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Ursula closes the books after 42 years in education

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By Michelle Crean 

Memories flowed as much as the tears last week as pupils, colleagues and friends paid tribute to one of the town's best loved principals who has retired after over four decades in education. 

Ursula Coffey with her family celebrating her retirement as Principal and Teacher at Holy Cross Mercy School. From left were: Lee and Jennifer Buckley Kieran and Ursula Coffey Eithne McAuliffe Fintan and Laura Coffey. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Deputy Principal Anne Lucey retiring Principal Ursula Coffey and incoming Principal Alice O’Donnell Davern at the Hotel Europe celebrating the retirement of Ursula Coffey from Holy Cross Mercy Primary School. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Ursula Coffey with her family on the night of her retirement as Principal and Teacher at Holy Cross Mercy School. From left were: Jennifer Kieran Ursula and Fintan Coffey. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Ursula Coffey (seated centre) surrounded by her family and staff of Holy Cross Mercy School on Friday night in The Hotel Europe Killarney on the occasion of her retirement following 42 years of service. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Ursula Coffey arriving in style to her retirement dinner in the Hotel Europe with her husband Kieran and family. From left were: Lee and Jennifer Buckley Kieran and Ursula Coffey Fintan and Laura Coffey. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Marie Westlake making a presentation on behalf of the Parents’ Association of Holy Cross Mercy School to Ursula Coffey on the evening of her retirement. From left: Rhonda Healy Marie Westlake Alice O’Donnell Davern Ursula Coffey Anne Lucey and Breda Flanagan. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Some past teachers of Holy Cross Mercy School pictured with Ursula Coffey at her retirement dinner in the Hotel Europe Killarney on Friday night. Front from left were: Sr Colette Dennehy Ella Stack Ursula Coffey Siobhán Clancy and Helen Prendergast. Back from left: Breda Courtney Murphy Maureen O’Donoghue Mary O’Sullivan and Alison Coffey. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Bridget McGuire (Chairperson of the Holy Cross Mercy Board of Management) making a presentation to retiring Principal Ursula Coffey with Fr Niall Howard and Caitríona Behan. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Ursula Coffey who retired from Holy Cross Mercy School was best remembered for knowing each and every child by name as she greeted them every morning - and for her infamous homemade chocolate brownies which they say were a staple in the school for special days!

For much of her career at the school Ursula taught Sixth Class pupils in what some of her former pupils referred to as her “finishing school” preparing young girls for their transfer to secondary school.

Over the past 16 years she undertook the historic role of the first lay principal of the school.

Under the leadership of Deputy Principal, Anne Lucey with Breda Flanagan and Rhonda Healy, preparations were made for an event to celebrate Ursula’s long and distinguished contribution to life in Holy Cross. Each member of the staff and all of the pupils pulled out all of the stops to make this time a very special one for Mrs. Coffey. Her retirement celebrations began on Wednesday last with a school Mass which coincided with the annual celebration of Mercy Day, a very important feast day for all of the Mercy Community.

Speaking from the Altar in St Mary’s Cathedral Mrs. Coffey reminded all present of the strong links that Holy Cross Mercy School has, which are rooted in the Mercy Community and officially thanked the Mercy Sisters for their generosity to the school. Fr. Niall Howard, former school chaplain, led the pupils, staff, parents and community in prayer during the con-celebrated Mass.

Afterwards the school hosted a gathering in honour of Ursula. She was joined by her close friends and family members and welcomed with a guard of honour by the pupils in their red and grey uniforms waving Mercy flags and applauding.

Thursday saw a variety show put on by the pupils in an outpouring of gratitude and affection for their beloved outgoing principal. Song, poetry, artwork and drama rooted in the curriculum formed the basis for the variety show which was enjoyed by one and all. 

Friday saw Mrs. Coffey leave the school following her final day’s work. She left the building on New Road handing over her famously large bunch of keys to incoming Principal and former Mercy pupil Alice Davern. With rapturous cheers from one and all Mrs. Coffey bid farewell to the building she taught in and ran during her career.

Later that evening Ursula and her family were chauffeured by helicopter to the Hotel Europe where her retirement dinner was held. The pupils, parents, staff and Board of Management of Holy Cross Mercy School, wish Ursula and her family all the very best as she begins this next chapter of life’s journey.

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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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