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Calls to save historic watch towers from dereliction

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Calls to save historic watch towers from dereliction

Well-known local man Jerry O’Grady, the Chairman of the Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty Memorial Society, is growing increasing concerned about condition of two buildings of historical importance that are after falling into disrepair.

Two of Killarney's 19th Century stone-built watchtowers are in serious danger of being irretrievably damaged and lost due to official neglect according to Mr O’Grady who is calling for intervention by Kerry County Council or the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Tower and Lodge on the Kenmare Road and Round Tower at Lord Brandon's Cottage are in danger of becoming derelict.

“A short few years ago there was talk within the National Parks and Wildlife Service that the [Kenmare Road] building could and should be restored and possibly put to a tourism/heritage use,” Mr O’Grady said.

“At the time, the single-story Lodge was largely intact and the Tower was free of plant life. Unfortunately, nothing was done and today it is all but invisible from the road. There is little doubt but in a short time the structure of the Tower will be damaged beyond repair and will join some other parts of our built heritage such as Ross Cottage, Glena, and Queen’s Cottage as derelict shells or heaps of rubble.”

Mr O’Grady is calling for an official campaign, similar to the one that saved Killarney House to be established to safe and protect the Watch Towers.

“Our now beautiful Killarney House and Gardens was ignored for decades by these agencies and sustained lobbying by local heritage and tourism interests was all but ignored. Without the fortuitous timing of Failte Ireland Funding becoming available and a committed Minister for Heritage being in office at the right time [Jimmy Deenihan], it is safe to assume that it too would have had a similar fate,” he added.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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