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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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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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