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FarmElder Research Group visits Kerry Social Farming





Over 80 people came to learn more about social farming at the farm of Michael Joe and Brid Murphy in Slaheny, Kilgarvan in last week.

Farmers, social farming participants, service providers, social farming projects from across Ireland, support services and local representatives were among the large attendance, who heard from a range of speakers about how social farming in Kerry is operating and its potential to expand to assist older people and those living with dementia.
The event, organised by South Kerry Development Partnership (SKDP) through Kerry Social Farming was part of a visit by FarmElder research group, who are studying the role of social farming for older people at a European level.

Claire McAuliffe (Teagasc Advisor) and members of KSF Working Group, outlined how dairy farms can be ideal venues for social farming. They provide a variety of activities, which change depending on the season. For the benefit of guests, Claire outlined how the dairy farming system works on the Murphy farm and how factors such weather and markets can impact farming life. She noted how farmers and their families provide a welcoming environment for social farming and are conscious of safety as part of their farming operations.

Dr Brendan O’Keeffe (O’Keeffe Research) told the gathering that he is currently completing an Evaluation of KSF and how the growth of the project, which now has 40 active farms and over 60 participants, has been guided by the framework from a previous Evaluation which he and colleagues did in 2017. The potential for social farming for older people is one of a number of new avenues which KSF can follow. He noted the strength of the partnership approach and the advantages of the long-term relationship which develops between host farmer, their family and the participant who comes to their farm.

Anni and Josef Hindelang, who run a social farm in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, shared their story through a video about their farm. Since 2020, they have hosted older people with dementia, their family members and carers on the farm twice a month.

The gathering also heard from Danny Healy-Rae TD and Mayor of Kenmare Municipal District, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen.

The attendance brought together the groups operating social farming across Ireland, with Rachel Budd (IRD Duhallow social farming), Debbie Kelleher (Field of Dreams, Cork) and Eadaoin O’Connell (Social Farming Ireland Development Officer, West Limerick Resources) among the attendance.

More information about the project is on their website and information on Kerry Social Farming can be viewed at or by contacting Joseph McCrohan (087) 284 9165 or

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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