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Special bracelet back in John’s safe keeping

John Leen: collected the bracelet at RTÉ today
John Leen: collected the bracelet at RTÉ today

FIFTY two years ago Garda John Leen walked into a jewellery shop in Killarney, bought a distinctive gold bracelet for his wife to mark the birth of their third child and asked for it to be inscribed ‘From John, to Íde, With Love, 1964’.

Even though the engraver spelt her name Eda, she adored the gift but she was devastated in the 1970s when it was lost.

Incredibly, eight years after Íde passed away, the bracelet was recently posted anonymously to the Ray D’Arcy Radio Show by someone who claimed to have found it all those years ago but forgot about it.

Ray’s radio crew put a snapshot of the bracelet on Twitter and a friend brought it to the attention of the Leen family from Park Drive, Killarney.

“A friend recognised the names on the bracelet and said it to me. I went online to have a look and I recognised it straight away and my sister, Orla, later confirmed it,” John and Íde’s son, Colm, told KillarneyToday.com.

Last March, when the riddle was solved, Ray spoke live on air with the now 81-year-old John Leen, who was holidaying in Lanzarote at the time.

John promised to call to RTÉ to collect it and there were emotional scenes when the retired Garda sergeant was reunited with the long lost bracelet live on air this Thursday afternoon.

The beautiful bracelet John gave Íde in 1964
The beautiful bracelet John gave Íde in 1964

“It means a lot. It’s difficult to put words to it,” said an emotional John who served as a Garda sergeant for many years as well as being safety officer at Fitzgerald Stadium and the annual St Patrick’s Day parade.

He said Íde, who was originally from Dingle, would regularly wonder what became of the bracelet which John now intends to pass on to their daughter, Orla. Another daughter, Niamh, passed away three years ago tomorrow at a young age.

John and Íde met in 1958 when he was stationed in Barraduff and she was a teacher in Raheen. They were married in April 1960 and although he was later transferred to Templemore, on being promoted to the rank of Inspector, and then Clare where he was Superintendent, Killarney always remained their home.

Text © KillarneyToday.com