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MayFest got the season off to a flying start at Killarney Racecourse

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Killarney Racecourse Ambassador Bryan Cooper enjoying Killarney Races. Dominck Walsh

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Pictured at Killarney Races on Sunday were Tralee punters Eric Boylan Sean Rutland Kelvin Reidy and Paul Lenihan. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Pictured at Killarney Races on Sunday were Edyta Hernas and Con Duggan from Killarney. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Des Grace and his grandaughter Hannah Garvey from Tralee County Kerry pictured at Killarney Races Family Fun Day on Sunday Photo: Don MacMonagle

Enjoying the bubble fountain at Killarney Races Family Day on Sunday were Daniel Thelma and Katie O'Donoghue from Killarney.Photo: Don MacMonagle

Pictured at Killarney Races on Sunday were Gillian O'Keeffe and Elaine Kelly from Killarney. Photo: Don MacMonagle

MayFest at Killarney Racecourse took place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, kicking off the season at the popular track in great style.

Sunday was an all jump racecard with the feature race being the Tote Killarney National, won in impressive fashion by Pont Aval. Sean O'Keefe rode a patient race, making steady headway before racing away after the last fence. This was the final leg of Willie Mullins' treble on the card.

The opening day of the festival was also Family Day which saw record-breaking crowds, where The Art House got all the kids involved in the activities on offer and Racecourse Ambassador Bryan Cooper was on hand to meet all the upcoming junior jockeys in attendance.

Shecouldbeanything won the Easy Clean Tourist Attraction Mares Hurdle (Listed). On her previous start, she won at the Punchestown Festival, while before that she was sixth in the Jack De Bromhead Mares' Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham. Shecouldbeanything is a quality mare and looks to have a bright future ahead of her. The valuable Oyster Tavern Handicap Hurdle went the way of Mighty Tom, who is trained by Kerry native Cian Collins. The Galway Hurdle is the next big target for the horse.

Monday was an evening meeting, all jump racing again with the feature race being the An Riocht Steeplechase won by Saint Sam, who is likely to receive an entry in the Galway Plate and there is plenty more improvement to come from this six year-old. Willie Mullins went one better on Monday and enjoyed a fantastic four-timer. Absurde, a €260,000 purchase from France, made a successful start over hurdles and looks to be an exciting prospect.

Tuesday closed MayFest in fine style with an all-flat card and beautiful sunshine. Trainer Joseph O’Brien won the opening three races on the card, completing the feat in the Fesco Maiden aith Arniemac at 4/1. The feature race The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Race was won in dramatic style with Ma Belle Artiste winning by just a head in the end to beat the 2/1 favourite in the race Impact Warrior.

Chairman of Killarney Races, Billy O’Sullivan said: “What a start to the season here at Killarney Races, a great few days were enjoyed by all. There was a real sense of community, lots of families enjoying the facilities and top-class racing, it was superb. Now it’s onwards and upwards for our July Festival."

With three more festivals to look forward to in July, August and October if you haven’t been it is well worth checking out, visit Killarneyraces.ie where you can book tickets, hospitality, group packages, club membership and more.

Photos by Domnic Walsh and Don McMonagle

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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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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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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