed people to take on more debt without severely impacting their ability to repay that debt.

If we go back to my parents, they were paying 14% on their mortgage. Mortgage rates are currently between 2 to 3%.

A relentless drop in interest rates gave way to higher and higher prices for houses, but interest rates are now on the floor.

The juice has been squeezed.

In fact, the trend has started to reverse, with rates expected to rise 1.5% in the first half of 2023

Be mindful that the same credit expansion cannot happen again.

How the next generation thinks about their investment options has to change.

Banks offering 0% returns for the use of your money and a housing ladder you can’t get on are not your only two options.

If you need help creating your own investment portfolio, just reach out to me at mike@theislandinvestor or simply scan the QR code above.

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Biddies performance celebrates St Brigid

Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association. The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly […]

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Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association.

The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly known as the Beaufort Biddy Group – and Kilgobnet Biddies came together for the event.

The tradition of the Biddies is one of the oldest and most colourful customs in Ireland, a blend of pagan and Christian pageantry, held on February 1 each year, heralding the beginning of springtime and honouring St Bríd the patron saint of the farming community.

Master traditional craftsman, Pat Broderick, at Muckross House, was also part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations, making a St Brigid’s Cross as part of the traditions.

 

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