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London Kerry Persons of the Year 2021 announced

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Portmagee sisters Shilagh and Teresa McCarthy have been named as joint Kerry Persons of the Year 2021 by the Kerry Association London (KAL).

The McCarthy sisters have been selected to mark their huge contribution to the Irish communities in London and Northamptonshire.

Shilagh is the eldest of seven children and Teresa is the youngest. Growing up in beautiful fishing village of Portmagee, the core values dear to many Irish people runs deeply in both girls.
Shilagh and Teresa will be presented with the Dennis Reidy Memorial Trophy at the association’s gala dinner dance at The Hilton Hotel, Wembley on Friday October 22.

They will be joined on the evening by their family and friends and contingents from both Portmagee and Northampton.

Shilagh has made a huge impact on the Irish community in London and was one of the founding members of the reformed Kerry Association in 2000. Nominated secretary, she steered the association for the first 11 years, dedicating herself to helping Kerry people in the capital. She was also a vital part of the Kerry Kingdom Gaels club (KKG), and also held a leading role in the London GAA supporters club for more than five years, raising thousands for all the London GAA clubs. She also played a huge role in the London Rose of Tralee Centre.

Her sister Teresa McCarthy also played for many years for KKG and later moved to Northampton where for the past 15 years, she and her husband Anthony have run a successful Irish pub called The Swan and Helmet. They are hugely involved with The Sons of Erin GFC in Northampton.

In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, Teresa was forced to close the doors of the pub. They decided to transform the pub into an emergency food bank, which proved to be a lifeline for many struggling families in the area.

They soon realised the community’s needs were far worse than they had originally thought. The food bank has now gone from strength to strength and Teresa has now founded The McCarthy-Dixon Foundation, a multi-faceted, registered charity that offers a range of services dedicated to supporting the local and Irish community. They focus on mental health and well-being, supporting a variety of local people and cultures, working with people with disabilities and bringing the whole community together.

To date they have supported over 50,000 local people and at the height of the pandemic were packing and delivering more than 1,150 food hampers a week. Over the past 15 years Teresa has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for local causes, hosting and organising countless festivals, community events and fundraisers.

Teresa was awarded both Northamptonshire Community Person of the Year 2020 and the Northamptonshire Inspirational Woman of the Year in 2021 along with many other community awards over the years. Teresa is described as a real gem in the Northampton community, and both sisters will be recognised by the KAL for going above and beyond to help her local communities during their time in the UK.

The McCarthy’s will be presented with the award at the KAL’s annual gala dinner in what will be a fantastic evening of craic and ceol, with Daithí Ó Sé as MC for the night and appearances from Barry Owen and other special guests.

Tickets for the Kerry Association London dinner and dance are available from Secretary Margaret Rochford on 0044 77 68138709, by emailing info@kerryassociationlondon.org or getting in touch with any committee member.

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BIG CELEBRATION

Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions […]

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Well-known Killarney man, Donncha Crowley, who lives in Woodlawn Park, was joined by his friends and staff from Centra, Muckross Road, to help him celebrate his very special 50th birthday on Saturday. Donncha is a keen cyclist, and well-known for his mastership of Suduko, and expertise on puzzles and general knowledge quizzes, winning many competitions down through the years. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

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Musician Liam O’Connor back and busier than ever

By Sean Moriarty Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions. On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions.

On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig in London.

Liam and his family played at the Kerry County Council organised ‘ANSEO’ concert in North Kerry that was run to coincide with the Listowel Harvest Festival last weekend.

It was his first live show since he played at St Brendan’s College, Killarney when he shared the stage with special guest, former Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt. That event took place on March 11, 2020, the night before the country entered its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘ANSEO’ series of concerts signalled the return of live music in Kerry and the O’Connor family shared the stage with other local musicians like Tim O’Shea and his Afro Trad Ireland group.

“People were delighted, they were mad for it, they were obviously missing it,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser. “But they are not letting go just yet, they are still a bit hesitant.”

This Sunday Liam heads to London were he will help Dan Tim O’Sullivan steer sheep over Southwark Bridge (see page 36 for more on this story).

To cap an exceptionally busy period for the local accordion player, he has joined forces with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame. Brennan and O’Connor will release a new single – ‘Strong in Numbers’ on Friday next, October 1.

They previously performed together at a concert in the Friary in 2017.

“It was such a positive experience for all of us we just had to repeat it,” he added. “So not only have we done this recording of ‘Strong in Numbers’ but we are planning to do the Friary again later this year. After that, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, the ‘ANSEO’ series visits Killarney on Sunday night.

The Fair Hill car park will host two shows featuring: The Gleneagle Concert Band; Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin; The Small Hours; The Rising; Cathal Flaherty and Truly Diverse.

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