Yvonne’s star will shine brightly

The feature star on the spectacular Tree of Light will will shine in memory of Yvonne Quill this Christmas

She lit up Killarney through her boundless energy and her great sense of enthusiasm when rising to any challenge so it is appropriate that the late Yvonne Quill will again shine brightly over her beloved hometown this Christmas.

The feature star at the top of the spectacular Tree of Light, on the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral, will take on an extra special meaning during the festive season as it will be dedicated to the memory of the remarkable tidy towns champion who passed away on September 30.

A very successful businesswoman and master baker, Yvonne was the driving force behind the Killarney Looking Good project and the Killarney Tidy Towns Committee, leading by example at voluntary clean-ups and flower planting initiatives and donning the yellow bib and rolling up her sleeves at every available opportunity.

Killarney got serious about its commitment to the national tidy towns competition when Yvonne took over at the helm and her greatest achievement was inspiring the town to the prestigious overall title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 2011, the same year that it topped the Irish Business Against Litter League.

Yvonne Quill was the grand marshal at the Killarney St Patrick’s Day parade in 2019

Since then, Killarney has constantly featured among the top contenders, winning several gold medals and other accolades in the years since she brought home that landmark top prize.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President and voluntary chairman of the Christmas in Killarney Festival, Niall Kelleher, said Yvonne is remembered with great affection and appreciation by everybody that has the best interests of Killarney at heart.

“Yvonne was a wonderful ambassador for Killarney. She worked with such dedication and with a real sense of purpose and she encouraged those around her to do likewise,” he said.

“She was totally dependable and she was always willing to play her part, be it through implementing education programmes in schools, liaising with groups of residents or encouraging public representatives to take that extra step to give Killarney the edge,” Mr Kelleher added.

“She led by example and she never asked anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself.

“Yvonne was a great businesswoman, a real motivating force and an undisputed community hero. Dedicating the star at the top of the tree to this great woman’s memory is our small way of remembering such a very special person,” Mr Kelleher said.

Yvonne was honoured with the title of grand marshal at the 2019 St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney and, in her role as a community stalwart, she was also invited to meet the then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall when they visited Killarney the previous year.

On patrol: Yvonne Quill (right) with her great friend Kathleen Foley doing what they loved doing on the streets of Killarney.
Pictures: Valerie O’Sullivan

Yvonne, from Barleymount, passed peacefully after a great life and a short illness and she is survived by her husband, John, children Peter, Sandra and Sean, son-in-law Peter, daughter-in-law Mairéad, grandchildren Anna, Jake, Ted, Abby and Luke, sister Angela and many other relatives and friends.

Her family will join Mayor of Killarney and Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, and Killarney Parish Administrator, Fr Kieran O’Brien, at a special ceremony to officially switch on the Tree of Light in the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral.

From that moment on, Yvonne’s enormous contribution to her town will be fondly remembered by the appreciative local people each time they pass the spectacular tree this Christmas.

Over 4,500 twinkling bulbs will adorn the magnificent 100ft Californian Redwood this year but the collective eye of the public will constantly be drawn to the sparkling feature at the top – Yvonne’s star – which will remind everybody who knew her of a very special, dedicated and caring person.

Yvonne Quill might have passed on – but her indomitable spirit will live on this Christmas and beyond in the town she loved so well.

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