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End of an era as Margaret O’Leary passes away

The late Margaret O’Leary in her quaint and atmospheric antique shop on Killarney’s Main Street.
Pictues: Valerie O’Sullivan

A REAL end of an era has been reached in Killarney following the passing of Margaret O’Leary whose traditional and distinctive antique shop, on Main Street, is one of the town’s most famous and photographed landmarks.

A hugely popular, witty and gentle lady, whose family was steeped in the history of the town, she worked in the accounts department of the Great Southern Hotel for many years and she was greatly admired and respected by colleagues for her business acumen.

The picture-postcard antique shop, a listed building, at 33 Main Street

The quaint picture-postcard antique shop, an immaculately kept listed building at 33 Main Street, with the distinctive J O’Leary lettering over the door, had a magnet-like lure for generations of camera-wielding visitors anxious to get a snapshot of part of old Killarney or to pick up a quirky antique they might find on the shelves.

Margaret was the daughter of Mary Ellen and Jerry O’Leary and her late father, who passed away in 1974, was an iconic and legendary figure in the GAA, not just in Kerry but nationally.

Affectionately known as Small Jer, he was a stylish player, selector, official and, later, president and patron with his beloved Dr Crokes club and he was chairman of the Kerry senior selection panel from 1936 to 1939.

Margaret O’Leary, Main Street, with her nephew Teddy Counihan

A man of great vision and ambition, Small Jer helped broker the deal that saw the GAA purchase the Croke Park Jones’s Road site and he was also one of the prime movers in the development of Fitzgerald Stadium which was dedicated to his great friend Dick Fitzgerald.

Predeceased by her parents, her sisters Kitty, Joan and Tish and her brothers Derry and Pat, Margaret will be sadly missed by her nephew, Teddy Counihan, and many friends.

The traditional and distinctive antique store is one of the town’s most photographed landmarks

Reposing at O’Shea’s Funeral Home, Killarney on Friday from 7.30pm to 8.30 pm, the funeral is due to arrive at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday at 10.00am for Requiem Mass at 10.30am.

Burial will take place afterwards in the Old Aghadoe Cemetery.

The Requiem Mass for Margaret will be live streamed on https://www.churchservices.tv/killarneycathedral.