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Prayers for Sheila battling COVID in University Hospital Kerry





By Michelle Crean


A Rathmore family - whose family member is critically ill and on a ventilator in University Hospital Kerry (UHK) battling COVID - are this week making a heartfelt plea to the public to stay home to save lives - saying the highly infectious virus can happen to anyone.

With over one thousand positive cases in Kerry over the past seven days alone, and 208 deaths reported from COVID-19 so far this month in Ireland, the virus is raging in the community putting healthcare staff under tremendous strain.

And the family of Sheila Crowley (60), who is currently in ICU, are completely baffled as to how and where she contracted it, and are praying that she'll make it over the coming days.

Now her family want to speak out and warn others of how serious COVID is and how fast it can take hold.

"It just escalated very fast," her niece Ashley Crowley told the Killarney Advertiser. "She remains in a critical condition in ICU in Tralee. She's a young woman. It took into her body very fast."


Sheila, who is originally from Headford, had a mild cough last week but no other obvious symptoms, Ashley explained.

"It wasn't the dry cough. It came on her but it wasn't persistent."

On Monday last week she had a pain in her back and her GP thought it could be a kidney infection but suggested a COVID test to be cautious. The test came back positive and while she had no symptoms and felt fine - it all changed very suddenly.

"Over the course of a few hours she suddenly became ill and distressed, the colour went from her."

That was on Saturday last and Sheila's sister immediately rang SouthDoc and an ambulance was arranged to take her straight to A&E at UHK.

"In A&E the oxygen wasn't reacting with her. They then put on a mask with oxygen but that didn't work and she was transferred to ICU and put on a ventilator. She's still critical, her lungs are totally full with the virus."

The next few days are critical and both Ashley and her family are appealing to the public to heed the health advice to stay at home, restrict interactions with others to avoid going through this heartache.


Ashley explained that Sheila's sister died of cancer just a month ago, and that all the family had been restricting their interactions and movements over the past year to keep her safe. She also said that the hospital thinks Sheila may have contracted the new strain of the virus.

"It's hard to take in. We just don't know where she got it from. We have all been restricting our movements for the past year because my other aunt had cancer. We've been tested since too and are negative. It's frightening how fast people can pick it up. We just don't know."

A special Mass of Intercession for Sheila was said by Fr George Hayes of Glenflesk Parish on Tuesday evening which was broadcast over the Internet, while online there were hundreds of well wishes as family, friends and members of the public lit candles for her recovery.

Ashley, who said the hospital staff are "wonderful" and give regular updates on Sheila's condition, added that if she pulls through that her road to recovery will take a very long time.

"She still remains in a dangerous place. They reckon she could be on a ventilator for a long time. We're just hoping she makes it."

She added a huge thanks to all the healthcare staff involved in Sheila's care and to the public for their kindness and prayers over the last few days.

Yesterday (Thursday), Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that the Government hopes to have 4m vaccinated by the end of September. And while people wait, Ashley is appealing to them to stay apart.
"It's totally true that by staying apart you'll be together eventually again."

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Ireland’s oldest citizen has Killarney connections

Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week. Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections. The previous record […]




Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week.

Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections.

The previous record was held by 107-year-old Nancy Stewart who died on September 10 2021.

Although born in Belfast, Máirín went to school in the Mercy Convent. Her father was a customs and excise officer and the family moved around a lot eventually coming to Killarney after spells in County Down and Dublin.

Her mother came from the Rathmore area and her father was from Newmarket in County Cork.

She attended the Mercy Convent and has, in previous interviews, recalled growing up on the shores of Lough Lein.

“Neighbours who had three children were given the job of taking me to school,” she said. “They were annoyed because the children were going to school for two or three years but I was put in to the same class as them – my mother had taught me.”

In 2021 she featured in the book ‘Independence Memories: A People’s Portrait of the Early Days of the Irish Nation’, sharing stories of being kept in school in Killarney during an attack on the RIC barracks down the road.

In 1924 she started a degree in science and a diploma in education at University College Cork, before working in the pathology lab in University College Cork’s Department of Medicine for 16 years.

last year she recalled her story on the podcast: ‘Living History – Irish Life and Lore’.

During the broadcast she talked about her parents’ membership of the Gaelic League in 1910; the Spanish Flu in Ireland in 1918; The Black and Tans in Killarney in 1921; the early days of the new Free State; Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932, visiting the Basket Islands in 1929; and working in the UCC medical laboratory from 1932 until 1948.

This week President Michael D. Higgins hosted an afternoon tea event to celebrate the important role that a variety of people have and can play in different communities and Máirín was among the guests of honour.

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Philip is running over 100kms for Cancer charity

Local runner and charity fundraiser Philip Kissane is set for the biggest challenge of his career as he lines up for the Cork City Marathon on Sunday. Phillip has already […]




Local runner and charity fundraiser Philip Kissane is set for the biggest challenge of his career as he lines up for the Cork City Marathon on Sunday.

Phillip has already completed four half marathons at various locations around Killarney – all in aid of Kerry Cancer Support Group – or the Cancer Bus as it popularly called.

This is the second time that Phillip has run four half marathon and an official race for the charity.

Back in 2021 he finished with 5km Run Killarney event but his finishing race this time around is over eight times the distance at 42kms.

“We are delighted with Philip’s continued fundraising support but also with his awareness raising for the charity,” Breda Dyland, Service Manager Kerry Cancer Support Trust.

“We are getting busier all the time and still get no statutory funding so are dependent on fundraisers like Philip’s to keep us on the road. We have just put our new wheelchair accessible bus on the Cork route so Philip’s funding will be going towards the operation of this vehicle.”


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