Liam Lynch (The scribe)  in  Caol on Valentia Island reflects on different outcomes for different GAA teams depending on which ‘recession’ they played in  – He looks back on Caol (‘Chapeltown to visitors and Knightsonians’)  to a very different time and give you the rest of the weeks news from the Island.

these articles were first published in the Kerryman  Newspaper on  5th & 12th February 2014

GAA:  The Valentia Young Islanders footballers last won the South Kerry senior football championship in 2005, which was very fitting as it coincided with the centenary year of the founding of the club. There was well founded and general euphoria as a result of that victory over Dromid Pearses, but as it subsequently came to pass the club failed to get past the first round of the championship year after year until doing so last year against near neighbours Renard. Due mainly to the down turn in the economy and other factors the team never stayed together.

valentia v dromid 27a

Valentia Young Islanders captain Brian Murphy holding the South Kerry senior championship cup.

The team was: Pat O’Sullivan, Ger O’Shea, John Daly, Colm Casey, Tadhg Lyne, Brian Murphy, Stevie O’Connor, Paul Curran, Brian O’Sullivan, Daniel Falvey, John Shanahan, Sean Falvey, John O’Connor, Barry Lynch, Paul O’Connor. SUBS: Richard Quigley, Alan Lyne, Declan Lynch, Muiris O’Sullivan, Martin Falvey, Alan Curran, Fionán Murphy.

So, where are they today? Interestingly, only five live in Valentia, namely, John Daly, Paul Curran, John Shanahan, Richard Quigley and Fionan Murphy, all very much in the veteran stage now, with Fionan Murphy and Paul Curran retired. Eight live in various parts of Ireland, namely, Pat O’Sullivan and Tadhg Lyne (Kildare), Colm Casey (Waterford), Barry Murphy (Dublin), his brother Brian Murphy (Cork), Stevie O’Connor (Carlow), his brother Paul O’Connor (Mary Immaculate College (Limerick), Declan Lynch (Cork), and Muiris O’Sullivan (Louth). Nine live overseas, they being, Ger O’Shea, the Falvey brothers Daniel, Sean, and Martin (all Australia), John O’Connor, Brian O’Sullivan, Barry Lynch, Alan Lyne (all London) and Alan Curran (New York).

There exists in the GAA archives a photo of the Valentia Young Islanders team panel of the year 1986.Throughout the eighties and early nineties they enjoyed unprecedented success in the history of Valentia football. However, the purpose of this article is not to compare and contrast the abilities of the teams of 2005 and 1986, but rather to assess as to how many in both teams stayed at home or left.

In stark contrast to 2005 none of the team of ’86 emigrated, apart from one or two on a short term basis. Today, thirteen of the panel of twenty shown are domiciled in Valentia, they being John Paul Curran, Dermot Walsh, P.J. O’Sullivan, Ger Lynch, Joe Lynch, Fionán Murphy, Micheál Lyne, Seamus O’Connor, Alan Egan, Nealie Lyne, Mike ’Rocky’ O’Shea, Pat O’Connor and Brendy Murphy. Ger O’Driscoll and Richard Quigley live in nearby Cahirsiveen, while Mike O’Donoghue lives in Glenflesk. Colm Egan is in Cork, Brendan Gallagher is in Galway, Gerard Buckley is in Mullingar and Noel Curran lives in Kildare.

Nowadays, we are regularly reminded in national media circles as to how austere the eighties were with comparisons being made with today. This Valentia team which stayed together throughout this decade is perhaps a microcosmic example that times were by no means as tough as nowadays. This is also borne out by the fact that the crippling huge national debt of today did not exist then, nor did the burden of ridiculous bureaucracy. Yes, without doubt a considerable number emigrated then, but unlike today, vital services and employment outlets still existed in South Kerry and were not as much under threat as today. Manufacturing industries existed in Cahirsiveen and farming, fishing as well as the building industry, though struggling, employed far more than now. One former Valentia footballer summed it up well when he stated, ’I did not even know that there was a recession in the eighties’

RNLI: On Wednesday January 23rd a delegation of dignitaries associated with the RNLI visited Valentia and were very well received by the local RNLI branch personnel here. The delegation comprised Sir Tim Laurence, Mr. George Rawlinson(Operations Director), Professor Charles Deakin, Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson, Ms. Fiona Fell, Miss. Dee Caffari, Mr. Ronan Boyle (Divisional Operations Manager, Ireland South), Mr. Owen Medland (Divisional Operations Manager, Ireland Central), and Mr. Declan Dixon (Divisional Technical Manager, Ireland Central)

Interestingly, Sir Tim Laurence is the husband of Princess Anne. The visit was fulfilling a cycle of five year visits by RNLI personnel to it’s Irish stations in a review of Lifeboat operations.

The RNLI was formed in 1824 and is one of the premier voluntary rescue organisations throughout the Irish coast.

Ger lynch shopkeeper

Ger Lynch Shopkeeper

CHAPELTOWN: Chapeltown, lying in the restful lowlands of the centre of Valentia Island is one of two of the island’s villages, the other being Knightstown. The village stands on a small river with the backdrop of Geokaun Mountain standing sentinel from the North.

The place is locally referred to as ‘Caol’ which is the Irish language term for narrow, coming from the narrowness of the river on which it stands. ‘Caol’ is the original and more ancient name with another Irish language term for the village being ‘Baile An tSeipeil’, the village of the church.

Bridge  Lyne in the shop

Bridge Lyne in the Shop

Up to a few decades ago the village boasted four grocery shops, a butcher shop and a Post Office all alas now defunct. The Postmistress, Maria O’Sullivan operated a grocery shop to the East of the village. Patrick Lynch and his wife Molly owned a butchering business and shop, later to become a pub called ‘The Lub,’ now also gone. Martin Falvey and his wife Bridge ran a shop in the centre of the village and Jeremiah lynch together with his wife Ellie had a shop to the West of the village. There was also a thriving creamery in the village. For us youngsters who grew up there in those times it was a good place to be. Those shopkeepers of yesteryear are all now no longer with us. God rest them all.

RING OF KERRY CHARITY CYCLE: The Ring of Kerry Charity cycle takes place this year on July 5th. The event, now in its 31st year, is the biggest one day charity fundraising events in Munster.  It attracts thousands of leisure cyclists from all over Ireland and beyond.  The cycle leaves Killarney and navigates around the Ring of Kerry and is 112 miles long, going through some of the  most spectacular scenery in Ireland.  To date the Ring of Kerry Cycle has raised over €5.7 million for Kerry Charities.  This year the Valentia Community Hospital is delighted to be nominated as one of nine main beneficiaries.  The fundraising is essential for the future of the hospital and it is hoped that each cyclist will do his/her best to raise as much as they can through their own sponsorship.

Many people feel the prospect of cycling the Ring of Kerry quite a daunting proposition and therefore have never attempted it.  A group of local people are organising a training group to train for the Ring this year. This training will be designed for people that have never done the Ring before.  It will provide a structured training programme as well as advice on bike set up, bike maintenance injury prevention among other topics.  It will also get people used to cycling in big groups which will give people great confidence to get around the Ring comfortably.

The training group will assemble in Caherciveen each Sunday morning, beginning on Sunday 23rd February at 10 am.   Training will start with a leisurely 10 mile trip each Sunday for the first few weeks.  The length of the training will gradually get longer and it is hoped that by June cycles of up to forty miles will be comfortably achievable.  Many cyclists admit that starting out can be a little tough but the fitness levels of the individual increases much quicker than one would imagine.  

If you are interested in joining the group please call Marie on 087 391 8726 or Tony on 087 226 6634 for further details.  This is a great opportunity to participate in one of the best sporting days in the country as well as supporting local charity.

DEATH: The recent death in San Diego, USA, took place of Jim Foley originally from Keel, who was 78. Jim Foley was a Kerry minor midfielder with Tom Long in 1954 and also had as his team mate the Cahirsiveen Veterinary surgeon Frank O’Leary. Unfortunately, Dublin defeated them in the All-Ireland final of that year. He made a huge impact for many years in GAA fields of New York, and was rated as a major loss to the Kerry senior football team of the sixties, due to emigration.

When Kerry contested All-Ireland finals his was a regular face in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, and together with his friend of American days, the late Pat Joe Cooper of Valentia, discussed Kerry’s chances in various Dublin hostelries and reminisced on bygone days when they played together in Gaelic Park, New York. Valentia Islanders who were acquainted with him would like to express their sincere condolences to his family members. Solas na bhFlaitheas do.

BIRTHDAY: Congratulations to Lorraine O’Driscoll of The Farm Farrenreigh who recently celebrated her fortieth birthday in Amsterdam with parents and family members

DEATH: Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Carrie Keating of Cahirsiveen on her recent death. Carrie was the wife of Josie Keating, who for a considerable number of years ran the Cahirsiveen based firm of Joe C. Keatng and Sons and gave a lot of employment to people in the area. Go ndeana Dia trocaire uirthi.


As printed in the Kerryman Newspaper 12th February 2014

DAYS OF WOE: Situated in Cahirsiveen’s main street is an impressive shop front with the name ‘An Tig Gaedhaelac’ boldly inscribed. The premises, now no longer open to the public, was a long established  drapery shop of high repute which was renowned for fine tweeds and very high quality clothing.

During the course of the War of Independence the premises suffered the misfortune of being burned to the ground by the notorious Black and Tans as a result of the proprietor not changing the title of the shop to an English translation.

The Irish HOUSE

The Irish House, Cahersiveen

The O’Connell family of Cahirsiveen operated the shop and the photo depicted with the name ‘Diarmuid O’Conaill’ clearly inscribed is of great historical interest and significance as it was taken prior to the burning which occurred at the beginning of the nineteen twenties. Down through the years the premises was always   referred to locally as ’the Irish House’ with the place being run in latter years by Kathleen O’Connell and her sister -in -law Noreen. Noreen’s husband Owen O’Connell passed away in the sixties. A member of the O’Connell family married Toddy O’Sullivan, one time manager of the Gresham Hotel in Dublin with the O’Connell’s also being associated with the Railway Hotel in Cahirsiveen.

As stated  the ’Irish House’ was very much associated with the days of woe of the War of Independence but  those days and before were very much associated with another  Cahirsiveen man by the name of Dinny Daly, who could be described as the forgotten man of the events of 1916, the War of Independence and the Civil War. One wonders as to how many Iveragh people are aware that he fought in the GPO in 1916. This very interesting local historical fact was brought to the attention of the people of Iveragh in a lecture given on Wednesday, January 30th at Teach Amergin Waterville by the Tralee based optician Tim Horgan, who takes a keen interest in the events of those far off years. He, in asssociation with Cormac O’Malley, produced a book  in the recent past entitled  ’The Men Will Talk To Me,’ in which Ernie O’Malley, who fought for Irish freedom  in  those years, conducted very authentic interviews with those men who were contemporary fighters of his in the struggles of those times. Cormac , a son of Ernie’s, and Tim, have thus compiled and gathered Ernie O’Malley’s interviews in book form to produce very valid evidence through word of mouth given by those men .

The following words from the book describe Dinny Daly: ‘Denis ‘Dinny’ Daly was born in Main St Cahirsiveen where his father owned a bakery. He was educated locally at the Christian Brothers School and subsequently joined the British Civil Service in London. There he was sworn into the IRB returning to Dublin in 1916 in preparation for the rising. He was also involved in the Ballykissane tragedy in which three of his colleagues drowned near Killorglin on Good Friday of 1916.He fought in the GPO in 1916 and was subsequently interned in Frongoch.

Following his release, he returned to Cahirsiveen and became the Vice Commandant of the Kerry No.3 Brigade during the Tan War. He fought on the Republican side during the Civil War and was eventually captured  at Gurrane near Cahirsiveen in March 1923.He spent the remainder of the conflict imprisoned in Tralee, Mountjoy and The Curragh, and he took part in the hunger strike of 1923.Following his release, he returned to the family bakery business in Cahirsiveen. He was elected a TD for Fianna Fáil in 1933, but did not seek re-election in 1937.He took an active part in local sporting organisations and never married. He died in 1965 and is buried in Cahirsiveen. Dinny Daly did the interview with Ernie O’Malley in September 1949

There are also sporadic references throughout the book to John ‘Gilpin’ Griffin, another man from Cahirsiveen, which will be documented here in a subsequent column.

MATCH: The scribe of this column travelled by train to the Kerry v Dublin National League game in Croke Park in the company of Joe Lynch from Coromore and Owen Walsh of Knightstown. At about 8am we endured a howling westerly gale as we crossed the Valentia bridge in Joe’s vehicle. We shared a train carriage with Weeshie Fogarty to whom we discussed the upcoming match and on a bitterly cold and windy O’Connell St. we met that encyclopaedia of Kerry and national football Dan Dwyer of Kilcummin. The bitter cold wind did not deter Dan from imparting his football knowledge. Seated on the lower tier area of the Cusack Stand on a bitterly cold evening were Paddy Townes of Valentia and Patie and Mary Casey of Portmagee. Ian O’Connell of Portmagee was in the lower tier of the Hogan Stand.

AWARD: Congratulations to Brian and Jackie Morgan of the Atlantic Villa Bed and Breakfast of Knightstown, who were awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate for 2013.They were honoured as the top performing Band B as reviewed by travellers on the world’s largest travel site. Only the top ten per cent of all businesses listed on Trip Advisor receive this award.

PRESENTATION:   It was with great pride that members of the Valentia Island Triathlon Club were able to present a cheque to representatives of the board of the Valentia Island Community Hospital for €10,500, the proceeds from the 2013 Valentia Triathlon. The presentation took place in the Sceilg Rock Function Room in The Royal on Saturday night Feb. 1st.

The Triathlon is synonymous with the hospital and over the last eight years has raised in excess of a € 100,000 for this vital community service. This is a huge achievement in these financially trying times.

Valentia triathlon meeting

The Valentia Triathlon Club presents cheque to Valentia Hospital reps.L-R:Con O’Shea (VITC Treasurer), Brian Foran (P.R.O.VITC),John P. Falvey and Collette O’Connor (Board,Valentia Hospital), Miriam Lyne (VITC Secretary),Maria O’Connell (VITC Race Director),Noel Curran (VITC Vice Chairman),Tim Poullain-Patterson (VITC),Vincent M.Kidd (VITC Chairman)

The Chairman Vincent Kidd states as follows: ’Our club ethos is very simple as through our sporting activities we try to raise as much as we can in support of Valentia based community groups, whilst providing a platform for training and competing in the different codes, especially for our club members at all levels. Over the years the events which the club organises have benefited the hospital, Tourist Office, Community Centre, events committee (adventure race this year) and other organisations on the island. Each event brings people from all over the country and beyond together to see and experience first-hand the beauty and uniqueness that is Valentia. So, it is vital to keep these programmes of activities going. We welcome new members and anyone who is interested in getting involved as we cannot do it on our own. It would be great to get new people into the club bringing with them new energy and ideas. They too can become an integral part of our small dedicated group and help us all to go forward together.’

The Valentia Island Triathlon Club is nothing without the dedication and hard work of the committee, club members, stewards, marshals, volunteers and the support of the greater community as a whole. Their commitment and help in all weather and the giving of their free time when called upon enables the club to succeed in helping others. The club thanks them most sincerely and looks forwards to 2014 for the events and challenges that lie ahead.

Hannah casey

Hannah Casey

RUGBY: Hannah Casey, the young woman currently playing on the wing for the Irish ladies rugby team plays with Saracens of England. Her grandmother was Nora O’Leary of Cooil and her grandfather was Danny Casey of mainland, Portmagee. John Casey is her father.

VALENTIA GAA: Valentia Islanders extend a welcome and all good wishes to Linus Burke of the Milltown-Castlemaine club, who has been recently appointed as the manager of the Young Islanders and who comes with very good credentials. A welcome and good wishes in the future are also extended to the London born Teresa O’Shea, who comes as the newly appointed Treasurer.

VIRCC: A camp for pre-school aged children will take place on the mid-term week from Tuesday 18th to Friday 21st of February from 10am to 1pm. Booking is essential.

A Childcare Assistant is required by the Childcare Centre and must be eligible for the Community Employment Scheme. Please phone 066-9476400 for further information.