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Impressions of Killarney:

“Warm, Welcoming, Generous,” “Happy, Warm, Positive," “Welcoming, Engaging, and Humorous.” These are the words SSCA members used to describe their June 7-12, 2023 visit to our newest Sister City. The delegation of ten included Suzie Austin, Gary House, Nancy Burt, Rosemary Gannon, Laura Atwell, Diane Escalante, Sara and John Speacht, and JoAnn Garner, SSCA Killarney Committee Chair.

Our group renewed friendships forged in early 2020 when SSCA hosted 8 Killarney golfers in Scottsdale for a week, and made many new lifetime connections while enjoying County Kerry’s spectacular natural beauty and legendary hospitality. “Excellent, clever and gracious,” is how Rosemary Gannon will remember hosts Sean Counihan, Sheila Dickson, Michael O’Leary, and Michael O’Donoghue (pictured below). “They truly made us feel like family.”

“When we arrived in Killarney, we were 10 people from Scottsdale. Through our shared time and adventures in Ireland,” noted Rosemary, “We gained a new appreciation for one another and became enamored with Killarney. Pony cart rides, boat trips, a hike, Irish songs and many wonderful meals together created fond memories and friendships.”

SSCA’s delegation was greeted with a gracious reception hosted by Town officials and leaders of the Killarney Town Twinning Association. Presentations featured a Scottsdale Mayoral Proclamation of the Inaugural Youth Golf Exchange, an invitation to Killarney to send a delegation to Scottsdale in the fall of 2023, and an exchange of gifts of friendship.

The trip even included a bit of romance—thanks to hosts Sean and Sheila. They made special arrangements for John and Sara Speacht, who were celebrating 16 years of marriage, to renew their vows at Killarney’s lofty St. Mary’s Cathedral.

For Laura Atwell, the 7.5 mile jaunting cart (pony cart) journey through the treacherous Gap of Dunloe to Lough (lake) Leane was a true lesson in Irish culture: “The trail was steep and narrow and, at times, had to accommodate cars and motorcycles passing side by side. About halfway up the trail, our 17-year-old jarvey (driver) said we would need to get out of the cart and walk for a while to lighten the load for the horse. In what we now know is a very quintessential Irish manner of understatement, he said it was "just a bit" up the trail. It turned out to be quite a hike before we were allowed to pile back into the cart and finish the bumpy ride to the lake. There we enjoyed a light lunch at Lord Brandon's Cottage and were taken in a motor boat through three adjoining lakes to Ross Castle on the island of Ross.”

Accommodations were provided at the Plaza Hotel, part of the O’Donoghue Ring Collection. “Simply the best,” according to delegate Nancy Burt, pictured here with the other delegates and hosts on the Plaza’s magnificent staircase.

HERE are Extra Photos of other photo highlights, or click HERE for a Full Report of Killarney written by trip leader, JoAnn Garner.


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