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Killarney photographer front and centre of Presidential visit




By Michelle Crean

A Killarney photographer was one of the first in the country to capture American President Joe Biden as he stepped onto Irish soil on Wednesday afternoon.

Julien Behal pictured in front of Air Force One after it landed in Dublin Airport on Wednesday.

UP CLOSE: Photographer Julien Behal from Woodlawn was within touching distance of United States President Joe Biden as he met with members of the public at Dublin Airport on Wednesday.

Julien Behal from Woodlawn was front and centre of the action as he was the official photographer during the Irish leg of the Presidential visit.

The 46th President of the United States of America arrived to Belfast on Tuesday as part of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

On Wednesday he travelled to Dublin Airport where he was greeted by family and friends of US Embassy staff at the Fire Station, by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Ambassador of the United States to Ireland H.E. Claire Cronin, and Ambassador of Ireland to the United States H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason.

But it was Julien who got the first glimpse as the president descended Air Force One.

Julien, who now lives in Dublin, runs Julien Behal Photography and regularly works for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

With a team of six they covered the three-day visit to Ireland with Julien covering the airport and then sorting through thousands of images taken by the photographers each day before sending them to world media agencies such as Reuters.

And it's not his first time photographing Biden as Julien was hired as the official photographer during his visit to Ireland in 2015 when he was Vice President.

"It's such an honour, a good privilege to be asked," Julien told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

"I was at the airport on an elevated stand and it was lashing. It was just like the movies. They come off the back of the plane and they all stand in different directions around the plane. Then there's a big motorcade. It's blink and you miss it."

Next Julien was in the fire station where the US President greeted waiting guests.

"I got very close to him, I could have put my hand out and touched him, but I wouldn't have done that."

In March 2020 Julien's company got the Royal seal of approval when it was also chosen as the only agency to officially photograph the Royal visit and were subsequently distributed to Sky News, the BBC, ITV and other news outlets.

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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