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We were all part of Jackie’s Army – Killarney pays tribute to a sporting icon

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We were all part of Jackie’s Army

Killarney pays tribute to a sporting icon

By Sean Moriarty

[caption id="attachment_32941" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Jack Charlton with local people including brothers Vincent and Denis Counihan, Paul Coghlan, Michael Rosney, then GSH Manager and Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney who gave Big Jack a civic reception at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_32942" align="alignleft" width="960"] Jack Charlton with Killarney's No1 soccer fan Eoin O'Shea from Ross Road, Killarney, (now a worldwide producer of documentaries with the BBC in London) at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_32943" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Jack Charlton with Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_32944" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Jack Charlton being interviewed by local media at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_32945" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Jack Charlton with staff from Torc Travel Killarney at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_32946" align="alignleft" width="716"] Jack Charlton at the ITAA conference in Killarney in 1990.
Photo Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com[/caption]

The great Jack Charlton will make his final journey today as he is laid to rest at in his native Newcastle.

At 12.30 today radio stations in Ireland and Britain will simultaneously play ‘Put ‘em Under Pressure” – the Republic of Ireland soccer team’s Italia 1990 anthem.

This week’s print edition of the Killarney Advertiser carried a special tribute to the national icon and many well-known Killarney people paid tribute to the legendary soccer manager.

Many of us are better at watching soccer than we are at playing it, and for that we have to thank Jack Charlton, who died this week aged 85.

His arrival as the manager of the Republic of Ireland Football Manager in 1985 made us watch even more soccer.

He guided the Irish team to their first major final at Euro '88 and two World Cups, Italia ’90 and USA ‘94 in the space of 10 years.

He brought Irish soccer fans on a series of journeys that will never be forgotten, and those of a certain age began to believe that qualifying for major tournaments were the norm rather than the exception.

Moments that define Irish sporting history; our first ever appearance at the European finals in Germany in 1988; Ray Houghton’s famous Stuttgart goal against arch rivals England; our first World Cup, Italia ’90 where the impossible was achieved; making it to the quarter finals against the host nation and the revenge defeat of the Italians in Giant’s Stadium, New York, four years later.

These are just the sporting highlights. There were great cultural moments too and he gave the Irish people a new sense of believe in an ever expanding Euro-zone.

We could now celebrate our national identity in ways never seen before and as one hack put it, we reclaimed the Irish Tri-Colour from extreme nationalists. The irony that it took an Englishman to achieve all this is not lost, as "Big Jack", became a national folk hero and a much loved character.

At the height of this Irish success he made visits to Killarney, and his time here is fondly remembered by those who were there to meet him.

In November 1990 Jack Charlton was given a civic reception by the then Mayor of Killarney Michael Courtney (RIP) at the Great Southern Hotel.

Michael Rosney, now of Killeen House Hotel, was the Great Southern Hotel Manager at the time.

“He was an absolute gentleman to deal with,” Michael told the Killarney Advertiser. “In fact, he stood out as he was such a kind, genuine, natural man to deal with.”

Jack was in town to address the Irish Travel Agents Association annual conference.

Local travel agent Vince Counihan, who owned Counihan’s Travel Agency at the time, was instrumental in getting Big Jack to Killarney.

“He was such a great speaker, a lovely modest man to deal with but there was very little business done at the convention as everyone was still celebrating Italia ’90 which took place only five or six months earlier,” added Michael.

Over 700 people attended the conference banquet where Jack gave an uplifting and humorous speech. Jack retired early as he had to be up at 6am so he could travel to Dublin for another appointment.

Needless to say, the banquet attendees did not go to bed early and the craic continued into the small hours in the residents’ bar.

The early morning revellers could not believe that Jack was still in the hotel the following morning and started an impromptu version of ‘Ole Ole Ole’ as he waited in the lobby for his lift.

Michael Rosney was there to witness it all.

“He just turned to me and said "It is so nice of the Irish to get up early and see me off",” Michael told the Killarney Advertiser.

One of the guests at the reception included recently retired Killarney Senator Paul Coghlan from Ballydowney.

“He created the atmosphere, there was an aura about him,” the former politician told the Killarney Advertiser. “I can only say the very best about him. We were all enthralled and thrilled to meet him. He was great company but he also did great things for the nation and caused us to sit and take notice. He was a national hero.”

The FAI’s main sponsor at the time was Opel Ireland and local Opel dealer and motor industry legend, the late, Mick Ahern, met Charlton at new car launches in Dublin.

His son Paul recalls how his late father and Jack became great friends and Mick would often act as the soccer hero’s driver while he was in the Killarney area.

Paul remembers one story where his father was dispatched to one airport to pick Jack up. He was driving a brand new Opel Omega at the time and Charlton loved nothing better than to smoke a big cigar after a flight.

“"Is this a new car Mick", he asked my father,” Paul told the Killarney Advertiser. “"It is Jack", and with that Jack put the cigar back in his shirt pocket and said “I won’t be the first person to smoke in it so".”

On at least one occasion Jack Charlton stayed at The Three Lakes Hotel, the current location of the Plaza Hotel, and once again Mick Ahern was the appointed driver.

“A huge crowd gathered outside the hotel to try and meet Jack,” added Paul. “He was bigger than the Pope that time.”

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Weird and wonderful insurance policies

As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note. Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites. Here are some of the […]

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As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note.

Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites.

Here are some of the more interesting and obscure insurance policies put in place over the years.
· David Beckham insured his legs with Lloyds for £100m in 2006

· Dolly Parton has insured her 40dd breasts for £3.8m

· Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards hands are insured for $1.6m

· Michael Flatleys legs were insured for $47 Million. The policy was only in effect when he was touring and forbade him from dancing except on stage.

· James Dean took out a life policy for $100,000 just a week before his tragic death at the age of 25

· The actor Richard Burton purchased a 69.42 carat diamond from Cartier for $1.1 Million in 1969 as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor. It was the world’s most expensive diamond at the time. Once Lloyds had insured the diamond they specified that Taylor should wear it in public for only 30 days a year and even then be protected by security guards. The diamond was sold in 1978 for an estimated $5 Million which would equate to roughly $19 Million today.

· According to novelist and inventor Arthur C Clarke, director Stanley Kubrick wanted to take out insurance with Lloyds to protect himself against losses in the event that extra-terrestrial intelligence was discovered before his movie, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was released. Lloyds refused to quote for this one.

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Kerry to feature in new TG4 documentary on Wild Atlantic Way

Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry. The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry. In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains […]

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Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry.

The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry.

In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains an insight into the culture, challenges and benefits of living by the Atlantic and to find out if seawater still flows through the veins of its coastal communities.

On her travels, Áine will meet with the people of the coast, both young and old. She will spend time in the company of people who live and work by the sea, learning more about the attraction of these areas, and this life, through their eyes, stories and experiences. She will meet those communities and people who have a strong affinity with the coast and the sea, through new businesses, traditional livelihoods, recreational activities, ecology, birdwatching, eco-tours, swimming, boats (of all kinds) and more.

Áine began her journey at home in Gaoth Dobhair and heads to the wilds of Árainn Mhóir on the second leg of journey.
The third show platforms south Donegal while in week 4, Áine heads to the beautiful Achill Island.

Half way through her journey from Donegal to Kerry, Áine is in Carna in Conamara while in the the sixth programme, Áine continues her journey on the Galway coast, this time in Cois Fharraige

Áine visits Inis Oírr in the seventh programme, the smallest of the three Oileán Árainn, to explore how life has changed for islanders in recent generations through fishing, farming, tourism and sport.

In programme eight, Áine continues her journey, heading for the West Kerry coastline this time around, rowing with a local musician, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, a boatbuilder Eddie Hutch and even All-Ireland champions in Cumann Rámhaíochta an Daingin. She investigates the attraction of sea swimming for local women with local group ‘Snámh for the Soul’ goes foraging and paddleboarding with a woman who lives and breathes the sea and all it has to offer, Susan Feirtéar.

In the penultimate programme, Áine continues on her journey around the Corca Dhuibhne coast, exploring the history of trade in An Daingean with Brenda Uí Shúilleabháin and how the coast inspires artists with the talented Tomáisín Ó Cíobháin. She takes a class with local yoga instructor, Ails Ní Chonchúir and heads out to sea with local guide, Eoghan Ó Slatara, to learn about the islands on the west Kerry coast and she tastes some local seafood but she has to cook it first at the Dingle Cookery School.

Áine ends her journey in Uíbh Ráthach, in South Kerry. She gains a different perspective on the sea while snorkling with Gráinne Ní Ailín from Sea Synergy and surfing with Cian O’Connor, explores the long history of this coastal community from the time of the Milesians with poet and historian, Paddy Bushe, and learns about the Seine boat with a local TikToker, Séaghan Ó Suilleabháin, better known as The Kerry Cowboy, and is there a better way to finish her journey than a first visit to the majestic Sceilg islands?

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