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Tributes to Charley Pride – the legendary country singer who loved Killarney

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Tributes to Charley Pride – the legendary country singer who loved Killarney

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By Sean Moriarty

Tributes have been paid locally to country singer Charley Pride who died from COVID-19 complications on December 19.

One of the all-time-greats of country and western music, he was best know for such songs as ‘Kiss An Angel Good Morning’ and ‘Anybody Going To San Antone?’ and recorded 52 Billboard Top 10 Country Hits.

He was a ground-breaking artist and everywhere he went he made history.

He was one of the first black Americans to make it as a country singer during the 1960s when skin-prejudice was still rife, but he joked his way to success by telling an audience in Detroit: “Friends, I realise it's a little unique, me coming out here — with a permanent suntan — to sing country and western to you. But that's the way it is”.

ON THE KILLARNEY STAGE

The Mississippi-born singer and professional baseball player even made history in Killarney.
He was the first international artist to perform on stage at the Gleneagle INEC Arena back in 2000 – the night the now landmark entertainment venue opened to the public and ahead of schedule.

“He had been booked by Jim Aiken of Aiken Promotions to play in The Gleneagle Ballroom as part of his Irish tour. But such was the demand for tickets that our dad Maurice decided to speed up construction work on The GleneagleINEC Arena which was near completion at the time,” Gleneagle Group MD Patrick O’Donoghue told the Killarney Advertiser. “We say he was the first ‘international’ artist to take to the stage because local legend Dermot Flynn performed as Charley’s support that night. Two legends who held Killarney firmly in their hearts.”

That was on March 3, 2000 - but one local man, Dermot Moriarty of Radio Kerry’s ‘Sounds Country’ fame, recalls it like it was yesterday.
“I remember the late Maurice O’Donoghue sitting in the front row, puffing on his pipe. He had a lot to be proud of that night,” Dermot said.

Legendary local politician and TD, the late Jackie Healy-Rae, was there too.

“We tipped Charley off but he got it wrong,” said Dermot. “Charley went on stage and said "I hear we have a congressman in the house – can we put our hands together for Jackie-Ray Healy”. Jackie got a standing ovation for that one.”

The politician and the musician became friends and Jackie was often invited backstage after a show where they both enjoyed conversation and craic.
“His biggest Kerry fan had to be Jackie Healy-Rae who never missed a show. Charley always dedicated a song or two to Jackie and his family,” added Patrick.
Charley often stayed at the Killarney Park Hotel when he was in town and that revealed another trait in his character that was unusual for such a big star.

AN ORDINARY MAN

“I got a call one time from Noreen McSweeney in the Park Hotel and she told me Charley was sitting on his own in the bar if I wanted to come down and meet him,” added Dermot. “But that was so typical, he had no bodyguards or excess hanging off him – he remained a very ordinary man.”

Even in the autumn of his career, Charley Pride never forgot Killarney and included the INEC Arena in his European Farewell tour of 2012.

“Charley continued to attract record crowds right up until his last concert here in 2012. People came to Killarney from all over Ireland just to hear him sing,” Patrick added.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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