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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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World Rally Champion Phil Mills’ Killarney visit

Former World co-driving champion Phil Mills will be one of the guests of honour at a special Killarney and District Motor Club event next month. The club is celebrating Prodrive’s […]




Former World co-driving champion Phil Mills will be one of the guests of honour at a special Killarney and District Motor Club event next month.

The club is celebrating Prodrive’s association with the Rally of the Lakes on October 14.

The legendary British motorsport preparation firm was responsible for building some of the most iconic associated with the local rally.

The celebration, which will raise funds for the Jack and Jill Foundation, will be hosted by the voice of Irish motorsport Alan ‘Plum’ Tyndall.

Welshman Mills, who won the 2003 World Rally Championship, alongside Petter Solberg has confirmed his attendance at the Killarney Racecourse-based event.

He is just one of many superstars attending the showcase.
“Accompanying the stars will be a collection of iconic Prodrive machinery, ranging from the BMW E30 M3, all the way through to the Subaru Group A and World Rally Cars the 1990s and early 2000s,” said Killarney and District Motor Club vice chairman and organiser Mike Shea.

“All proceeds of this event will go directly to the Jack & Jill foundation helping provide support and special care to children across the country and is a once in a lifetime event.”

This event is in association with: Lyons of Limerick; C.Wharton Tool Hire Ltd; BG Motors Ltd; Castleisland Tyre Centre; Aherns Motor Group; Reen’s Rathmore Peugeot; KC Print and Moriarty’s Central Car Sales


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National Park Autumn talks series 2023

The National Parks and Wildlife Service will run a series of talks on Thursday nights in October and November. Beginning on October 5 until November 16 the six-meeting programme will […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service will run a series of talks on Thursday nights in October and November.

Beginning on October 5 until November 16 the six-meeting programme will cover everything for the nature within the national park to the history of Killarney and its surrounding areas.

The opening lecture, by the NPWS’s Eamon Meskell will tell the story of the White-Tailed eagle in Killarney.

The following week, local historian, Owen O’Shea will deliver a speech on the Civil War in Kerry.

The final October talk is scheduled for October and its topic is the fungi growing in the park.

The lectures resume in November, on November 2, John Breen will talk about the various ant species in the park, the following week will feature a talk on the McShain family’s contribution to the town.

The final meeting, on November 16 covers the Blasket Islands, past present and future.

All events take place at Killarney House at 8pm – free admission but limited seating.

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