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Marie’s charity skydive leaves her feeling exhilarated



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!"



Muckross Rowing Club members on Irish teams for two major regattas

  Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events. Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse […]





Six members of Muckross Rowing Club will compete for Ireland in two upcoming international events.

Rowing Ireland this week announced the Irish squads for the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta.

Daniel Fleming and Ian Coffey have both been selected for the Under 19 Irish squad to race at the Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta for European junior rowers. The Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, involving 16 European countries, will be held over from over three days, August 9-11 in Racice, Czechia.

Four Under 23 university rowers from the Muckross club have also been selected as part of the Senior Irish squad for the Home International Regatta this month.

Niamh Coffey (University of Limerick), Patrick Buckley (University of Limerick), Finn O’Sullivan (University of Limerick) and Ethan O’Neill (University College Cork Rowing Club) will take on the ‘Triple Crown’ event of rowing, competing for Ireland against crews from England, Scotland and Wales.

The Home International Regatta will be held on Saturday, July 27 in Strathclyde, Scotland.

All six Muckross rowers have earned their green jerseys following a lengthy and testing trial series on land and water which began in Autumn 2023 and culminated in final water trials at the end of June.

“Muckross Rowing Club sends its best wishes to the very talented Muckross oarsmen and women and all their crewmates as they fly the flag for Ireland this summer. The talented group build on a successful record in the sport,” said club PRO Tim O’Shea.

Niamh Coffey is a multiple Irish and University Championship winner and has previously represented Ireland in the Under 23 European Championships.

In 2022, O’Neill rowed at Junior level at the Home International event and won a gold medal as part of the Irish quadruple scull crew in the 500m sprint event.

Both Buckley and O’Sullivan continue to compete at the highest level nationally with the University of Limerick Rowing Club,  and join the Irish squad for the first time this year.

The international selections come at an exciting time before the Olympic Regatta in Paris, where Zoe Hyde (Tralee Rowing Club) will be among the largest Irish rowing contingent of 16 rowers to contest an Olympic Games.

Killorglin native Zoe has previously rowed for both Killorglin and Muckross rowing clubs and will race the Women’s Double event for Ireland with Alison Bergin (Fermoy Rowing Club) in Paris.


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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally



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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