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“There were so many kind messages welcoming us to this beautiful town”




Mariam Diasamidze arrived in Killarney last week with many other Ukrainian families.

They are staying in the Innisfallen Hotel where their 70 plus bedrooms are now their new home.

When Mariam arrived in Killarney one of the very first things she did was a ‘thank you’ post on the popular Facebook page ‘People of Killarney’. I penned an email and we met at the Innisfallen last Friday. She let me in and bravely told me her story. Mariam was a little worried about her English but we didn’t need to use Google translate once. Face to face, through a person's eyes tells the true story and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in Mariam’s shoes, closing the door of your home leaving all your worldly belongings with no inkling of return and what she would return to. In this day and age it’s beyond belief.

“I am from Georgia but I live with my Ukrainian husband Ruslan who is the head of a building company in Ukraine. My daughter Milana is 20 months. I remember it so clearly in my city of Odessa. On February 24 at 4am there was a huge explosion of bombs and it was then that I really feared for my life so for safety we slept in the basement until there were plans in place to leave my beautiful country Ukraine.

“I did not want to leave my house in Odessa. I had such a happy life but I was scared. Everyday our plans to leave changed but the only plan we want is to live in peace. Unfortunately this is not possible right now. When we arrived in Dublin, we were made very welcome. We travelled with friends who are now situated in Shannon. We do not know anyone here in the hotel but we are united together as Ukrainian people. We chose the plane to Ireland because I had heard of its beauty and this is true. I could have chosen to return to Georgia but I was so scared to make this decision, there is huge risk there too. My husband Ruslan was working in Moldova when we evacuated Odessa. I did not even have him with me throughout this very difficult time but I am so grateful that because he was not in Ukraine at the time the war broke out, that he was not requested to return and fight so he is here with me in your beautiful country. I honestly do not know how I would cope without him. There are many people here without their husbands or fathers so Ruslan is coming in handy for all the heavy duty requirements for everyone.”

I looked around the hotel. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and food on the table and their PPS Numbers are on the way so they can begin to work and integrate into society soon, but I wondered about the contents of their luggage, what did they take with them to start a new life in another country, temporarily perhaps, or perhaps not. 

As I left the hotel I asked Mariam if there was anything she needed. She told me a heart-warming story of the kindness of Killarney.


SAFE AT LAST: Mariam Diasamidze Odessa Ukraine pictured with her daughter Milana at the Innisfallen Hotel Fossa. Milana is holding flowers gifted to her for Daffodil Day from Marie. Photo: Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan

“After I posted on the page ‘People of Killarney’, there were so many kind messages welcoming us to this beautiful town. Milana was running a temperature, I knew she was ill but I didn’t have a thermometer and could not get to the chemist from Innisfallen as it was the evening. I remembered a message from a very kind lady, Noelle Crosbie, so I asked for help. Soon I had a thermometer and Neurofen. I was so grateful to her.”

With this in mind I asked if there was anything I could bring to the hotel. Not thinking of herself, Mariam asked for some toys for the children and nappies. I put a post on my social media and my house was soon flooded with toys from friends wanting to help. Ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday last, my friends and social media contacts came up trumps again and I gifted the ladies at the Innisfallen Hotel over €2,000 in vouchers for practical places like Centra, Pennys, Dunnes, Tesco, and Aldi. Local hairdressers - Flair for Hair, Ruby Tuesdays and beauticians - The Skin Lab, Your Beautiful Self, Vanity Case, Eavan Skin Care, and The Beauty Boutique were just some of the vouchers gifted. A huge shout out to Alan in Blooms who was already up the walls but sponsored flowers for the Ukrainian moms on Mother's Day. I stayed for a while and became friends through a translator in their group. 

I asked Miriam what she thinks will happen between Russia and Ukraine. “One country will eventually be defeated, but I don’t know who. In my heart, it is my opinion that every time Ukraine will win, defeated or not defeated, because Ukraine is the country hero but for now, peace is found in Killarney and we are so very grateful to you all.”

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Last chance to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising draw

By Sean Moriarty There is just less than one week left to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising raffle. The ‘Cairde Spa’ draw takes place on Thursday night (February 2) the Spa’s […]




By Sean Moriarty

There is just less than one week left to enter Spa GAA’s fundraising raffle.

The ‘Cairde Spa’ draw takes place on Thursday night (February 2) the Spa’s clubhouse at 7pm.

Funds raised will go towards the upgrade and development works planned over the next few years.

Guest of honour on the night is national GAA president Larry McCarthy and the Sam Maguire Cup will make an appearance too.

“Apart from ongoing and essential maintenance work, the club has a number of development projects in the pipeline. The money is being raised towards improving our grounds to provide top class facilities that can be used year-round, including car parking, perimeter fencing for pitches, ladies and juveniles dressing rooms, outdoor skills wall, player dug outs for senior and juvenile pitches, safety enhancements and lighting on the walking track, landscaping, scoreboard, viewing gallery to the sports hall, alignment of entrance to the grounds and a remembrance garden,” said Michael Cronin, Club Chairman.

“We are calling on everyone to get behind the fundraiser. Our vision is to provide top class grounds and facilities where everyone is welcome to use and participate fully in our activities, games and culture. In order to achieve this vision, we are setting out exciting new developments and investments in our facilities – and we need your support.”

There are 10 prizes up for grabs: 1st Prize: €15,000, 2nd Prize: €3,000, 3rd Prize: €2,000, 4th Prize: €1,000, 5th Prize: Two nights dinner and B&B at the Killarney Park Hotel, 6th Prize: €500 Voucher for Killarney Carpets & Furniture, 7th Prize: €300 Voucher for O’Sullivan’s Cycles, 8th Prize: €250 Voucher for Killarney Oils, 9th Prize: €150 Voucher for Killarney Hardware and 10th Prize: A signed Kerry jersey.

Tickets are €100 each and can be collected/returned at the clubhouse this Saturday (10.30am-12noon), Monday (7-8pm) or Wednesday (7-8pm), and tickets are also available online on

Any queries contact Andy (087 2236754), Michael (085 8213027), Assumpta (087 6779292) or Deirdre (085 1216359) or any Club Officers.


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Marian Players excited to get back on stage

By Michelle Crean With a cast of over 50 it’s no small undertaking – but that won’t deter one panto group who are only too happy to get back on […]




By Michelle Crean

With a cast of over 50 it’s no small undertaking – but that won’t deter one panto group who are only too happy to get back on stage this weekend.

It’s been two years since they staged a show due to COVID but the Marian Players Rathmore are rearing to go tomorrow night (Saturday) with their hilarious show ‘Dame Annie Goes West’.

A medley of comedy and colour, combined with music and dance, locals from both sides of the border have been working together to make it a great production.

“We’re very excited, we can’t wait! It’s great to be back,” Mary Hickey told the Killarney Advertiser.

“They [the cast] got together in October and they’re at it since.”

Val Moynihan is the “genius behind it”, she added, and it’s produced by her son Brian Hickey, and co-written with Eilish Coakley.

She said that they have loads working in the background also doing the stage curtains, lighting and making costumes amongst other tasks.

“It’s a pantomime without the pantomime in the background! It’s a whole community effort both sides of the border.”

Evening shows start at 7.30pm tomorrow (Saturday) and again Sunday (January 29) at 3pm.

Mid-week shows continue on Wednesday next (February 1) at 7.30pm, Thursday (February 2) at 7.30pm and also Saturday (February 4) at 7.30pm and Sunday (February 5) at 3pm.

The booking office (085 2031730) will be open every day from 2pm to 6pm to reserve seats and collect tickets and is located adjacent to the community centre, next to Christy’s Take Away.

Seats may be reserved over the phone too and paid for using a bank card. All proceeds are going to Kerry Parents & Friends Association.

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