THEY sipped on champagne and world champion Dingle Gin and savoured some delightful canapés as they overlooked the immaculately groomed green sward of Croke Park where Kerry and Mayo would battle it out the following day.
And that was before they tucked into a delicious banquet and enjoyed some fine wines and top class entertainment. It’s the Kerry way – no point doing things in half measures.
Over 400 guests descended on GAA headquarters last Saturday night for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Kerry Person of the Year award and to celebrate with this year’s recipient Tomás Garvey, the entrepreneur from Dingle who is one of Kerry’s most successful businessmen and a generous supporter of charity, sporting and community events.
The annual Oiche Chiarraí is one of the big Kingdom celebrations of the year and the Croke Park hospitality suite was a most appropriate venue for the gala occasion that continued until the early hours of Sunday morning.
The award recognises individuals who have shown leadership, brought honour to the county, and performed services for the county to such an extent that could be described as being beyond the norm of everyday life.
Previous recipients in attendance on the night were last year’s winner Colm Cooper, Luke Moriarty, Jimmy Deenihan, Crohan O’Shea, Seán Kelly, Tadhg O’Donoghue, Denis Geaney, Brian O’Mahony and Sr Consilio and the very professional master of ceremonies on the night was broadcaster and former Kerry footballer Dara Ó Cinnéide.
The Kerry Mountain Rescue Team was also honoured on the night and volunteers received the Laochra Chiarraí award in recognition of their great dedication and commitment, frequently in very difficult conditions.
Liam O’Connor and his band provided the entertainment but the next day it was the turn of the Artane Band and it transpired that the day after was certainly not as enjoyable as the night before for the Kerry faithful.
Pictures: Julie Behal. Click on individual images for details
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