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Is Killarney dealing with “over tourism”?

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Now this column prides itself on being sometimes ahead of the curve, nationally. Not that we do pride very well. Mostly we try to avoid what until recently at least was the greatest of sins and most offensive types of behaviour, in Christian as well as pagan cultures.

Anyway, imagine my surprise, after going for a breath of French air, to find the very issues raised in this publication not only touched on, but the main spread in the oldest and national daily in France, Le Fiagaro, last weekend.

“La Saturation menace les sites touristiques francais,” Figaro thundered on the front page. And this was followed by three full inside pages of analysis on Saturdays when the paper is at a premium of €5.30 and is most regarded. The article pulled no punches.

While the world focus is on Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice, all of whom are taking measures to limit the number of visitors, tourist sites around the world are threatened. Already, popular French sites like Mont St Michel, villages that are marked as the prettiest in France and the Eiffel Tower itself are overwhelmed – it uses the word “hordes” of tourists.

The figures are stark. Today 95 per cent of tourists visit less than 5 per cent of the planet. Natural sites, historical sites and parks are declining as a result, and locals are getting angrier and angrier, Le Figaro has found.

The problems in the medieval walled city Carcassonne are immense and echo some of ours in Kerry.

Parking is a huge problem. So, too, toilets. Elsewhere towns and villages are taken over by just restaurants and bars and tourist shops and life is uncomfortable for locals and tourist alike. Carcassonne is spending €300,000 now on new public toilets and laying out a new car park outside the walls.

But the golden egg is being killed, the articles are warning. According to one craftsman in Carcassonne, he sells more in April when there are fewer tourists than in August when there are several times the numbers.

The figures Figaro presents are gob-smacking. In 1980, around the first time I visited France, the country got 30.1 million overseas visitors. Last year there were 87 million.

In Ireland our figures have increased by close to 3 million in ten years and we now get more than 9 million overseas tourists a year. But is there one extra car space at Torc? For that matter, are there three times the car spaces in Killarney? Are there more toilets in Inch?

Figaro has come up with a new term “surtourism” which I care to translate as “over tourism”, as in over-production in the farming sector. Figaro’s conclusion is governments are closing their eyes to the problems being posed. And in France, as in Ireland, the tourism strategy is to attract more and more overseas tourists and up the numbers.

Nobody is addressing the problems of saturation, it finds. And for the most part the problems are being ignored, and being shied away from by political leaders as well as industry leaders. We are to pretend the same sites that welcomed 500,000 can now cope with three times that number without blinking!

It also concludes, as argued in this column, that trying to spread the tourists to other sites (like the pound of butter) is not the solution because most tourists want to go to the well-known place. The challenge is limiting numbers, providing facilities and safeguarding the product.

Few serious newspapers are taking a serious look at the problem or looking properly at tourism, a major industry.

But, it seems, the Killarney Advertiser and the oldest newspaper in France have raised the thorny issue no one else wants to address. And it should be noted that while tourism is now Ireland’s major industry, it is so little seriously taken that a tourism ministry is a minor thing and no major newspaper or broadcaster has a tourism correspondent to monitor it. To paraphrase Leo, the gossip and whispers in the corridors of Leinster house has dozens of correspondents focussing on the rumour mill.

Now if only I could write better in French; Figaro and the Advertiser could have a twinning!

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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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Ireland’s newest and toughest cycle will be a thrilling challenge

Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist. Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare […]

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Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist.

Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare will tackle some of Kerry’s toughest climbs and highest mountain passes.

Taking place on October 22, Velo Kenmare is an 135km timed loop route starting and finishing in Kenmare. The total climbing distance is 1,650m, and organisers hope to appeal to serious cyclists who are looking for a new and thrilling challenge.

No stranger to cycling events, Velo Kenmare is being managed by Elite Events Management, who also successfully deliver iconic cycling events Wicklow 200, Ride Dingle and the Ring of Beara Cycle.
Cyclists are encouraged to register for Velo Kenmare on the Velo Cycle Ireland website www.velocycleireland.ie but places are limited for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, and anyone interested is urged to sign up soon as places are filling up.

TOUGH CLIMBS

​​​​The tough enough mountain climbs are over Molls Gap, Ballaghbeama Pass, Ballaghasheen and Coomakista. The route will take in breathtaking scenery Kenmare is famous for, and incorporating some of the most stunning parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry. It is hoped visitors to the cycle event will be encouraged to stay for a few days, and will all be given €20 vouchers or ‘Velo Dollars’ to spend in local shops which will be redeemable against goods and services in Kenmare.

Riders will be allotted a time slot to allow for a staggered start, taking them along a fully marshalled route, with medical cover, bike mechanic support, and hot food and entertainment at the finish in Kenmare.

Making its mark, Velo Kenmare participant race packs will come inside a yellow Velo Kenmare water bottle and finishers’ medals are in the shape of a yellow cow bell. Prizes will be awarded for the quickest top three male and top three female finishers, and fastest male and female will be awarded the title of King and Queen of the Kerry Mountains.

Experienced cyclists are encouraged to take on this exciting new challenge, testing themselves and their clubmates for the fastest finish across these four gruelling climbs, through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country for the best welcome back at the finish.

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