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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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Street Orienteering added to Wander Wild programme

By Sean Moriarty A new event has been added to the extensive Wander Wild Festival next weekend. Kerry Orienteers will run a family-friendly Urban Orienteering event as part of the […]




By Sean Moriarty

A new event has been added to the extensive Wander Wild Festival next weekend.

Kerry Orienteers will run a family-friendly Urban Orienteering event as part of the festival on March 25.

Participants can start at the Killarney Plaza Hotel Basecamp anytime from 2-4pm on Saturday.

Orienteering is an exciting outdoor adventure sport which involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass. And the Wander Wild Street Orienteering will have courses suitable for all ages and abilities.

“The aim is to navigate in sequence between a set of control points and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace. If you need any help or tips members of Kerry Orienteering Club will be available to assist during the day,” said organiser Brendan O’Brien.

Two routes are available: ‘Wander’ – 2km (easy, wheelchair and buggy accessible) and Wild – 4km (moderate), and bookings can be made via:


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Quiz helps to fund Easter pilgrimage

A popular annual table quiz, which raises funds to send Kerry children and young adults with special needs to Lourdes, will be held in Killarney next week. The Tim Moore […]




A popular annual table quiz, which raises funds to send Kerry children and young adults with special needs to Lourdes, will be held in Killarney next week.

The Tim Moore Memorial Table Quiz will be held in the Gleneagle Hotel at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 29.

The entry fee for tables of four is €40 and it is €20 for teams of four schoolchildren with great prizes up for grabs on the night.

All proceeds will go to the Irish Pilgrimage Trust which organises trips to Lourdes every Easter for children and young adults with additional needs.

They will be brought on the pilgrimage on Easter Sunday and all the volunteer helpers and medical staff that will accompany them will cover for their own travel costs.

The annual quiz, which is running for close on 30 years, is dedicated to the memory of the late Killarney accountant Tim Moore who was a tireless campaigner for the Irish Pilgrimage Trust. He passed away, suddenly, in 2002 and his friends have continued the quiz as a tribute to his legacy and to ensure the charity continues to be supported.

It hasn’t been held for the past two years due to the pandemic but all involved are thrilled that it is back for 2023.

Kieran Coffey, the retired principal of Fossa National School, is one of those who spearhead the Kerry pilgrimage to Lourdes and he has appealed to the public to support the very important fundraiser which helps offset some of the costs involved.

“We are delighted to be in a position to continue Tim’s great work and to dedicate the quiz to him. The event is always so well supported by the people of the greater Killarney area and we greatly appreciate that generosity,” said Kieran.


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