Sonny Looney (b. 1941)
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Sonny Looney (b. 1941)


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Track 1: This recording was compiled on location at Parknasilla, where Sonny Looney lives close to the Great Southern Hotel. He discusses the gardens and the farm where he used to work during the off season at the hotel in former years. He also recalls members of his family, including his father Patrick, an employee of CIÉ, who also worked at the hotel where he met his future wife. The drawing of seaweed from the bay and the fresh fish supplied to the hotel are recalled. Track 2: He remembers his appointment as Head Barman at the hotel, and in the foyer he points out the changes which have been made to the entrance over the years. Tom Doyle, Head Porter at the hotel is recalled, as is the arrival of guests in chauffeur-driven vehicles and the references required by guests at the hotel in the early days. Track 3: In the Shaw Lounge, he remembers that in former days afternoon tea would be served here to the accompaniment of music played by a resident pianist. Sonny explains that a list of guests’ names and past histories would be given to staff by management each morning, to help to establish a more personal service. Track 4: In the hotel restaurant, he recalls the room as it used to be before the extension was built in 1969, and while walking along the upstairs corridor to the west wing, he remembers that table tennis would be played by guests on the landing under the glass dome, and he also mentions the Presidential Suite which still remains in place. Track 5: Moving to the basement, Sonny explains that there was access from the Cellar Bar to the ballroom at one time, and he continues into the main bar where he worked for 38 years and where Mass would be celebrated for religious congregations while staying as guests at the hotel. Track 6: The old kitchen, now used as a cloakroom, is visited where Sonny points out the position of the old ranges and he discusses the bringing of food from the kitchen to the dining-room. The linen room and the boiler room are visited, and some of the original masons who worked with cut stone on the building of the hotel are remembered. Track 7: The Princess Grace Suite is visited, and Sonny explains that he feels honoured to have served the Princess and her family during their visit to the hotel in the early 1960s.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Kerry Hospitality Industry


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

4.84 MB, 4.17 MB, 3.82 MB, 3.74 MB, 6.07 MB, 7.35 MB, 10.26 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Great Southern Hotels, Killarney and Parknasilla

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore