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“It was an experience I won’t forget”

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney jockey Oisin Murphy went to hell and back in what he describes as an experience he "won't forget" - and viewers can watch it all unfold on TV screens over the next few weeks.

PUT TO THE TEST: Ciara Griffin Tadhg Fleming Oisin Murphy and Rebecccah O’Rourke from Kerry pictured taking part in 'Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week – The Professionals' starting on RTÉ next week.

Oisin from Ballyhar is one of 20 well known faces including models and influencers, sporting legends and TV stars, singers and comedians who took part in one of the most challenging reality TV series - 'Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week – The Professionals'.

He is one of four Kerry recruits who pushed their bodies and minds to the limit under the orders of Irish Army Rangers and it'll air on RTÉ One beginning on Wednesday next (September 7) at 9.35pm.

Oisin will star alongside former Ireland women's rugby team captain Ciara Griffin from Ballymac, social media influencer Tadhg Fleming from Tralee and fitness expert Rebeccah O’Rourke.

Each of them has excelled in their chosen field but now their reputations are on the line, as they go way beyond their comfort zone, to face the biggest test of their lives, to attempt to pass a condensed version of Special Forces selection.

Over six days, the celebrity recruits will be required to pass numerous rigorous physical and mental tests. Surviving on two to three hours of sleep a night they will have to overcome cold-water events, height tests and claustrophobic challenges as well as various trials of strength, stamina and determination.

It's all based on the actual exercises and tests currently used on Special Forces selection, the DS have designed a course that will test recruits physical, emotional and psychological resilience. It is designed to break all but the toughest of individuals.

"It was a great experience, quite tough," Oisin told the Killarney Advertiser.

"The tasks were really hard, I really enjoyed the fellow sportsmen particularly Eoin Cadogan, he was a great mate in there. I lost quite a bit of weight which was good for me. It was an experience I won’t forget to be honest."

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The MyHome.ie quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on MyHome.ie in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 killarney@dng.ie for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

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A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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