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David Kenny arrives in Japan for Olympic debut

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By Sean Moriarty

The wheels of the plane have finally touched down in Tokyo as a Kerry Olympian undergoes final preparations for his 20km Race Walk debut next Thursday.

22-year-old David Kenny from Rusheen, Firies, arrived yesterday (Thursday) following in the footsteps of Glenflesk athlete Gillian O’Sullivan who walked for Ireland in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

David finished second in the U23 European Championships in Estonia last month but in Olympic terms he is ranked 54th in the world. Race walkers, like other endurance athletes, tend to come into better form in their late 20s or early 30s.

At home in Rusheen, the excitement is building ahead of his race which is scheduled for 8.30am next Thursday.

His father Noel, a postman in the Kilcummin area, mother Mary, and three sisters Sarah, Laura and Rebecca can’t wait for Thursday’s event.

“I have taken the whole week off,” Noel told the Killarney Advertiser. “He is ranked 54th in the world, but if he finishes 53rd I will be a happy man.”

CAREER

Kenny became a race walker almost by accident. As a youngster he played soccer for Ballyhar Dynamos, football for Firies and hurling for Dr Crokes. He was also an accomplished cross-country runner through the winter months.

Farranfore-Maine Valley AC members Mike O’Connor and Jerome Crowley – both former champion race-walkers – encouraged him into the discipline so he could compete at the Track and Field events during the summer months.

His career took off and already this year he has competed in Estonia and has attended warm-weather training events in Spain and South Africa.

“The day after St Stephen’s Day he was on a flight to South Africa for training, that’s the dedication and I don’t know any other 22-year-old who has travelled so much,” Noel added.

David has been mentored by Cork athlete Rob Heffernan, who participated in five Olympic Games and took bronze in London in 2012.

“Rob keeps telling David that he is better than him at the same age,” Noel said.

Kenny’s personal best for the 50km walks is 1 hour 23 minutes and 6 seconds. The expected race-winning pace is in the region of 1 hour and 19 minutes.

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Strong connections made at tourism tradeshow 

Many significant business deals were signed at this year’s Meitheal – Ireland’s largest and most important trade event for the tourism industry. Held in the INEC, 450 Irish businesses pitched to over 230 international […]

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Many significant business deals were signed at this year’s Meitheal – Ireland’s largest and most important trade event for the tourism industry.

Held in the INEC, 450 Irish businesses pitched to over 230 international buyers from 17 countries at Fáilte Ireland’s flagship trade event. 

Running since 1975, Meitheal is organised in partnership with Tourism Ireland to provide Irish tourism businesses with the opportunity to sell directly to top international buyers and tour operators.

The best of what is on offer across Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Ireland’s Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin, were showcased with the aim of being scheduled on the itineraries of the global tour operators.

Key themes and trends emerging this year are sustainable travel options, immersive outdoor experiences and festivals.

Speaking about the importance of developing a future pipeline of tourism business, Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said that “creating a strong pipeline of future business is key for the recovery of tourism”.

“Seeing the demand for the Irish tourism product with international buyers at Meitheal is fantastic. Each international buyer represents tens of thousands of possible visitors to Ireland, and their business will be hugely important for tourism and hospitality businesses, communities, and destination Ireland as we continue to work towards recovery,” he said. 

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Outdoor dining area officially opens in town

A new outdoor dining space at Kenmare Place was officially opened today (Wednesday). The project, which was supported with €605,000 in funding from Fáilte Ireland under the Local Authority Weatherproofing and […]

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A new outdoor dining space at Kenmare Place was officially opened today (Wednesday).

The project, which was supported with €605,000 in funding from Fáilte Ireland under the Local Authority Weatherproofing and Outdoor Dining Infrastructure Scheme, provides an attractive outdoor dining option for locals and visitors to Killarney.

“This is a really wonderful addition to Killarney’s tourism infrastructure and will prove a great asset throughout the year and particularly during the forthcoming tourist season,” said Cllr Kelleher, Cathaoirleach of the Killarney Municipal District, who did the honours.

“One of the effects of the recent pandemic was the need to utilise and maximise outdoor dining options and this infrastructure shows what can be achieved in an imaginative way. It will greatly enhance Killarney’s reputation as a destination for top quality tourism experiences.”

The project has been operational since last October but the official opening was timed to coincide with the Meitheal 2023 tourism industry showcase that was organised by Fáilte Ireland at the INEC this week.

“It is fantastic to see Killarney’s outdoor dining infrastructure being so well received by trade and visitors alike,” Miriam Kennedy, Head of Wild Atlantic Way at Fáilte Ireland, said.

Councillors in the Killarney Municipal District approved planning permission for the infrastructure which was completed by Daniel Canty Construction.

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