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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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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Killarney hospitality avoids worst of water shortage crisis

By Sean Moriarty. The Killarney hospitality sector avoided the worst of the water shortages that affected 55,000 across the county following a major water break from the Lough Guitane Water Treatment Plant to Sheheree Reservoir on the Central Regional Water Supply Scheme on Tuesday night. As the Killarney Advertiser closed for press yesterday evening (Thursday), the water supply was […]

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By Sean Moriarty.

The Killarney hospitality sector avoided the worst of the water shortages that affected 55,000 across the county following a major water break from the Lough Guitane Water Treatment Plant to Sheheree Reservoir on the Central Regional Water Supply Scheme on Tuesday night.

As the Killarney Advertiser closed for press yesterday evening (Thursday), the water supply was slowly coming back to normal in the areas most-affected by the burst.

Kerry County Council placed mobile water tankers in several of these areas including the Rock Road Car Park, Fossa School, Firies Church Yard and Farranfore GAA grounds and Barraduff Community Centre.

These will remain in place until supply has been fully restored to all areas.

Irish Water are slowly refilling the Sheheree Reservoir and releasing water back into the network in a controlled manner to avoid further rupturing pipes due a sudden increase in pressure.

According to Irish Water, “an estimated 55,000 could have been impacted by the burst main in recent days” with the biggest impact felt in Tralee.

Killarney Hotels and bars escaped the worst of the crisis.

Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation said that Killarney Hotels were not affected by the breakage.

The majority of Muckross Road hotels, including Ms Randles’ Dromhall Hotel are on the same pipeline.

Her brother Thomas runs the Randles Court Hotel next door but is on a different water line and he did not suffer a break in his water supply either.

“I woke up on Wednesday morning in fright,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “Water is your worst nightmare, so much depends on it from guests’ showers to cooling equipment in the bars, cooking and washing. Several hotels in Killarney have their own wells. We weren’t affected and that means The Brehon, Castle Ross, and Gleneagle and more were not affected. Thomas next door was not affected and he is on a different line to us.”

Special arrangements were made to ensure hospitals and nursing homes were not left without water during the repair work.

Killarney’s Vaccination Centre also remained operational throughout.

Fianna Fáil’s Councillor Michael Cahill who has been highlighting the issue of interrupted water supply throughout Mid and South Kerry for years, has warned that the continuous water mains issue in the county could result in negative publicity for the tourism industry.

“How can we expect visitors to return or recommend our county as a destination if their basic human needs are not met? Planning Permissions for locals are affected by lack of sewerage capacity in a given area. Both these issues must be dealt with immediately,” he said.

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