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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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Man released without charge in murder case

The man in his 50s arrested in connection with the discovery of a body of a woman in her 70s in unexplained circumstances in Ardshanavooley has been released without charge […]

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The man in his 50s arrested in connection with the discovery of a body of a woman in her 70s in unexplained circumstances in Ardshanavooley has been released without charge in relation to this matter.

Miriam Burns was found in her home on Monday afternoon after family and neighbours became concerned about her welfare.

A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and investigations are ongoing under the direction of a Senior Investigating Officer.

Gardaí are continuing to appeal to any persons who were in the Ardshanavooley area between 5pm on Friday and 1pm on Monday and observed any activity which drew their attention, to come forward.

Any road users who were travelling in the area at these times who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) are asked to make this footage available to Gardaí.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station on 064 6671160, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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Plenty of music and entertainment to celebrate Kilcummin talent

The successes of the Kerry, Munster and All-Ireland Fleadh’s were celebrated with Kilcummin CCÉ members, their families and friends in the clubhouse in Kilcummin on Sunday night. The talent within […]

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The successes of the Kerry, Munster and All-Ireland Fleadh’s were celebrated with Kilcummin CCÉ members, their families and friends in the clubhouse in Kilcummin on Sunday night.

The talent within the branch was clearly evident with a packed trophies table. Indeed some of the successes over the last number of months were replayed in a relaxed, jovial atmosphere that meant that all attending had a great night’s entertainment.

“We had demonstrations of winning sets across all age groups and then we moved onto the musicians who pulled out all the stops to entertain the large crowd, packed into the clubhouse,” Derek O’Leary, Kilcummin CCÉ PRO, told the Killarney Advertiser.

John Moriarty, who has recently retired from his role of Supervisor with Kilcummin Rural Development was acknowledged with a presentation to reflect the outstanding work that he has done to enhance and grow Kilcummin Comhaltas over his 25 years in his role, he added.

“Much thanks and praise was also offered to Mary, Adrian and Conor Moriarty, all involved in the progression of dancing and music within the Kilcummin branch. The music and entertainment continued with Helen Kerins and Denis Crowley late into the night. We’re looking forward to next year already!”

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