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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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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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