Valentia: a review of the year gone
Happy new year to all readers at home and overseas. Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go leir. Let us take this opportunity to review the year that was in Valentia Island.
January: Canadian Minister-Catherine McKenna announced that the Heart’s Content Cable Station Provincial Site is one of eight places the country adding to its tentative list for World Heritage Sites consideration.
The Canadian announcement of tentative status was very significant to the Valentia Cable Foundation Board’s efforts for UNESCO status in Valentia.
On January 9, the death occurred in Epsom, England, of Joan Regan (née Murphy), originally of Knightstown.
Johanna Griffin of the Cable Station, Knightstown, was 101 on January 11.
The AGM of the Valentia Young Islanders GAA club took place on January 13 and ratified Valentia’s Michael A O’Connell, now domiciled in Dromid, as the new manager/trainer.
February: On February 17, President Michael D Higgins visited Valentia and was very well received at a well-attended function with refreshments at the Cable Station.
The Valentia Island under-16 ballad group achieved second place at the Kerry Community Games finals in Ballybunion. They were Fionn Cusack, Fionán Healy, Sean Lynch, Caoimhe Cournane, Julia Cooper, Ruth O’Shea and Mary Gallagher (tutor).
The Valentia Island Car Ferry, on the advice of the Marine Survey Office, was moved to dry dock in a boatyard in Bere Island for repairs to give it a two-year reprieve.
On February 23, the death occurred in London of Sheila Curran (née King) who was originally from Reen in Ballinskelligs and the wife of Valentia’s Michael Curran.
March: The month began with a national shut down due to the severe snow storms of what was referred to in media circles as ‘ The Beast from the East’. Valentia Island did not escape and was also snowed over. It was like a second Christmas for some islanders living in other parts of the country who came home due to work closures.
The Valentia Young Islanders lost their County League Division Five opening match away to Churchill.
On March 3, Dermot Paul, the husband of Angela Murphy of Knightstown, passed away in Cork.
The Minister for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin visited the Newfound Historical Cable site in Heart’s Content, where he discussed a joint application to UNESCO for World Heritage Designation for the Valentia Cable Station and its sister site in Heart’s Content.
Cautie Kissane, the mother of Valentia’a Mary B O’Sullivan, passed away on March 15; and Donncha Cournane, brother of Maebh Cournane of Valentia, passed away on March 6.
On a bitterly cold March 18, Valentia cyclists took part in the Dromid cycle to commemorate local man John O’Shea.
Ger O’Connor of Ballymanach and Liam Barry of Killarney represented the Killarney Badminton Club who won the Division Four Men’s Doubles County Final. Ger and his partner, Jill Redmond of Listowel, also won the County Division Four Mixed Competition and also went on to win the Munster Division Four Mixed Doubles Munster title.
The Scoil Derarca National School won the Cumann na mBunscol South Kerry Mini sevens in Cahersiveen by defeating Scoil Saidhbhín of Cahersiveen by 3-3 to 2-3.
April: On April 3, Patrick O’Driscoll of Dohilla and Dublin was laid to rest in Kilmore Graveyard, Valentia.
On Easter Sunday, at a cold and wet O’Connor Park, the Valentia Young Islanders defeated Moyvane by 4-11 to 0-5 in an opening County Junior Championship encounter.
Aoife O’Sullivan of Liscaroll AC and Churchtown, County Cork, won the All-Ireland under-16 high jump competition. She is the daughter of Martin and Siobhan (née O’Driscoll) of Valentia.
Ballyduff knocked Valentia out of the County Junior competition in Killorglin by 2-14 to 1-8.
Julia Cooper achieved first place in Sean Nós over-12 Dancing, and Saoirse King took second in the under-12 category at the Féile Rince Millstreet Traditional Festival.
May: Celebrating the great lighthouses of Ireland with the ’’Shine a Light on Summer Festival’,’ the spotlight was on the Valentia Lighthouse, with an open day being held, with many in attendance, complemented by an Irish Coastguard Helicopter rescue display.
Minister Bendan Griffin officially opened the new Skellig Rock Function Room in the Royal Hotel.
The death in Cork on Saturday, May 5, occurred of Maura Burke of Knightstown. On Saturday, May 12, Alice Blincoe (née O’Sullivan) of Valentia passed away in Dublin.
The marriage took place of Brian O’Connor, son of Steve and Kathleen of Ballymanach, Valentia, to Mary Kinsella of Leighlin Bridge, Carlow.
June: On June 1, the death occurred in London of Gearóid Griffin, formerly of the Old School Road, Knightstown. On June 9, the death, while on holidays in Spain, occurred of Kate McIntyre (née Curran) of Dublin and Chapeltown, Valentia.
The AGM of the Valentia Community Hospital took place in the Ring Lyne.
On June 15, the death occurred in Birmingham of Janet McNamara, who regularly holidayed in Valentia together with her husband, Bill.
On June 29, the death occurred of James (Jimmy) Healy of Ballyhearney, Valentia, and originally of Upper Carhan, Cahersiveen. On June 29, the death also occurred of Ellen (Nell) O’Sullivan of Cahersiveen and formerly Valentia.
July: On July 2, Pat Curran of Chapeltown, Valentia, passed away in Enniskillen.
An Irish Language Summer School took place from July 2 to 6 at the Chapeltown Community Centre. Sorcha Ní Mhurchú, the Valentia Glór nan Gael secretary, organised its funding.
On July 5, the death occurred of Con O’Shea of Cloon, Ballinskelligs, who was a frequent visitor to Valentia.
On July 6 the death occurred of Patrick (Tappy) Keating of Kimego East, Cahersiveen. He was the brother of Maureen O’Donoghue of Feighmane.
The venue was Keel and memorable for the fact that by defeating Asdee, the Valentia Young Islanders were promoted to Division Four.
Tony Tormey, aka Paul Brennan of the long-running soap series Fair City, holidayed in Valentia, staying in Cooil Road. He was a big hit with locals.
The former Mayo footballer Willie Joe Padden visited the Royal Hotel.
The marriage took place of the Radio Kerry Broadcaster Joe McGill to Mags O’Mahony of Dromid. Joe’s mother is Mary Ann Lyne of Cooil.
Paul O’Sullivan of Ballyhearney won an All-Ireland Junior medal with a defeat of Galway by the Kerry juniors. He played at corner back.
The first-ever art exhibition took place in the lighthouse keepers’ house of the Valentia Lighthouse.
Aoife Lynch, the daughter of Declan and Deirdre Lynch of Valentia and Cork city, represented Ireland at Junior Ladies level in the double sculls event at Farran Woods, Cork.
August: On August 1, Agnes Edwards of the Revenue, Valentia, passed away.
Valentia Islanders took part in a cycle from Cahersiveen to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Rás Tailteann win by the ‘Iron Man’, Mike Murphy.
Dan O’Connor of Laharn, Valentia, passed away on August 26th 2013. The annual Dan O’Connor Memorial Beagle Drag Hunt took place in his honour in Valentia.
Daniel Falvey of Chapeltown and Karla Escamila Aquirre were married in Mexico.
The Valentia GAA Race Night was held in the Royal Hotel and was a huge success.
Alec Gerrard, husband of the late Bridie Cooper of Tennis, Valentia, passed away in England on August 15.
Des Burke of Ballybunion and Valentia was 90 and Noreen (Nono) O’Donoghue of Chapeltown was 80.
September: The Valentia Cricket Club, the ‘Mighty Oaks’ defeated the visiting Ashford,
County Wicklow team at Cracow Park. Ger ‘Jack’ O’Sullivan was the hero of the day.
Councillor Michael Cahill called for funding for the Valentia Car Ferry at a County Council meeting.
Valentia Island is singled out for an intensive door-to-door investigation by the Gardaí in an effort to solve the ongoing ‘Kerry Babies’ mystery. The island was under the glare of the national media, which did not go down too well here.
The Valentia Lifeboat is presented with €500 by the Waterville Golf Club.
Patrick O’Shea and Christina Quirke of Cahersiveen were married on September 21.
Matthew Foran of Knightstown was honoured by being a mascot for Nottingham Forest v Rotherham in the English Championship. He was the envy of all his friends.
October: Pat O’Connor of Cooil was 60 on October 2. Noreen Cassidy (née Mawe) of Valentia and Dublin was 102 on October 6.
The annual Kells to Valentia RNLI cycle took place with refreshments afterwards in the Royal Hotel.
Derarca Goldie (née Lynch) took the visiting Chamber Music participants on a novel luxury cruise boat tour of local waters. All were very impressed.
On October 10, the death occurred of John (Seán) O’Driscoll of Ballinteer, Dublin, and formerly of Dohilla, Valentia.
The death in Dublin took place on October 18 of Patrick (Paddy) O’Sullivan of Terenure, Dublin, and formerly Peter Street, Valentia.
November: The 100th Anniversary of World War I was commemorated by operatic music and song in the Church of St John the Baptist of Knightstown. Locals who died were especially remembered.
Noel and Noreen Lynch of Chapeltown celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
The Young Islanders defeated Waterville by 1-12 to 1-10 in a first round South Kerry Senior Football Championship encounter in Valentia.
The Valentia Lifeboat crew is honoured with the annual Monsignor Hugh O’Flahery Memorial Award.
The South and Mid-Kerry Rowing Social is held in the Ring of Kerry Hotel. The Valentia Rowing Club is recognised for winning the Johnnie Reidy annual trophy for the seventh year in a row and many more underage awards.
Adam Quigley finishes fourth in the Munster under-13 boys’ cross-country race.
Bernie O’Driscoll of Feighmane celebrated her 50th birthday with family and friends in the Ring Lyne.
The Government announced a €1.27m grant for the Valentia Island Cable Station Digital Hub project. It is an additional fund to the €1.6m grant for the project from Fáilte Ireland.
December: On December 3 the death occurred of Michael (Bobby) O’Shea of Corobeg, Valentia.
The 25th annual Ecumenical Carol Singing Service took place in the Church of St John the Baptist of Knightstown.
The death occurred on Christmas Eve of Ted McCarthy of Cahirsiveen and formerly of Knightstown, Valentia.
Fr Gerard Finucane of Waterville celebrated Christmas Eve Mass at 6pm in Knightstown, and Fr Pat Murphy of Ardcost celebrated Christmas Day Mass at 11.15am in Chapeltown.
The 40th anniversary of the building the Scoil Derarca National school was celebrated with Mass in Chapeltown, with a function of refreshments afterwards in the school.
Valentia Cable Station’s pursuit of UNESCO status gathered pace.
Valentia lighthouse was the scene of several exciting events in 2018. Photo by Valerie O’Sullivan.
There was much debate in 2018 over the future of the Valentia Ferry. Photo by Stephen Power.