Melissa McCarthy takes a look at life around the famous Kerry landmark, and profiles some notable names that came from its surroundings.

In the following article we read about some well-known names associated with Meentogues and the surrounding area which are part of Sliabh Luachra. The latter is a legendary name, famed in song and story, extending eastward from Killarney and on into North Cork.

Having grown up in the picturesque townland of Meentogues, Joan Harrington (nee McCarthy) talked to me, Melissa McCarthy, about life there some time ago. She emphasised the fact that Meentogues and its surrounds are well known for a long-standing association with traditional music and song, and also the many links with distinguished names, historical and otherwise. The village of Gneeveguilla is often referred to as the ‘capital’ of Sliabh Luachra.

Joan explained that, “Meentogues, with its popular school, is a quiet, post-card perfect rural setting, having as a backdrop the towering Killarney mountains and the glistening waters of the Abhainn Uí Chriaidh.”

Such a scene provides an eye-catching idyllic appeal that would really make your heart want to smile.
Sliabh Luachra is known as a place where “music flows in the traditional sense of the word” and in this context Meentogues and its surrounds play an important role.

It was a joy to listen to that special brand of music played by Johnny O’Leary, the Doyles and others, to mention but a few – they are often referred to as ‘giants of the music of Sliabh Luachra,’ a title that rested lightly on their shoulders. A monument to the memory of Johnny has been erected near Killarney’s town centre.

Sadly, Joan’s father, John, passed away suddenly in 1955 when Joan, one of seven siblings, was quite young; his death was a great shock to her mother, Ellen, and all the family. Joan recalled that her brother, Fr. Pat, was a seminarian at the time. He continued on the path to the priesthood and was ordained in Maynooth in 1962. Apart from spending seven years working in the Kerry mission in Kenya, Fr. Pat ministered in various parishes in the diocese of Kerry – always doing great work. Even now in his retirement he is working in Lixnaw parish.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own