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Old traditions alive and well in Lissivigeen school

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This week I had the pleasure of visiting Third Class at Lissivigeen NS which I recall as one full of vibrancy where education was rhythmical and harmonious under the talented watch of Mrs Long who has since retired.

She has now been suitably replaced by an equally gifted musician and teacher Mr Robert Fell.

I wanted to visit a few schools that have kept up the tradition of making crosses on St Brigid’s Day. Honoured with a brand new public holiday, this year more than ever, St Brigid’s Day represents spring and new beginnings and a new dawn for Irish people, positivity and hope going forward after a very difficult couple of years.

St Brigid was the patron saint of the poetic arts and crafts; she was the equivalent of the Roman goddess Minerva (Greek Athena). Performing arts and creativity are communities that have lost out so much during COVID-19. And wasn’t I the happy camper to land into such activity that I decided to ‘stay back after class’ for a chat with musician and teacher Mr Fell from Firies.

Mr Fell is very involved in Comhaltas, responsible for organising the annual national Irish music festival and Fleadh Cheoil competitions, the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance.

It attracts in the region of 500,000 visitors to the host town every year. He has taken part in the Slieve Mish Comhaltas in Castlemaine, the Patrick O'Keeffe Festival in Castleisland and Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, a five day Traditional Music School in Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula, including singing and dancing workshops, concerts and sessions, paying particular attention to the music, style and of the Corca Dhuibhne area.

In September he took up a post as Third Class teacher in Lissivigeen NS and is thoroughly enjoying it. Prior to that he spent three years at Faha NS having graduated from Mary I in Limerick.

“Have you always loved to teach?"

“I suppose my dad Frank was a teacher at Mounthawk in Tralee which gave me great guidance and I soon began teaching at the age of 17; tin whistle, the flute and the uileann pipes. I love to teach and I myself was lucky to have been taught so well by the Buckleys at the Killarney School of Music. It wasn’t a huge transition, more like the next step to teach there. I really enjoyed it and it was extra money for me through my college years too, an added bonus. I knew when I was attending Mary I that this was the path I definitely wanted to take. It’s unfortunate that the tin whistle is not a COVID friendly instrument as at this stage I would love to teach it to this already very musical class. Some of the Third Class students play the keyboard, guitar and there are two concertina players and one of our students Tadhg Daly played for Minister Norma Foley outdoors in the sunshine when she visited last September.”

“In your spare time Mr Fell, what do you enjoy doing?"

“I love mountain climbing and I am a member of the Killarney Mountaineering Club," he replied.

And what better place to live for a pastime like that I thought. We are truly blessed in Killarney.

“What have been your favourite hikes here in Kerry and elsewhere?

“I love the Reeks and west Kerry in general, but outside of the Kingdom I would say the Wicklow Mountains was a hike that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoy spending any spare time helping out with Killarney Meitheal. They’re a great bunch of people who do tremendous community work together. It is a great start to a Sunday morning and only a couple of hours to do some good for our National Park. They have a Facebook page: Killarney Meitheal, but you can also text 087 2385600 to get involved and they will send you updates of dates and times.

I thanked Mr Fell for his time and look forward to the possibility of returning to photograph his Third Class pupils - hopefully complete with the sound of tin whistles!

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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