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Michael’s feeling great at 108!

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By Michelle Crean

It was yet another very special birthday for Ireland's oldest man as Michael J O'Connor celebrated turning 108 on Wednesday!

And unlike the confines of COVID last year, Michael got to have a special celebration, a meal with his closest family and friends at his home in Muckross - and he even made a speech!

"I'm doing great," Michael told the Killarney Advertiser.

"It was strictly a family party, it's what I wanted. It wasn't an open house. There was no comparison to last year as everything was closed down."

Wednesday began with a visit from local priest Fr Kieran O'Brien followed by family and many many well wishers.

"You couldn't move, the room was full," he said, although his daughter Avril explained that it was all done in a safe socially distanced manner.

"I was tired [afterwards] but thankfully not as tired as I thought I'd be. I feel quite active this morning [Thursday]."

Micheal was born in Glencar in 1913 and wasn't expected to live past the age of six after contracting the Spanish Flu. He has also lived through the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War One and Two.

In February this year Michael received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Deenagh Torc Medical Practice, Reeks Gateway, and said then that he was looking forward to "life without fear".

He came to Killarney 40 years ago with his wife Joan, who sadly passed away in 2008.

He puts his longevity down to a daily glass of whiskey.

Up until four years ago - at the age of 104 - he was driving, and remembers his first car was a Model T Ford.

"I was driving cars from 1930 until 2017. The old Model T Ford had no gears, no accelerator and there was a throttle for slowing down and for normal driving." He also remembers driving a Volkswagen Jetta up until he stopped driving and never experienced power-steering.

Michael, who has featured in a number of television documentaries, was quite active and independent up until COVID hit 19 months ago.

These days he enjoys time at home with his family, good food, some daily exercise, plenty of rest and a glass of whiskey.

In his family speech he thanked those closest to him for their support saying "everyone has contributed to my happiness", and finished with some inspiring words.

"Every day is an exciting day and you learn something from it."

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No spare change – no problem, as charity embraces new technology

By Sean Moriarty With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier. For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With less and less people carrying lose change around, one local group have now embraced a new technology to make donating much easier.

For their annual Christmas fundraiser, the Killarney Conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society will have a special collection bucket that will allow supporters to use their bank card to make a donation.

The Society’s annual churchgate collection will be held on the weekend of December 11/12 at places of worship in the town and surrounding areas. This year’s collection has be renamed as ‘Giving Sunday’ and makes a return after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s fundraiser.

“We are moving towards a cashless society,” explained Killarney Conference President Breda O’Dwyer. “You can tap and swipe your card to make a donation.”

Breda added that they are hoping to have the buckets ready by next week in time for the collection.

She said the local conference of the St Vincent De Paul Society has seen a marked increase in the number of families it is helping mainly caused by the increase in the cost of fuel and home heating products.

The annual St Vincent De Paul Society’s Christmas Jumper Day, in association with Radio Kerry is scheduled for December 10.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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