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The people of Killarney ‘were there at the worst moment in my life and helped ease the pain in extraordinary ways’

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AN AMERICAN visitor who tragically lost his wife in an accident in Killarney last month has expressed his thanks to the people of the town who rallied to his side. Don Theiler has written to Killarney Gardaí paying tribute to the many locals who supported him.

Mr Theiler told the Gardai and the community: “You were there at the worst moment in my life and helped ease the pain in extraordinary ways, most especially with the selfless help of some wonderful people.”

Mr Theiler and his wife Janet had been on holiday in Ireland and were spending their last day in Killarney before returning to the US when Janet tragically lost her life in a cycling accident in the Gap of Dunloe. “We were concluding our trip and arrived In Killarney on the evening of May 29 with a day to spend in Killarney before departing for the United States early on the morning of the 31st,” said Mr Theiler.

“We decided to rent bikes on the 30th and see the sites on the lakes in Killarney National Park and the Gap of Dunloe. All was going well until Janet rounded an extremely sharp turn on the very narrow road in Dunloe Gap and struck a trailer full of lambs being pulled by a truck. She was killed in the accident.”

What followed was an extraordinary outpouring of kindness and help from everyone he encountered following this tragedy, especially Killarney Gardai, added Mr Theiler. “The police, every one of them, were gentle, thoughtful and considerate in the manner they dealt with my friend Roy and me. As this unfolded, I figured we would have to deal with a bureaucracy which may try to be helpful; but, had a job to do. I expected they would do just enough and a maybe a little bit more to help these Americans deal with this devastating event and get back to the United States. How wrong I was.”

Mr Theiler stated the Gardai “went above and beyond what anybody would reasonably expect in assisting” the family.

“They provided transportation to meet our every need, including a long trip to Cork for the cremation of the body so that we could take it back on the plane with us on Friday, June 2, only three days after the accident,” said Mr Theiler.

“They also took us back up to the site of the accident so that my stepdaughter Jennifer, who came out to help me, could see where her mother had died. They picked us up and dropped us off at the airport and anywhere else we needed to go. At the airport when Jennifer arrived, they provided a separate room where we could meet and grieve. They helped make travel arrangements and helped cancel commitments and flights that had been made previously.

Mr Theiler also thanked others in the community who showed kindness. “Greta Doyle and her husband at the Algret B and B provided rooms for Jennifer and myself as we made arrangements and would not accept any payment,” he said. “I asked the police if there was a quiet pub where my friend Roy and I could get a pint. I couldn’t eat but I did need something to dull the pain and shock. Gavin proprietor of The Speakeasy Bar made sure we had space in a quiet back corner of his establishment where we could have a drink and grieve without being disturbed every night we were in Killarney. Almost needless to say we did not pay for the pints. Gavin came in on Thursday, his night off just to wish us well as we prepared to return to the states the next morning.

“I was finally able to get some food down on Thursday evening and the police arranged for us to eat in a private corner of Bricin Restaurant and Boxty House, one of your fine restaurants downtown. Again when we went to pay for the meal, we were informed that it was on the house. By this time I was so overwhelmed I did not get the name of the manager this restaurant that treated us so well.”

Mr Theiler added: “Michael O’Shea, the director from O’Shea’s Funeral Home, was unfailingly considerate and helpful in many ways. I was very impressed by the manner in which he handled the business end of this difficult process. He helped to make sure that we were able to handle all of the steps needed to allow us to carry my wife’s remains home with us 48 hours after the accident. When it came to billing he handed me a hand written note and told me to pay it when I could. He did not even ask me for any contact information.

“People we did not know placed flowers at the accident site. It touched my heart deeply to see this tribute to a wonderful woman that they did not know.”

Mr Theiler added: “Immediately after the accident, my feelings were that I wanted to get out of Ireland and never return. By the time we got on the plane to make the sad trip back to our home, less than 64 hours after the accident, I looked forward to returning to your wonderful city to thank each of you who so thoughtfully opened yourselves to us in such a selfless and generous way. We would like to visit and celebrate the generosity and thoughtfulness of the people of Killarney, including the individuals mentioned above, and most of all the following police who directly helped us in this dark time in our lives: Brendan O’Donovan, Denis O’Mahony, Chris Manton and Leo Randles.

“Thank you Killarney you will be forever in our hearts. As I told Leo and Brendan on the afternoon before we left, I have never spent a more remarkable two and a half days under the most terrible of circumstances.”

Superintendent Flor Murphy of Killarney Gardaí said he was proud of his members who “went beyond what was expected of them to help in what were very tragic circumstances”.

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Training day for junior rowers

By Michelle Crean Junior members of Muckross Rowing Club were delighted to take part in a training day recently to fine tune their skills for upcoming events. Beginner to Junior 18 members competed in 19 races. The 500m sprints were held in octuples, quads and doubles. “Taking part in this sprint regatta will help Junior […]

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By Michelle Crean

Junior members of Muckross Rowing Club were delighted to take part in a training day recently to fine tune their skills for upcoming events.

Beginner to Junior 18 members competed in 19 races. The 500m sprints were held in octuples, quads and doubles.

“Taking part in this sprint regatta will help Junior Members prepare for upcoming regattas which are hoped to take place this summer,” Shóna O’Sullivan said.

“Those racing were cheered on by their fellow team mates at the Garden Quays. The races were exciting to watch, especially the races that ended in a photo finish.”

The competitors refuelled with a barbecue cooked by Bernie and Seamus O’Sullivan, she added.

“Thanks to Bernie, Seamus, all coaches and committee members that helped this training session run successfully in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.”

On the same day Seán Daly Chairperson of Muckross Rowing Club presented Jane and Lila Ryan with Honorary Associated Membership for their generous contribution of €500 to the club.

“Our rowing club are extremely grateful for their generosity.”

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Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance

  Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]

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Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.

It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.

Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.

As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.

“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.

Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.

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Golf club launches Summer Series competition

By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.

The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”

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