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Killarney sunflower shows solidarity with Ukraine

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A giant creative sunflower – the national flower of Ukraine – has been installed on the steeple of the landmark St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Killarney as a gesture of solidarity with the people of the war-torn country.

BEFORE: The sunflower prior to installation.

The spectacular artistic display can be viewed as Killarney extending a warm hand of welcome to the refugees from Ukraine who are arriving in the town this week.

An initiative of the St Patrick’s Festival Killarney committee, the 15m high sunflower has been designed and created by Kilgarvan-based artists Sophie Lodge and Maitiu Gray who are part of the creative design team for the world famous Notting Hill Carnival.

“This can be considered a gesture of solidarity with the people who are arriving here from Ukraine and their loved ones who have been left behind," St Patrick’s Killarney Festival Chairman, Paul Sherry, said.

“It’s just a very small way of showing them that we are with them, that we are here for them and that we warmly welcome them. Basically, it shows them that we care."

Emerging from the stalk of the decorative sunflower on the church steeple are several shamrocks – the national symbol of Ireland – and creative butterflies in the colours of the national flags of Ukraine and Ireland.

The sunflower in deeply embedded in the culture of Ukraine and the flower can be found in the yards of village houses or woven into the dresses of women during celebrations.

The Killarney sunflower will be illuminated after dark and the festival team has thanked the Venerable Simon Lumby of St Mary’s Church of Ireland for his enthusiasm and cooperation.

The theme of this year’s parade in Killarney is Earth: An Chré and there will be a special focus on butterflies, particularly focusing on the 12 species native to Killarney: The Holly Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Common White, Silver Washed Fritillary, Admiral, Marsh Fritillary, Brown Hairstreak, Green Hairstreak, Orange Tipped and Clouded Yellow.

Giant creatives of the 12 species, designed and created by Sophie Lodge and worn by the members of the Fiona Crowley Stage School, will be on show at the Killarney parade.

“This year’s celebration will really be something very special and we are delighted to see so many local groups, clubs, organisations and individuals taking part,” Paul said.

The parade, organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce in association with Kerry County Council and Fáilte Ireland, will be the focal point of this year’s festival in the town – the first time it has been held since 2019.

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland, said: “It is fantastic to see St Patrick’s Festival celebrations return to Killarney this year, supported by Fáilte Ireland.

“Festivals and events play a critical role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences and increasing footfall for local businesses, supporting jobs and revenue generation.

“We want to position Ireland as the place to celebrate St Patrick’s Day and with an amazing line up of entertainment, the Killarney festival will showcase the very best of the town,” she said.

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Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]

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Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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