Des celebrates his 90th birthday

The Burke Clan of Valentia Island gathered in the Royal Hotel on August 20 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Desmond Burke, originally of Knightstown. 

In attendance were his wife, Mary; five siblings; five children; many grandchildren; nieces; nephews; grandnephews; and grandnieces, who had travelled from Melbourne, London, Galway, Wexford, Dublin, Cork, and from all over the Kingdom to celebrate.

Always referred to in local parlance as 'Des', he was born in 1928 in Castletownbere.

His Cork-born parents, Paddy and Mary, subsequently settled in Valentia as a result of Paddy taking employment here as an officer in the Valentia Coastguard Radio Station.

Des worked for the Western Union Telegraph Company in Valentia from 1949 up to its closure in 1966. Thereafter, he held the position of Post Master in Ballybunion from 1966 to 2000.

Big in stature, he heroically tackled a knife-wielding intruder in the Post Office many years ago, pinning him with a chair to a wall and holding him until the arrival of the Gardaí.

He was also a very prominent footballer with the Valentia Young Islanders and South Kerry, and he captained South Kerry to County Championship victory over St Brendans in 1958.

Other Valentia Islanders on the team were the O'Connell brothers, Mick and John; as well as John 'Dasher' O'Connor(RIP).

Valentia Islanders would like to extend all good future wishes to Des, who continues to rise early for his daily cycle. Comhghairdeas leat a Dheasúin, agus go maire tú an céad.