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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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Are you getting enough sleep?

By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating a […]

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By Angela Kerrisk from Activate Fitness

We have all heard the phrase “routine is the killer” however for many of us who, on a daily basis, stretch ourselves thin wearing a variety of different hats, simply creating a specific and sustainable routine will separate the successful and organised from the stressed and overwhelmed.

Incorporating a routine helps to bring direction and structure, and as Craig Ballantyne so wonderfully put it in his book ‘The Perfect Day’; “Structure = Freedom”.

In our childhood, we became accustomed to a bedtime routine. In fact, those of us who are parents go to great lengths to create this routine for our own children, knowing the benefits it brings. However, as we moved into adulthood, that same routine was thrown out the window by the demanding world of school and full-time work.

Sleep and health are locked together. When we improve our sleep, we have better energy, mood, and recover easier from exercise. When we sleep better it helps us to make better nutrition choices because sleep regulates our hormones. Yet it’s one of the first things we sacrifice in order to get through our full to-do list. Whatever these or our end goal is, jeopardising our health seems to be counterproductive and also just a little crazy! Why is it that as adults we stray so far away from one of the very foundational rituals that can keep us feeling grounded?

So how much sleep do you need? About six to eight hours is good but the exact number depends on the person. No matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough.

Here are some suggestions to help you achieve greater balance and a sound night’s sleep:

Limit caffeine:

It takes a long time for caffeine to get out of your system, so avoid it late in the day. Typically, have your last caffeinated drink 10 hours before your bedtime.

Be active:

Physical activity reduces stress and improves sleep. One exception is not to do a hard workout right before bed as it might be tough to wind down for a while afterwards.

Unwind early:

Turn off screens well before bedtime. Bright screens can mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TV’s, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. Take the dog out, brush your teeth, get into your pyjamas, and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

Brain dump for the next day:

Spend 5-10 minutes each night writing a list of to-do items to ensure you hit the pillow feeling organised and in control.

Set out your clothes the evening before:

This small task can save you a lot of last-minute rushing. Take the extra five minutes now when you have it.

Cool, dark and quiet:

When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom.

Buy an alarm clock:

This will help you to avoid being distracted by notifications should you wake and check the time in the middle of the night. Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Here at Activate, we promote and encourage balance to ensure we are living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is one very essential and key component of this. We hope these tips help you get some much-needed rest! When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

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Kerry Stars “pursuing dream to build own sports centre”

By Sean Moriarty Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser. The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds. However, the project remains […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry Special Olympics Club is still pursuing its dream to build a sports centre in Derreen, a senior club official has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser.

The club has identified a site, with support from Kerry County Council, between the existing Killarney Legion and Killarney Celtic sports grounds.

However, the project remains on the long finger as the club has been concentrating on the safety of its members throughout the pandemic.

The delay prompted Cllr Donal Grady to ask Kerry County Council if it had any plans to build houses on the site.

Mr Grady asked the question in the context of making sure the land did not go to waste and not in opposition to any plans by Kerry Stars.

“The site referred to was originally identified as a potential site for development as a specific sports facility. That project has not materialised,” a Council official said.

“Kerry Stars had been in contact with Kerry County Council regarding use of the site, and it was expected that further communication would be received from them in the very short-term. As yet, Kerry County Council is awaiting further communication and will liaise directly with the Kerry Stars group before we can give consideration to use of the lands under the ‘Housing for All’ housing plan.”

However, Kerry Stars chairman John Spillane said they still “have every intention of pursuing our dream of have our own sports centre”.

“The location makes perfect sense, it is the sports hub of Killarney and all the clubs there could help and learn from each other.”

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