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Charity night to highlight Nepal plight





By Michelle Crean

A Killarney woman who was shocked with the level of poverty while volunteering abroad – now plans to help in any way possible – starting with a fundraiser in town next week.

Holly de Burgh (29) from Arbutus Grove, volunteered in Nepal last November, and now plans to hold a fundraising event on March 1 at the Curious Cat Café, at 7pm.

Holly, who studied film photography, plans to exhibit 15 photos taken during her time there, and will also make a presentation to create some awareness about the charity she worked with.

Holly travelled with friends to the capital city of Kathmandu a number of weeks before they were to start volunteering. There they met with Usha, the main facilitator who works closely with impoverished communities throughout Nepal.

“We had heard about Usha and the work she was doing through Sense of Yoga Ireland,” Holly told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

They then travelled to the city of Biratnagar in the East of Nepal and worked with a group of people referred to as the Musahar, from the Dalit caste.

“I had heard about the ‘untouchables’ in Nepal and India, a group of people so discriminated against that others would not eat food that had been prepared by the hand of a so called ‘untouchable’. There are over 220,000 people from the Dalit caste living in Nepal. Shelter and food are the main priority for these people, education takes a back seat and children are often required to work alongside their parents to help provide an income to the household. We spent time in two villages while we were volunteering, one named Shanthi. While there we built secure doors for a number of the homes and also benches and tables for the small school that we refurbished.”

They also provided books and stationary for the students in the school and teaching supplies for the volunteer teacher.

The second community was right on the border of India and Nepal, she added.

“Personally I have never seen people as poor as them. They live hand to mouth with limited access to medical care, education and employment. Poverty for these people is an accepted way of life and their inheritance, in a sense, is this resignation that the situation isn’t going to change for them.”

She added that it was hard to know what to expect from the volunteering in Nepal but it was the most rewarding and important experience of her life.

“To see what could be accomplished in such a short space of time was inspiring to me and to be part of the happiness these communities felt was incredible.”

“Our aim now is to create awareness about these people and the problems they face and in whatever way we can, be it one small step at a time, help to make things that little bit easier for them.”

Entry to the exhibition is €10 euro with a complimentary glass of wine and nibbles.




Carols by Candlelight

    St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]






St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.

Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.

“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.

Choirs include:
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Harmonisers
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir

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The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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