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Ireland’s oldest man celebrates 107th birthday!

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IRELAND’S OLDEST: Michael J O’Connor who celebrated his 107th birthday on Tuesday is Ireland’s oldest man. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

 

Not only is he the oldest man in Killarney or even Kerry – but Michael J O’Connor – who celebrated his 107th birthday on Tuesday – is Ireland’s oldest man!

And it’s a title he’s very proud of – as he wasn’t expected to live past the age of six after contracting the Spanish Flu. But after months in bed he eventually recovered. Unfortunately his mother Bridie, a teacher in Glencar, succumbed to the illness some months later. His father Daniel, also a teacher in Glencar, died in his 40s.

On Tuesday, the champagne was flowing at his home in Muckross, and there were so many cards that he hadn’t had time to open them all!

Not many can say that they have experienced the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War One and Two – but Michael, who worked at sea and then went onto a career in aviation, also remembers the only mode of transport being a horse and cart to get from his home place to Killarney for shopping – to later in life experiencing the contrast with two trips on a Concord to New York.

Michael also went from using the social media of the day – Morse code – in his early career, to later learning to how to send text messages.

Today he says he’s agile and “thankfully comfortable” and enjoyed all the well wishes, cards and presents including his seventh medal from the president.

“107 years ago I kicked myself into this world,” Michael told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
“I was born in Glencar to Daniel and Bridie, I travelled the world for five years, three in the last war. I then changed to aviation in the early ’40s and stayed in aviation for the rest of my life based in Ballygreen between Shannon and Ennis.”

Michael came to Killarney 40 years ago in 1980 with his wife Joan, who died in 2008.

“I built a holiday home up the side of a mountain a few years before I retired. Then, when I retired, I sold the house in Limerick and have been here ever since. There’s no nicer place in the world – and I’ve been around most of it!”

SECRET TO A LONG LIFE

Michael let the Killarney Advertiser in on a little secret, saying he puts his longevity down to a daily glass of whiskey.

“The secret is a glass of Red Breast Whiskey every night before bed,” he said.

With COVID, he thinks it’s very unfair that it has happened but feels people should do as they’re asked and stay within the confines of their home as much as possible.

These days he is enjoying his time with his family and watching the History Channel on Sky – and not many can say they have lived through most of it!

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Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance

  Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]

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Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.

It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.

Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.

As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.

“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.

Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.

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Golf club launches Summer Series competition

By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.

The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”

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Investigation continues into New St fire

  Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week. The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7). It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting […]

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Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week.

The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7).

It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting and ducting on the first, second and third floors. There was heavy smoke throughout the hotel but all guests were evacuated safely.

The landmark hotel, which also houses the famous Danny Mann pub, has not yet reopened, and local Gardai are still investigating its cause.

“The investigation is ongoing,” a Killarney Gardai Station spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are establishing the full facts in relation to the fire.”

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