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The man who bought Killarney (and gave it back to us for nothing)

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You might not recognise the man in this picture, but you should. I have to confess my own ignorance here; I didn’t know much about him either until I read an article by local historian Damien Switzer in this year’s edition of Killarney Magazine, which was published a couple of weeks ago.

The man pictured is John McShain, a multimillionaire American philanthropist who was born in Philadelphia in 1898. He took over his family’s construction business in 1919 and went on become one of the most successful builders of his time.

When he was 59, McShain was part of a syndicate that bought Killarney House and Gardens (and later the 8,300-acre Kenmare Estate in Killarney, an area of town that included Killarney House, the Demesne, Ross Castle and Innisfallen from Lady Grosvenor). Two years later he bought out the syndicate, answering the age-old question, “How do you buy Killarney?” in the process.

So how did it come to pass that 8,300 acres of private property – the site of some of the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in the world – found its way back to the people of Killarney? It’s not exactly something you just give up for free out of the goodness of your heart.

Unless you’re John McShain. In 1973 McShain and his wife, Mary, gave Innisfallen and its historic ruins to the nation. A few years later, they handed over their estate for a nominal fee on two conditions. First: they wanted to live in Killarney House for the rest of their lives. And second: they insisted that the land would forever be part of Killarney National Park.

John died in 1989 and Mary in 1998. Killarney House and Gardens, located in the heart of the town, has since been redeveloped and it has quickly become one of the most beloved spots in the entire park.

Killarney is an incredible place and we have a great many people to thank for that. Some of them have been memorialised in place names and roads, such as famed men of enterprise MD O’Shea and Dr Hans Liebherr. Other famous sons, like legendary musician Johnny O’Leary from Gneeveguilla and Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, have had statues erected in their honour.

But what about the man who basically gave Killarney to the people of Killarney? Imagine not having access to Killarney House and its gardens, the Demesne, Ross Castle, the middle and lower lakes, Innisfallen… It’s unthinkable.

Damien Switzer has called for walls of Killarney House and Gardens to be pulled down to make it more accessible to locals and tourists alike and this section of the park to be renamed the John McShain Memorial Park. He would also like to see a statue to erected somewhere prominent in town. After all we have the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park in Muckross. I, for one, agree with him. It seems strange to me that someone who played such a massively positive role in our past should be so absent in our present.

What do you think? Should Killarney House and Gardens be renamed John McShain Memorial Park? Should we erect a McShain statue? Let us know by emailing newsdesk@killarneyadvertiser.ie. 

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Donie McCarthy to be remembered by Firies GAA with golf classic

On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a […]

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On the approach of the second anniversary of his passing, Firies GAA have taken the opportunity to both acknowledge and pay tribute to the late Donie McCarthy by organising a golf classic in his name. Donie was a key figure; player, coach, mentor and officer in the club for many years.

Michael Quirke, former team mate and part of the events’ committee, outlined the significance of remembering and acknowledging the legacy that Donie left to his beloved club. “Donie exemplified the concept of a club stalwart, his love of both the game and the development of the club was boundless. His energy towards the development of young players is truly visible today in Firies. Donie got great satisfaction from seeing young players improve, and as they got older and achieve success with Firies. During his successful playing days, he helped lead Firies to secure the O’Sullivan Cup title in 1979 and went onto manage and coach many Firies teams down through the years. Since his untimely passing in November 2022, the club has aspired to acknowledge his legacy.”

Final preparations are being put in place for the classic which takes place on Saturday, July 13, in Maine Valley Members Golf Club, Killorglin. The classic, which includes GUI handicap applied with a maximum adjusted handicap of 24 for men and 36 for ladies, promises to be a great day celebrating Donie, with top team, nearest the pin, and longest drive prizes.

Family, friends and former club mates of Donie gathered to officially launch the golf classic in Pairc Eamonn, along with Kerry Senior Footballer; Dara Moynihan to lend his support the event. The Firies GAA Club were eager to recognise L. & M. Construction, of New York City for their generous contribution towards The Donie McCarthy Memorial Golf Classic. The American company, has strong club connections and supports many of the club events. “Without this support, we would be unable to organise such events. The Club would also like to acknowledge the members who attended the launch today from young to old to recognise Donies’ contribution”. A club spokesperson said this week.

If you or your club are interested in submitting a team of four at €200 per team, you can contact Brendan Quirke 087-9172854, Dermot O’Connor 087-6958610, Michael Quirke 087-6683699 or Maine Valley Members Golf Club 066-9761979. Likewise, sponsored tee boxes are available for €50.

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Muckross Lottery goes online

Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery. The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro […]

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Muckross Community Association has announced the launch of its new online facility for playing the Muckross Lottery.

The Muckross Lottery community fundraiser has operated since 1995, raising thousands of euro for the benefit of local community groups and bodies including Loughquittane National School, Muckross ICA and Muckross Rowing Club among others.

Over the years, countless prize winners have also benefited in the share of jackpot and Match 3 prize wins.

The first Muckross Lottery draw was held in the summer of 1995, a year which also saw the opening of the Muckross Community Centre.
At the time, the lottery draw was a first of its kind in Killarney and was to set a fine example for the many other sports club and community lotteries that were later established in the town.

The community fundraiser has continued to be a vital support, initially securing the completion of the Muckross Community Centre and over time generating funds for the development of school, community and sporting facilities in the Muckross area.

Since 1995, the lottery has been sustained by the unwavering commitment of local sellers and a dedicated committee within the community association.

A number of the lottery’s founding members continue to sell weekly tickets to this day in support of local causes.

In a move with the times and ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Muckross Lottery, the association is now building for the future and launching its new online lottery facility.

Ahead of the online launch this month, the Association has collaborated with Irish company ClubForce, a leading provider of online lottery systems, to develop the secure online system.

It is hoped the new online facility will generate new lottery sales, extend the lottery’s reach to those living abroad and sustain the community fundraiser long into the future.

Existing lottery supporters who avail of the online option can also enjoy the benefits of new features including a weekly results email, ticket auto renewal and access to ticket purchase history. The Association are also keen to highlight that existing hard copy tickets will continue to be available and sold as normal.

The Community Association is seeking the support of all residents of the Muckross area and all those with a connection to the community, to spread the word and get behind the new online lottery.

Online tickets can now be purchased ahead of the weekly draws on June 22, June 29 and throughout July.

The jackpot for June 22 stands at €5,050 with a rollover each week if the jackpot is not won. Online lottery tickets can be purchased each week (3 tickets for €5). A single €2 ticket can also be purchased for multiple draws. The lottery’s annual ‘green’ ticket is also available online for €100 and continues to include two free draws.

Link to Muckross Lottery online.
https://muckrosscommunityassociation.clubforce.com/products/lotto/muckross-community-assocation-lotto

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