By Sean Moriarty
After 760 days of closure The Grand - a much-loved favourite haunt for locals and visitors - is finally back in business.
Killarney’s top music venue reopened last night (Wednesday). The pub/nightclub closed on March 14 2020 – one of the first pubs to pull the plug a week before Coronavirus took hold of the world – and since last August owner Patsy Sheehan and his team have been busy refurbishing the popular late night venue.
Punters will instantly recognise the layout of the main bar but dozens of framed photos of Irish musicians now adorn the walls.
The positioning of these photos reflect what is happening in the bar. The walls of the front bar are decorated with pictures of some the region’s best loved trad-musicians and this is where the nightly Irish music sessions take place.
Further in guests will admire photos of Irish rockers like The Edge, Hozier and Sinéad O’Connor placed along walls in front of the main stage.
And music is always a central theme in The Grand. New for the 2022 season is a house band with a difference. Local musicians will be joined by better-known figures who happen to be in town for other reasons.
“One night we could have Mike Denver playing with the house band, the next night it could be Daniel O’Donnell’s lead guitarist,” The Grand’s entertainment manager Matt Griffin, a Kilburn-born Irish musician with South Kerry roots, told the Killarney Advertiser.
“We are the only venue outside of Dublin to offer music seven nights a week.”
Upstairs the legendary piano bar remains untouched, downstairs there are further plans to upgrade the nightclub.
Here partygoers will see the biggest change. A new underground tunnel links each side of the dance floor where they will find a new cloakroom and four state-of-the-art toilets.
FRESH AIR INDOORS
The public restrooms now feature fresh air filtered through a brand new climate control technology, influenced by the pandemic in an effort to keep guests safe from potential viruses.
“We believe we are the first pub in Kerry to do this,” said owner Patsy Sheehan.
Another notable change is Patsy’s late father Paddy Sheehan’s name etched on the building’s shopfront.
The décor may have changed, but it is the same familiar faces who continue to run the show.
During The Grand’s soft re-opening on Wednesday night the first person guests met was doorman Shane Manning.
“It was anything but a soft opening,” added Patsy in reference to how busy it was. “Regular customers were hugging Shane, they were so delighted to see him back. We had an elderly woman in her 80s, and her daughter come down from County Clare – huge fans of traditional music and regulars here in the past.”
Long-serving staff member Cathriona Flynn from Faha is back behind the bar - her 27th year as an employee of the bar.
“The new bar is lovely, it is so up to date,” she said. “I am looking forward to meeting old faces and making new friends. And that is the thing, The Grand is one big family. This is a new chapter in The Grand and the biggest change I have seen here.”
Manager Mags Walsh is also making a welcome return to the bar’s team.
“The Grand is an institution, everyone loves The Grand,” she said.
It was all hands on deck to get the bar open in time for the Easter weekend. Patsy’s brother-in-law Dan Dowling, the Lisselton man who owns the legendary London bar The Swan in Stockwell was there to offer his help and advice after years of running one of the busiest Irish clubs in the British capital.
Comic Bernard Casey has given The Grand the ‘Gossip and Nephew’ treatment with a special promotional video on social media.
There are also plans in place to renovate the upstairs bedrooms but that is on the long finger for now as Patsy and his team concentrate on getting the pub back up and running.
Top awards for innovative students
By Michelle Crean Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards. The five […]
By Michelle Crean
Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards.
The five members of ‘Operation Red’ in St Brigid’s Secondary School were celebrating this week after receiving a national Bronze Award for their project which is raising awareness about the lack of knowledge surrounding menstrual disorders. Their goal is to encourage open discussion on these issues, so no woman ever feels alone. The team will receive a prize bursary of €750, which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.
Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of youth. Its vision is to empower, equip and inspire young people to change the world for good. The girls’ project was one of 34 shortlisted from over 400 YSI groups around Ireland.
“As part of our project we’re in the process of developing resources for the SPHE classes in our school,” Transition Year student Anna Cashman told the Killarney Advertiser.
“We’ll try it here as a pilot project and branch out to other schools.”
She added that plans so far include educating students by putting an information booklet together using HSE and NHS advice.
“It’s important to have the right information as it’s a very under researched issue. We have had a positive response to it.”
Cait Fitzgerald Healy from YSI arrived to the school as a surprise to the group and presented the girls with their trophy towards the end of the online ceremony. There was huge excitement all round! Teacher and mentor Catherine O’Donoghue also received the ‘Let them Shine’ award for her involvement with YSI over the last five years.
MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER AWARD
Picking up the ‘Make Our World Safer Award’, a team from St Brendan’s College was recognised for its ‘One Punch Can Kill’ project, which aims to combat toxic masculinity and raise awareness amongst young men of the seriousness of ‘one punch attacks’.
When researching the issue, the team found that many perpetrators rarely reoffend and the percentage of male-on-male violence in society is extremely high. The group examined the route cause of the issue, which stems from a variety of factors, and wanted to raise awareness that spontaneous and random ‘one punch attacks’ can have serious and life-changing consequences.
Amongst its many actions, the team embarked on media outreach, designed and delivered student workshops, created a poster campaign, held an Anti Violence Week and is currently working on a children’s book in an effort to promote the important message that ‘One Punch Can Kill’.
Pres footballers are in seventh heaven
The St Brigid’s Presentation Second Year footballers were crowned County Junior B champions on Friday last following a superb seven-goal victory over Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the Ballymac sunshine.
The girls hit the ground running, bagging two quick goals from the boots of Lily O’Shaughnessy and Niamh Cantillon.
The Pres defence was solid and dogged throughout and managed to keep Mounthawk from breaching their goal for the duration. Abby Cronin scored three goals and a point to torment the oppostion and Niamh Cantillon scored a second goal plus a point to keep the Killarney school well in front.
Further scores from Muireann Healy and a final goal from Lara O’Neill gave us a final score of 7-4 to 0-11.
It was an excellent performance from the entire team, including the substitutes who all played their part. Captain Eve Culhane proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the team, and St Brigid’s, at the end of the game and joyous celebrations followed.
Congratulations to all the players and to their trainers: Mr Counihan, Ms Healy and Ms Brosnan.
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