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Festival video captures town’s history, lore and legend



A stunning video showcasing Killarney’s fascinating history, lore and legend has been produced as part of this year’s unique virtual St Patrick’s Festival in the town. Chronicling the monasticism and ecclesiastical heritage of the town and its surroundings, from the arrival of the monks on Innisfallen Island to the building of the landmark St Mary’s Cathedral, the production will be beamed into homes all over the world as Killarney marks the national feast day in a very special way.

In the absence of the colourful parade and street celebrations that have traditionally made Killarney a must-visit town on March 17, the St Patrick’s Festival Committee has opted for a virtual celebration to allow people everywhere to celebrate the town, its history and its people.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Kerry County Council, Fáilte Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have joined forces for the project which will promote Killarney as a destination with a treasured history.

This year’s celebration will be much different to previous years – for obvious reasons – but it will still be quite spectacular as the town will turn various shades of green to mark the annual feast day with several iconic landmarks in the spotlight.

The specially commissioned video, titled ‘Killarney: A place between heaven and earth’, captures Killarney in all its glory with dramatic footage of standout mythical and magical features and contributions from high quality local performers.

The Venerable Simon J. Lumby, Rector of St Mary’s Church of Ireland, Killarney. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

It tells the story, in words and pictures, of how the beauty of the surrounds which now form Killarney National Park set the scene for monks, writers, poets and mystics down through the centuries and the production culminates in a spectacular fashion with St Patrick lighting the fire on the Hill of Tara which is depicted in the stained glass windows of St Mary’s Cathedral.

Soprano Sharon Lyons performs ‘The Deer’s Cry – a hymn by St Patrick’ composed by Shaun Davey – and the video also features performances from David Rea of Celtic Steps and his daughter Jennifer, as well as interviews with the Venerable Simon J Lumby of St Mary’s Church of Ireland and St Brigid’s Secondary School students Éabha and Kate Rudden.

The video production is the work of award-winning Killarney photographer Valerie O’Sullivan with voiceover by Breda O’Farrell, lighting and effects by Kieran Somers, and Killarney National Park and Wildlife Conservation Ranger Seán Forde.

The Cathaoirleach of Killarney Municipal District, Cllr Brendan Cronin, said he is really looking forward to what will be a very different St Patrick’s Day in 2021.

“After what has been a difficult year, we are delighted to have an opportunity to be able to celebrate our national holiday in what will be a very unusual but very exciting manner,” he said.
“Kerry County Council is delighted to work with St Patrick’s Festival Committee to develop this unique celebration of our people and place.”

This year’s greening of The Methodist Church, Killarney. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan 

St Patrick’s Festival Chairman, Paul Sherry, said the committee understands that many people who would like to be in Killarney for the event this year will be unable to do so as they are stranded elsewhere because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are instead calling on Killarney people all over the world to join us in our virtual celebration as we await better days ahead,” he said.
“The video is a splendid piece of work and it will be a very valuable and important tool in the promotion of Killarney going forward.”


Bean an Tí Joan, at Foley’s Farm House, Muckross Traditional Farms, Killarney, celebrating a virtual St Patrick’s Day this year on the farms. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan


Large shrubs are easy to care for



By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is a whole group of plants which form the backbone of any garden, which need little care once planted, but are of great use to the new gardener.

These plants form the ‘shrubbery’ – that place in many large gardens where plants are put and forgotten about, but which give a good display and add interest to the garden. However, for a beginner, the question of what goes into these large beds, these places which you fill ‘down at the bottom of the garden’, can be quite a daunting one!

So I thought I would arm readers with a list of large shrubs which will grow in just about any condition, are easy to care for but are still attractive and worth having. These plants are generally not for small gardens as they will grow to about 1.5m x 1.2m.

An old favourite in many gardens is the Weigelia. It is deciduous with trumpet shaped flowers in summer. W. variegate has lovely brightly variegated cream and green leaves with pale pink flowers, ‘Eva Rathke’ has dark green leaves with deep crimson buds opening to dark pink flowers, and ‘Looymansii aurea’ has golden leaves with pale pink flowers. Weigelia middendorffiana is a little unusual and more difficult to find, but has beautiful yellow flowers with deep red throat markings reminiscent of a rhododendron. These all flower best in a sunny site.

There are many Berberis varieties, but Berberis ‘Rose Glow’ is ideal for any large border. It has deep purple foliage but the new shoots are bright pink flecked with white giving it its glowing name. B. Aurea has golden foliage, and B. ‘Helmond Pillar’ has red-purple foliage and a columnar habit.

Another ideal purple foliaged plant is Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’ which really will grow in any condition adding height and width to a large border. It does have flowers, the buds of which are pink opening to cream, but it is its foliage and tall arching branches which make it a winner! P. ‘Dart’s Gold’ has golden foliage, and is equally attractive in its own sunny way.

Philadelphus, or mock orange, is a plant which should be in everyone’s garden. It has white flowers which are highly scented. P.’Lemoinei’ is an excellent variety, a strong grower and tolerant of wind and cold. It has single, white flowers. ‘Boule d’Argent’ has double flowers and is also very reliable. There is a lovely miniature, albeit spreading, Philadelphus suitable for a smaller garden, growing to about 60cm, called ‘Manteau d’Hermine’. It is very easy to grow also. ‘Belle Etoile’ is probably the easiest to find and will reward you with masses of fragrant white flowers.

A great evergreen shrub is Drimys lanceolata. In early spring it has clusters of creamy coloured, insignificant flowers – which are a haven for bees and pollinators at that time of year. I never realise mine is flowering until I walk past and hear the buzzing! The leaves are deep green, glossy and leathery, but the shoots are a bright to deep red, making it quite striking. This is an ideal plant for flower arrangers as its stems are so unusual.

As usual, I have run out of space, but next week I will continue this list of useful, hardy, low maintenance staples!

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Inheritance rights of cohabiting couples



Question: My partner and I have two young children together. We live together but we are not married and haven’t got around to making our wills. If something happened to one of us, would we automatically be entitled to each other’s estate?

Answer: It is important for you and your partner to discuss the matter of inheritance sooner rather than later. Because you are not married, neither of you is automatically entitled to inherit anything from the other. If your partner dies without a will, you have no right to any share of their estate no matter how long you have been together. So, for example, if you live with your partner but they own the house, you could be left in very difficult circumstances if they were to die unexpectedly.

If you own items jointly, these automatically pass to you and are not part of your partner’s estate. However, you might need to pay Capital Acquisitions Tax if the inheritance is above a certain threshold or value.

If your partner has not made a will or has not provided for you, you may be able to apply to the courts to provide for you from your partner’s estate. This is known as the redress scheme for cohabiting couples. If you get redress by a court under this scheme, you may be exempt from paying Capital Acquisition Tax.
However, making a will can ensure that proper arrangements are made for you and your dependants and that any property is distributed in the way you both wish, subject to certain rights of spouses and children. Tax planning advice can help reduce or minimise the amount of tax your partner or family must pay. A solicitor can help you draft a will or you can draft one yourself.
You can read more about inheritance rights of cohabiting couples on

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:
Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit to request a phone call from an information officer

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Make your feet look and feel great



By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Finally it’s that time of the year when we have to get our toes out and dust off the sandals and that means we have to prepare the feet for some sun and sand. Both men and women can treat themselves to pedicures!

They are important for many reasons as they help to enhance the feet by having the hard skin removed, old polish taken off and new polished perfectly applied. A deluxe pedicure can improve the circulation, reduce dead skin cells, and improve your mood. It generally makes the feet look and feel amazing. One of the added benefits of a pedicure is a boost of circulation to the foot and lower legs. Poor circulation can lead to numbness in the feet or swelled joints. The effects of our jacuzzi jets, hot water with tea tree and peppermint foot soak, followed up with a lower leg and foot massage, increases the blood flow around the body to improve joint mobility and helps to reduce swelling and pain.

Our feet are exposed to some harsh conditions, whether you’re in high heels all day, wellie boots, hiking boots, runners etc, it’s easy to forget to look after your feet. Having a pedicure should be considered a necessity not a luxury. This can help avoid a number of issues from cracked skin or painful calluses on feet to ingrown toenails. I hear from clients all the time that a pedicure can be incredibly relaxing and reduce stress. There is a blissful effect from the massage but it is also a great way to set time aside for you. It’s a great way to feel pampered and relaxed with the added effect that the toe paint is a constant reminder of the feel-good factor long after the appointment.

The treatment is incredibly relaxing and highly recommended for everyone, old and young, male and female. We soak the feet in hot water with jacuzzi jets; this helps to soften the skin straight away. Our pedicure chair includes a back massager, then the nails are cut, filed and buffed. A nail drill is used if required to reduce thickened toenails. Cuticles are then trimmed, pushed back and old polish removed. The exfoliator is applied on the entire lower leg and foot, followed with foot rasping on the stubborn hard skin. A massage is performed on the lower leg and foot. You can then choose from a wide selection of OPI polishes, or Gelish UV polish can be applied for a longer lasting effect.

Finally, pedicures help promote your mental health. Just like massages, pedicures can help reduce stress. They are very relaxing and boost your confidence because they make your feet look and feel great.

For more information or to book an appointment please call Jill on 064 6632966.

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