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120th anniversary of Ballyfinnane Hillclimb to be celebrated with motorsport festival

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Kerry Motor Club has announced details of the running of a Hillclimb on Sunday, July 16 in the Ballyfinnane area outside Tralee which will mark a very special occasion in the county.

Charles Rolls racing in Ireland in 1903. Photo: Royal Irish Automobile Club archive

The club will mark the 120th anniversary of first motorsport event in Kerry

On July 15, 1903 the very first closed-road motorsport event in the county took place on the hillside in Ballyfinnane, 120 years ago this summer.

That event was won by Charles Rolls, who later went on to become to founder of the Rolls Royce Motor Company

To celebrate the historic occasion, Kerry Motor Club will run a Hillclimb in the same location, 120 years to the weekend that Charles Rolls took home the Kerry Cup from Ballyfinnane.

Hillclimb racing is one of the oldest forms of motorsport disciplines in the country. While similar to rally stages, a Hillclimb course is relatively short, usually between 1 and 1.5km in length with multiple quick runs over the same course across a day.

While there will be some regular faces in rally cars on the day, single seater cars (in a similar style to a Formula One car) are normally the fastest over the quick course and some of single seater formula races are expected at the event.

The hillclimb will be run under Motorsport Ireland regulations and safety visits to the course are now at an advanced stage.

The first planning meeting took place on Monday last, May 8 in the Shanty Bar, Ballyfinnane with some 50 motorsport enthusiasts getting to work on what will be a historic occasion in the county.

Events will get underway on the afternoon July 15 with car safety inspection, drivers meetings and drivers parades.

Sean Moriarty, Clerk of the Course said: “The event, which will be run by Kerry Motor Club in association with the Ballyfinnane Community Association, is at an advanced stage of planning with a fantastic first official meeting in the Shanty Bar on Monday night. We are very much looking forward to bringing the sport of Hillclimb Racing back to Kerry and to celebrate this important milestone in Kerry motorsport history.”

Mr Moriarty thanked Kerry County Council officials who are currently process the road closure requests.

More details will be announced in due course including a classic car show and a a host of family entertainment.

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One way traffic system mooted for St Oliver’s National School

The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School. The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other […]

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The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School.

The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other statutory bodie. It is  understood that the system will be trialled at the beginning of the new school year in September.

The area is subject to serious traffic congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times every day.

Over 650 pupils and 80 staff attend the school every day. New housing developments in the area have added to traffic congestion.

Cllr Martin Grady has being pushing for enhanced road safety measures at the school since his co-option to the council in September 2023.

“The issue has worsened in recent years with Woodlawn, Rookery Road and Ballycasheen having more domestic property developments which brings with it more road activity,” Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I’ve seen first-hand several accidents occur when dropping and collecting my children from the school. It needs a safe solution by means of a drop off- pick up point or a traffic management system put in place.

“It is unfair on all stakeholders involved. I will keep working on this until results are achieved in the interest of everyone’s safety. “

The lack of urban school bus services, not just at St Oliver’s but at all schools is adding to Killarney’s traffic woes.

“I would like to see school bus services return for all students, in both urban and rural schools, this service was a massive loss, it would greatly reduce the volume of traffic on our roads and mitigate the risk of accidents and near misses,” added Cllr Grady.

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Planning rules “nonsensical in a housing crisis” Cllr Healy-Rae

A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae. The current planning policy states […]

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A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae.

The current planning policy states that any application house along national primary and national secondary roadways exiting from existing entrances will not be considered.
Healy-Rae says this problem is particularly acute in the Killarney Municipal District given the amount of national roadway surrounding the area with the N22, N71 and N72.
“It is nonsensical that where an individual is living at home and using an existing entrance, can’t be considered to build their own house and use existing entrance they are already using,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.
“How Transport Infrastructure Ireland can quantify this as additional traffic is preposterous. Given we are in a housing crisis, given all the challenges surrounding planning, given exorbitant house prices and the lack of affordable housing, it is ludicrous that this is a reason people are being refused planning.”
She called on Kerry County Council to write to the TII, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Local Government requesting that the current blanket policy be lifted.
“It [the policy] has directly resulted in numerous planning applications being refused and even considered at the pre-planning stage,” she added.
Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has also raised the issue in Dáil Éireann.

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