A REMEDY to cheer up new year blues led to a unique cross-border bonding that has sustained the Rathmorebased Marian Players for the past quarter of a century.
Set up in 1987 to showcase the immense talent in the Sliabh Luachra and Duhallow regions, the entire participation is voluntary and each year the proceeds boost the Kerry Parents and Friends Association.
Just completed is another panto frolic, 'Cinderella', and the silver jubilee producton again drew capacity attendances.
All associated with the panto convened in the Wallis Arms Hotel, Millstreet last weekend to applaud the past 25 years. During that time, over 1,000 people have been involved with the annual panto, ranging from eight to 80 years of age.
Long time producer and now chairman Val Moynihan applauded the efforts of so many for so long. "We hadn't a lot starting out but we were always willing," Val told the gathering in Millstreet.
"Away from the era of the mobile phones and the internet in the early days, material and music had to be sourced. The Cork Music Library accepted us. That was terriffic and I felt like an honorary Corkman for many years," he said.
During the past 25 years, the Marian Players have continued the fine traditions of Sliabh Luachra (which incorporates parts of Cork and Kerry) a region renowned for its music, scholars and folklore.
Mr Moynihan commended the terrific spirit of volunteerism that boosted the panto down through the years.
"Its a credit to all the people and committees for their work, the proceeds have boosted the facilities of those in need", he said.
Former Kerry Friends of the Handicapped CEO Tony Darmody spoke of the the invaluable contribution of the Rathmore pantomime.
"Proceeds have helped fund both the Fr Corridon Centre and Marian House, and the latest staging has benefited a new high support residential facility that is a great resource to the association in Rathmore."
The fruits of that panto, produced by Brian Hickey, again bore fruitition in a €15,000 cheque presented by Eilís Coakley to Marie Lenihan representing the Kerry Friends of the Handicapped.