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Missing Christmas: One London-Killarney family’s disappointment

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LONDON: Muckross man John F O'Mahony, with his wife Michelle and twins Ronan and Aoife. Photo: Ginger Nut With A Camera

 

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By Sean Moriarty

It was a Christmas like no other for so many Killarney families. It was even more difficult for those living abroad and unable to return to Kerry for the festive season but sacrifices had to be made to protect the health of those both at home and abroad.

One London-based Muckross family, John. F O’Mahony and his wife Michelle, who have newborn twins Ronan and Aoife, explained their decision-making process to the Killarney Advertiser.

It is exactly one year since they set foot on Kerry soil and it could be at least another six months - maybe more - before they do so again.

Usually they would make it home to Killarney “at least half a dozen times a year”, but their annual spring break was ended by the first national lockdowns on each side of the Irish Sea.

Although things opened up slightly through the summer months, Michelle was in the late stages of her pregnancy and unable to travel. John did not want to leave her alone for any extended period at this time.

Instead they turned their attention to a possible Christmas trip. The twins were born on October 24 and by Christmas they should have been able for the challenges of a flight or a ferry crossing.
That is until the health situation deteriorated again in both countries.

“The decision was made for us once the number of cases picked up,” John told the Killarney Advertiser.

“At the time things were a lot worse here [in the UK] than there, it was a difficult decision to accept at the time but we had to do the sensible thing. We did not want to be the people who landed into the country and caused a spike in cases."

John’s father Brendan, who lives in the Muckross area, has yet to meet his two latest grandchildren although technology like Zoom and WhatsApp keeps the two sides of the family in touch.

There was an additional difficulty for John, who is 10 years in London, and his son Aaron Morris.

“It was the first time since I came here that I could not get home in May for Aaron’s birthday, and he is of the age where he could get over to us a few times a year,” added John. "We are not looking for sympathy. This is just an example of the reality for many people in 2020 and 2021. We are staying put in London until it's safer to travel, being part of the solution instead of being part of the problem."

 

 

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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Time to get your skates on!

By Sean Moriarty People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline. A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council. Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people […]

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By Sean Moriarty

People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline.

A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council.

Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people of the town to have their say.

It is proposed to build the park on land adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with help and support from the KDYS.

“In 2017 a group of skateboard enthusiasts approached me, they had no designated safe area to enjoy their sport. Sport is vital for youths, stakeboarding increases metabolism, improves balance and enhances coordination use,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport. I commend Kerry County Council, management, engineers and the planning team for getting the project to this stage, it’s now up to the people of Killarney to have their say. It’s vital positive submissions are lodged by Wednesday, August 25,”

Submissions can be lodged to the Playground Unit, Finance Dept, Kerry County Council.

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