Connect with us


Friary project set up to save endangered birds




By Michelle Crean

A community project has been specifically created and installed at the Franciscan Friary to protect a species of endangered bird.

The nest boxes being fitted at the Franciscan Friary.


16 nest boxes, produced locally by Stephan de Beer in his small factory, Genisis Nest Boxes in Currow, were put up on the church in readiness for the imminent return of swifts to town.

Leane’s Tool Hire Killarney, provided the machine and operator to reach the height that was needed to secure the boxes while Yvonne Quill and Kathleen Foley of Killarney Looking Good (Killarney Tidy Towns) provided the funding for the whole of project.

The idea for the project came about as the swifts (Apus apus) or Gabhlán gaoithe, a migratory species,
have recently been declared “of conservation concern” and are now on “the red list” in Ireland and the UK.

Swifts are about the same size as a swallow, but are a dark colour all over. They spend virtually all of their lives in the air and are never seen resting on wires, like swallows and house martins, who they might sometimes get confused with. They have tiny feet which do not allow them to move around easily on the ground, but do help them to cling to walls and cliffs. They are one of the fastest birds in flight in Ireland.

"Swifts pair for life and they return to the same site each year to lay and incubate their eggs," Chris Barron, from Killarney National Park Education Centre, said.

"They like to nest in houses and churches, squeezing through tiny gaps to nest inside roofs. But as more old buildings are knocked down or are renovated and the gaps in soffits and elsewhere that the swifts used are closed up, their natural nesting sites are fast disappearing and the provision of artificial nest boxes as an alternative, becoming more and more important."

Swifts eat only insects, which they catch and eat while they fly. The adult birds will catch insect prey and bring it back to the nest for the young. It is thought that with the numbers of insects declining so rapidly, that this is also contributing to the decline of the birds through less food being available to them and their chicks.

"In 2019, 13 active nests had been counted on the eastern side of the church, but it was discovered last year that these had been blocked up when renovations took place in 2020. When swifts are blocked out of a building that they have previously nested in, they are known to return for at least six years, trying to gain access. So, every year that they return and cannot get in, is another year that they are not able to breed."

Continue Reading


Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


Continue Reading


Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


Continue Reading


Last News