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Passing of one of Killarney’s most-prominent business men

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Business man John ‘Richard’ Hilliard, who died on Wednesday in Heatherlea Nursing Home, was a man ahead of his time.

Mr Hilliard was one of the true old-stock of Killarney. His family built a retail empire that took over most of High St and Main St, including a department store where Mac’s Restaurant and Sheahan’s Centra now sits.

Across the street, where both the Kilkenny Shop and MD O’Sheas are now, they operated their original store and bicycle shop.

On High St, to the rear of current-day Penneys was the location of the family’s Tuf shoe factory from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Indeed, the multi-story car park to the rear of Penneys is officially referred to as Hilliard House and the lane to the store’s side is called Hilliard’s Lane. There was a small blue cottage on the laneway where the Hilliards sold excess shoe stock at discounted prices to locals.

EMPLOYMENT

 The shoe factory gave employment to hundreds of Killarney people over the years and offered unique working and payment conditions in its early days.

Employees were paid a rate for each pair of shoes that they made; a good craftsman could make two pairs a day but they could choose their own working hours once their targets were met.

The factory closed in July 1985, after a bitter six-week strike over proposed redundancies. The company needed to cut the workforce to compete with cheaper EU imports.

Speaking in the Dáil in June 1985, local TD John O’Leary, who was seeking Government intervention on the strike said: “This industry was started by people making handmade shoes in 1881. In 1936 the present premises were built and occupied by a firm known as Hilliard and Palmer who were most successful in the manufacture of footwear. In 1963-64 this company was taken over by G.B. Britten and operated under G.B. Britten for a few years. Then a company known as Tuf Shoes, Killarney, was formed and the company has been trading since then as Tuf Shoes, Killarney. I understand that this industry reached its peak in the late ’60s and the ’70s.”

HISTORY

The family are steeped in the history of Killarney, his grandfather owned the Lake Hotel and Richard grew up in Coolclogher House on the Mill Road, nowadays a popular wedding and holiday home rental venue. Richard was a keen historian too and this was acknowledged in a statement issued by St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Killarney.

“Richard has been a mainstay of our church, a great churchman, and of this community, a great one for the local history and a prominent public figure in his heyday and a businessman of the town. His passing leaves a gaping hole in the character of the community; the end of an era. His knowledge and reminiscences were always a lively part of any gathering. One of his notable achievements was being an oarsman on the historic re-enactment in 1963 to mark the 1400th anniversary of the crossing of St Columba from Ireland to Iona in a sea-going currach; he gave a memorable lecture and slide show in our church during the Killarney Mountain Festival in 2018.”

Richard is survived by his children, David, Adrian, and Audrey (Australia), daughters-in-law Louise and Valerie, son-in-law Bo, grandchildren Sarah, Robert, Rodney, Danielle, Emma, Jonathan, and great-grandchildren Aiden, Ava, Aoife, Rhys, and his sisters Raymonde and Cecily. He was predeceased by his wife Pearl.

A private funeral will take place in St Mary’s Church of Ireland today (Friday) afternoon at 2pm, followed by burial in Killeagy Cemetery, Muckross.

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The secret is in the book!

By Michelle Crean  The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential. Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

The secret to finding your true happiness is all in a new book which will guide readers to unlock their potential.

Brazilian native Michelle Hadad, who moved to Ireland 14 years ago has written ‘The Secret Box: Concave and Convex’, a 432 page book which addresses the issues of suicide and develops into two different narratives.

It is also a follow up to her previous work ‘The Secret Box…Finding the Key’, a 192 page paperback launched by Michael Healy-Rae TD and reviewed by now retired judge James O’Connor, in October 2017.

Michelle, who studied adult psychology and is a NLP practitioner who encourages clients to transform limiting self-beliefs, explains that this version continues the story of Maria from the first book.

In the first book, the reader compares and contrasts their own life experiences with those of Maria and ask themselves the very question posed at the end of the book in the final chapter or ‘Padlock 13’ – “who are you?”

“Readers are outside the box, they see their own stories – that’s when we judge others,” Michelle told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It is fiction and the story is in two versions, the positive is bigger than the negative. There is always hope regardless of pain.”

She added that people need to forget about what others think, and focus on their own values and traditions.

“It’s a self help book, it doesn’t matter what people think of us, life’s too short. I’m motivating people in a positive way because of my NLP and psychology qualification.”

However, she emphasised that readers don’t have to have read the first book to understand the second one.

“Maria is the leading figure and there’s a few characters from book one but you don’t have to read that to get book two.”

She added that she’s thankful to everyone who helped her along the way.

“I have been blessed to have met so many people to help with my books.”

Both books are available from O’Connor’s Centra, The Reeks and Horans Health Store on Beech Road.

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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