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

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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!

CAREER

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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Killarney man to launch second Irish history book

By Sean Moriarty Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2. O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2.

O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain recognition for the newly formed Irish republic in New York in 1919 in his latest book ‘Revolution at the Waldorf: America and the Irish War of Independence’.

Without American recognition and funding the young Irish Government was sure to fail against the might of the British Empire and the book tells the story of how de Valera and Ireland-based Michael Collins – much to the defiance of the British authorities at Dublin Castle – got the new State off the ground.

O’Sullivan grew up in New Street and is now based in Beaufort after a career in finance took him all over the world including Dublin, London, New York and France.

“Killarney is the natural place for me to launch the book,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“There will be an interesting mix of people there.”

O’Sullivan Greene published his first book, ‘Crowdfunding the Revolution: The First Dáil Loan and the Battle for Irish Independence’, in 2020.

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Caring group craft charity blankets

By Michelle Crean One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity. Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members […]

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By Michelle Crean

One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity.

Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members of Kilcummin Community Care worked together to make blankets for service users on the Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus.

“Each blanket is assigned as a personal gift to the clients using the Cancer Link Bus and is kept by them,” Kate Fleming, Chairperson of Kilcummin Community Care, said.

The knitting of the squares to make the blankets began at a gathering in the Rose Hotel in 2018. It was a gathering of different volunteer groups.

The Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus were requesting knitted squares to make blankets for the clients who were using their facilities, she explained.

“Kilcummin Community Care were knitting at the time, so it was decided to help out this worthy cause. We received donations of wool from people in the parish and surrounding areas. Kilcummin ICA also got involved in the efforts.”

During the two years of COVID-19, members of both organisations continued to knit and are still knitting to the present day.

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