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Marie’s charity skydive leaves her feeling exhilarated

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TAKE A PARACHUTE AND JUMP! Marie O'Sullivan from Killarney finally got the chance to jump from a plane for Recovery Haven Kerry.

By Michelle Crean

 

"I'd do it all again!" These were the first words from Marie O'Sullivan seconds after landing to the group after her much anticipated skydive for Recovery Haven ended.

After many false starts this year, with cancellations due to Storm Jorge followed by the lockdown, and just weeks ago heading to Co Offaly to be told last minute that the weather was too windy - Marie and her friend Lauren Fitzell finally took the plunge last week.

Although nerves came thick and fast as the plane ascended - Marie, a Slimming World Consultant in Killarney, says it's the best experience ever.

"It was savage but the most frightening thing I've ever done," she told the Killarney Advertiser.

"We got as far as suiting up with harnesses on. It was very windy and experienced solo jumpers were coming down and landing but more erratic that normal.

"They said wind was OK they can adjust to that but not when there's bad gusts and so all jumps were cancelled. We rescheduled for the following Sunday and with hardly a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind we got to fly!"

Their harnesses were put on before getting on the plane and then in the air the instructor's strapped them together.

"They were really funny and bit of jokers trying to frighten us but it was good craic and something to pass the time during the 15 minute climb to 13,000 feet. I was first out followed by other tandem jumpers and solo jumpers and Lauren was last so we never got to chat on the way up and we were too far apart. I had no nerves I felt great, excited even until that roller door went up alongside me and I saw the patch work quilt of fields below and was looking down on one or two clouds."

Then reality hit, she explained.

"I thought to myself I've made a terrible mistake but I was already sliding towards the exit and my legs were dangling out. The first thing I felt was the intense cold of the air and the sight was unbelievably beautiful but all I could feel was sheer panic.

I turned my head to say something to Brian, my tandem partner, and all he said was no!"

Then, she could no longer feel the plane underneath her.

"We started head first aiming for the ground at a speed of 130mph. I can honestly say every cell in my body went into horror and shock what I thought I'd love most was now just insane. I suppose I forgot I was attached to someone all I could think of was the falling feeling and the speed no video captures how fast you're falling. After 45 seconds the parachute is deployed and from there on it feels like your barely moving. It was magnificent we could see all bog around us and as far as Dublin.

We came down in about five minutes and within seconds we all had landed only feet away from each other safely, and of course the first words were I'd do it again! Now that I know what to expect I think I'd make the most of those exhilarating 45 seconds.

Lauren checked her fitness watch after and it showed her heart rate went up to 216 bpm! I'd highly recommend the Irish Parachute Club in Offaly, so friendly and reassuring and safety comes first one hundred percent of the time. We are delighted to have raised funds for Recovery Haven Kerry and are looking for the next thrill already!"

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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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