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More the half crown than the crown

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When Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, two of her daughters, large retinue and press corps departed Killarney by train on August 29, 1861, “the consensus was the ordinary people were a model of loyalty and allegiance to the crown.”

The lavish visit was recalled again in 2011 in the press clippings ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland. The nobility rode along side Vic’s carriage. Dragoons and equerries and other long forgotten ranks in this republic accompanied her, along with 400 members of the constabulary in dress uniform drawn from Cork, Limerick and Kildare.

The who’s who of Kerry got to meet and greet the Queen during her three-day stay in Killarney. Killarney House, owned by Lord Castlerosse, was the public side of the visit, while her stay at Colonel Herbert’s place at Muckross House was more private.

Hundreds of boats lined the quays as she set out by barge on the lake; thousands lined the lakeshores and streets to cheer on the Queen. She visited Innisfallen. She walked around Muckross Abbey. She took a ride in a landau around Muckross estate.

The late Séamus McConville, former editor of the Kerryman, searched the archives of the 150-year-old Kerry Post in 2011

“The royal carriage was drawn by four dark bays, with outriders and footmen behind. A guard of honour of the 18th Royal Irish were drawn up and presented arms, and the escort was composed of 40 of the 1st Royal Dragoons. Lord Castlerosse and Colonel Herbert as lieutenant of the county rode on either side of the carriage.

“The assemblies on five monster galleries, erected by Lord Castlerosse, joined with the thousands on the road (to Killarney House) in the heartiest of demonstrations of welcome. The Queen seemed greatly impressed and highly pleased with the enthusiasm of the people and bowed repeatedly to the right and to the left, with a marked and gracious manner, to the assembled thousands.”

It seems there was a spontaneous loyalty in Killarney to the Crown. These days of course, it’s not the Crown that is the important issue – it’s the half crown. The visit of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the communication of their visit by a large press corps, will hopefully draw the British loyal tourist in their hordes to Killarney as it did in 1861.

The English Market in Cork – a down at heel, fly-blown place when I lived in the city – has seen a transformation and a surge of visitors since Queen Elizabeth was snapped heartily laughing at the fishmonger by Killarney’s Valerie O’Sullivan and Cork has been put on the tourist map.

Back in the day, Castlerosse, and Herbert to a lesser extent, would have been fully aware of the value of Queen Vic’s visit to local tourism too. Tourism was already thriving in Killarney, drawing poets like Tennyson (The splendour falls on castle walls… Blow, bugle, blow…)

And while Queen Victoria’s visit is often mistakenly said to have started tourism in Killarney, it was a far more pedestrian piece of infrastructure which actually clinched it for the town. Before Victoria, the railway had arrived and it was this 1853 event which more than anything literally drew the tourist – and allowed the Queen to progress to Killarney in just six and a half hours from Dublin.

“The opening of the Dublin to Killarney railway line in 1853 brought this remote region within reach of a host of new visitors,” Killarney’s Donal Horgan of Lewis Road writes in his splendid book on tourism The Victorian Visitor to Ireland, published in 2002.

Killarney, of course, ticked all the right boxes for the Victorian tourist: a romantic lakeside setting, spectacular ruins, day trips, lots of parkland and lots of ways to amuse, and quality accommodation.

A huge industry has been built on the 1861 visit, so much so the town is now almost wholly dependent on tourism. But challenges remain: access is still an issue, a year-round business is still someway off, and we still do not have a third level tourism college which would set proper professional standards across all sectors of the local industry.

Courting the loyal and neighbouring British tourist – particularly in the shoulder and winter season – might just clinch it.

There has, of course, this time been an attempt to spread the Prince around like the proverbial pound of butter so Tralee for instance can reap a tourism benefit. Our own Moira Murrell, the county chief executive who is a very fair-minded person indeed, is credited with swinging it for Tralee .

And the county town, a stronghold of republicanism, which a mere decade ago refused safe haven to the British flagship store Marks and Spencers (who had to seek refuge in Killarney), can’t get over its good fortune.

In his book on tourism, Donal Horgan also notes how the Prince of Wales was so taken by the Gap of Dunloe in 1858 he broke into a rendition of God Save the Queen.

Now, one has to wonder if Martin Ferris, and even the Fianna Fáil Mayor of Killarney, or Tralee, will be so moved by Prince Charles this time, and perhaps even Camilla, there will be a spontaneous embrace of the UK anthem – for the sake of the half crown, of course.

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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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