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Take Two: RTÉ shows to feature talented local men




By Sean Moriarty

Killarney viewers will have to do a double take next Wednesday evening as not one - but two - local men are to feature on two separate TV programmes.

FEATURE: James Flynn's love of Arbutus furniture will be broadcast on RTÉ ONE next Wednesday evening. Photo: Don MacMonagle

The Brehon's Head Chef Chad Byrne, who also owns the Hungry Donkey food truck, is to feature in the first episode of a new six part series called ‘Paul Flynn’s Food Truck Favourites’.

TV chef Flynn kicks off his first food truck adventure with a search for street food featuring lamb and takes a trip to Killarney to meet Chad and check out his business. 

“He heard about us during lockdown and made contact,” Chad told the Killarney Advertiser
“We are only doing pop-ups now, but every time we do one we have queues and queues of people. To feature on Paul’s show is a huge endorsement to what we do.”

Separately it'll be lights, camera and action for James Flynn as he will be on ‘Nationwide’ with presenters Anne Cassin and Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh running a feature on his efforts to keep the tradition of manufacturing and restorating Arbutus furniture alive in the region.

In October 2020 the Ross Road man discovered a games table for sale in Boston. The rare piece of handcrafted furniture, that dates from just after the famine era, was returned to Killarney in March last year by Mr Flynn.

The Arbutus Tree, sometimes called the Killarney Strawberry Tree, is more prevalent in Killarney National Park than any other region in the country.

James, a former ESB district supervisor for South Kerry, has, since his retirement, devoted his time to tracing the history of Killarney’s Arbutus furniture industry and restores pieces that he finds in online auctions all over the world.

Wednesday’s ‘Nationwide’ programme will feature handcrafters from all over Ireland and will include around seven minutes with James.

“I took the production crew on a tour of Muckross House, we visited Paddy Connor’s antique shop in Lissivigeen,” James told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I brought them up the Moll’s Gap road, just above the tunnel there is an Arbutus tree, with a protective fence, to keep the deer out.”

'Nationwide' will air at 7pm while 'Food Truck Favourites' will be on at 8pm, both on RTÉ One.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]




Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.


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Olga Tkachenko: My resilience in life is the ability to see only the good

Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun. This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time. It seems that […]




Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun.

This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time.

It seems that everything in her life is as easy as jogging.

But this is not quite so.

Olga grew up in Donetsk city, Donbass region. Her sister Maryna and parents lived here. A large and friendly family, they owed a holiday home in the region and would gather there for vacations and holidays. This house was a symbol of this family.

In 2014, Russian troops entered Donetsk and drove their military equipment right into the yard of the house.

From here they started shelling the Donetsk airport.

Soon the house was completely destroyed. All that remains of the house are two walls and a few pots. The family nest was devastated. Her sister Maryna tried to save the surviving property and came under fire. Fortunately, she was not injured.

Olga moved her parents to another place, and she went to Kyiv with her husband and children. All they took with them were two laptops and a few warm things. Life had to start from scratch.

Olga’s sister Maryna moved to Dnipro city, where she found a new job.

The sisters went their separate ways, but still maintained a very close relationship, calling and supporting each other every day.

Maryna’s husband and Olga’s husband are brothers and share the same last name – Tkachenko.

They have children two months apart. Olga jokes that she and her sister have a topic to talk about – their common father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Having lost their homes in 2014 due to Russia’s military aggression in Donbas, the sisters built their lives in two different cities – Irpen (near Kyiv) and Dnipro. But when the war broke out in 2022, they found themselves together again.

The sisters managed to board an evacuation train bound for Poland. Again, they only had one bag each and a one-way ticket.

“Fear drove us as far as possible. The main goal was to save the children. We did not know where we were going. We wanted to escape as far as possible from the war and the borders of Russia,” says Olga.

After staying in a refugee camp in Poland for several days, they decided to go to Ireland.
Were they worried about going into the unknown?

But Olga says that when she is together with her sister, it gives both women confidence and stability. Together, it’s not so scary anymore.

Olga says that it is impossible to get used to the fact that you lose your home every time and get used to life. It is impossible to accept that everything has to be started from new.

But she has one secret of resilience – the ability to see the good in the circumstances in which you find yourself.

Here in Killarney Olga focuses on the beautiful nature, she learns a new language, and goes jogging. She never regrets.

Olga’s sister Maryna Tkachenko has already found a job and works in as a designer in Killarney. The sisters help each other a lot and are very worried about their parents and grandmother, who remaine in Ukraine.

“Our parents spent a month under the occupation of Russian troops in a village near Kyiv. My 70-year-old mother, as in 2014, went to negotiate with Russian soldiers and persuaded them not to shoot. We are glad that our parents’ house survived this time. Because in 2014 we already lost one home. Our parents would not have survived this a second time,” adds Olga.

That is why she will soon go back to Ukraine.

She explains her motives: “I want to be where I am most needed. My eldest daughter, parents and grandmother are in Ukraine. My daughter works as a volunteer every week, clearing the rubble of buildings, so I want to help my country as well. After dismantling the ruins, we will see our beautiful country again.”


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