'Time to celebrate wonderful town'

Creative new campaign aims to reignite people's sense of love for Tralee

Stephen Fernane

Tralee means different things to different people; a place where stories have been handed down through the centuries. Yet the stories that matter most are those that tell of life and death, being young and growing old.

This week's front page of The Kerryman is devoted entirely to the concept of reconnecting with Tralee as a busy town and as a cultural entity.

The front-page letter was penned by Rebekah Wall and Ash Maguire - a manifesto spearheaded by two women for whom Tralee is an unpolished diamond and a location long overdue proper reappraisal.

"The letter was really born out of a year of conversations witnessed and had over the communal table at Madden's Creative Hub," said Rebekah Wall.

"There is a negativity that hangs over our heads in this town, whether it be from history or lack of belief in its future potential. We are very hard on her [Tralee] and on ourselves. That being said, there is a deep desire to change that and we wanted to capture that hunger in words."

Co-author Ash Maguire also believes that Tralee is something of a sleeping giant that is waiting to rise. 

"We want 'Tralee My Love' to be the catalyst for that awakening and for The Kerryman to be the first of many collaborations in bringing it to life,” said Ash.

Madden's Creative Hub recently erected a notice board in the coffee shop inviting people to write down their comments about why they love Tralee. Now they're bringing it to the people with a special event in the Mall, inviting everyone to contribute to it."

The couple insist that while Killarney and Dingle are spoken of with such high regard, Tralee stands uncelebrated as the capital in Kerry. Killarney welcomes people with its Sunday best, like a polished shoe and china cup; Dingle is the loveable rogue, who will spin stories to enchant even the hardest of hearts while holding court on the high stool. 

"We feel Tralee is the heart of Kerry," said Rebekah. "From the moment of her conception she has worked with a beat that keeps our county alive. Those who dwell within her are a testament to the relentless toil to keep her alive, the working man and the working woman's town."

Being part and parcel of Tralee life for over a century,  The Kerryman is equally conscious and proud of Tralee’s past, present and future. It is proud to align itself with Ash and Rebekah’s campaign to reignite an appreciation and love of Tralee.

The Kerryman has long supported, and will continue to support, all aspects of life in Tralee from business to social and sporting events.

“The Kerryman is a feature of daily life in Tralee. For many people, it’s always been the newspaper on the kitchen table at home, or in the local coffee shop,” said Siobhán Murphy, General Manager of The Kerryman.

"Our newspaper is at the heart and soul of Tralee life and has been for generations, which is why we understand and recognise the significance of Ash and Rebekah's desire to promote Tralee," said Siobhán.

"Rebekah and Ash are asking people to take up 'the battle' and help Tralee to fulfil its rightful place as the county's capital. A campaign that stems from small steps and by choosing not to speak negatively of Tralee," Siobhan added. 

Lastly, Rebekah and Ash state that if we want our young people to stay, businesses to thrive and people to yearn to visit Tralee, then we must raise Tralee up and have pride in place.

"If this is the one thing you take from the letter, then that will make all the difference," Rebekah said. "Having lived here for most of my life I want nothing more than to see my beautiful town do well and continue to prosper and grow. 

"While some might say we are renowned for the Rose of Tralee, I would argue our town should be crowned more than one week in the year," Rebekah said. She concludes with a simple message.

"It is time we worked with more cohesion within the town. This piece was brought about by a collaboration of two businesses in Tralee - The Kerryman and Madden’s Creative Hub.

"There is strength in coming together, in creative heads colliding with business institutions.  "New ideas can be brought to life and with it comes change," said Rebekah Wall.

The letter appears on the cover of this week's Tralee edition of The Kerryman