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Surprise retirement party for tour giant

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By Sean Moriarty

A travel agent who was responsible for bringing hundreds of thousands visitors to Ireland celebrated his retirement from the industry with a surprise party in Killeen House on Wednesday night.

Dubliner Brian Moore ran Brian Moore International Travel (BMIT) in Rhode Island for close to 40 years. His career in the travel industry goes back over 50 years, his first job in the US as a Shannon Travel rep in Boston before going out on his own.

One of his biggest contracts was bringing American football to Dublin. Back in 1989 BMIT was the sole travel agent for the Boston College v Army Black Knights game played in Lansdowne Road. BMIT brought 10,000 people to Ireland on that occasion and the majority of them included Killarney on their schedule.

Throughout his career his local affairs were handled by his sister Stella O’Shea from Rock Road. Coaches with the BMIT livery were a familiar sight on the roads of Kerry for decades.

“I handled all of his on the ground work, like meeting and greeting,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “There was never a cross word between us.”

The formidable team always included both Galway and Killarney on their tours.

“He would say that "I made the promises and Stella kept them",” she added.

During his distinguished career he brought thousands of visitors to Kerry. His achievements included being inducted into the Order of Innisfallen in 2015. This award is presented to people from outside the locality who have made massive contributions to Killarney life.

He sold BMIT to a larger travel agency in 2000 but continued in the travel industry working for outfits like CIE International and Brendan Vacations.

Senior tourism figures organised a surprise retirement party for Brian at Killeen House this week. He thought he was accompanying 11 US visitors on an evening meal but when he arrived he was greeted by guests like Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Marie Moloney, and Niall Kelleher in his role as the President of Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

“He rang me during the day just for a chat, it was very hard not to tell him what was going on but I couldn’t do it as it would have ruined it for everyone,” added Stella.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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