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Natalia’s culinary skills are world class




By Michelle Crean  

The heat was on but that didn't deter one culinary student from success as local girl Natalia Leane has made it through to the World Skills Olympics in Shanghai later this year.

Natalia from Killarney, a Second Year culinary student at MTU Kerry Campus, secured gold at the National Cookery Skills Competition for World Skills Ireland which took place from Wednesday to Friday last in the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT).

Natalia's marks were combined after three days of intense competition.

She will join the best of Ireland’s talent and winners from over 20 other skills areas who will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the World Skills Olympics in Shanghai.

Natalia reached the finals after coming through the preliminary round in January. She began practicing for the competition in October putting in the hours after college with her Chef Lecturer Dan Browne as well as working in the exceptional restaurant ‘Kingdom 1795’ in Killorglin where she received lots of support and guidance.

Over three days Natalia had to complete five competitive modules. These examined very specific culinary skills such as pasta making, game butchery and cooking, soups and canapes, classical risotto, a mystery basket and a dessert module to include a handmade puff pastry. Overall, she completed over 15 hours of competition work. Each day she worked to specific service times for each module, delivering the food under strict conditions.

“Her practice and planning were essential here in delivering the dishes on time," Chef Dan Browne said.

"All dishes required a high standard of skill to produce and it became even harder when multitasking four of these dishes at once as in day two. She was working entirely on her own over the three days preparing and cooking all dishes from start to finish. We are very proud of Natalia’s achievement at this competition, it provided an opportunity for Ireland’s most talented student chefs from colleges all across the country to go head-to-head in this tightly fought contest.”

Head of Section at the Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department at MTU Kerry TJ O'Connor added that Natalia’s great success is a testament to her dedication, skill and hard work.

"Congratulations also to Chef Dan Browne who ensured Natalia was well prepared for the challenges of the event and was ready to produce her best cooking in the heat of competition. A fantastic achievement for them both. It is such an honour for anyone to win on a national stage but now to go and represent your country in front of the rest of the world.”

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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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St Patrick’s Day parade winners announced

Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney. Delighted […]



Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney.

Delighted club representatives were presented with the Seán O’Keeffe Perpetual Trophy – in memory of the former Mayor of Killarney and parade stalwart – at a gala presentation of prizes in the International Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night.

The award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme, which was Killarney: Experience More, went to the Wander Wild Festival who received the Michael Courtney Perpetual Trophy which is dedicated to the memory of another former mayor of the town who spearheaded the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years.

The John ‘Killer’ O’Callaghan Perpetual Trophy for the Best Sporting Entry was won by Killarney Athletic AFC and the Peter Irwin Memorial Trophy for the Best Marching Group and Cultural/Arts Entry went to Millstreet Pipe Band.

The Best Sports Club was Spa GAA, the Best Children’s Group prize was won by Kilcummin Comhaltas and the Best New Entry was Killarney Rugby Football Club.

There was an international flavour to the Best Musical Entry which was scooped by the Glenridge High School Marching Band from New Jersey.

The prize for the Best Voluntary Group went to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, the Best School Award went to the Fiona Crowley Stage School and the Best Activity Group was deemed to be Scorchers Cheerleading Club.

The Most Entertaining Entry went to the Killarney Tidy Towns group, the prize for the Most Original Entry was won by Liebherr Container Cranes and the Most Imaginative Entry in the parade was the Art House, Killarney.

The Most Stylish Entry prize was awarded to the Ukrainian community whose representative said they were delighted to play a part in Ireland’s national holiday and thanked the people of Killarney for the warm welcome they have received.

Other prizes presented on the night included the Best Window Display which went to Christy Healy’s on New Street who were celebrating 100 years in business on St Patrick’s Day, while the Europe Hotel and Resort won the Best Green-Themed Building prize.

The judges for the parade were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Pam Brosnan, Killarney Musical Society and Denis McMahon.

The awards were presented by Killarney St Patrick’s Festival Chairman Paul Sherry, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Senior Executive Bridget O’Keeffe, and parade grand marshal Cathal P Walshe.

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