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Future is looking bright as Killarney Valley AC Arena officially opens




There were plenty of sporting exhibitions which enthralled the public on Saturday during the official opening ceremony of the Killarney Valley AC Arena.

LONG JUMP: Keelan Verasoo long jumping over 20ft watched by Minister Norma Foley, Bishop Ray Browne and the enthralled viewers.


SUCCESS: Jerry Griffin chairperson Killarney Valley AC pictured addressing the crowd and outlining the success of the facility.





QUILL CUP: CEO of Athletics Ireland Hamish Adams presenting the Quill Cup to Killarney Valley AC team captain Jordan Lee which the club won earlier in the year.

CUTTING THE RIBBON: Minister Norma Foley, Bishop Ray Browne and Mayor of the Killarney Niall Kelliher together with elected officials, and members of Killarney Valley AC cutting the ribbon at the official ceremony.

Hundreds turned up on a beautiful August afternoon to witness and to be a part of the event.

Mayor of Killarney, Niall Kelleher, spoke glowingly of the “field of dreams” initiative and his long held support for the project.

Minister Norma Foley delivered a speech thanking Killarney Valley AC, its friends and the Diocese of Kerry for such an initiative to be located in the centre of the school area.

She spoke of her support for the club’s encouragement of female participation in, where two thirds of the club members are female and with a special mention for those with disabilities. Role models like Sarah Leahy, Ciara Kennelly, Maddie Wilson Walker and Jordan Lee all help to encourage inclusion and break the stigma for those from an early age and demonstrate a pathway to elite competition on a level playing field for all.

Jeremiah Griffin outlined the history, the present and the future and thanked the volunteers, sponsors, SKDP, Department of Sport and Kerry County Council aid from the community strategic support fund. Jeremiah also thanked Clan Credo for the loan to cover the balance of finance required during construction, in order for full completion. This amounts to €80,000 and efforts are constant as the group works to keep it on track. Sean Coffey spoke of his delight at the decision to finally locate the facility on the grounds of St Brendan's College by the St Brendan's Trust. John Hickey of Hickey Design, Leonard Moran and Associates QS, Tom Collins of Moloney Contracts, FDC Accountants Killarney and Maurice Coffey Solicitor were also acknowledged on the day for a job well done and for their services.

Bishop Ray Browne blessed the facility and spoke warmly of the reasons for the St Brendan’s Trust support. Minister Norma Foley cut the ribbon to laud applause and fan fair. From there, like the First Olympics in Athens, the exhibition events begun. Tomas Griffin introduced the CEO of Athletics Ireland, Hamish Adams, who spoke of his support for the club and its ambitions and in a well choreographed event, everybody was then enthralled.

Long Jumpers exceeded 23ft, high jumpers clearing 6ft, Sarah Leahy racing to over 35km per hour, Conor Gammell to 38km per hour. Jason O’Reilly sprinted an exhibition 300m, Oisin Lynch and Jack O’Leary racing a 1km race on 2 mins 34 seconds with plenty in the tank. To put the 1km in perspective at that pace it would guarantee a final place in a 5,000m Olympic Games running low 13 minutes.

Tea and coffee was provided on the day by Nave Coffee and the classic 1982 Toyota Starlet was on show by Tom Leslie of the Killarney Valley and Classic Vintage Club which is being raffled in support of the the facility amongst other beneficiaries.

"A great day was had by all with the future looking bright from a brave team of pioneers, whom started the discussion over 40 years ago with honorary Killarney Valley AC president Mrs Eileen Switzer and her late husband Mr Frank Switzer and most recently from the team in 2013 up to the present," Jeremiah Griffin said.

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Ireland’s oldest citizen has Killarney connections

Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week. Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections. The previous record […]




Ireland’s oldest woman met with President Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this week.

Máirín Hughes, who turned 109 on May 22 has strong Killarney connections.

The previous record was held by 107-year-old Nancy Stewart who died on September 10 2021.

Although born in Belfast, Máirín went to school in the Mercy Convent. Her father was a customs and excise officer and the family moved around a lot eventually coming to Killarney after spells in County Down and Dublin.

Her mother came from the Rathmore area and her father was from Newmarket in County Cork.

She attended the Mercy Convent and has, in previous interviews, recalled growing up on the shores of Lough Lein.

“Neighbours who had three children were given the job of taking me to school,” she said. “They were annoyed because the children were going to school for two or three years but I was put in to the same class as them – my mother had taught me.”

In 2021 she featured in the book ‘Independence Memories: A People’s Portrait of the Early Days of the Irish Nation’, sharing stories of being kept in school in Killarney during an attack on the RIC barracks down the road.

In 1924 she started a degree in science and a diploma in education at University College Cork, before working in the pathology lab in University College Cork’s Department of Medicine for 16 years.

last year she recalled her story on the podcast: ‘Living History – Irish Life and Lore’.

During the broadcast she talked about her parents’ membership of the Gaelic League in 1910; the Spanish Flu in Ireland in 1918; The Black and Tans in Killarney in 1921; the early days of the new Free State; Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932, visiting the Basket Islands in 1929; and working in the UCC medical laboratory from 1932 until 1948.

This week President Michael D. Higgins hosted an afternoon tea event to celebrate the important role that a variety of people have and can play in different communities and Máirín was among the guests of honour.

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Philip is running over 100kms for Cancer charity

Local runner and charity fundraiser Philip Kissane is set for the biggest challenge of his career as he lines up for the Cork City Marathon on Sunday. Phillip has already […]




Local runner and charity fundraiser Philip Kissane is set for the biggest challenge of his career as he lines up for the Cork City Marathon on Sunday.

Phillip has already completed four half marathons at various locations around Killarney – all in aid of Kerry Cancer Support Group – or the Cancer Bus as it popularly called.

This is the second time that Phillip has run four half marathon and an official race for the charity.

Back in 2021 he finished with 5km Run Killarney event but his finishing race this time around is over eight times the distance at 42kms.

“We are delighted with Philip’s continued fundraising support but also with his awareness raising for the charity,” Breda Dyland, Service Manager Kerry Cancer Support Trust.

“We are getting busier all the time and still get no statutory funding so are dependent on fundraisers like Philip’s to keep us on the road. We have just put our new wheelchair accessible bus on the Cork route so Philip’s funding will be going towards the operation of this vehicle.”


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