Tom charts the colourful history of “The German factory”

The Liebherr Story with the front cover image shpwing employees watching a lunchtime game of handball and the back cover image showing Hans Liebherr partaking in a tug-of-war

Over 65 years in the making, The Liebherr Story, a new book on the history of Liebherr Container Cranes in Killarney, is due for general release on March 21 and it will be a great chronicle of life as lived at one of the county’s biggest employers.

Written by Tom Foley, the book tells the story of how Liebherr came to be at a time when Killarney was still a rural backwater and it talks of the importance of the factory to the people of Killarney and beyond.

Packed with detail, rich with humour and full of anecdotes, it is a book about the people of Liebherr, written by someone who was there for 46 years from 1963 until 2009.

Author Tom Foley

In 1963 when Tom Foley first set foot in Liebherr as a young man of 17, he could hardly have imagined that 60 years later, he would have spent 46 years working in the “German factory” and that he would have penned an authoritative, yet hugely readable account of the history of the business.

The Liebherr Story had its conception almost 15 years ago, when the Liebherr family mentioned to Tom that a history was long overdue. It took a few years for the project to get underway but, by 2018, the project was up and running and by 2021 The Liebherr Story was more or less completed.

It was a labour of love for Tom and he said there was enough material for two books.

“If I knew then, what I know now about the amount of work involved, I could have had second thoughts. However, this is a reflection of the importance of Liebherr to the local community,” Tom said.

“Everybody I spoke with had so many stories they wanted to share, some were more colourful than others and so, as I wrote the book, it became as much of an editing process as it was an information gathering process”.

Tom began his Liebherr life on the factory floor and worked his way up to senior management, first as works organisation manager and then as human resources manager.

With a foot in both camps, Tom’s writing spans generations, countries and his time in Liebherr, marked Ireland’s transition from an inward looking country to an outward looking

confident nation with pride of place on the world stage.

The factory has brought wealth and opportunity to the people of Kerry

The 285 pages of The Liebherr Story detail this history through the eyes of someone who was there. The anecdotes and stories held within its pages, tell a human story full of humour and vivid detail and give a glimpse into the lives of the people who make up the rich and storied history of Liebherr.

Thousands of people have passed through the iconic Liebherr gate since it opened in 1958. The factory has brought wealth and opportunity to the people of Kerry and beyond and has touched many thousands of people and homes.

With that in mind, there is an open invitation to help celebrate the launch of The Liebherr Story, meet the author and, perhaps, purchase a copy of the book. It will be formally launched in The Europe Hotel and Resort on of March 20 at 8.00pm and all are welcome.

On the following day, Tuesday, March 21, The Liebherr Story will be available in bookshops and online at

Excerpts, sneak previews and further information is available online at Everyone reads it – ask anyone. Call 087-2229761 to advertise