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Ireland’s oldest woman recalls her Killarney days over 100-years-ago

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By Sean Moriarty

Máirín Hughes - who spent part of her early childhood in Killarney -celebrated her 108th birthday on Sunday last (May 22) making her Ireland’s oldest woman.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Máirín Hughes who celebrated her 108th birthday this week has recalled her time in Killarney 100-years-ago.

The previous record was held by 107-year-old Nancy Stewart who died on September 10 last year.

Although born in Belfast, Máirín went to school in the Mercy Convent. Her father was a customs and excise officer and the family moved around a lot eventually coming to Killarney after spells in County Down and Dublin.

Speaking this week via a special video link organised for the Killarney Advertiser, she recalled, with remarkable clarity, of her time in the locality.

“I went to Mercy Convent, neighbours who had three children were given the job of taking me to school,” she said. “They were annoyed because the children were going to school for two or three years but I was put in to the same class as them – my mother had taught me.”

Her mother came from the Rathmore area and her father was from Newmarket in County Cork.

She also remembers her home in Killarney which featured a glass door – unusual for the time – and something that Máirín had not seen before.

“Killarney was lovely," she added. “Our first house, I could stand inside the door and see the lakes, it was a glass door, I had never seen a glass door.
“I could see, Lough Lein, it was the lower lake, there are three lakes in Killarney and I could see them and the islands through a door.”

Last year she featured in the book ‘Independence Memories: A People’s Portrait of the Early Days of the Irish Nation’, sharing stories of being kept in school in Killarney during an attack on the RIC barracks down the road.

In 1924 she started a degree in science and a diploma in education at University College Cork, before working in the pathology lab in University College Cork’s Department of Medicine for 16 years.

Earlier this year she recalled her story on the podcast: ‘Living History - Irish Life and Lore’.

During the broadcast she talked about her parents' membership of the Gaelic League in 1910; the Spanish Flu in Ireland in 1918; The Black and Tans in Killarney in 1921; the early days of the new Free State; Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932, visiting the Basket Islands in 1929; and working in the UCC medical laboratory from 1932 until 1948.

Máirín currently lives at Maryfield Nursing Home in Chapelizod. Head of Nursing Hayley Gibbons at the Dublin care facility helped the Killarney Advertiser with this news feature.

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​​Bursaries presented to schools at Lions Club open night

By Michelle Crean Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group. Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St […]

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By Michelle Crean

Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group.

Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St Brendan’s College to help support students in need.

It took place at their open night recently in the KDYS Youth Centre.

The night featured different exhibitions about Killarney Lions Club activities such as the Annual Christmas Food Appeal and the Kerry Clubs Fair.

“It was great that people made the effort to come and find out more what Killarney Lions Club does, despite the weather on the night. We are a voluntary group so community support is vital for activities such as our Christmas Food Appeal which will kick off very soon.”

The Killarney Lions Club, through its members, assists various groups and individuals in and around the community. Lions do this through voluntary activities, fundraising and by holding various types of events in support of a great many local causes.

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Staff celebrated for their long service

Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently. The event was held for all […]

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Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently.

The event was held for all team members of the Great Southern and Killarney Royal who have over 10 years of service, and was hosted by Michael Jacobi, Managing Director, Hayfield Family Collection and Mark Scally, Financial Controller, Hayfield Family Collection.

32 employees celebrated on the night, with the Great Southern represented by John Fitzgerald with 53 years of service, Martina O’Leary with 44 years of service and Kathleen Bhuiyan with 31 years of service. From Killarney Royal Joseph Hurley celebrated 37 years of service with John Harrington celebrating 32 years and Nuala Doolan celebrating 30 years.

“It is an absolute pleasure for us to celebrate our long term staff members,” event host and Hayfield Family Collection Managing Director, Michael Jacobi, said.

“They have played such an integral part in achieving the high standards we are known to provide and are such familiar welcoming faces for our guests.”

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