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Killarney family mark difficult year with amazing generosity

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GENEROSITY: Paula, Aoife and Siobhan McSweeney presented €7,000 to Kerry Hospice Foundation staff Maura Sullivan and Mary Shanahan. Photo: Brendan Crean

By Sean Moriarty

One Killarney family gave a Christmas present that won’t be forgotten to the Kerry Hospice Foundation - a cheque for €7,000!

The McSweeney family, Siobhan and her daughters Paula Horan and Aoife Cowley, raised the staggering
amount for the foundation in memory of their husband and father Donal McSweeney.

The funds will go to the Kerry Hospice Foundation to be used by the Palliative Care Unit at the University Hospital Kerry.

Donal, who was affectionately known as 'Dodo', passed away just over a month ago after a long battle with oesophageal cancer.

Late of Gneeveguilla and Kilcummin he was well-known in country music circles in the region.

“He was the best father and husband we could ever ask for," Paula said. "We always felt like his number one. We will always have very fond memories of him especially music sessions and ‘sing songs’. He played with country music for most of his life. Music was his passion and he always brought families together with his guitar. ‘Dodo’ was at home during most of his illness, however, the last couple of weeks we were unable to manage his symptoms at home."

However, it was made a little easier with the fantastic services he received from Dr Margaret Clifford and the palliative team in Killarney and Tralee, she added.

“Dad always said he is happy he got ill rather than us. This was an example of his selfless personality. It was a hard journey to go through with dad. His room in Tralee was like a “home from home” and we are so grateful we were with him during his final peaceful moments. Dad always said about the nurses that visited him and the staff in the palliative care team that they were “tops”. I got to play the piano for him one last time at the centre. Dad was able to open and close windows with the touch of a button from his bed, adjust the temperature of the room and listen to music. It was so nice to be able to visit dad and know he was receiving the very best of care. He was always treated with respect and dignity. He had his first jacuzzi there and really enjoyed it. We are so lucky to have such fantastic people working here and a fantastic facility in Kerry,” added Paula.

It was a very difficult year for the McSweeney family, Dodo’s sister Joan McCullough passed away in Boston after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Siobhan’s brother Seamus O’Connor, the well-known owner of Kitty O’Se’s restaurant in Killarney also passed away in the late spring.

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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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