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“The McShains loved Killarney… They should have been honoured long ago”

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The caretaker who has looked after Killarney House & Gardens since 1986 and knew the McShains personally has thrown his weight behind the Killarney Advertiser’s McShain Campaign, insisting that the generous American couple should have been honoured years ago.

Harry O’Donoghue started working for John and Mary McShain as a 22-year-old in 1986, shortly after the pair permanently relocated to the Killarney holiday home they had owned since 1959. Before that they would spend six months of the year here in Killarney and six months in Arizona.

With regards to the Killarney Advertiser’s campaign, Harry says there was ample opportunity to memorialise the McShains in the past but the council, for whatever reason, failed to act.

“Years ago when the council got the land for Mission Road off the McShains, I pleaded with them to name it the McShain Road,” the popular caretaker explains. “They turned a blind eye to it.

“It’s a real pity that nothing is called after them. It’s shocking, really. There’s only one place in Killarney that I know of that’s named after them: the McShain Suite in the Plaza Hotel.

“It would be nice if the council erected a statue outside on the Mission Road or even at the Golden Gates. All these years later, they still haven’t recognised what the McShains did for them. They got everything for nothing.”

Harry kindly gave me a tour of Killarney House this week and as well as giving me a fascinating insight into the history of the famous Killarney landmark, he was quick to point out how fond John and Mary were of the town, and how fond the town was of them.

“They loved Killarney - they called it a ‘gem’. Peace and quite. That’s what they wanted and that’s what they got. They were very nice people and they were very good to all of us, especially my parents. Everyone locally had good time for them. John would take his pony and trap out around Ross Island and people loved to see him.”

Harry and his family have a long and storied history with Killarney House. He took over the caretaker role from his late father Paddy and his grandfather, Tim, was a valet to the last Earl of Kenmare, Lord Castlerosse. Castlerosse was shot in the trenches during World War I and Tim, who was serving alongside him, saved his life. Thereafter the Anglo-Irish nobleman (real name Valentine Brown) took the O’Donoghue family under his wing and provided them with jobs all over Europe.

The loyal caretaker is just the latest in a string of local people who have voiced their dismay that John and Mary McShain are yet to be appropriately memorialised by the town of Killarney.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser last week, Mayor John Sheahan, the Chamber President Paul O’Neill, TD Michael Healy-Rae and the General Manager of Killarney House & Gardens Pat Dawson all backed the idea of recognising the McShains in some way. The people of Killarney also seem to be overwhelmingly in favour of honouring the altruistic couple.

What do you think? Should Mary and John McShain be recognised for what they did for Killarney? What would be the most appropriate way of honouring them? Let us know by emailing newsdesk@killarneyadvertiser.ie.

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Local author’s debut book makes Late Late Toy Show

Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show! ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July. With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers […]

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Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show!

‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July.

With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers compete for a much-coveted spot on the set. Aware that her book had been sent to Ryan, but not having heard anything from RTÉ, Katie was thrilled to see it in a prominent position. It was a wonderful surprise to discover ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ had been placed in the front row of the book corner. There, it had a little chair of its own and was even embraced by a cuddly toy.

It was visible many times over the course of the evening, particularly during the book discussion, an incredibly proud moment for first-time author Katie.

“I have to admit, when I saw ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ cradled in the teddy’s arms, I may have jumped up and down with excitement,” Katie told the Killarney Advertiser.

What began as a lockdown project while Katie was living in London and missing her family in Kerry, is providing comfort to children around the world.

Using a gentle story with gorgeous illustrations, Little Squirrel and his forest friends teach young people a variety of simple coping techniques.

“These skills will benefit children their entire lives and the book is even helpful for adults who are prone to worrying and overthinking,” she added.

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No 2021 return for Killarney on Ice

By Michelle Crean Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year. Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year. […]

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By Michelle Crean

Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year.

Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year.

Rising case numbers, uncertain COVID-19 restrictions, and insurance challenges have been the main drivers behind the decision not to open, according to the company.

As Kerry’s only festive ice rink, the facility has brought much fun and life to the town over the years, attracting thousands of people from all over the county, and indeed the whole country, with many families coming to stay overnight in Killarney and enjoying all that this great town has to offer.

As well as friends and families coming to skate, schools, youth clubs, sports teams and employees of local companies use the group booking discount rate to plan sessions on the ice, and Killarney on Ice would like to thank them all for their continuing loyalty.

“We sincerely hope to be back better and stronger in 2022, and we look forward to welcoming all of our valued customers,” Tim O’Donoghue, the promoter of the rink, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“In the meantime, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

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