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Begonias liven up any display




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

While it is still early for planting out bedding plants, geraniums, petunias and the like, it is an ideal time for planning!

In the last few years, begonias have become very popular – understandably, as they flower well into the autumn, certainly until the first frosts. Their bright colours liven up any displays, though they really look their best when planted in groups of just begonias, as they tend to overcrowd smaller plants. There is still time to plant your own bulbs, which is a cost effective way to a grand display! Begonia corms are slightly unusual in that you plant the depressed, or dimpled, side up. Begonias are generally the last plants to be available in garden centres, as they are frost sensitive, and take quite a while to grow from the bulbs. I have mine sat since February in a warm(ish) shed, and not a sign of growth yet!

Trailing geraniums

For hanging baskets my favourites are trailing geraniums. I love the range of colours they come in, from white with pink stripes to burgundy and bright red. In my own schemes I always feel that they blend in with everything, not growing out of proportion but maintaining a nice tidy shape. Trailing geraniums are also called Ivy Leaf Geraniums, or Swiss Geraniums – though the Swiss ones have a smaller leaf and trail longer than the ivy leaved ones. Swiss Geraniums are quite difficult to come by, but absolutely worth it. The main reason I extol trailing geraniums is that they are weather proof, not drying out too much in the wind, and impervious to rain. The main reason I would say not to choose them is that perhaps they do not trail far enough to suit some displays. On the other hand, window boxes will be unlikely to topple with the weight! Surfinias, or trailing petunias, are the number one choice for length. Trailing quite a distance they give a beautiful show, but do need caring for. I always recommend a total feed as opposed to a tomato feed, as the foliage needs fertilising too. My go to is Phostrogen, as a feed I find it excellent, but there is such a range of feeds available now it would be difficult to try them all out! The Irish seaweed feeds are very rich in nutrients, and create jobs along the Irish coast, so definitely worth trying, and the likes of Miracle Gro has been tried and tested over the years too.

Surfinias never really feature around my house as I find they do not cope with the wind well at all, but they are second to none for colour!
Bacopa, with its pretty white, mauve and pink flowers is a great space filler, as is Bidens with its bright yellow daisies. Marguerites are great upright plants, benefiting from frequent feeding and dead heading. The pastel shades of daisies are a perfect foil for the brighter colours of petunias, lobelia or marigolds!



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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