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Killarney Races celebrates 200 years

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Killarney Races celebrated 200 years of racing yesterday during the opening day of AugustFest, an exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival that will run until tomorrow (Saturday) inclusive.

Oonagh Groves Firies Donal Groves Firies and Naomi Reidy Firies County kerry pictured at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Football captain Sean O'Shea with fellow players and Ger Coughlan Killarney Race Company Chairman pictured with the Sam Maguire Cup at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Football captain Sean O'Shea and Ger Coughlan Killarney Race Committee pictured with the Sam Maguire Cup at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Killarney punters Paudie Sheahan and Ger Healy pictured at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Rachel Foley Pam Treacy and Betty O'Connor from Killarney pictured at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Football captain Sean O'Shea with committee members Aine O'Donoghue Con O'Mahony and Ger Coughlan and the Sam Maguire Cup at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening.Photo: Don MacMonagle

'Charterhouse' S McCullough wins the Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Football captain Sean O'Shea with Elliott Keane from Tralee and the Sam Maguire Cup at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Football captain Sean O'Shea with Aoife Aine and Sean Scanlon from Killarney pictured with the Sam Maguire Cup at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Michael Cahill from Rathmore with his grandchildren Luke McMahon and Rory Cahill pictured at the Killarney Races August Festival opening day on Thursday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Kerry Senior Football Captain Sean O’Shea, with a host of fellow teammates and back-room staff, escorted Sam Maguire to the racecourse arriving by jaunting cart to take part in the bi-centenary celebrations.

Racegoers of all ages were thrilled to get up close with the Sam Maguire Cup and our fantastic Kerry football legends.

AugustFest at Killarney Races offers patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse. A special bi-centenary admission package was available on the opening day offering patrons admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20 which went down a treat with punters. With many bringing their jerseys and cameras along to make the most of the double celebrations at the Kerry track.

The first race at Killarney Racecourse was recorded in 1822. In the early days, the meetings were supported by Lord Clanmorris and the Earl of Kenmare, the feature race being the Kenmare Stakes from 1826 to 1830. The current racing venue located at Ross Road held its first race meeting on 20 July 1936 and Ontario was the first ever winner at the track, winning the 1½ mile handicap hurdle, in the hands of jockey Willie O’ Grady.

During the August racing festival, a special commemorative marquee featuring a wonderful collection of memorabilia and photographs from the last 200 years is open to all in attendance for the duration of the festival.

“We celebrated a major milestone here at Killarney Races, two hundred years of racing in Killarney which is amazing," Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

"I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations during AugustFest!

With two more fantastic days of racing in store and lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Patrons are advised to book online and come along early to enjoy the stunning views, facilities, delicious food, live music on the lawn and soak up the boutique festival atmosphere for which Killarney Races is famous.

Adult tickets and packages are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the punter’s pack is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options. For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jim awarded for life-long service to the community

By Michelle Crean Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community. Jim […]

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By Michelle Crean

Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community.

Jim received the O’Shea Award for 2022 at a meeting of Directors of Listry Community Council held on September 21.

Jim has been involved in Athletics from a very early age both as a competitor and administrator.

He was very much involved with Community Games in Milltown/Listry as organiser and coach. He was also involved with the Farranfore Maine Valley Athletic Club since its foundation.

Over the years Jim has competed in athletic events, mainly high jump and long jump, both in Ireland and abroad.

Recently he travelled to Derby in the UK in the British Masters Championship and won Gold in the 100 metres and Long Jump and finished second in the High Jump.

Jim, who is a very modest man, was actively involved with Listry Community Council as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and for his commitment to keeping our community litter free by organising a number of litter picking days each year.

Always interested in fitness, Jim often came along to the Listry Seniors Social day and led the group in gentle exercises.

“Jim is a very worthy recipient of the O’Shea Award 2022 and we thank him for a lifetime of service to others,” Tony Darmody, Chairman, said.

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New book recounts stories from the Irish Civil War

The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922 Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in […]

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The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922

Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in Killarney a century ago this week.

There were many tragic episodes and incidents during the Civil War in Kerry. One of the dreadful features of the conflict was the young age at which many on both sides of the conflict were killed in 1922 and 1923.

In Killarney in August 1922, for example, two young Free State army medics were shot dead by a sniper as they stepped off a boat onto the shore of Inisfallen Island. 18-year-old Cecil Fitzgerald and 20-year-old John O’Meara, both from Galway, had joined the army just a few months previously and were enjoying a boat trip on the lake during a day’s leave when they were killed.

The following month, one of the most shocking deaths to occur in Killarney in this period was the murder of a 17-year-old boy from Castleisland.

Bertie Murphy, a member of Fianna Éireann, the youth wing of the IRA, was just 17-years-old when he was taken into custody by Free State soldiers while walking near his home in September 1922. His mother saw him being taken in away in a truck to the Great Southern Hotel where the army had established its headquarters in the town.

The improvised barracks had a number of prison cells in the basement where anti-Treaty IRA members were detained. The prison would become renowned as a place where beatings and torture took place: a young man whose brother was an IRA captain was taken there and ‘mercilessly beaten to get him to reveal information’. He was then ‘thrown down a coal chute and left as dead’.

On Wednesday, September 27, a Free State army convoy was ambushed by the IRA at Brennan’s Glen on the Tralee road and two officers, Daniel Hannon and John Martin, were killed. Bertie Murphy had been in one of the army vehicles – he was being used by the army as a hostage in an attempt to prevent attacks by anti-Treaty forces. It was common for Free State convoys to carry a prisoner as a deterrent to IRA ambushes and attacks.

When the convoy returned to the hotel, they were met by Colonel David Neligan, one of the most ruthless members of the Kerry Command of the Free State army. Neligan had been a member of Michael Collins’ ‘Squad’ during the War of Independence and was an experienced and battle-hardened soldier.

Neligan demanded to know why the soldiers had not taken any prisoners during the ambush at Brennan’s Glen, in which two of his officers had died. The soldiers, in a frenzy following the ambush, threw Bertie Murphy down the steps of the hotel. In the presence of other soldiers, Neligan began to beat up Murphy at the bottom of the steps and then shot the prisoner. In her book, ‘Tragedies of Kerry’, Dorothy Macardle says that Murphy lived ‘until the priest came’, but died shortly after.

Another prisoner was in custody in the hotel at the time. Con O’Leary from Glenflesk was brought down from his cell to identify the dead man. But so extensive were Murphy’s facial injuries that O’Leary was unable to identify his fellow prisoner.

Newspaper reports wrongly reported that Murphy had been wounded during the engagement at Brennan’s Glen and had ‘succumbed to his injuries’ on returning to Killarney.

At Murphy’s inquest which was held a fortnight later, General Paddy O’Daly, the head of the Kerry Command, sympathised with Murphy’s family but insisted that Murphy had died in the ambush at Brennan’s Glen. He said his soldiers had done ‘everything humanly possible for the man’.

He reminded those present that deaths like Murphy’s were the fault of reckless IRA leaders who refused to accept the authority of the people. ‘It is the women and children’, he said, ‘that are suffering, and for all the suffering that is being endured those leaders are to blame’.

It would not be the last time that O’Daly and senior army officers in Kerry would cover up the actions of their soldiers in the county. Nor, sadly, would it be the last time that young men, on both sides of the divide, joined the long list of victims of the Civil War in the county.

Owen O’Shea’s new book, ‘No Middle Path: The Civil War in Kerry’ will be published by Merrion Press in mid-October and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon and at www.owenoshea.ie.

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