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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.”



Killarney and District Motor Club members honoured by Motorsport Ireland

By Cormac Casey Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday. The highlight of the event is the […]




By Cormac Casey

Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday.

The highlight of the event is the announcement of the sport’s top awards.

Kilkenny’s Jack Brennan (19) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while Wexford native Jack Byrne was named Young Racing Driver of the Year and the International Driver of the Year award went to recently crowned FIA Junior World Rally Champion, William Creighton.

Muckross-based co-driver Noel O’Sullivan was presented with his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship winning trophy.

This year saw the introduction of the Motorsport Ireland President’s Awards which celebrate the achievements of  clubs and organisations.

Killarney and District Motor Club won in the innovation category for their work with their KDMC 2 initiative thanks to the efforts of the club’s vice chairman Mike O’Shea.

Rally Rescue teams were also recognised and the club’s Mike Cleary picked up an award for his role he played in what was a difficult year for rescue crew operators.

Tom O’Riordan, who looks after ambulance procurement on the club’s events, was presented with an FIA Volunteer Pin by Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper.

Killarney Advertiser Journalist Sean Moriarty was presented with an award for best use of of PR and media in 2023.


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Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest ‘thank you’ event at Brehon

Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar […]




Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar events again in 2024.

Feedback from more than 100 people who attended this year’s Fest events from 7th to 14th October was positive with 91% stating they were satisfied.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest is held annually over the course of a week to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
It aims to raise awareness of the available supports and services in Kerry as well as empower people to engage with the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ through offering a dynamic and interactive programme of events.
99% percent of respondents, most of whom identified as female, said they would recommend the Fest to friends next year. Some key notes for improvement included a request for more events with wider variety throughout the county.
The Chair of the Interagency Steering Group, John Drummey from Kerry Mental Health Association, said: “We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to event organisers, community groups, businesses, funders and partners that facilitated the Fest’s dynamic and interactive programme of events in 2023. We are encouraged to see such growth in numbers attending the Fest events with a 50% increase from 2022. We are already making plans for the Fest from 5 to 12t October 2024 and we are looking forward to building on this year’s successes. That said, there is always room for improvement and we would welcome suggestions for new events and activities.”
Many of the event organisers attended a ‘thank-you’ event at the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, courtesy of the Kerry Volunteer Centre to coincide with the annual International Volunteer Day, December 5.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest was organised by an interagency steering group made up of local agencies that support wellbeing in our community.
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, KDYS, Kerry Volunteer Centre and Family Resource Centres throughout the county.

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