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Killarney to celebrate Independence Day in style

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American-style razzmatazz, the likes of which has never been seen in Kerry before, will ensure Killarney is a riot of colour and excitement for this year’s eagerly awaited 4th July celebrations.

This will be the landmark 10th year of the festival which will be more spectacular than ever before and the proof of that can be found in the incredibly packed and exciting programme of events lined up.

Festival Chairman, Diarmuid Leen, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Events Manager Katy Jacobi and their dedicated committee of volunteers have organised a wonderful celebration to mark Independence Day which, this year, will see great entertainment and fun-filled activities not only on Tuesday, July 4 but also on Monday, July 3.

An open invitation has been extended to everyone to celebrate America’s big holiday in Killarney which is a town with a very close association with the US for generations.

The great celebrations will include a gala and colourful parade through the streets, open air concerts and music sessions, an outdoor screening of a movie classic, a bumper street party and so much more.

MONDAY NIGHT OPENING

The festival will get off to a rocking start on Monday, July 3 when hugely popular local band Truly Diverse will perform at an open air concert at Killarney House and Gardens from 9.00pm to 9.45pm and that will be followed at 10.00pm by an open air screening of the smash hit movie Mamma Mia with the audience invited to singalong to all the favourite ABBA hits.

The gates of Killarney House and Gardens will open from 8.30pm and tickets for the free admission event, which are in huge demand, are available from Eventbrite.

The Independence Day festivities on July 4 will get underway, appropriately, with the traditional raising of the American flag at the town hall with the Mayor of Killarney and the President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce presiding at 3.00pm.

The ceremony will be followed by a musical performance by the Three O’s who will deliver a string of finger-clicking classics at Kenmare Place from 3.15pm with all the old favourites from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley on the playlist.

Main Street, Killarney will take on a distinctive downtown Manhattan vibe all afternoon with the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam forming a perfect backdrop and selfie props as patrons can enjoy the atmosphere with an interactive drum show while street entertainers, balloon artists and face painters will be roaming the streets.

The local sheriff has been tipped off to expect an influx of colourful cowboys on the Tuesday afternoon but he expects them to be on their best behaviour as they join in the fabulous Independence Day party.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Brass bands will be performing on the streets from 6.00pm, a lively DJ will get the street party going from 6.45pm and at 7.00pm will be the great highlight of the Killarney’s 4th of July celebrations with a big parade winding its way through the streets.

It will feature spectacular floats, marching bands, cheerleaders, Disney characters, leather-clad motorcyclists on their dream machines and colourful flag bearers and it really is a visual feast that should not be missed.

The parade will be led by visiting American footballers all the way from Georgia Tech and in attendance will be their star kicker, Castleisland native David Shanahan, a former Kerry minor footballer.

And the celebrations won’t end there as a Beat on the Street, with DJ Brendan Fuller, will keep partygoers on their toes as Killarney soaks up the unique atmosphere of Ireland’s greatest 4th July festival.

The celebrations are organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce with the support of Kerry County Council, Fáilte Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and with the generosity of sponsors Heineken, Killarney Park Hotel, Great Southern Hotel Killarney, O’Donoghue Ring Collection, GMIB, Reidy’s, The Grand and others.

Anybody over the age of 18 available to volunteer at the festival, assisting with stewarding and marshalling duties, is asked to contact the 4th of July committee on 087-6437596.

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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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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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