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The Caseys of Sneem

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As you enter Sneem from Killarney you are met with the imposing lifesize monument erected in memory of Steve Casey, a world champion from a family of champions. Weeshie Fogarty did a fine Terrace Talk programme on Steve and on his six other brothers, also world champions. Thirty years ago this summer, the Sneem Regatta in Kerry hosted a final reunion on home water of what was arguably the greatest Irish sporting family of all time.

They were called the Casey brothers. There were seven of them in total: Steve, Paddy, Jack, Jim, Mick, Tom and Dan. And to suggest they were Ireland’s greatest sporting siblings may, if anything, be an understatement. They were also once dubbed, not without justification, “the toughest family on earth”.

Sheer size was one of their main attributes, and it was hereditary on both sides. Their father was Big Mick Casey, a bare-knuckle boxer who in his youth had sparred with John L Sullivan. Their mother was Brigid Sullivan, from a family known around Sneem as The Mountains.

But the seven sons had finesse as well as physique. The 1983 reunion (of the five who could still travel) was in a rowing boat, the stage on which they most excelled as a group. They were among the greatest oarsmen of their generation, although that sport was also the source of their greatest disappointment.

As a collective, they also excelled in tug-of-war. But it was in the individual discipline of wrestling, perhaps, that they reached their highest level. And the brother who scaled the final summit was Steve, or as he was known in a sport where nicknames were obligatory, Crusher Casey.

For several years from the late 1930s, Steve Casey – 6’4” and 17 stone – held the most authentic version of the world heavyweight wrestling championship, thanks partly to his trademark move, the Killarney Flip.

Among his rivals, incidentally, was a fellow countryman Danno O’Mahoney whose signature was the Irish Whip. Their first meeting was a draw. But, in a rematch-to-the-finish, the Flip outmanoeuvred the Whip after an epic 18 rounds and 97 minutes.

Not content with wrestling supremacy, however, Casey was also a formidable boxer. He beat the US champion, then challenged Joe Louis for the world title. When Louis didn’t pick up the gauntlet, the New York Post taunted: “Even the greatest run scared of the Sneem Machine”.

Crusher was not the only Casey to excel at wrestling. His younger brother Paddy was a three-time All-Ireland champion and probably destined for greater things when he broke his back during a bout in 1938.

He won that fight anyway, but the injury curtailed further ambitions and he was better known in later years for operating a string of Irish clubs in London: the Glocamorra, the Shamrock, and the Inisfree. Another Casey, Mick, fought 200 wrestling bouts, despite being the only brother never to leave Sneem.

But back to rowing, the sport in which the family first established their legend in the early 1930s. A measure of their collective talents was when five of them combined to win the Lakes of Killarney Salters Cup, in perpetuity, somewhat to the chagrin of the organisers.

The rule was that if you won three years running, the trophy was yours. After they triumphed in 1930 and 1931, however, there was no 1932 competition. So when they won again in 1933, they were first told that the victories had to be consecutive. Not surprisingly, the brothers won the argument and kept the cup, despite the organisers offering £60 to buy it back.

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]

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The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley

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