In Passing (2003)



Seán Radley


The recent project by Millstreet Tidy Town & Traders’ Associations in the promotion of flower-boxes and hanging-baskets throughout the area for the Summer is surely to be encouraged.   A special arrangement has been worked out so that the boxes and baskets may be purchased at a cost of €13.00.   Ivor Horton of Millstreet Traders’ Association has been accepting the completed application forms for the items.  On St. Patrick’s Week Ivor placed not just one but three very fine Irish tricolours outside his Jewellery Shop at Main Street.

Extra floral displays would certainly enhance the beauty of Millstreet this Summer.



This year of 2003 is truly significantly historic.   Let’s consider the numbers 400, 150, 100, 99, 70, 50, 30, 25, 21 and 10.

400 years since the O’Sullivan Beara March through Millstreet.

15th August 2003 Millstreet will recall this historic event.

150 years ago Banteer, Millstreet, Rathmore and Killarney Railway Stations came into being.   This is to be officially marked by Irish Rail on Wednesday, 2nd July 2003 when a special train arrives that morning at Millstreet Station…the train will remain for some 30minutes with its many VIP’s alighting…the Pipe Band will be present…a special commemorative plaque will be unveiled…three young people will be awarded Art Competition prizes…speeches delivered and memories recalled…very especially paying tribute to the wonderful  CIE/Irish Rail personnel who over the years have made our Nation Rail System so very special.    Andrew Roche of Irish Rail is superbly co-ordinating Railway 150 supported by an enthusiastic Committee that meets fortnightly in Killarney.    Andrew’s late aunt was wife of the late John Kelleher, Station Road.

100 years ago…1903…saw a very industrious Millstreet. Author Frank O’Connor was born that year in Cork.  The wonderfully witty and superb lecturer John P. Cotter, Cork presented a splendid illustrated talk at the Carnegie Hall, Millstreet on the life and time of Frank O’Connor on Tuesday, 22nd April, thoroughly entertaining the large appreciative audience.    Gifted Author, Jack Lane’s most recent publication “A Millstreet Miscellany” available locally at €10.00 gives some tremendous insights into Millstreet over the years.

99 years ago Walt Disney was born.   Next year Disney-on-Ice should be really awe-inspiring following the hugely successful “Beauty and the Beast” Ice spectacular in April 2003 at Green Glens.

70 years ago John Joe Buckley of Toorbonia was born.   Also receiving a Surprise Party on her 70th Birthday …Peggy Kelleher, Laught, Rathcoole.  Heartfelt greetings to both very popular people.

50 years ago Millstreet Star Ballroom opened its famous doors at Church Street.     Chick Smith and his Orchestra played on the first night…memories…memories!   Kelly’s Furniture Centre has very gladly retained the overall look of this Ballroom of Romance both indoors and outdoors.

30 years ago..1973… Cork won the All-Ireland Football Championship having the famous four gifted players from Millstreet – John Coleman, Connie Hartnett, Humphrey Kelleher and Denis Long.  In 1973 also the West End Cinema, Millstreet  closed following many wonderful years of pictorial magic for Millstreet people and visitors from far beyond.   “One Night of Love” starring Miss Grace Moore (we’ve a copy at the Museum) was the first film shown there in 1937.   Similarly, the overall ambience of this wonderful “Theatre of Dreams” has been preserved in its change to Murphy’s Clara Furniture Centre.   1973 also saw the opening of Millstreet Community School…officially opened later by Richard Burke, T.D., Minister for Education in 1976.

25 years ago FLAME was founded.   This splendid voluntary organisation was established by a wonderfully enthusiastic Committee guided very especially by the late Jerry Hickey, Pound Hill, Millstreet.   It’s also 25 years since the formation of Millstreet Community Council which has achieved so much for our area in the last quarter of a century through the tremendous dedication, hard work and commitment of its members.

21 years ago the first Millstreet Parish Retreat to Ardfert took place.

Sunday, 23rd March 2003 marked the final such group Retreat to this Diocesan Haven of Peace.   In future, smaller numbers in cars may wish to avail of appointed open days at the Centre.   The late Peggy Twomey, the Bridge, Millstreet helped to co-ordinate the Retreat from Millstreet over many years.   Margaret Moynihan and Sr. Christina have assisted in no small way for many years also.

10 years ago….15th May…Eurovision Song Contest from Millstreet’s Green Glens…a milestone in the history of Millstreet…let’s remember this unique international in a special way in 2003.


Mary Gaffney, gifted writer of Killarney Road, Millstreet whose ever popular articles appear in such famous magazines as “Ireland’s Own” and “Ireland’s Eye” shares the following very special memory with us:


“Elvis  Presley was singing  Wooden Heart  on the car radio  and   I  joined the children in singing along with him.   We were driving, in snow, from Sligo to Cork, to collect our sixth baby and singing with Elvis gave a rest to the constant question, ”Are we nearly there” ,  being asked almost since we left home.


I  did not know then that this was the happiest day of my life.  To-morrow and the day after, and even years later,  I  would wonder if this was the  happiest day, because other days may have been equally happy – but it was.   Other  happy days included collecting the five older  children, visiting friends, going on picnics, days at the seaside, the joy of Christmas, but this was definitely the happiest day of my life.


Arriving at the  Adoption Society  a social worker placed a baby in my arms.     ”This is your little son”, she said.   A tiny fist grabbed my finger, hazel eyes looked trustingly at me, and  I  loved him for all time.


The social worker asked us our plans and we told her that, because of the snow, we would stay overnight in Cork.  ”In that case I will keep the baby until morning”, she said, taking him out of my arms.


We found a B&B and the seven of us  booked in.  The owner, a widow, welcomed us and showed us our room.  I n  our excitement we told her about the baby and she was delighted for us.  There was no sleep for me that night.  I was overcome with a sense of loss after having held the baby in my arms and then having him taken out of them.


The excitement the next morning was even more intense as I  dressed and fed the children.  We could not wait to get back to the baby.


Then came the gesture we have never forgotten.  As my husband went to pay for our stay the proprietor said, ”There is no charge.  This is my  gift to the baby”.


More than 30 years have passed since that day.  Yet I  am still moved to tears by the kindness of that Cork widow whose sole income was her B&B  business.  She even accompanied us to the Adoption  Society to see the new addition to our family.  Her gesture was the greatest act of kindness ever shown to us and our appreciation of it has never been dimmed by the passing of years.


On the way home I  began to make plans for the next day, getting the children ready for school, preparing the meals, cleaning the house but above all, keeping the baby’s presence a secret for just one day, a day to treasure, a day to add to my ”happiest day”.


All to soon the children grew to adulthood but through all the joys and sorrows of life I continue to think of that day as the happiest of my life.


Now widowed, it seemed natural to me to up stakes, leave my native county for the first time in my life and move to the county where I had experienced the greatest act of kindness I had ever known.”



Over the years our good friend Maurice Walsh of Ickenham near London and formerly of Station Road/Dooneen, Millstreet has contributed so many very interesting historic items to Millstreet Museum for the people of Millstreet.    The most recent presentation by Maurice is quite remarkable.    Maurice & Eva’s son, Michael was visiting his home in Ickenham and was about to return to his Irish home when I received a phone call from Maurice indicating that he would be giving a case of historic books to Michael for delivery to Millstreet Museum.   Gordon O’ Keeffe, Managing Director of K&L Deliveries very generously offered to arrange delivery (free of charge) of the full case to Millstreet when Michael would have left it at K&L’s Dublin Depot.  The weight of the case was formidable as I collected it from K&L’s Millstreet H.Q. at Mount Leader.   And what a treasury of fascinating books it contained (including a wonderfully rare egg-iron from Ickenham’s Kathleen Collins also).   Most of the books were signed by Paddy Dillon Snr. (father of Paddy Dillon, great friend of Maurice & Eva Walsh, who now in his 90’s lives in Australia with his family).   The pupils of Millstreet BNS who visited Legoland near Windsor, London, in 2001 will recall being photographed with Mauice, Eva and Paddy outside the main entrance.

Over the next few issues we’ll refer to the many different books so generously presented to the people of Millstreet through our local Museum by Maurice.    The Cork and Killarney Guides of the 1915 period are most interesting while one of the most valuable books written by Eva of “the Nation” and actually signed by herself is a true gem.   Originals from the time of An tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire  – “Seadhna”, “Mo Scéal Féin”…are truly most significant acquisitions for the Museum and, of course, for the people of Millstreet.    Our heartfelt thanks to all who made this presentation possible.



We thank Mary Randles, Minor Row and a Student at Millstreet Community School for alerting us to a very important forthcoming Fashion Show.   Over the past six weeks the Transition Year Students of Millstreet Community School have been hard at work preparing for the Idol Fashion Show.  Such preparations have included deportment classes, modelling classes, make-up classes, learning routines and selecting a Committee chaired by Tara Cremin and Mark Healy.   The Committee envisages a quality Fashion Experience with the proceeds going to two very worthy causes – Millstreet Community Hospital and the 2003 Special Olympics World Games.   The Fashion Show Spectacular will be held at Green Glens, Millstreet on Thursday, 8th May at 2.30pm and also at 8.00pm.   Tickets at €5.00 and €10.00 are on sale at Millstreet Community School (029-70087) and are also available from Transition Year Students.

We also congratulate the Community School Students whose artistic entry has reached the final of the highly prestigious Form & Fusion National Competition which will be held at Green Glens in May.



It was indeed a most memorable day for Deirdre Looney, Gortavehy when on St. Patrick’s Day 2003, a day when Millstreet Pipe Band was accorded the Best Band Award at the Killarney Parade, it was her first day, in official colourful Band uniform, to march in three parades on the day – Ballydaly, Killarney and Millstreet (twice).   Our sincere congratulations to Deirdre.



RTÉ’s very famous “Céilí House” Saturday night radio programme came from Boherbue’s “Rambling House” on 5th April having been recorded there on 29th March featuring many very fine musicians and excellent Millstreet set-dancers.

Con Tarrant of Banteer was recently heard on an hour-long interview on Radio Kerry’s “Kerry Lore” series broadcast on Sunday nights between 10 and 11 o’clock.   In time, this series, presented by Maurice O’Keeffe (whose uncle, Fr. James O’Keeffe once ministered in Millstreet parish) will feature a recording made in Millstreet on March Fair Day 2003.

William McSweeney, Cobh and formerly of Killarney Road, Millstreet, featured on RTÉ’s “Mooney Goes Wild on One” in a special programme on Sunday 30/3/’03 (a reversible date!) in the Bird Watch theme.  William has often featured over the years with his Class of schoolchildren reporting on the great enthusiasm witnessed in Nature Study projects.

Eily Buckley has now reached Report No. 669 in her ever-popular and all-important County Sound 103FM weekly regional report.  One can log on live to this superb weekly update anywhere in the world and hear Eily’s voice on (10.30am Tuesdays in Ireland – time adjustments necessary for different continents) or read the actual written report weekly on thanks to Hannelie O’Connor, Dooneen who has also placed many colourful photographs of St. Patrick’s Day parade 2003 in Millstreet on the same Millstreet website.



Over the past number of weeks many good people who have contributed greatly to Millstreet life over the years, who have uplifted the lives of many by their friendliness and whom it was a privilege to have known, have gone to their Eternal Reward – Elizabeth Hickey, Killarney Road, Millstreet;  Nora Rea, Oldchapel Cross, Kilcorney;  John Joe Brosnan, Meelin;  Sheila Hickey, Dromsicane;  Daniel O’Connor, Clonbanin;  Katherine (Kit) Drake, Derrinagree;  Peggy O’Sullivan, Rathduane;  Patricia O’Neill (nee Kelleher, Tooreenbawn), Carrigaline;   Jerome O’Keeffe, Curraraigue, Kilcorney;  Joseph (Josie) O’Hanlon, East End, Rathmore;  Mai O’Riordan (nee Mullane), Curraraigue;  Edmond Hickey, Dooneen;  Patrick Murphy, Cloghoulabeg;  Victor O’Hare, Cloghoula.

May they all rest in peace.



Millstreet Museum Society was honoured to welcome John P. Cotter to Millstreet to address on Tuesday 22nd April 2003 a wonderfully appreciative large audience on the life and time of the renowned Frank O’Connor (1903-1966).   It was Jim Redmond of Cork who first introduced us to John.   Such was the tremendous response to his illustrated lecture that an annual lecture from John on such people as Daniel Corkery and An tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire could well become a reality.   The audience were also pleased to see the actual rare historic books so kindly forwarded in that famous case by Maurice Walsh.

We thank the Reardon Family, Main Street/Drishane Road for a most important Register of Burials at Drishane Cemetery from May 1933 until May 1959…to be placed within our archives.    Also kindly presented (anonymously) was a Post Office Savings Book dating from 1894 until 1907 owned by Frances Enright of West End, Millstreet (Patrick’s mother).   Our Museum telephone no. is 029/70844 while our e-mail address is <email>




1.       We recently received  a most interesting letter from Lyn Mayle in Scotland whose parents, John & Rita owned O’Leary’s Garage in Church Street, Millstreet (now the premises of Moynihan Electrical Centre).  Lyn also e-mailed four historical photos including an excellent one of the Garage in the 1950’s.   More about this in the next issue of “Clara News”.

2.       We congratulate Abbie Moynihan, Lacca, Ballydesmond on the recent celebration of her 80th Birthday.

3.       What a truly superb achievement by Michael Cremin, Cork and formerly of Flintfield, Millstreet  to have recently reached the amazing climb up to the Base Camp of Mount Everest.   Only very few reach this and fewer still continue to conquer Everest.   Well done, Michael.

4.       John O’Sullivan of Cloghoulabeg who is now an accomplished pilot with Ryanair once went to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and later presented Millstreet Museum with a stone from the summit … now treasured in the Museum Centre.   Among the VIP’s John has in recent times had on his plane – many of the international soccer players and Michael O’Leary of Ryanair.  He’s also been in the cockpit with the pilot who brought Pope John Paul11 to Ireland in 1979.

5.       Situated directly over Fr. J. Tarrant’s  confessional box in St. Patrick’s Church, Millstreet is a very beautiful stained-glass window in honour of St. Patrick.    We became aware of this through the Mass leaflet article by Mgr. M. Manning, P.P., V.G. on St.Patrick’s Day 2003.

6.       An excellent article on the Spire of Dublin appears in the April issue of Intercom….kindly alerted to us by the Presentation and Drishane Sisters….more about this in our next “Clara News” issue.

7.       Amongst the visitors attending John P. Cotter’s talk on Frank O’Connor were Kevin O’Byrne who had travelled from Skibbereen and renowned American Poet, Patrick Hammer, Jnr., New York who presented his annual sharing of wonderful poetry at Millstreet Library on Friday, 25th April 2003 while local poets read their own compositions.  Patrick is related to Michael and Betty O’Rahilly & Family, Killarney Road, Millstreet.

8.       The appearance of the friendly Easter Bunny at Millstreet Country Park featured in an excellent Richard Mills colour photograph in the front page of the “Evening Echo”of Easter Monday (21st April).

9.       Sincere Congrats. to Donie and Geraldine O’Mahony,  West End, Millstreet on the recent great success of “Mountleader Mate” at the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium, Tralee winning the final of the prestigious Donagh Hickey Motors/Mike Cronin Readymix Sweepstake.

10.  Thought for reflection:  The singer Donovan once said: “The softer you sing the louder you’re heard!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.