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Community garden adds colour to Ballycasheen

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GREEN FINGERS: The KASI garden in Ballycasheen recently celebrated 10 years. Pictured were: Marilyn Catapat Counihan (Manager of KASI), Mayor of Killarney Cllr Michael Gleeson and Andrzey Nowicki. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

A wonderful and colourful garden is a real hidden gem just outside Killarney town with an ethos to help change lives.

For the past 10 years, KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support Centre, have been running the garden, resulting in a superb facility which has given so much to the community.

Behind it is Manager of KASI, Marilyn Catapat-Counihan, who has witnessed so many lives transformed through the project.

Marilyn, who is originally from the Philippines and married to a Rathmore man, founded the project in 2009 and since then has injected both her love of gardening and food to make it a truly successful and special project.

KASI was set up to support asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, and their families to integrate into the local community.

A decade ago Ireland was a different place when Asylum Seekers arriving into the country were not allowed to work, she explained.

However, it was her foresight to help them integrate into the community with a project such as the KASI garden that got the project up and running.

Since then, the garden has taken on its own lease of life and has become a hugely important part of the local community.

The idea began in 2009 after she was invited to talk about strategic planning in the Diocese when issues around the environment came up. Marilyn then thought up the idea of a community garden on waste ground beside St Oliver’s School in Ballycasheen and secured a long-term lease from St Brendan’s Trust.

“The idea was to create volunteer opportunities for Asylum Seekers,” Marilyn told the Killarney Advertiser. “However, for the last two years it’s slowing down as they’re allowed to work now.”

And everything in the garden is done by hand with a team of very helpful volunteers, she explained.

The large garden, which has a polytunnel and composting area, has seasonal produce which is reasonable priced for the public supplying cabbage, marrows, potatoes, turnips, carrots, cucumber, corn on the cob, tomatoes, grapes, onions, peppers, aubergines and courgettes.

A market, manned by volunteers, is open every Monday to the public with the produce on sale from 9.30am to 1pm.

A lovely addition in 2017 was the log cabin, where the volunteers and visitors can congregate, have tea and a chat, and enjoy evening events.

“It’s a year round project,” she said. “We do a lot of social activities there, hold board meetings and do cookery demonstrations too.”

 

 

 

 

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Soroptimists fundraising efforts not “hampered” by COVID

By Michelle Crean COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity. Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service. Along with family and friends […]

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By Michelle Crean

COVID didn’t “hamper” their efforts this year as members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club came together and gave generously to charity.

Members of the group couldn’t hold normal meetings this year due to the ongoing restrictions but pulled together to continue supporting a women’s aid countywide service.

Along with family and friends they created Christmas hampers for the third year running and donated them to the ADAPT Centre in Tralee on Tuesday.

There, they presented them to Catherine Casey, who is the Manager of ADAPT Women’s Refuge Centre.

“It is wonderful to be in a position to donate these Christmas hampers to ADAPT once again this year,” Killarney Soroptimist Club President, Teresa Irwin, said.

“Due to COVID and not being able to hold normal club meetings we were unsure what we could manage. We are thrilled with the response since we decided to go ahead and amazed at the generosity and the number of hampers. We wish to thank all those that donated. Hopefully the residents of ADAPT will enjoy them.”

Catherine said that they were once again very grateful to all the members of the Killarney Soroptimist Club.

“We recognise that there is a lot of organising and work done by the Club President Teresa Irwin and all the members in collecting and putting the hampers together. It is heartwarming to see the support and generosity of the club. ADAPT Kerry and the Killarney Soroptimists have built a very good relationship over the last number of years and they have lead many campaigns to highlight our service in the Killarney area, including taking part in the ‘Safe Homes, Safe Communities’ initiatives. There is no doubt that their work raises awareness of our service and has contributed to many more women making contact with us for support by phone, through our outreach service and availing of refuge.”

If you would like to talk to ADAPT Kerry please ring 066 7129100 anytime.

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Time to get your Santa letters posted!

We hope you have your Christmas letter written – and checked it twice – because Santa is waiting for it to be posted! And thanks to the Christmas in Killarney committee it’s now so much easier to get it to him with the special Santa post box on College St. just outside Lana. His elves […]

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We hope you have your Christmas letter written – and checked it twice – because Santa is waiting for it to be posted!

And thanks to the Christmas in Killarney committee it’s now so much easier to get it to him with the special Santa post box on College St. just outside Lana.

His elves will collect the post every night at midnight and bring them straight to the North Pole.

After taking part in the magical parade in town on Saturday evening, Santa spoke to the Killarney Advertiser and said he is so excited to deliver the toys later this month.

“Season’s Greetings to everyone,” Santa said.

“I would like to remind all the boys and girls in Killarney and Kerry to write and post their letters to me as soon as possible. They can use the green post box on College St and my elves will collect the letters every night when everyone is asleep! I can’t wait to get in my sleigh and deliver all the fantastic presents on Christmas Eve. Remember, be good, the elves are watching!”

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