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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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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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