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Killarney men experience one of California’s worst fires

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By Michelle Crean

As one of the largest blazes in California's history rages on, two Killarney locals tell the Killarney Advertiser this week just how bad the situation is.

 

[caption id="attachment_33918" align="alignleft" width="239"] DEVASTATING: Kieran Guerin says the fires are so devastating that he has witnessed a friend lose his house.[/caption]

Kieran Guerin from Gortroe moved to San Francisco in 2003 and then on to Napa in 2011, and says the fires are so devastating that he has witnessed a friend lose his house.

Tony Lynch, originally from Countess Grove, lives about an hour's drive from the worst affected areas but says that they are not immune to its affects as heavy smoke is continuously in the air.

The fires are so dangerous that smoke has even travelled 5,000 miles to Europe and experts say California is experiencing its worst fire year since the Great Fire of 1910 tore through more than three million acres.

It first ignited on September 4 burning through 286,519 acres to date, destroying one hundred structures with another 6,723 under threat. Authorities say that only 32 percent of the fire is contained so far.

"This year's fires steadily grew and honestly most of them are still going with over 18,000 firemen battling the blaze now," Kieran said. "So far 15 people have died. This one is still about 25 miles north of me but the one three years ago was no more than a quarter mile from my house with the wind fanning the blaze right towards where we live. As we speak there is zero chance of rain, so we have at least six more weeks of fire season ahead of us, while all the time hoping that it doesn't come back our way."

He explained one experience that he'll never forget.

"About a month ago my girlfriend went from voluntary evacuation to mandatory so had to drive alongside the freeway watching the fires burning either side as we drove her and her animals south and away from the fires. Packing up a house and picking what is essential to take and leave is not an easy thing to do. How do you decide what is and isn't important in a situation where your life may be in danger? It really comes down to what you can fit in your car and get the hell out before it's too late. This I know only too well because a friend who lost his house got out yet a neighbour of his refused the firemen's orders to evacuate yet the wind changed direction and burnt everything on the other side of the road from his house leaving his dwelling untouched and scorch marks all the way up to his door. Also my neighbour was out at our friend’s winery as they tried to save as much as they could yet the fires burnt it to the ground after they had gotten out."

Just last week the skies were almost pitch black at midday which was "quite freaky", he added.

"When it subsided, it turned to a dark orange sky which was like the apocalypse we've all seen in every doomsday movie ever made. Ironically, Hollywood got this one correct. As my late mom Teresa's saying goes "go mbeirimíd beo ar an am seo arís"."

[caption id="attachment_33920" align="alignleft" width="257"] Tony Lynch from Countess Grove[/caption]

For Tony Lynch, originally from Countess Grove who lives and works as a teacher in CA, say they too are suffering very poor air quality.

“We would wake up in the morning to a car covered in ash and could smell the burning as if there was a camp fire nearby, but the nearest fires were at least an hour’s drive away. Many people experienced breathing issues due to the smoke and with COVID being a respiratory virus, it made some even more anxious.”

 

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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