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KERRY NEWS CHRISTMAS 2020 23
KERRY NEWS CHRISTMAS 2006 25
   Mossie gets the thumbs for Steve Collins in 1995
     After 46 years Mossie gets to cook the turkey!
them and much more business followed making Killarney the conference capital of Ireland.
Pages of History
First Published 2006
Mossie Horgan, Head Porter at the Killarney Great Southern Hotel recalls the halycon days of one of Ireland’s most famous hotels..
Mossie Horgan joined the Great Southern Hotel in 1961 as a pageboy and has worked every Christmas Day since.. but not this year. After 46 years he is looking forward to his first real Christmas dinner cooked by himself and surrounded by his family. Well known as the affable head porter greeting guests and locals as they arrive in
“When I started Brendan Maher was manager and it was like one big family. We had great staff parties and back in the late 60’s we qualified for the final of the Tops of the Town at the Gaiety in Dublin.
  CIE laid on a special train leaving town with 200 staff and family, destination Dublin! We were served a sumptuous banquet on the train back with free drink before arriving into town at 2am. Although beaten by Waterford it was a fantastic experience” he said. Christmas at the GSH brought the usual return and when the snow fell on the building it was truly magical. Mossie remembers sweeping 6 inches of snow from the steps one evening and by the time he cleared the bottom step he had to start all over again such was the fall of snow. In later years after arriving to work at 7am he swapped his uniform for the Santa Claus outfit and played the role for children staying the the hotel. He has passed on that mantel to retired judge Dermot Kinlen who Mossie says is a far better Santa than him! Mossie’s wife Betty also worked for 23 years in accommodation.
Now that both have retired Mossie, who had a quadruple by-pass four years ago plans to spend more time with his family and looking after his dogs. I’m involved in a syndicate with GSH colleague Dan Kiely, Jim Healy and his son Colm. Mossie once owned a dog called Ardshan Boy (after where he lives in Ardshanavooley) which won 13 races on the trot in Tralee. So as soon as Christmas and the new year is over the coursing season begins.
Mossie greets Princess Sarah Ferguson in 1994
 one of Ireland’s leading hotels, Mossie has greeted, presidents & princesses, taoisigh and tanaiste’s but it was all in a days work.
During filming of ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ the GSH was HQ for 2 years. “They took over the top floor and David Leane resided in the presidential suite. They were a great crew to work for and on my day off I would travel down to Dingle to watch the film being made” said Mossie. Many memorable functions having taken place over the years but the one that Mossie recounts is the celebration by boxer Steve Collins after he defeated Chris Eubank for the World Title in 1995. “Steve and I became friends and nobody was allowed talk to the boxer only me. Each day I would weigh him and help him get in the right frame of mind. After he won the fight he held the party of all parties in the hotel which was
In his early days the GSH was frequented by rich and famous but not by many locals. “Twas probably the fact that the pint was double what it was in Jimmy O’Brien’s” laughs Mossie as he recalls the, halcyon days. “There were large imposing gates at the International Hotel and below at the Friary. Entry to the regal building was daunting for local people that time. When the president or taoiseach arrived by train a red carpet would be rolled out from the platform, down a covered corridor all the way to the cobble-stoned front of the hotel door where a porter would help him through a
Goat Catcher Frank Joy in playful mood with King Puck Picture by Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com
Mossie gets more than he gives from Senator Mary O’Rourke while his friend, neighbour and colleague Bracker Reagan looks on in 2002
revolving door. Guests wore tops and tails for dinner, a black jacket and tie while the ladies were in the dinner dresses” said Mossie.
swarmed by locals because it took place following the Gatsby Ball as part of the ‘Roaring 20s Festival. I’d say there were 200 people still in the lobby at 5am and we had a job getting them to go home” says Mossie. “On another occasion a nice man walked calmly in the lobby late in the evening, asked for a ‘Canadian Club’, and when I returned he was dead. I got the fright of my life” he added.
“We had special jarveys outside the door resplendent in uniform with immaculately clean jaunting cars. We had 20 covered garages to cater for the huge amount of limousines arriving daily” he said.
In the 60’s guests would leave their shoes outside the bedroom door to be polished by the night porters. One night Mossie was collecting the shoes when he was confronted by a woman ‘stark naked’. Being ever the chivalrous gent Mossie gave her a lend of his overcoat. “What else could I do? laughs Mossie as he recounts the coat arriving back to him in the post with a note thanking him for his good deed. Mossie took over as head porter from PJ Hartnett in 1995 after 30 years as porter and was shop steward for 45 years. During that time he saw many great changes all for the better. When the IMI conference came to town the delegates stayed in the hotel but the conference was held in the Arus Phadraig, so they built the centre especially for
Jeanie Johnson sets sail from Fenit to America 2002. Picture by Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com
  Fair Hill Killarney 1959 -macmonagle.com
Blennerville Steam Train back on track 1999. Picture by Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com










































































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