Look media people, we get it, you think the Healy-Raes are embarrassingly hilarious, and yes, we know they’re from Kerry. But why is that the only thing you focus in on when you write about the Kingdom?
Over the years, Co. Kerry has been the home to many passionate and inspirational individuals, who simply do their thing; many with the limelight barely thrown in their direction.
As Kerrywomen who love our cultural identity, Mom and I have great respect for the hard work these people do. Some of the names you will know and some you may not know, but these are people who have done the county proud.
Fodhla Cronin O’Neill
Film producer Fodhla was nominated for an Oscar for her production “Head Over Heels”. A great animated film, she was also the winner of the 2013 pan-European Cartoon D’Or award. Fodhla now lives and produces in London.
Sister Stan Kennedy
Born in the Dingle Peninsula area, and affectionately known as Sister Stan, she is best known as being the founder of Focus Ireland, the homelessness charity. Winner of Kerry person of the year, she’s a force to be reckoned with, with three honorary doctorates. More about Sister Stan here.
Ted Moynihan has done incredible work for charity and cancer support for the Kerry Hospice Foundation. Ted has worked tirelessly over many years for the development of palliative care services in Kerry. He’s to be awarded a Civic Reception from the Tralee Municipal District. Take a look at the great work that the Kerry Hospice do here.
Pharmacist and illustrator Ciara Kenny is not just a fantastic illustrator but is also incredibly funny. The talented artist captures the essence of the people she draws while incorporating brilliant humour into her work (I’m also very privileged to count her as a friend!). See more of Ciara’s artwork here.
Long-endurance swimmer Nuala Moore has swum in the most extreme races. From a 1,000m swim at the Russian Winter Swimming Championships in water temperatures of 0.3 degrees C, the Kerrywoman certainly has immense strength. She swam the English Channel Relay from England to France, touching the French shore, and returning to England in 25 hours 15 minutes too. Most impressively she was invited with 16 other swimmers to participate in the Bering Strait Swim from Russia to America – a 56-six mile relay.
The manager of Adapt Women’s Refuge in Kerry, Anne-Marie and her team do Trojan work in supporting women who have experienced domestic violence. The service offers a non-judgmental support service to female victims, provides a referral and advocacy service for them and their children, and raises awareness of the issue of domestic violence.
The 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner Bryan Cooper has achieved quite a lot for a man in his early 20s. Bryan took part in his first race when he was just 14, spending his holiday time training in the yard of the late Dessie Hughes. He has numerous accolades to his name, particularly from the 2011 – 2012 season with 36 wins and also scored his first Grade One victory aboard Benefficent. Read more about him here.
Seán Mac an tSíthigh
If you ever watch the news and there’s a story in Kerry, then chances are Sean Mac an tSíthigh will be on camera! The RTÉ/TG4 video journalist is clearly a proud Ciarraíoch and posts absolutely fantastic photos on Instagram too.
Mícheál Ó Muircheataigh
Legendary sports broadcaster Mícheál has had a career that has spanned over six decades and is largely recognised as the voice of GAA.
Oscar-award nominated actor Michael Fassbender, moved to Killarney when he was two with his parents where they ran the West End House, where his father worked as a chef. He attended Fossa National School and St. Brendan’s College, discovering that he wanted to be an actor at 17. How time flies! These days he even shows off Kerry to his famous friends like Kate Winslet and talks about his days as an altar boy in the Kingdom.
He says: “I left Ireland when I was 19. They’re kind of balancing each other out in terms of the amount of time I’ve spent in both places. But it’s always great to get back to see friends. I grew up in the countryside. I long for the countryside when I’m in the city too long”.
These are people who have done positive things for Kerry, and while the media may like to focus on the mockery, there are bucket-loads to be proud of if you’re from the Kingdom.
You can read about great places to visit in Kerry here.