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Killarney sunflower shows solidarity with Ukraine




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.



Killarney and District Motor Club members honoured by Motorsport Ireland

By Cormac Casey Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday. The highlight of the event is the […]




By Cormac Casey

Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday.

The highlight of the event is the announcement of the sport’s top awards.

Kilkenny’s Jack Brennan (19) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while Wexford native Jack Byrne was named Young Racing Driver of the Year and the International Driver of the Year award went to recently crowned FIA Junior World Rally Champion, William Creighton.

Muckross-based co-driver Noel O’Sullivan was presented with his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship winning trophy.

This year saw the introduction of the Motorsport Ireland President’s Awards which celebrate the achievements of  clubs and organisations.

Killarney and District Motor Club won in the innovation category for their work with their KDMC 2 initiative thanks to the efforts of the club’s vice chairman Mike O’Shea.

Rally Rescue teams were also recognised and the club’s Mike Cleary picked up an award for his role he played in what was a difficult year for rescue crew operators.

Tom O’Riordan, who looks after ambulance procurement on the club’s events, was presented with an FIA Volunteer Pin by Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper.

Killarney Advertiser Journalist Sean Moriarty was presented with an award for best use of of PR and media in 2023.


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Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest ‘thank you’ event at Brehon

Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar […]




Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar events again in 2024.

Feedback from more than 100 people who attended this year’s Fest events from 7th to 14th October was positive with 91% stating they were satisfied.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest is held annually over the course of a week to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
It aims to raise awareness of the available supports and services in Kerry as well as empower people to engage with the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ through offering a dynamic and interactive programme of events.
99% percent of respondents, most of whom identified as female, said they would recommend the Fest to friends next year. Some key notes for improvement included a request for more events with wider variety throughout the county.
The Chair of the Interagency Steering Group, John Drummey from Kerry Mental Health Association, said: “We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to event organisers, community groups, businesses, funders and partners that facilitated the Fest’s dynamic and interactive programme of events in 2023. We are encouraged to see such growth in numbers attending the Fest events with a 50% increase from 2022. We are already making plans for the Fest from 5 to 12t October 2024 and we are looking forward to building on this year’s successes. That said, there is always room for improvement and we would welcome suggestions for new events and activities.”
Many of the event organisers attended a ‘thank-you’ event at the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, courtesy of the Kerry Volunteer Centre to coincide with the annual International Volunteer Day, December 5.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest was organised by an interagency steering group made up of local agencies that support wellbeing in our community.
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, KDYS, Kerry Volunteer Centre and Family Resource Centres throughout the county.

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