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 Killarney pub celebrates 100 years in heart of community!

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First opened in 1923 by Matthew Cahill, four generations of his family have not only run the bar, but have been reared from birth on the top floor, sharing their home with the countless faces that have passed through the doors.

Celebrating 100 years of pulling pints on High Street, and serving tipples, toasties and toddies, the pub is now run by fourth generation  Cara O'Connor and her 'great staff', as she refers to them, continuing to cement the O'Connor legacy to their locals and tourists alike.

Passed on by her father, Tadhg O'Connor, who sees the customers as "more than just punters, they are the friends and family who have seen my siblings and I grow from children here on High Street, passing on the pub trade from generation to generation for over ten decades now. As my mother used said 'its only bricks and morter' but it's also a great honour to bestow to the next generation," Tadhg explained.

O'Connor's is seeped in history Cara. You can see that from the moment you walk through the door.

"My great grandfather was Matthew Cahill from Gortbee, Beaufort, who stopped off in Scotland picking potatoes on his way to Boston where he ran the Speakeasy Bar before returning some years later, setting up his hackney business with a brand new Buick imported from America.

"He married my great grandmother Molly O'Sullivan, who was a cook in Victoria House. They had one daughter, my grand mother, Kitty Cahill, who worked the hackney business for her father at 16 years, before marrying my grandfather Teddy O'Connor, Ardmoneill, Killorglin, in 1950, taking over the bar together when my Dad Tadhg was born in 1958" Cara explained.

O'Connor's is over the door, so why do locals refer to the pub more so as Teddy's?

"Oh he was a real personality was my father Teddy" Tadhg explained. "He was a prominent Kerry footballer in his day, having won an All-Ireland medal in 1946 against Roscommon and played in the Polo Grounds in New York the following year. It was here that Teddy met his sister Molly, for the first time, as she had emigrated before he was born.

"As luck would have it, Molly’s son, named Kerry, was mascot on that day in New York too.

My father soon changed the name of the pub to Teddy's and when my wife Mary and I took over the pub in 1990, it was an easy decision to make in changing the name of the pub to O'Connor's as Mary's maiden name is also O'Connor. To this day, locals will always refer to O'Connor's as Teddy's which I love".

What do you think has made O'Connor's such a successful pub for the past 100 years?

"We have a strong affiliation with the GAA with Teddy playing for Kerry and my Dad Tadhg, who played with the Kerry Minors in 1976 and captained the team in 1977 and today we have music in the bar 7 nights a week and I have also noticed many talented visitors throw their hand to the piano upstairs which is always a treat. As a family, I'm not sure if we might have succeeded without the help of cousin Tess, the glue who held the generations together for the bones of 40 years, running the pub, minding children, which included my sister Lisa and I too.

"She was well known for her work in the fish shop which Teddy ran on the premises, providing an array of fish direct from the fishmongers to many hotels in Killarney. Tess handled all the deliveries in a van she christened 'the yellow submarine'. As a publican, come fishmonger, come Nanny, she never touched a drop and she never married. Where would she find the time?" Cara laughed.

So you're fourth generation Cara. Do you carry the same traits?

"The apple didn't fall far from the tree with my Dad and Grandfather" Cara explained. Both adored the outdoors and sports, all the while running a pub. Their love for football and the lakes saw a variety of punters pass through the doors at O'Connor’s. Teddy used to run the larger boat at Ross Castle, The Pride of the Lakes and my father is first in the door here at 8:30am each morning to meet tourists and take them on the Gap Trip which he operates out of gapofdunloetours.com and visitinnisfallen.com. I usually arrive at 12 noon to open the pub daily".

"My partner Marcel and I, revamped and reopened O'Connor's on the first week of March 2020 and due to Covid we closed it on St Patrick's Day, just two weeks later. Studying retail design in Dublin, I spent many summers travelling around the U.S and New Zealand working in bars.

"Needless to say we were disappointed after all of our efforts to reopen O'Connor's as a brand new team but we adapted with the restrictions creating an outdoor atmosphere with awnings and heaters, even creating 'Teddy's Toasties' (which are still on the menu) to accommodate the governments €9 food rule at the time. It was ironic how the pandemic enhanced O'Connor’s and we built on that as restrictions eased to indoors.

"Whilst remaining traditional, we are cosmopolitan here on New Market Lane, and enjoy a great relationship with our Mexican, Italian, and Indian neighbours, together with the very popular Good Boy Coffee and Curious Cat Cafe. Dad can still be seen on busy nights as traffic warden on Old Market Lane.

"We work well as a team and we are always learning. I think it's important to adapt offering cocktails etc whilst maintaining the tradition that is O'Connor's Bar, High Street, Killarney. Marcel & I are looking forward to welcoming our customers in celebrating our 100th year in business in the coming weeks".

Before I left the premises, I heard a call "Miss, I'm looking for a blonde in a black dress", the familiar voice of Tim The Butcher, a regular for over 50 years, who is welcomed daily by the staff at O'Connors. The same welcome received by previous regulars John B Keane, Ted Jones, The Dubliners, Brendan O'Brien, the Dixies.

Tim was in safe hands and soon accompanied by his blonde wearing a curvaceous black dress, lovingly handed to him in the form of a creamy pint of Guinness from the barman.

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Top 10 Essential tips for Leaving Cert Students in lead up to June 5

The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting […]

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The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting year.

The natural anxiety felt by students is often heightened by the annual media hype around the state exams and it is really important that you do your best to manage that stress effectively, so that you are ready to perform to the best of your ability once the exams start. The following tips may help to keep you focused and a little calmer in the lead up to June 5.

1. Review, don’t cram – Focus on summary notes, flashcards, or mind maps. This reinforces what you’ve already studied. Prioritise areas where you feel less confident, but don’t try to learn new material.

2. Practise past papers – Review marking schemes and time allocation for each question you will need to answer on each paper. Practise a sample of questions against the clock. This will maximise your scoring potential.

3. Organise your materials – Check the exam timetable and highlight your own exams. Prepare the stationary that you need, gather pens, pencils, calculators, and so on. Pack your bag the night before to avoid last-minute stress.

4. Maintain a healthy balance – Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest is crucial for memory, concentration and stamina. Eat well, include proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your meals to maintain energy levels. Drink plenty of water, hydration is essential.

5. Try to manage stress – Schedule short breaks during study sessions and do something enjoyable and relaxing, like a short walk, playing or listening to music. Get fresh air and some light exercise. Use relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation.

6. Focus on a positive mindset – Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of your preparation. Concentrate on what you know and not on what you think you don’t! Try to avoid negative self-talk and steer clear of discussions that heighten anxiety, such as comparing how much you’ve studied with friends.

7. Plan your weekend – Create a realistic timetable for the weekend, balancing study sessions with breaks and relaxation and don’t overdo the study. You need plenty of energy for the exams.

8. Stay connected – Talk to friends and family, if you are feeling overwhelmed reach out and get support from loved ones. If it’s helpful, have a short, focused study session with friends to clarify doubts.

9. Keep things in perspective – The Leaving Cert is important but won’t define you and regardless of what happens you have several options open to you. Try to reframe the media hype as the whole country getting behind you, for what they know to be a tough time for you.

10. Get Set for exam day – Double-check the venue, seating arrangements, and required materials for the day of the exam. On the evening before the exam, do a light review of key concepts but avoid heavy studying. Ensure you know how to get to the exam venue and plan to arrive early (at least 30 mins on the first day). Decide what you’ll wear to avoid rushing in the morning and have your water and snacks ready to go.

Above all else, give the exams your best shot! Once they are over you have a lovely ‘study-free’ summer and bright future to look forward to. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

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Disability toilets for Killarney Library

Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year. Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting. She said: […]

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Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year.

Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting.
She said: “Application has been made for funding to the Department. As soon as the funding is approved, work will commence on the provision of Disabled Toilet Facilities.
“While ramps are installed for accessibility, it is unacceptable that any public building be without disabled toilet facilities in this day and age.
“I am aware of several people with a disability who constantly use the services of the Library and are very happy with the staff and the services that Killarney Library offers but are disappointed at the lack of disabled toilets.”
“I will be keeping the pressure on to have these facilities provided as soon as possible.”

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