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Killarney snapper calls time on 47-year career

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By Sean Moriarty

After nearly 50 years on the beat, legendary local press photographer Michelle Copper Galvin has finally decided to hang up her camera.

This week marks her final few days as a news photographer and her attendance at last Sunday’s Kerry v Laois Ladies Football match at Fitzgerald Stadium ended an unbroken stint that stretches all the way back to 1977.

She started her career with the Cork Examiner in 1974 and after four years with that publication she returned to Killarney where she has worked as the local media snapper ever since.

Best known for her role with The Kerryman, Michelle has also supplied many of the photographs that have appeared in the Killarney Advertiser over the last 40 years.

Michelle’s beat covered all of East, South and Mid Kerry, but she was best known for her work on the streets of her home town.

“The biggest change for me was the switch to digital,” Michelle told the Killarney Advertiser this week. “It became a simpler process from the camera to the computer and straight on to a page – ending negatives and processing film.”

Her favourite tasks were anything to do with sport and politics and memories include witnessing Munster Rugby defeating the All Blacks in that famous 1978 match in Thomond Park.

She is also a huge Kerry GAA fan but given the choice she would prefer a day out in Thomond Park over Fitzgerald Stadium.

“I have had a great career, I have met some wonderful people and very privileged to go to places that I went,” she said. “I have been blessed to work with some great editors who helped and guided me.”

Michelle is looking forward to spending more time with husband Dermot, who she says is her "number one supporter”, daughters Caoimhe, Grainne and son Diarmuid, their partners and her three grandchildren.

Dermot is currently based in London and Michelle played a crucial role in promoting the activities of the Kerry Association London as a result of her direct connections with the city.

“I will have more time to go to London now,” she added. “My children and grandchildren are all based on the island [of Ireland] so I am looking forward to seeing more of them too.”

She will have more time to attend Munster Rugby matches at home and abroad with no prior commitments that need covering on a local front.

She loves France and will spend more time in her favourite foreign country especially if trips coincide with Munster’s European Rugby Champions Cup games.

Michelle is not giving up on photography totally however, and says she will continue to take photos "of things I love and what interests me”.

Friends and colleagues in the Kerry media honoured her contribution to the industry with a special dinner in Tralee’s Ashe Hotel on last night (Thursday).

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Housing Will Never Be The Same

Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors. Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, […]

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Last week I wrote about the pathetic investment options out there for Irish investors.

Despite high ongoing fees (mortgage, maintenance, insurance etc.) and the actual headache of being a landlord, it’s easy to see why real estate functioned as the de facto investment portfolio for an entire generation.

Wealth creation was a rinse-and-repeat function where couples put money away until they had enough for the ‘next house’. As a result, we have an economy where 70% of household wealth is tied up in real estate.

Driven by the profits it created, Ireland became obsessed with owning real estate.

But real estate as an investment won’t be nearly as successful for our generation. (If you are able to get a house, that is)

All you have to do is look at the anecdotal evidence all around us to confirm this.

My parents bought the house they currently live in for 30k (pounds) 35 years ago. The house is now worth roughly 450k.

I typically despise these back-of-the-envelope calculations when It comes to property, given the endless variables and ongoing costs involved, but bear with me.

That’s a gross return of 15 times the original value. Now there are upgrades, a change in currency and other adjustments to consider here, so for argument’s sake, let’s call it 10X.

To achieve the same level of growth over the next 35 years, you would be left paying 4,500,000 euros for what is a pretty modest house.

Sure, we will still see property prices increase over time, but the rate of growth won’t be anywhere near as meaningful for one simple reason.

Interest rates.

Artificial Growth

Over the last 30 years, real economic growth has been stagnant, yet Ireland has experienced enviable nominal growth.

How did we manage it?

We created imaginary wealth.

We pushed interest rates lower and lower to stimulate economic growth.

And it worked.

After all, if you make 100k/year you can probably afford a 400k mortgage at 4%. At 2%, with the same 100k/year salary you can now take on 600k in debt.

So, were we getting richer, or was the debt just easier to afford?

Where do we go from here?

We have now squeezed interest rates as low as they can go.

The house price appreciation we have seen was justifiable because the mortgage rates on housing continued to fall in recent decades. This allowed people to take on more debt without severely impacting their ability to repay that debt.

If we go back to my parents, they were paying 14% on their mortgage. Mortgage rates are currently between 2 to 3%.

A relentless drop in interest rates gave way to higher and higher prices for houses, but interest rates are now on the floor.

The juice has been squeezed.

In fact, the trend has started to reverse, with rates expected to rise 1.5% in the first half of 2023

Be mindful that the same credit expansion cannot happen again.

How the next generation thinks about their investment options has to change.

Banks offering 0% returns for the use of your money and a housing ladder you can’t get on are not your only two options.

If you need help creating your own investment portfolio, just reach out to me at mike@theislandinvestor or simply scan the QR code above.

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Biddies performance celebrates St Brigid

Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association. The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly […]

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Two local Biddies groups performed at Muckross House as part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations in aid of Kerry Parents and Friends Association.

The Killarney Parents and Friends Biddy Group – formerly known as the Beaufort Biddy Group – and Kilgobnet Biddies came together for the event.

The tradition of the Biddies is one of the oldest and most colourful customs in Ireland, a blend of pagan and Christian pageantry, held on February 1 each year, heralding the beginning of springtime and honouring St Bríd the patron saint of the farming community.

Master traditional craftsman, Pat Broderick, at Muckross House, was also part of St Brigid’s Day celebrations, making a St Brigid’s Cross as part of the traditions.

 

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