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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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Eight month wait for a driving test in Killarney

A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at […]




A Killarney councillor is calling for action in an effort to reduce the driving test wait list in Killarney

The current wait list for a test in Killarney sits at eight months.

Cllr John O’Donoghue raised the issue at Monday’s full meeting of Kerry County Council.

He proposed that driving instructors should be employed to carry out the final test to reduce the current backlog.

At Monday’s meeting he asked that hat Kerry County Council would write to the Minister for Transport to ask him to consider giving driving instructors temporary powers to issue a temporary Driving Licence/Certificate of Competence to those on the waiting list for tests.

“The wait is currently far too long and the system is in danger of becoming completely overwhelmed,” he said.

“The huge waiting list for young drivers is well documented at this stage. In a case I am familiar with, a young person passed their theory test in January 2022 and he immediately applied for his mandatory 12 driving lessons. When these were completed, he applied for his driving test on the 2nd of December 2022. Some weeks ago, he still had not received an application to apply for his driving test. This wait is placing him and his family under considerable extra cost and stress which is completely unacceptable.”

In the course of his research into the matter Cllr O’Donoghue discovered that the next available date for a driving test in Killarney is May 25, 2024, while Tralee is June 3 2024.

“Bear in mind, these are only the dates on which you receive an invitation to book your test, the test itself will then be an estimated three to five weeks later.

“This is an appalling situation and one which needs to be rectified as a matter of urgency. I am proposing that driving instructors, which presumably are fully trained up on the rules of the road, be granted temporary powers to be allowed to issue temporary driving licences to young people. When the waiting list time has been reduced, I would still propose that these people sit the test as usual, but the current pressure needs to be alleviated as soon as possible. There is precedent as I believe that in the 1970s, a cohort in this country were issued driving licences without having sat a test as the wait time for the test was too long.”


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Ballymac charity vintage run on October 1

The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1. The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac. Registration […]




The Ballymac Vintage Club is hosting a classic car, tractor and Honda 50 run on October 1.

The run will leave from and return to the Halfway Bar, Ballymac.

Registration begins at 9:30am and sets off at 11am.

“There will be two separate routes with one for tractors and the other for cars and motorbikes. Proceeds on the day are in aid of Castleisland Day Care Centre and we’ll have plenty of spot prizes to giveaway too in the morning,” said the club’s PRO Kieran Glover.


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