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The Grand reopens with some brand new features

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By Sean Moriarty

After 760 days of closure The Grand - a much-loved favourite haunt for locals and visitors - is finally back in business.

GRAND RE-OPENING: Brothers-in-law and publicans Patsy Sheehan and Dan Dowling have re-opened The Grand after 760 days of closure. Photo: Michelle Crean

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.

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International day was a recipe for success

By Michelle CreanSpicy dishes and sweet treats were part of the experience in Killarney Community College as students took time out on Monday to celebrate a variety of different cultures. […]

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By Michelle CreanSpicy dishes and sweet treats were part of the experience in Killarney Community College as students took time out on Monday to celebrate a variety of different cultures.

The Modern Foreign Languages Department organised many events throughout the week but activity that took centre stage place was MasterChef for International Culture Day.

60 students from different countries took part by cooking dishes from their native countries. The judges had their work cut out for them but they finally agreed on a deserving winner.

First place went to Greece with a classic but simple Greek salad which was unbelievably well received by all. In second place was the Polish representatives who made mouth-watering pierogi dumplings while students from Germany produced a sweet cake from their own specific region and took third place.

First Year students got the opportunity to sample the food and learn about the dishes and cultures.

Stickers were worn on students’ jumpers from European Day of Languages and allowed students to speak with other students from their country and make new friends.

“It’s important to recognise and celebrate the ever-growing variety of different cultures within our society and our school setting,” Principal Stella Loughnane said.

“These opportunities provide a great scope for our students to learn and have a better understanding of these cultures while creating a greater respect for everyone’s backgrounds. I also got to taste a few of the dishes and even managed to snag a couple of recipes, they were that good.”

BREWING UP

Meanwhile it was a feel-good morning last Thursday at the school as students and staff brewed up for the Kerry Hospice Foundation.

They enjoyed many delicious treats kindly donated by staff all for an amazing cause. The Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning in aid of Kerry Hospice raised a whopping €650, this will no doubt be put to great use in supporting people in difficult times. This charity has an extra special meaning for Killarney Community College as they have had members of staff, who in challenging times, were supported by this outstanding service.

Ms Loughnane commended the efforts of staff involved adding that it was such a worthwhile cause.

“The college was delighted to host this event to raise funds for Kerry Hospice who provide so much support to our community at times of need, it is so important to give a little back.”

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Godley fourth in National Ploughing competition

By Sean Moriarty Four years on from his last appearance at the National Ploughing Championships, Shane Godley continues to move up the ranks in his age group. The Killarney Ploughing […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Four years on from his last appearance at the National Ploughing Championships, Shane Godley continues to move up the ranks in his age group.

The Killarney Ploughing Association member last represented Kerry in the Under 21s in 2018 when he placed sixth in the two-furrow conventional class in the national competition.

Last week at the 2022 National Ploughing Championships at Rathinaska, County Laois he placed fourth in the under 28 age group for the same category.

“Weather conditions for both the ploughing days was very good but the ground was very hard,” he said.

Club mate Mike Brosnan from Gortalea, finished 20th in the ‘Vintage Mounted’ class. They were the only two members of Killarney Ploughing Association to compete at the event.

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