In the late 1960s, Eileen Foley took a night off from running the family bar, Charlie Foley’s, to go to a dance in the Gleneagle Hotel where she met a young Killorglin accountant, Colm Foley.
Colm was one of the ‘Monk Foleys’ and came from the corner house where Jack’s bakery operates today. He had his own Tralee accountancy firm, Kelly Foley. Like her Killorglin grandmother before her, Ellen Foley, Eileen had no need to change her name when she married Colm and skipped back a generation to renew the Launeside connection. She remembers Colm as ‘full of divilment, the life and soul of the party’.
Life was good to the couple as they raised their family of one daughter, Grace, and three sons, Cormac, James and Colm. Eileen took on most of the responsibility for running the bar because Colm’s accountancy business in Tralee took up his time. They did, however, embark on a major project together to demolish the stores to the rear of the building and double the size of the bar.
Hardly a week passes that some Killarney business, new or established, doesn’t inspire me with a demonstration of resilience or generosity of spirit during the toughest economic conditions that Killarney has endured in living memory.
When I saw Kitty O’Shea’s in College Street light up its shopfront with two extra-large red hearts for St Valentine’s Weekend even though it is closed for business, I was in awe of the positivity of the restaurant.
Again, the can-do attitude of Lana Asian street food restaurant and Bean coffee take-away in opening their doors in College Square and Plunkett Street respectively in the past fortnight stopped me in my tracks. And every time I see a queue for waffles outside Hugga Mugga, I’m delighted for the Dermody family who took a chance on opening in College Street a couple of months ago.