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Muckross Abbey and the strange story of John Drake

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By Sean Moriarty

The Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, is asking for the public’s help as he tries to piece together the mystery of man who came to live in the Muckross area in the 18th century.

When Muckross Abbey was unoccupied during the mid-18th century, a man known as John Drake made the abandoned building his home. He slept in a bed made from old coffin boards, in the recess of the Abbey’s fireplace, and wind-proofed the nearby window with earth and rubbish.

He never revealed his business, where he came from, or why he chose to live as his did and was met with equal amounts of curiosity and respect by locals.

“He was said to be under 40 years of age, refined in nature and 'scholarly' in appearance. He never discussed his past, his plans or his reasons for adopting this unusual abode,” Mayor Gleeson told the Killarney Advertiser. “He never asked for alms and was never known to eat in any dwelling other than his own. He had enough money to buy some food and indeed was known to give a halfpenny and his prayers to any person who seemed more destitute than himself.”

He lived in the Abbey for 11 years until one day he disappeared without trace.

“One day in late springtime, John was nowhere to be seen. Just as suddenly as he had arrived to the Abbey he had now disappeared. His 'bed' lay unruffled, but nothing else remained. John had gone quietly into the dark night and was never again seen in Muckross or heard of elsewhere,” added Cllr Gleeson. “The mystery of the unusual life of John Drake in Muckross remains just that - a mystery of a quiet and gentle man who arrived unannounced and departed without trace.”

Some years later a young woman arrived to Killarney looking for the man. Very little is known of the woman, she was reputed to be a foreigner and visited the Abbey and seen to be weeping at Darke’s fireside bed.

If any of our readers have information about John Drake or other curious stories send to them to sean@thekillarneyadvertiser.ie and we will publish some of the more quirky stories as well as pass any clues onto Mayor Gleeson.

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Gaelscoil pupils compete in Fleadh for the first time

By Michelle Crean It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the […]

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By Michelle Crean

It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the competition.

Muinteoir Treasa Uí Scannláin and Muinteoir Lisa Ni Iarlaithe prepared the children over the last two months on Thursday evenings after school.

For the competition 22 kids were entered in the Under 11 and 13 categories in the Comhra Gaeilge competition in Tralee.

Three of the Under 11s and three of the school’s Under 13s are now going forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan in Newcastle West on July 15.

“The standard was very high and it was our first time entering this competition. All of the children were representing Cill Airne Comhaltas,” Lisa said.

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Kilcummin has strong representation in Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí

Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb! The […]

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Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb!

The home of Kerry Comhaltas, the Dúchas Centre on the MTU campus in Tralee, was the host venue on the first weekend of the Fleadh, which accommodated the dancing competitions.

“We were spoiled with the spectacle of live dancing of the highest calibre accompanied by live music from accomplished musicians … food for the soul!” Derek O’Leary, Kilcummin CCE PRO, said.

“Much credit and thanks goes to the Moriarty School of Dancing, Mary, John and Adrian who represented Kilcummin CCE and prepared our teams to compete at the highest level.

“We also had such a great weekend in the singing and music competitions over the second weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Charraí, held in the Dúchas Centre and other areas of the MTU campus. All of our competitors performed to the highest standard in robust competition. Well done to all who competed and congratulations to all who go forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan, in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick from July 10 to 16.”

Kilcummin had strong representation throughout the dancing competition during the first weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí.

U12 Ladies 1st place and County Champions.

“Well done to our second U12 Ladies set who weren’t placed but danced beautifully.”

U12 Mixed 1st place & County Champions.
U12 mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Ladies & Mixed Half set 3rd place
U12-15 Ladies 3rd place
Senior mixed half set 1st place and County Champions
Over 35’s 1st Place & County Champions

Kilcummin also excelled in the music and singing competitions of the second weekend of the Fleadh.

Eoin Foley – Accordion 1st place
Eoin Foley – Melodeon 2nd place
Aisling O’Connor – 1st place – Ladies O18 English Singing
Liam Kerrisk – 1st place – 15-18 Melodeon
Michael Healy – Button accordion (12-15) 1st place
Michael Healy – Melodeon (12-15) 1st place
Sean Butler – Button Accordion (12-15) 2nd place
Colleen Anland and Michael Healy – Duets (12-15) 1st place
Seán Fleming – Kerry Comhaltas U15 History Project 1st place

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