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Busy weekend as Rally of the Lakes

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With International Rally of the Lakes set to return to Killarney this weekend for the first time in three years, the town will be exceptionally busy.

Event organisers say that the 41st edition will attract tens of thousands of spectators for what is sure to be a festival-like atmosphere over the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

“Preparations for the rally are now at the advanced stage and we cannot wait to welcome crews and spectators to the town next weekend,” Darren McCormick, Clerk of the Course, said. “We are mindful of the residents of the town so we ask everyone who comes to Killarney to leave the town the way you found it, bring your litter home and ‘Keep the Race in its Place’.’’

The rally kicks off on Friday evening, with a ceremonial start ramp on Main Street. The first car is due over the ramp at 7pm but the street will be closed to ordinary traffic from around 6pm.

The rally proper starts Saturday in the late morning, with runs over stages near Kilsarcon, Banard and Gortnagane, before a service halt at the Liebherr Container Cranes factory in Fossa.

Drivers will tackle those three stages in the afternoon. Heavy traffic can be expected in Kilcummin, Scartaglin, Gneeveguilla, Rathmore and Barraduff areas on Saturday. The bypass and the Fossa area will be very busy too.

After an overnight halt in Killarney, competitors will have the daunting task of Molls Gap and Ballaghbeama to negotiate in the morning, each stage being run twice. The afternoon will see the crews fight for the rally win on Shanera and Caragh Lake, where overall and class winners will be crowned Killarney’s champions.

Traffic on Sunday will be busy in the Muckross, Glencar, Beaufort and the Killorglin areas.

The Muckross Road will remain busy on Sunday afternoon as crews make their way to Rally HQ, The Gleneagle Hotel for a champagne celebration on the finish ramp before a trophy presentation later on that evening at the same venue.

The rally has a range of title sponsors for the 2022 event and without their generous support, there would be no rally. Rentokil Initial, Aherns.ie Motorgroup, The Gleneagle Hotel and OSI have all joined forces to ensure the rally remains viable in what is a difficult return to action for both rallying and the businesses themselves following the pandemic.

Last week, President of the Killarney Chamber of Commerce, Niall Kelleher, welcomed the return of the rally, stating that the rally is worth upwards of €10 million to the local economy. He said the rally is “right up there” with other major events for the town. Local businesses can expect a major windfall from the event and hotel rooms are at a premium for the “must attend” event said Mr Kelleher.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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