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Disney characters in town to help Killarney launch July 4 festival

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IT IS a case of Main Street USA in Killarney as the town prepares to celebrate its annual 4th of July festival, which runs on Tuesday, July 4, from 7am to 12 midnight. The festival, now in its fourth year, is shaping up to be bigger, better and more colourful than ever before with an exciting parade, barbecue, live music, street performances, fireworks and much more. The festival aims to celebrate all that is great about the US and to remember the years of legacy between the United States and Ireland.

Speaking about the event, Killarney festival committee member Ollie Favier said:
“The 4th of July is, to a lot of Irish people, what St Patrick’s Day is to Americans. We have a longstanding and positive relationship with the US Of A as so many Irish people have been welcomed into the land of opportunity and have laid foundations there. And how can we forget that America has introduced us to things like American Football, French Fries and Friends! – so what better way to acknowledge all of this than to celebrate with them from across the pond on their Independence Day.”

The celebration will commence on Tuesday, July 4 at 7am with a “dawn chorus” of the Star-Spangled Banner performed by The Shire Male Choir and a ceremonial hoisting of the USA flag over Killarney Town Hall. Every year this proves to be an incredibly emotional event with American visitors joining Irish revellers to hold their state flags aloft and sing their national anthem with pride.

The 4th of July celebrations will see down town Killarney transformed into Main Street USA, with the town coming alive with street entertainment throughout the day – including The Wild West Troupe, Brass bands and can- can girls performing on the streets. As well as a pipe band, a big parade, street party and BBQ; nostalgic movie lovers will get to watch the classic Back to the Future in Killarney House.

And no 4th of July celebration would be complete without a spectacular fireworks display which will round off the evening at 11.30pm and light up the night sky over Killarney.

Ollie Favier added: “This will be the biggest celebration of America’s Independence outside of America itself. We want to show our American visitors how truly appreciative we are of them and also give a nod to our loved ones over in America celebrating the day. This is of course a celebration of all things American so wear your colours, bring your flags and join us on Tuesday, July 4, as Killarney becomes hometown USA just for a day.”


Above: At the 4th of July launch in Killarney were, Paul O’Neill, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism & Commerce, Diarmuid Leen, Festival Chairman, Ollie Favier, Festival Committee, Cllr Brendan Cronin, Chairman, Killarney Munipical District, Mike Moynihan, Heineken Ireland, and Disney friends.
PICTURE: VALERIE O'SULLIVAN

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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 […]

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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

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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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