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Liam reflects on his 45 year teaching career




I had a chance to sit down and have a cuppa with the newly retired Principal of St Francis Special School, Liam Twomey, at Noelle’s Café this week.

Liam has dedicated his 45 year career educating children and before he, and the deputy principal, Kathleen Cronin from Muckross, both retired Friday last, he fulfilled three impressive goals.

MARIE: Liam I would imagine over almost half a decade as principal, there must have been an enormous amount of change within education system at St Francis Special School. I had no doubt that Liam had achieved every goal he set himself. I could see from the way he talked about his students that he cared a great deal for their well-being and education.

“The job as educators is to develop each child’s potential and give the best possible chance to all our students - run the school as if the children were your own,” Liam said. “With the correct environment, and the right resources, this enabled us to do so much. I remember the staff at St Francis Special School and I wanted to come up with a motto. We came up with at least 20 but we settled on ‘Enable, Encourage and Enrich’ - three words the staff had engraved on a pair of cufflinks for me as a retirement gift.”

MARIE: I was all ears hearing about Liam’s recent accomplishments for the school.

“Most schools need a bike shelter Marie, but at our school we cater for bicycles, tricycles and a huge selection of all kinds of mobility equipment. We were successful in receiving funding from Green Schools to complete a fantastic Perspex dome to house all forms of student mobility transport a few months ago, which helps hugely with space for other activities and amenities.

“We also desperately needed our own means of transport at the school, not the type of transport to take the students to and from school but more of a social means of transport for excursions. Little things like a trip to SuperValu to buy the ingredients for cookery class or a visit to the park. We needed an appropriately kitted out vehicle to give our students the education of life skills. Two buses are currently been wrapped and fitted so you will soon see them about in the community. We managed to raise €60,000 and achieve this essential facility for St Francis Special School. “It is a happy talent to know how to play” - that is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is a basic life skill to play, but some children do not know how to play. We teach our students to play with love, kindness, compassion and understanding. We need to be proactive in setting up a play situation for the children within the community. The new buses will give us the freedom to do this.”


“The final project we set out to achieve has been five years in the making with thanks everyone who supported, but with great credit to the Leane family in particular. Our brand new playground was completed on Friday last would you believe Marie, on my last day. A vibrant specialised playground that we are so very proud of. If it was only needed by one child at the school Marie, it is needed.”

MARIE: I congratulated Liam on his great achievements in recent months and how fulfilling that must be as he retired.

“Absolutely impossible without the support of the staff, parents and the community. Kerry people are immensely generous and have taken on St Francis Special School as their own. The services and resources improved only because of this. One of our best sources of funding has been through Cathal Walshe as a beneficiary with the Ring of Kerry annual charity cycle and with Colm Cooper and the Kerry team who involved themselves in fundraising together with many other groups whom we are eternally grateful to. The people of Kerry bought into our vision and entrusted us to deliver and I am very proud to say we have”.

MARIE: So if you were to choose a moment or an achievement at St Francis Special School that you are most proud of Liam, what would that be?

“In 2014 after a long hard battle, we received the most essential and valuable service for our students. We put up a big fight but we finally have a resident nurse at St Francis Special School that we could not do without. Parents can send their children to school with confidence. We no longer have to call them if something seems wrong and we can look after their children for the entire day, keeping them in school to be educated. We are not medical personnel so this was a huge asset for the school.”

MARIE: Going forward Liam, now that you’ve handed over to the new Principal Keith O’Brolacháin, what is your plan for retirement?

“I think it’s better to ‘wear out’ than to ‘rust out’ Marie. The school is in great hands with Keith and I have every faith in the younger generation. I won’t be left idle Marie. I look forward to spending my days doing what I enjoy - travelling, music, carpentry, hiking etc. You only get one crack at life, so you must use your talents to help others but also to enjoy life and help yourself.”

MARIE: Thank you Liam on behalf of the community, for all you have done for the students and their families at St Francis Special School.

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Final delivery as DJ retires

By Michelle Crean There’s hardly a Killarney home he hasn’t been to – but now DJ O’Driscoll has stood down from his duties. Friday night marked delivery driver DJ’s retirement […]




By Michelle Crean

There’s hardly a Killarney home he hasn’t been to – but now DJ O’Driscoll has stood down from his duties.

Friday night marked delivery driver DJ’s retirement from the Killarney branch of Corcoran’s Furniture & Carpets, a position he has held for the last 15 years.

On Friday night, colleagues from all three Corcoran’s Furniture & Carpets stores gathered in the Killarney Height’s Hotel. DJ was also joined by his daughter and her partner for the special night.

“After almost 15 years of steadfast work with Corcoran’s, DJ has been a constant pillar of support for his colleagues and has helped the company go from strength to strength,” owner Kieran Corcoran said.

“Corcoran’s would like to wish DJ the very best of luck for the future and hoping that he enjoys his retirement. Many thanks to Killarney Height’s Hotel for hosting the staff night on Friday. A great night was had by all!”


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Rowers pull together for Order of Malta

Members of Flesk Valley Rowing Club had a strenuous but successful morning on Sunday when they collectively rowed the distance from Malin Head to Mizen Head. And it was all […]




Members of Flesk Valley Rowing Club had a strenuous but successful morning on Sunday when they collectively rowed the distance from Malin Head to Mizen Head.

And it was all done indoors on rowing machines in support of the Killarney Order of Malta.

Just before 11am the Valley armada ‘left shore’, and approximately 40 members aged from 12 to 50ish set to their task with enthusiasm. By midday someone reckoned that Barack Obama’s Plaza had been reached but unfortunately there was no stop for tea, just a splash of holy water, a mouthful of Lucozade and a few jelly babies for the lucky ones!

As the kilometres clicked slowly by the temperature started to rise and the cry went up from the gasping veterans to open all the doors!

No such problems for the junior relay crews who had a fantastic morning rowing, laughing, and racing each other all the way to the finish.

The junior members who took on the half-marathon distance individually were amazing throughout and got stronger as the finish line came into view.

“We’re delighted with how the morning went,” Tadhg Kelly from Flesk Valley said.

“There was a great atmosphere in the venue, and we are grateful to all the parents and Flesk Valley supporters who came along to encourage our young and not-so-young rowers. It was great too to see the members of the Order of Malta in attendance to offer their support, and the club would like to thank everyone who donated on the day.”

Tadhg also expressed his thanks to the underage coaches and committee members for looking after everyone during the event. He especially wanted to mention everyone at Celtic Steps and the Killarney Racecourse for facilitating the club and Workmens Rowing Club and Glenflesk GAA for the use of their equipment.

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