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Fields of Gold…Féile Lughnasadh- Milltown, July 28 to 31

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The best in trad will return to Milltown this July, the mid-Kerry town once again providing a feast of traditional music and culture over a four-day event.

Sharon Shannon will headline the event, playing on the gig rig in the square on Saturday, July 30th. Friday night will feature local Kerry sensation ‘The Rising’, and Sunday night will see internationally renowned ‘Jiggy’. Acts will be supported each night by local musicians, so the festival will showcase the best of trad, locally, nationally and internationally. All performances are free and open air.

The festival theme is the ancient Lughnasadh celebration, a traditional Celtic event to mark the beginning of the harvest, showing gratitude to the gods for the early fruits and invoking help for a good crop in the coming weeks with grain and roots. The god Lugh and goddess Tailtiu are the providers and guardians in Celtic lore and a parade will see local children recreate these ancient celebrations.

The festival programme begins with the parade on Thursday, July 28th, followed by drumming with Urs Wenk and Celtic lore from Helen O'Sullivan. This will be followed by the perennial favourite, Club Amhráníochta Lughnasadh, the singing club, taking place in Milltown Community Hall. Singers are invited to come and take part in the open-mic event.

Friday night will feature local musicians on the gig rig, followed by Kerry’s finest, ‘The Rising’, a quartet guaranteed to have the crowd buzzing with their unique and powerful blend of trad tunes. The Community Hall will host local talent in an open music session afterwards, ‘Club Lughnasadh’.

Saturday night will see the world-renowned Sharon Shannon showcase her mercurial talents with her band on the gig rig at 9 pm. This will be a unique opportunity to see Sharon open air and promises to be a memorable event.

Sunday will be a full day of activities for all the family, with a craft fair presenting the best in local artisan foods, along with kids’ activities with ‘Party Time’ and storytelling with ‘The Crafty Cailleach’. The ever-popular Uí Briain will play for the Open Air Céili from 4 to 7, with sets on the dancing platform. Performances from Kerry Comhaltas branches will link the evening with ‘Jiggy’, giving their exotic flavour of world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves to the deep roots of trad. Each night will feature open music sessions until late in the Community Hall. Musicians will be welcome in the Milltown bars all weekend, so bring the instruments and you’d never know who you’ll meet.

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Killarney Triathlon Club’s open water swim on the lake

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On Tuesday evening last, members of the Killarney Triathlon Club took part in a breathtaking open water swim, starting from Dundag Beach and spanning the middle lake to a nearby island. Covering a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, the event saw all participants return safely, basking in a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Killarney National Park, swimmers enjoyed views of woodlands,  mountains, and Muckross House. Safety was paramount during the swim, as it is in all the club’s events. Essential precautions included the use of tow floats, safety kayakers, and safety boats, ensuring the well-being of all participants.

“Our club is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful environment,” said Caitriona Shanahan, PRO of Killarney Triathlon Club. “The views during our swims are truly spectacular, and the safety measures we implement help everyone feel secure and enjoy the experience.”

Killarney Triathlon Club offers numerous benefits to athletes of all levels. These include structured training programs, expert coaching, group workouts and more. 

“We welcome all levels and abilities. Joining our club not only improves physical fitness but also offers great fun and the added benefits of stress relief from sea swimming. There truly is nothing like the calming effect of a group swim in the sea.” Caitriona added.

For those interested in joining the Killarney Triathlon Club, more information can be found on their social media platforms and their website, Killarneytri.com.

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Danny Healy-Rae welcomes decision to push back changes for cataract payments

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The Health Service Executive has deferred a move to cut the price it reimburses people for cataract treatments in the European Union and in Northern Ireland, under its overseas treatment schemes and a separate system for the North.

The prices were due to change from the start of this month, but the HSE has pushed the date back so that no one is disadvantaged, and to fully communicate with patients, treatment consultants and providers, cost changes will not come into effect until September 1.

The payments for less complex eye treatments were due to fall from €1,912 to €863 or the National Health Service equivalent of £766 in Northern Ireland. The most common cataract procedure payments were due to reduce from €1,456 to €1,171.

The HSE said that the vast majority of procedures fall into this new payment price. It said that the more complex glaucoma/cataract treatment payments will rise from €1,912 to €4,206.

Danny Healy Rae welcomed the news saying, “Following my representations and raising of this matter in the Dáil, I am glad that the HSE have agreed that they will continue to reimburse the higher rates for cataract procedure for those carried out up to the end of August 2024.

“I am advising anyone who needs to have their cataracts removed to do so now before the change to reimbursement amounts comes in.”

All cataract treatment carried out in Belfast after the 1st September 2024 will be subject to the new DRG rates.

Honouring the Kerry women of the revolutionary period

Kerry County Council is to invite expressions of interest next week for the commissioning and development of a commemorative and artistic piece which will honour the role played by women in Kerry during the revolutionary period between 1912 and 1923.

The project follows a joint motion by the five female members of Kerry County Council who called for the development and commissioning of a meaningful and lasting commemorative piece which would reflect the significant and diverse roles and activities of women and their involvement in the campaign for Irish Independence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

A Working Group, including the five female councillors, has been developing a design brief, and the Council intends to publish a detailed brief for the memorial next week and expressions of interest will be invited.

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