By Sean Moriarty
Tributes have been paid to Kathleen Lynch who has been described as one of Killarney’s tourism trendsetters.
Mrs Lynch, who was 92, died on Monday, September 30.
For close on 50 years she ran Lynch’s Farmhouse in Kilcummin, one of the first bed and breakfast style tourist accommodation sites outside the town of Killarney.
She started her thriving business in 1967, at a time when tourism in Killarney was growing in popularity but the town did not have as many hotels as it does now.
Tourism officials in the town put out a call to arms in an effort to get home owners from outside the centre to open their houses to passing tourists. Encouraged by a grant to install a telephone, Kathleen opened her first three-bedroom guesthouse in 1967.
“It was no trouble to her, she opened the guesthouse and it took off from there,” her daughter Carmel told the Killarney Advertiser. “She thrived on it. She was up early every morning baking and sorting out rooms, and when she was finished she was off down the fields with my father.”
Kathleen and her husband John opened up their farm to their many guests. For some it was their first experience of seeing a cow being milked. John offered horse and donkey rides to their guests, showing they were well ahead of their time when it came customer service.
Business was so good they were able to construct a purpose built guesthouse in 1973.
Such was the level of service, guests came back year after year and Kathleen built life-long friendships from all over the world.
“People came back all the time, they would bring presents and the excitement was like someone coming home from America,” added Carmel.
Famous people that stayed at the farmhouse included a first-cousin of US President JF Kennedy.
“She was a great worker,” added Carmel. “When we were young we were never brought to town. Someone had to stay at home at all times in case the phone rang and we missed a booking.”
When Lynch’s Farmhouse first opened Kathleen dealt with Mrs Meehan in the Killarney Tourist office.
“She used keep a big book with all the bookings in it and if you ever got it wrong Mrs Meehan would take the head off you.”
Kathleen Lynch was laid to rest yesterday (Thursday) in Aghadoe Cemetery.
She was predeceased by her husband John and is sadly missed by her four children: Eileen, Maura, Noel and Carmel, son-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and many friends.