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Lawlor’s Cross man drives coach for mercy mission




By Sean Moriarty

A well-known Killarney man was among a group of volunteer drivers who drove a fleet of coaches over five days and 5,000kms to help displaced Ukrainians.

CUSTOMS: Ukrainian refugees go through Passport Control in Roscoff France.

Humphrey Kerins was part of a Paddywagon Tours convoy to Warsaw last week as five coaches delivered much needed aid to refugees in the Polish city. The equipment was delivered to a regional sports centre that is now acting as a distribution hub for the donated supplies.

The coaches returned with around 50 Ukrainians who have been re-homed in Ireland - including Killarney.

Each bus had two different drivers who shared driving stints resulting in a non-stop drive from Dublin to Warsaw and back.

Humphrey was among the group of 10 drivers who made the journey. Two other Kerry drivers also drove buses. They were Gabriel Finn from Annascaul who is the Transport Manager with Paddywagon Tours and DJ O’Connor from Kielduff.

Paddywagon Tours is a customer of Humphrey’s Lawlor’s Cross Garage and when he heard that they were looking for volunteer drivers he jumped at the chance to help.

“They had over 300 applications but I know the transport manager as we do a lot of work for them, so I got selected,” Humphrey told the Killarney Advertiser. “It was a great thing to do.”


Humphrey explained that the delivery of the aid was straightforward enough but the task of returning with very frightened and confused refugees was very challenging.

“We expected to fill the five coaches but many of the people just did not want to leave, they had no idea where they were going,” he said. “It worked out because they had a lot more comfort on the empty coaches – they could stretch out across the double seats – some of them had not slept in days. Even at that they were very nervous when we stopped for comfort breaks and to change drivers. They had no idea where they were going.”

Only one of the group of refugees spoke broken English and the group of drivers had to rely on his interpretations to make all the passengers - which included a man in his 80s, an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a couple with a special needs son - feel more comfortable.

“We even brought back pets; one dog and one cat. The people did not want to leave without them, but can you imagine the hassle this caused in customs. The cat escaped at one point and ran to the warmth of the engine – we spent 45 minutes trying to coax him out.”

In an amazing twist of fate, some of the refugees that Humphrey drove from Poland have been re-homed in Killarney.

“Most of them went to either Kinsale or Killarney and I saw some of them walking down Park Road the other day,” he added.

Humphrey praised the efforts of Brittany Ferries who played a key role in getting the refugees to safety. They arrived into Dublin via a sailing from Roscoff in France.

“They fed us all, drivers and Ukrainians, and gave us cabins to sleep in but never charged us,” he added.

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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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St Patrick’s Day parade winners announced

Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney. Delighted […]



Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney.

Delighted club representatives were presented with the Seán O’Keeffe Perpetual Trophy – in memory of the former Mayor of Killarney and parade stalwart – at a gala presentation of prizes in the International Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night.

The award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme, which was Killarney: Experience More, went to the Wander Wild Festival who received the Michael Courtney Perpetual Trophy which is dedicated to the memory of another former mayor of the town who spearheaded the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years.

The John ‘Killer’ O’Callaghan Perpetual Trophy for the Best Sporting Entry was won by Killarney Athletic AFC and the Peter Irwin Memorial Trophy for the Best Marching Group and Cultural/Arts Entry went to Millstreet Pipe Band.

The Best Sports Club was Spa GAA, the Best Children’s Group prize was won by Kilcummin Comhaltas and the Best New Entry was Killarney Rugby Football Club.

There was an international flavour to the Best Musical Entry which was scooped by the Glenridge High School Marching Band from New Jersey.

The prize for the Best Voluntary Group went to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, the Best School Award went to the Fiona Crowley Stage School and the Best Activity Group was deemed to be Scorchers Cheerleading Club.

The Most Entertaining Entry went to the Killarney Tidy Towns group, the prize for the Most Original Entry was won by Liebherr Container Cranes and the Most Imaginative Entry in the parade was the Art House, Killarney.

The Most Stylish Entry prize was awarded to the Ukrainian community whose representative said they were delighted to play a part in Ireland’s national holiday and thanked the people of Killarney for the warm welcome they have received.

Other prizes presented on the night included the Best Window Display which went to Christy Healy’s on New Street who were celebrating 100 years in business on St Patrick’s Day, while the Europe Hotel and Resort won the Best Green-Themed Building prize.

The judges for the parade were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Pam Brosnan, Killarney Musical Society and Denis McMahon.

The awards were presented by Killarney St Patrick’s Festival Chairman Paul Sherry, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Senior Executive Bridget O’Keeffe, and parade grand marshal Cathal P Walshe.

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