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Bryan Cooper is a ‘winner alright’ for the 2023 season at Killarney Races




Recently retired jockey Bryan Cooper has been named as the Official Ambassador for the 2023 season at Killarney Races.

RACE MEETINGS: Recently retired Champion Rider Bryan Cooper was on hand at Killarney Racecourse to launch this year’s racing fixtures for 2023 May July August and September meetings. Also included is Áine O’Donoghue (Director Killarney Racecourse) Philip O’Brien Manager Killarney Racecourse. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

Bryan has made many media headlines of late following his shock announcement that he was hanging up his boots at just 30 years of age.

It may have been a surprise to many in his retirement from race riding but the renowned young Kerry man is showing the same fortitude and resilience in the new and evolving chapter in his life as he did when race riding. In recognition of his successful riding career and the courage, honesty and grace he has shown throughout his career, Killarney Racecourse is delighted to announce Bryan Cooper as the Official Ambassador for the 2023 season at Killarney Races.

"For Killarney Races this was obvious fit," Chairman of Killarney Racecourse, Billy O’Sullivan said.

"We are only too delighted to show our support of Bryan Cooper as the next chapter in his career unfolds and we are very much looking forward to working with him in the build-up to and during our four-festival season here at Killarney Races. Bryan is a fantastic young man who has shown great courage in choosing to speak out the way he has done about his reasons for retiring and he did so with such grace, it is most honourable and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

The news comes as preparations are well underway at Killarney Racecourse for their busy racing season which is set to kick off from May 14. With no less than four festivals to choose from, between May and October, there is something for everyone from tickets to dining options at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse as all packages officially go live online today (Friday)!


MayFest takes place from Sunday, 14th to Tuesday 16th inclusive, offering two jump cards followed by an all-flat fixture. A popular fixture with locals, this offers a great chance to let your hair down before the tourist season really kicks off in town!

JulyFest is a real highlight on the racing and social calendar that takes place from Monday 17th to Friday 21st inclusive with a mix of national hunt and flat meetings across the five day fixture. There is plenty of competition off the track also, as Friday 21st will host the Lee Strand Best Dressed Competitions.

AugustFest takes place from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th inclusive. A wonderful festival to mark the last hurrah of the busy summer season in the Kingdom. This is a great social occasion with top class racing where all the fun of a festival is guaranteed in abundance.

OctoberFest is a relatively new addition to the calendar at Killarney Races and offers patrons a more relaxed weekend festival experience on Saturday 30th of September and Sunday 1st of October.


“The support I have received since I announced my retirement has been incredible," Bryan Cooper said.

"The swift approach by my local track to be their Official Ambassador for the season was most welcomed and a very special honour indeed. I love horse-racing, I always have loved it and I always will and whatever the next chapter in my career holds this is a cracking start for which I am grateful and I can’t wait to be there on the opening day of the season on May 14th!”

There are many options available to experience the festivals at Killarney Races. From general admission tickets with ample public food and beverage offerings, free car parking and lawn and indoor seating options to value added group packages complete with racecards, food and beverages. Not to mention, the mouth-watering four course dining and hospitality offering available in the stunning panoramic restaurant complete with a private balcony overlooking the entire racecourse and mountainous backdrop for which Killarney Races is famous.

So come along to Killarney Races to meet Bryan and all the gang who have been working hard behind the scenes at the boutique racecourse in preparation of their opening meet next month. For further information or to make your festival bookings today or for sponsorship and promotional enquiries visit or call 064 6631125.



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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