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“My life is gradually getting better – I feel safe again”




I never thought about emigrating to another country.

In Kyiv, Ukraine, I had everything I needed: my own PR company, which I have been building for 12 years, interesting and important projects, a beautiful apartment in which I recently finished renovations, my family, my children, my favourite places - cafes, botanical gardens, Opera house. I just bought two new dresses for spring and ordered a frame for a new piece of art. I had tickets to the theatre and plane tickets to Stockholm, where my son and I were to fly on vacation.

My life was bright and full of meaning but then on February 24 at 5am it changed unequivocally. The sounds of explosions and sirens became commonplace. Yes, as if you lived all your life to the sound of an air alarm. I lost sleep. I lived in constant stress and fear for my family and friends.

Three weeks after the start of the war, I found myself in a distant country - Ireland.

All my previous life fitted in one small green suitcase. And here we are with children in winter clothes in +14 degrees Celsius in Killarney.

Thus began a new period of my life. Now my temporary home is here in Killarney and the locals have become my family in these weeks.

The first thing that catches your eye here today is the incredible number of shades of green. When you go out into the National Park, your eyes are simply dazzled by the shining green, in the shadows I see rich green, and in the distance - green-brown mountains rise. Incredible beauty.

Here in Killarney, the air is so clean and the nature is so beautiful that if I were an artist, I would paint my best work here and sell it at auction.

When we arrived at Dublin Airport, when we were distributed in different regions, all the people said that we were very lucky to get to Killarney. Now I understand why.


The people in Killarney are wonderful. All locals accepted us, Ukrainian refugees as relatives. The first days at the Innisfallen Hotel many locals came to us and brought us basic things such as children's toys and clothes. It was very appropriate, because we all came in winter clothes, in which we left our houses when the war began.

Local photographer Marie Carroll O'Sullivan took care of us. Mother's Day became special for us. Marie and her friends prepared a surprise for us and brought flowers, sweets and gifts. Local scouts came to us with flowers, and neighbours from Fossa - with cakes. For two weeks, many people came to us to ask how we were doing and how they could help and offer a job.

Such sincere care from strangers has become a very effective factor in the adaptation of children and adults. All Ukrainians who have lived in constant anxiety and fear since the beginning of the war were finally able to breathe calmly. We felt really safe around good people. The local Killarney community needs to know that they have given us more than just the things we need, they have given us a sense of family.


I was amazed at how easy it is to get into the principal's office. We arrived in Killarney on Wednesday, and on Friday I was standing on the doorstep of St Brendan’s College. Mr Sean Coffey listened to me and immediately agreed to take our boys to school. On Monday, my son and his new friends continued their education in Killarney.

The staff at the school are very hospitable and despite many new things in the organisation of education, our children go to school every morning with interest and joy.

Later, all our children joined education in different schools in Fossa and Killarney.

Our education system differs from the Irish one in that Ukrainian children study for 11 years and all our schools are mixed - for boys and girls. The school curriculum is tougher, there are many subjects, few sports and no practices at all. Our lessons last 45 minutes and you do not need to wear a uniform.
So far, most of our children enjoy a two-week Easter break and a short day on Wednesday. They are especially affected by the fact that it is possible for everyone to study for another extra year.


Despite the fact that not all Ukrainians who came to Kerry know English, everyone who wanted has already got a job. It is good that we are in a tourist region with many job vacancies. Our women are already working in various hotels and cafes, and men - on the construction site. After all, I now have an interesting job. I remember my journalistic past and write texts again.

In three weeks I already have many acquaintances here with whom you can talk and ask for advice. It is most pleasant for me when I walk around the town, and one of my acquaintances shouts "Hello, Natalia". This town is gradually becoming my home.

My life is gradually getting better, I feel safe again. And I dream of only one thing - that the war in Ukraine is over so that I can return home.

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Proinsias says farewell to Gaelscoil after 33 years

By Michelle Crean For over three decades one face has been constant at Gaelscoil Faithleann but today (Friday) it all changes as the school’s first and only Principal to date […]



By Michelle Crean

For over three decades one face has been constant at Gaelscoil Faithleann but today (Friday) it all changes as the school’s first and only Principal to date says a fond farewell.

It’s a day full of mixed emotions for Proinsias Mac Curtain who was appointed the school’s Principal on September 1, 1989.

Today, the school’s 245 children and staff will host a number of events at the school for him which are sure to stir a few emotions.

It follows a special Mass on Innisfallen Island on Saturday morning as 150 children, staff members, parents council and Board of Management members boarded a boat for the occasion. And the location was apt as the school is called after the island, Proinsias explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was lovely, it was meaningful as the school is called after Innisfallen Island. I’ve been blessed with the school community down through the years. It was a pleasure to work with school staff and parents, Boards of Management – but the most important is the children. I’m proud of them and their achievements. They are great children and I’ll miss them.”

He said the school will be in great hands as Lisa Ni Iarlaithe, who has been at the school since 1991, takes over as Principal.

He also praised the hardworking staff.

“I’ll miss it but I’m comfortable to step back as the school is in excellent hands.”

Proinsias is originally from Tournafulla Co Limerick. He began his career as a teacher in Scoil Iognáid in the centre of Galway city, the largest Gaelscoil in the country at the time.

Shortly before he died his father Jerry, who loved to holiday for a few days a year in Killarney, had heard of a new school opening here and phoned Proinsias to tell him. The rest they say is history.

He says his love of Irish language was inspired by Tournafulla Primary School Principal Liam O Loineacháin and in St Ita’s College Abbeyfeale by Jim Tierney and the late Johnny Nelligan.

And although three decades is a long time, Proinsias says it flew by and that he has seen many changes over the years. The first is seeing the children of former pupils coming to school. The second is the advancement of technology – some good and some not so good!

“The biggest change was the growth of technology, the changeover to the whiteboard and the use of devices which makes it challenging for parents. It’s wonderful you can access so much, but there are advantages and disadvantages.”

He added a huge thanks to his wife Karen who supported him down through the years when he was out late at meetings, adding that she was “very patient”.

He also thanked Sean O Luanaigh.

“He has been my chairperson since the start and has been such a tremendous support, help and guidance down through the years.”

In retirement he plans to spend more time with his family including his three children Ruadhán, Meadhbh and Cormac.

He also plans to get more involved in Beaufort Tidy Towns as well as the Annals of Innisfallen project.

“It’s always been an interest of mine. I also plan to relax for a few weeks, make more time for family, and I look forward to playing more trad music, bee keeping, gardening and travel.”


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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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