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Killarney top go-to destination for staycations

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ELECTED: Niall Kelleher (right) who was elected President of the Killarney Chamber of Tourism & Commerce pictured with outgoing president Paul Sherry. Photo: Don MacMonagle

 

As his two-year term as President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce draws to a close, businessman Paul Sherry said Brexit and COVID-19 provided an unfortunate backdrop to his tenure but he focused on ensuring that Chamber kept doing what it does best to keep the show on the road.

Despite the major challenges, he said there were a number of key projects worked on during the pandemic that ensured Killarney’s great reputation was not only maintained but enhanced.
“We have been engaged in the Wild Atlantic Gateway project with Fáilte Ireland, Kerry County Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, hoteliers and vintners and a host of other stakeholders in developing a plan to help further develop Killarney as a world class, sustainable tourist destination into the future,” Mr Sherry said.
“The plan is nearing completion and sign-off by all stakeholders is expected prior to Christmas. This project has the potential to greatly improve Killarney’s standing and to remain the world class destination we know it to be,” the outgoing president said.

JOINT CAMPAIGNS

Mr Sherry said joint campaigns with the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation and Fáilte Ireland were contributing factors to a very good summer season Killarney managed to salvage during the pandemic.
“We were informed by Fáilte Ireland that the top two go-to destinations for staycations following lockdown were Killarney and Galway,” he confirmed.
Key projects undertaken in 2020 included the formation of the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation which has been a resounding success.
“When we were asked to nominate a representative for the board of the organisation we were fortunate to have Pat O’Leary, the former managing director of Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd., to come forward. He has assumed the role of chairman of the board and is giving us a strong voice within,” he said.
Earlier in the year Killarney Chamber obtained a seat at the table of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, in association with its partners on the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation and Kerry Airport.
“This is the high altar of Irish tourism and it represents an important step for Killarney. We are fortunate to be represented here by Niamh O’Shea who keeps us updated and ensures our voice is heard within this important body,” Mr Sherry said.

CHALLENGES

With the onset of COVID-19 and the pandemic, the Chamber became involved with the Kerry Business and Economic Stakeholders Forum, set up by Kerry County Council Chief Executive Moira Murrell, to address the challenges the pandemic was presenting for business and to plan for a recovery and exit from the crisis.
“This forum is ongoing and has moved from biweekly meetings to monthly meetings as the challenges have been tackled. During this period, we have continued to work with our partners in Kerry County Council and the Killarney Municipal District,” he said.
Lobbying has become a very important part of the Chamber’s role in recent times and members have been consistently meeting with TDs, councillors and all the other groups on behalf of the town.
“Chamber was especially pleased to be able to invest in excess of €30,000, supported by Kerry County Council, in the Space marketing campaign – promoting the great outdoors – and it achieved a social media audience reach of nearly 800,000 and the overall campaign had a total online reach of 5.7 million impressions."

SURVEYS

The Chamber spearheaded two important surveys this year – 'Let’s Talk About Town' and the 'Killarney Visitor Sentiment 2020' – to determine public attitudes in all aspects of Killarney life and the key findings will prove very useful when addressing what the people of Killarney and visitors want and expect from the town.
Mr Sherry welcomed the great progress that has been made in the development of the walking trail and car park at Tomies Wood and the fact that work has started on the Flesk cycleway and walkway.
In his address at the virtual Annual General Meeting of the organisation, Mr Sherry remarked: “Becoming President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce was never on my radar. It is not something that one seeks out or that you put your hand up for, nor is it something that should be taken lightly. Once you are selected you quickly realise that it is a very important role and just how important Killarney is as a business town and at the high altar of tourism, both within the county and nationally."
The new President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is Cllr Niall Kelleher, a Killarney businessman who is also an elected member of Kerry County Council for the Killarney Municipal District.
Mr Kelleher, whose term will officially commence on January 1 next, was proposed by insurance broker John Healy and seconded by hotelier Bernadette Randles.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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