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Hope of some sort of recovery in 2021 for Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

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By Donal Hickey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms

 

Like every other visitor-orientated operation, Muckross – a partnership between the State and a voluntary board of trustees - had a ‘challenging’ 2020, but there are hopes of some sort of recovery in 2021.

The outlook for the coach tour business and overseas visitors, however, is poor and many places will again be looking to Irish people to make up for these losses in some way.

In ‘normal’ years, between 110,000 and 120,000 people visit the House, and around 70,000 to the Farms.
Last summer in Killarney, we had a large influx of Irish people, families in particular, which compensated in part for the lack of other visitors and the year overall would be far worse only for that.
The immediate priority in Muckross is to recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19, to get the business moving again and to safeguard employment. The Muckross trustees employ around 65 people and at least as many more are taken on as seasonal staff.
The house was built in 1843 and, given its age, ongoing and expensive maintenance works are required.
The restaurant, craft shop, weaving, pottery, bookbinding, research library and farms are run by the trustees, but the trustees have no responsibility for the National Park.

PROJECTS

Most of the big projects by the trustees, in recent years, involved work to the House, including the restoration of all the windows and repairs to the roof and chimney at a cost of around €1.2m. Work was also done to the basement of the house, including the old laundry and servants’ dining hall, at a further cost of €0.47m.

A capital project currently nearing completion in the restoration of the old Victorian stables which also involves the provision of new toilets and refurbished offices upstairs.
In the next few years, the focus will switch to the Traditional Farms which were opened almost 30 years ago. Repair and maintenance work is needed there, especially to the old houses. That work would be phased over a number of a years. The schoolhouse was the last major project on the Farms, seven years ago.
The Farms will be open in 2021 and we hope that more visitor activities can take place there than was the case in 2020, when people were just allowed walk through the place. The level of activities on the Farms in 2021 will, of course, depend on what’s permitted under COVID-19 restrictions.
HOPE
I’d be hopeful of a general improvement in 2021, particularly in the second half of the year, and am confident Muckross will bounce back once ‘normality’ returns.
Major new capital projects are unlikely to begin in the short-term, however. Priorities include new and upgraded car parking facilities and the restoration of the glasshouses, which are well over 100-years-old.
But, ambitious plans for a multi-million Euro boating museum, based on the history and lore of the fabled Lakes of Killarney, have definitely been pushed further down the road by the present crisis.

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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