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Ian shortlisted for ‘Gay Byrne’ newcomer award

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By Sean Moriarty

Less than one year after securing his own show on Radio Kerry, Ian O’Connell has been shortlisted for a national award.

Back in 2017, aged 16, the Pinewood man was left with a life-changing injury after falling from his mountain bike in Killarney National Park.

Since then he has used his disability as a form of inspiration and encourages others to get on with life regardless of what is thrown at them.

After completing a media and broadcasting course at Kerry ETB, he was offered his own Radio Kerry show which features people who have overcome hardship or difficulties to achieve great things.

‘Stand Out with Ian O’Connell’ was first broadcast on December 1 last year.

Now, Ian and his show have been nominated for an IMRO National Radio Award.

He has been shortlisted for the ‘Gay Byrne Newcomer of the Year’ award and will learn if he is successful at a special award ceremony at Lyrath House Hotel in County Kilkenny on October 7.

“I was not really expecting this, it is not often I am stuck for words,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

Over the course of the last 10 months Ian has interviewed a wide range of guests from all backgrounds.

“I think my interview with Rory’s Stories and how he dealt with his gambling addiction was a very important interview,” he added. “As was my interview with my friend Michael Maguire – he was with me on the day of my accident – we went well overtime on that show.”

The other nominees are: Aisling Bolton Dowling (Galway Bay FM); Max Kane (East Coast FM); Emma Hill (Tipp FM) and Mandy Johnson (Newstalk).

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Bean in Killarney to cease trading due to rising costs

By Sean Moriarty A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business. Bean in Killarney opened in late January […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business.

Bean in Killarney opened in late January 2021.

Last March it was named as one of the ‘Financial Times’ list of ‘Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World’.

It was just one of 30 coffee shops worldwide – and one of only two in Ireland – to make the list, which includes entries from world cities like Paris, London and Sydney.

Bean in Killarney is a sister café to Bean in Dingle which was set up by brothers Justin and Luke Burgess.

The local branch was managed by brothers Joey and Euan Boland, who are also from Dingle.

It was a popular coffee stop for locals and visitors alike but despite its popularity and accolades, the business could not survive the current economic climate.

“After two great years we have made the really tough decision to close Bean in Killarney,” said a company statement.

“We opened during the height of the lockdown with the hope that when all restrictions came to an end, the shop would kick off like the Dingle one did.

“However, 2022 brought about new challenges and unfortunately ended up being harder rather than easier. We are a family-run business and rapidly rising costs meant we traded less than we did during 2021’s numerous restrictions. We had hoped to ride out the storm, but it’s not possible to continue operating at a loss.”

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No stopping Joe as he reaches third in the world

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it. The […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it.

The Spine Race is a non-stop 431km course over mountains and moors in the North of England.

Lissivigeen man Joe O’Leary was given one week to complete the gruelling course but managed to complete it in half that time in 96 hours and 50 minutes to finish third overall – or four days and 50 minutes!

He ran almost non-stop through ice, knee-deep snow and a wind-chill factor of -15.

He survived on a total of 90 minutes sleep taken at short intervals at various way-points along the route.

Joe is no stranger to adventure racing.

In September 2019 he ran for 28-hours straight to finish the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a 160km race in the French Alps.

This time last year he finished third in the shorter Montane Spine Challenger Race.

On that occasion he completed the 173kms course in 30 hours but this year he returned to compete in the harder 431km event where his competition included professional athletes.

CHALLENGE

Joe and his fellow competitors set off from the start in Edale in the heart of England’s Peak District at 8am on Sunday, January 14.

Nearly one hundred hours later, just before 9am on Thursday morning (January 15), he crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm, a small village just over the Scottish border.

Along the way he was obliged to visit certain way-points or time controls and here he was able to change into fresh clothes, eat a dinner (or two) and grab a few minutes sleep before re-joining the course.

Outside assistance is strictly forbidden, and apart from the official checkpoints there are a few ‘approved’ private houses along the way that offer hot drinks and small meals.

Even bringing supporters is frowned upon – if a fan cheers for one racer they must cheer for all the racers – otherwise it is seen as unfair.

“This was my first time doing the long race,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was fantastic but totally unexpected to be on the podium. It was a strong field and first and second were pros…this is their job.”

Starting out in pouring rain the conditions soon turned to ice, snow and eventually waist-deep snow.

Volunteers fed competitors in scout halls or similar along the route and it was places like this Joe grabbed some shut eye – but not much.

“They really look after you. If you wanted two or three dinners to keep you going you could have them,” he said. “The problem is the clock does not stop. And the more time you spend at way points the more it will effect your results.”

Joe has no immediate plans but intends to visit Australia in May for a well earned holiday.

“I have entered a race in Sydney!” he added.

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