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Mary makes history as The Mon’s first ever female Principal




After months of speculation as to ‘who would it be’ to replace popular Principal Colm O Súilleabháin at the Mon NS, all bets were on Mary Brosnan, an existing teacher at the school.

Well-known for her "zesty" and "up for the challenge of whatever life throws at her" personality, evidently displayed on the stage at Dr Crokes Strictly Come Dancing amongst many other events, it came as no surprise that Mary Brosnan would in fact ‘go for it’!

“I really had to think about it Marie. I thought to myself what would I be doing going for such a position with five children and my youngest just three?" Mary explained.

"After careful consideration it soon became a given. I had held the position of Deputy Principal for the past 10 years [out of 16] at The Mon so I knew the school inside out. I worked so closely with Colm to achieve the fabulous school that The Mon is today. Marie, I knew I would always have five children but I also knew I would always love The Mon. The support amongst my family and friends and my colleagues was fantastic and I was lucky enough to receive the advice and time from people within my field before the interview. This was so helpful to me and I was absolutely delighted to get the position.”

Ok, let’s hear a little bit more about Mary Brosnan, I smiled.

Mary gulped and took a sip of water from her pink flask that read ‘Principal’. “One of our SNAs, Geraldine Pigott, gifted me this on my first day and I actually use it all the time,” Mary laughed. I wanted to use it as a prop in Mary’s accompanying photo but she was having none of it!


Mary Brosnan was born in Killarney but soon moved to Tralee as her dad worked in the bank at a time where bank managers were moved regularly. From Tralee to Middleton and back to Killarney, Mary’s education was at St Oliver's NS followed by Presentation, she then repeated her Leaving Cert as one of the first of 10 girls at The Sem before heading on to UCC to study Science - which she hated.

“I missed the classroom so much. I knew then that I wanted to teach. I spent three years in Mary I before teaching in St Anthony’s Ballyknock in Cork. When a position arose at The Mon I was delighted at the thoughts of returning to Killarney. Would you believe I have never taught girls. It has always been boys schools apart from a few weeks college placement.”

“What has been your favourite class to teach Mary?”

“Initially, I thought that it was Junior/Senior Infants. I loved teaching the children how to read, a skill that would stay with them for life, but then when I moved to The Mon, I found Fifth and Sixth Class equally as rewarding. It wasn’t just about teaching, it was about educating in life skills as well as academically. These are impressionable years and there is a similar innocence too,” Mary replied.

“So what’s changed for you Mary now that you are seated in the Principal's chair?"

“Everything has changed but nothing has changed if that makes sense Marie. The school is exactly as it was on a day to day basis but we miss Colm alright. We are delighted for him as new Principal at St Oliver’s NS. He has fantastic forward thinking skills but he needed a bigger platform I think. He has a brilliant mind. The timing might have been a little off, given he doesn’t get to enjoy our brand new school that he carefully masterminded, but when is the timing ever right Marie?” Mary replied. If it’s for you it won’t pass you came to mind.

The Mon NS educates 40 different nationalities but as Mary says herself, "they are all Killarney boys, and they are all Mon boys". There are 16 teachers, six SNAs, Secretary Alice and Caretaker Tadhg, and between them all they educate 190 pupils from Second to Sixth Class. It’s a big ship to steer but it didn’t seem like a big deal to Mary. It comes naturally to her.

As I left the Principal's office, we passed by the outdoor classroom and Dott’s garden, one of the new additions to the school. It really is impressive even on a cold and wet November morning. Complete with an outdoor blackboard, weatherproof seating and sheltered by a sturdy gazebo, only that it was pelting rain we might have taken Mary’s photo there.

Breaking boundaries, Mary was one of the first females to complete a Leaving Cert at an all boys school across the road at The Sem, and Mary has taught nothing other than boys throughout her career. In her personal life Mary and her husband Eoin are blessed amongst women with five daughters; Annie, Elizabeth, Jane, Susie and Maryann, but quite the opposite in her career as the first ever female Principal in the history of The Mon NS.

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New free local fitness group to motivate people back to health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness  Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a […]




By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a free health and fitness group. 

Our primary vehicle is our gym but we do a lot of other stuff, too, like:

* Train kids how to exercise in schools
* Helping frontline workers with their mindset
* Supporting local fitness events and teams
* Running fun social events in the community
* Raise funds for local charities

We’ve won awards for this stuff, but the real reward is moving the Killarney community back towards health. So today, I’m thrilled to share a free Facebook group: ‘Fitness, Nutrition & Health in Killarney’ with you.
Visit this link to join:

In that group, we’ll share helpful posts, tips, and support for everyone, whether you exercise at Activate or not. We’re also welcoming other health and fitness practitioners to join the group and help people find valuable and sensible advice around health and fitness.

When you join, Facebook will ask you a few questions, then my team will be around to support you and give you stuff to help.

If you have questions about fitness, health, longevity, nutrition, or exercise, go ahead and ask! If you have answers, please share! Let’s get some positive momentum going in Killarney!

What’s the deal with motivation?

I was having a discussion with a new client the other day and it came up that they sometimes feel a lack of motivation to keep working out. I know many of you feel like this sometimes, so I thought I would write about it today.

I really believe in discipline, as motivation is fleeting – but we’ll address this anyway. There are a few things that you can do to fool-proof the system. Here’s five ways.

1. Find an accountability partner:

When it comes to working out, having someone to hold you accountable can be a huge motivator. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or even a fitness coach, knowing that someone is counting on you to show up for your workout can help you stay on track.

2. Set realistic goals:

Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated, but it’s important to make sure they are realistic. If your goal is too lofty, you may find yourself getting discouraged when you don’t see results as quickly as you’d like. However, if your goals are achievable and realistic, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout plan and see the results you want.

3. Find a workout routine you enjoy:

If you dread your workouts, it’s going to be very difficult to stay motivated. However, if you find an exercise routine that you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. There are so many different types of workouts out there, so take some time to experiment and find one that fits your needs and interests. I feel a key facet many of us in the health and fitness industry miss regularly is making sure people are always engaged and challenged, so it remains fun to work out!

4. Reward yourself:

This one sounds a little weird, but for some, it can really work. One way to stay motivated is to reward yourself after setting a goal and reaching it. Whether it’s your favourite snack or a new piece of workout gear, treating yourself to something special can help keep you on track.

5. Get enough sleep:

This is the one thing we all hear that’s drilled into our brains – but for good reason! It’s important to get enough sleep when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. When you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy for your workouts and you’ll be less likely to skip them. So make sure to get plenty of rest each night!

Following these tips can help you stay motivated to workout, even when it feels like a struggle. Just remember to be patient, set realistic goals, and find an exercise routine that you enjoy. With a little effort, you can reach your fitness goals in no time!

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Irish food only for Lisa’s September challenge

Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself. Artist and food activist […]




Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself.

Artist and food activist Lisa Fingleton plans the unusual action as she will eat only food grown in Ireland for the entire month.

That means no sugar, lemons, olive oil, or coffee with the challenge designed to highlight issues with Irish food security.

In the seven years since Lisa founded the 30-Day Local Food Challenge, food supply chains have been hit by a succession of market shocks highlighting Lisa’s concerns with increasing urgency.

From seed shortages caused by Brexit to the global market shock of COVID-19 to potential shortages caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, to the recent conversation about the need to reduce the Irish National Herd in line with carbon emissions targets, Lisa says there has never been a more important time to talk about Irish food security.

“This year in particular in Europe we are seeing the impact of war on food and the global reliance on Ukraine as an important wheat producer,” said the former Kerry County Council Artist in Residence who lives in Ballybunion.

“This has shown us more than ever just how fragile our food systems are. We need to focus on building sustainable and resilient food systems on the island of Ireland. This year we are encouraging people to do one local meal a day so they can make it really simple and have Irish porridge for breakfast or really elaborate with a meal grown in your own garden.”

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