The Johnny O'Leary Memorial Statue in Killarney is a fitting tribute to well known musician Johnny O'Leary. Born in Gneeveguilla in the heart of the Sliabh Luachra hinterland, Johnny developed a keen interest in music from an early age and his passion for the accordion and all things musical continued to be honed throughout his life. The Sliabh Luachra area is today recognised as a region that has a unique style of traditional Irish music and a vast repertory comprising largely of slides and polkas. The region has produced an array of well known traditional music players throughout the past ages, including Padraig O'Keeffe, Paddy Cronin, Julia Clifford, Denis Murphy and Jackie Daly to name but a few.
For almost 37 years, Johnny played every weekend at Dan O'Connell's pub in Knocknagree and was accompanied by other well known musicians. He drew crowds from many counties, all wanting to dance to the magical music he produced, as the buttons on the accordion danced to his touch and the jigs and reels, slides and polkas came alive.
The bronze life sized statue was commissioned by a local committee and designed and sculpted by Mike Kenny. It is located adjacent to the Ha Ha, the well known jarvey stand area, in the town centre of Killarney.
Pop across the street to St Mary's Church of Ireland where there is some truly ornate stained glass windows, including a replica of Holman Hunt's 'The Light of the World' painting.