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Over 50 locals celebrated Easter with Ukrainians




By Natalya Krasnenkova

Ukrainian families living at the Innisfallen Hotel had invited their new friends, the local community of Killarney to visit, and together they celebrated Easter.

The crowd enjoying the concert at the Innisfallen Hotel over the weekend.

Nataliya Krasnenkova and Nikola Lynch pictured in the Innisfallen Hotel enjoying the Easter activities.

Young gymnasts Milana Byrdina and Yeva Pashchenko holding the flag for Ukraine at the Easter celebrations in the Innisfallen Hotel.

Tetiana Neliepova singing and Yevheniia Omelchenko playing guitar at the concert which was arranged to celebrate Easter and thank the people of Killarney for their support.

Milana Byrdina and Yeva Pashchenko and Yaromyr Zastup enjoying some treats.

St Brendan's College student Nikolay Kornienko pictured playing the flute at the concert in the Innisfallen Hotel.

More than 50 guests, including Consider it Cakes volunteers, teachers from schools in which Ukrainian children study and local friends came to the holiday concert and party.

“We wanted to spend Easter with our new friends from Killarney, introduce them to our Ukrainian traditions and get to know each other better. And most importantly, we wanted to thank the whole community for the help we receive. Every guest on our holiday was special for us,” Valerya Mashkovska from Odessa said.

Each guest left the holiday with a gift. After all, Ukrainian women and children had prepared many handmade souvenirs: traditional dolls, hearts, necklaces, brooches, and drawings. These yellow and blue souvenirs in the colours of the Ukrainian flag will remind our guests about Ukraine.

Thanks to volunteers and Mary O'Carroll of the Consider it Cakes charity, our children received more than 60 chocolate eggs and several hundred handmade cupcakes. Another 40 eggs went to the Ukrainian children in the Killarney Hotel.

Bonding experience

Consider it Cakes made up of a group of people living around Killarney prepared the charity pastries.

“We had a group of about 20 women from around Killarney and one 13-year-old girl named Kim O’Doherty from Kilcummin who baked for Innisfallen and Hotel Killarney,” Mary O’Carroll said.

“The group Consider it Cakes started at the beginning of COVID with an idea that nationwide every child deserves a birthday cake. It was a great bonding experience for the people of Killarney to the people of Ukraine. Our bakers are all moms and we wanted to show you moms and children some love. We think Ukrainian moms are incredible, strong, dealing with incredible hard times. For me personally my daughter Faye also helps with the baking. We made friends in the Innisfallen Hotel and promise to help our new friends."

The children were visited by an Easter bunny, who gave presents to everyone, hugged everyone and took a photo. The lady who was the Easter Bunny is an Irish language teacher Gaelscoil Faithleann in Killarney. She is very loved by all the kids she teaches and is known as 'Muinteoir Lisa'.

Emotional concert

The main highlight of the meeting was a concert to thank the local community for the support of Ukrainians. It was filled with Ukrainian classical and modern music, gymnastic performances, dances and poems. The organisers of the concert, Yevheniia Omelchenko and Alevtyna Rutto, have experience in organising events in Kyiv, so they willingly joined in the preparations. They devised a script for the event, selected suitable performances and prepared the entire audiovisual series.

Yevheniia Omelchenko, a graphic designer, has edited all the videos that were shown on the screen during a show. She says she wanted to introduce Irish guests to different parts of Ukraine, to show that we all have a place to return to and why to fight for our country.

"Yes, it is not appropriate to talk about the war on Easter. But we kept the balance between sad and funny topics,” Alevtyna Rutto explained.

All the guests were especially moved during the performance of the song 'I Have No Home'. The piano part was played by amateur musician Timur Al-Bayati, who spent two weeks in the basement of the occupied town of Irpin, near Kyiv. He miraculously escaped and is now in western Ukraine. Timur recorded the video of the piano part on his phone and sent it to Ireland. Yevheniia performed a live guitar part at the concert and Tetiana Neliepova sang. Yes, the song 'I Have No Home' turned into a real emotional culmination of the concert and brought together musicians from Ukraine and Ireland.

Mary O'Riordan was impressed by Timur's story. "The story of this guy from Irpin struck me to the core. There were tears in my eyes.”

The women's choir performed an ancient military march of Ukrainian insurgents 'Oh, Red Viburnum in the Meadow' (“Ой у лузі червона калина”). By the way, recently the legendary Pink Floyd played 'Oh in the Meadow Red Viburnum' together with the Ukrainian musician who is currently fighting in the Armed Forces of Ukraine Andriy Khlyvnyuk. This song became famous all over the world.

“We have been preparing and rehearsing for a long time, because it is difficult for us to compete with Pink Floyd, but I think we managed to raise the fighting spirit in the hall. For greater understanding, we made subtitles for the lyrics in English,” added Victoria Volkova, a musician who played the tune on a synthesizer.

15-year-old Mykola Korniienko performed several parts on the flute. The world-famous 'Melody' by Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk was first performed in Killarney.

The concert was closed with the Ukrainian folk dance 'Potato'. The Ukrainians quickly taught the Irish the movements of this dance - and the locals immediately picked it up and started dancing with us.

Making friends

Local guests talked to Ukrainians for a long time after the concert. Everyone has a lot of shared photos on the phone now, as well as many memories.

“We went to the concert to show support in any way we can to all Ukrainian people and to offer them a hug," Nicola Lynch said.

"The concert was very emotional and we cried a lot. I think it made us all closer to see how now the situation is in Ukraine. We need to open up our hearts more and offer more emotional support to people from Ukraine. It was clear to see how you miss your own home and your families that were left behind. The worry and anxiety attached to that is immense. It was so lovely to see how talented everyone was and how loving and close you all are. It was great for my kids to see the video and the devastation that war creates. They asked questions the whole way home in the car. Irish people are very similar to Ukrainian people. We all have big hearts and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Irish people have always been a kind and caring race. We always support and rally around someone who needs help. Ukrainian people are always so grateful for the smallest gestures. They always have a smile,” she added.

"After the success of our concert in Killarney, we are planning a tour around Ireland," joked the organisers!

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with Prescription Charges

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on or log on to




There are some schemes available which assist with the cost of prescribed medications and appliances and the qualifying conditions for each scheme is different.

Q. Do I have to pay for prescriptions if I have a Medical Card?

A. If you have a Medical Card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the Medical Card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family. For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

Q. If I have a GP Visit Card does it cover prescription charges?

A. No. Prescribed drugs are not free but may be covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme.

Q. What is the Drug Payment Scheme?

A. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances. After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. You should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80. You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme.
You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at or by completing an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office.

Q. What is the Long-Term Illness Scheme?

A. If you have a medical condition covered by the Long-Term Illness Scheme, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. The qualifying conditions include Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis. You can get a full list of the conditions covered under this scheme from your local Citizens Information Service. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme. The Long-Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances. You may also be eligible for a Medical Card or GP Visit Card, depending on your circumstances. Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for an application form or download it from

Q. Can you tell me about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?

A. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PSRS) provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme. These products are approved for the schemes by the HSE. Some items that can be bought over the counter are not included in the free or subsidised schemes. If you have a Medical Card and are prescribed an item that is not on PCRS list, your pharmacist or Local Health Office can apply for it to be paid for by the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. If the hardship scheme does not cover the cost of the medicine and you have to pay for it, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine. You can get more information about the scheme from your pharmacist or Local Health Office.

Q. Is there any tax relief for medical expenses?

A. If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax back on some of those expenses, which includes tax relief on medical expenses for prescribed drugs and medicines. You can claim tax relief online using Revenue’s myAccount service.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860 or email on or log on to

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The ultimate Quest makes a welcome return to Killarney

Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney. Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 […]




Adventure race enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Killarney on Saturday for the much anticipated return of Quest Killarney.

Last held in 2019, this year’s event attracted over 2,500 participants who signed up to run, cycle and kayak their way around some of the most iconic scenery in the country.

Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Mangerton Mountain and Torc Waterfall were just some of the stunning locations along five routes of varying distances: 25km, 55km, 66km (run and cycle only), 75km, and 83km. The choice of routes allowed everyone from beginners to those with more experience to take part, as well as taking into account varying post-lockdown fitness levels!

Taking part this year were a couple of popular first-timers. Fresh from RTÉ’s Hell Week was Kerry’s own viral Instagrammer Tadgh Fleming who completed the 55k Sport Route. A fresh looking Tadgh said at the finish that Quest Killarney was, “Nothing like Hell Week, a bit harder I think! But really enjoyed it, I’d highly recommend it, going for the Pro next time!”

Incorporating Quest Killarney on her transformative weight loss journey was an elated Patricia Lewis (Trisha Transformations) who completed the 27km Challenge route, and had this to say as she crossed the finish line: “Anyone who’s thinking about doing it, don’t even hesitate, register now!”

Now on its tenth event, Quest Killarney, the world’s biggest adventure race, enjoys a growing reputation as a challenging race with a friendly atmosphere. It is also popular with visitors and participants alike as they are introduced to the stunning natural charm of Killarney’s glorious lakes and imposing mountains.

First home in the 83km Expert route was Niall Davis in a time of 04:17:55. In second place was Sebastien Giraud (04:32:47), and in third was Garry Carroll (04:34:24).
Kerry’s own Ellen Vitting (based in Kenmare) and RTÉ Hell Week finalist, was the first female home in 05:02:07. In second position was Laura O’Driscoll (05:18:43), in third position was Eimear O’Brien (05:27:13).

Overall male winner in the 73km Pro route was Dwayne Flynn (03:48:47) and overall female winner was Siobhan Dineen (04:08:37). Overall winners in the 55km ‘Sport’ route were Kevin McGuinness (02:13:08) in the men’s race and Orlaith Smith (02:34:45) in the women’s race. Winners of the 65km ‘Dual’ route were men’s race Liam Aherne (02:40:40) and women’s race Emer Monaghan (03:09:49). Winners of the 27km ‘Challenge’ route were Larry Stapleton for the men (01:13:27) and Niamh Hickey for the women (01:21:08).

Competitors were treated to hot food and music at the finish line, with prize-giving at The Gleneagle Hotel whose significant sponsorship and exceptional support continues to contribute to a positive day for everyone.

“We are thrilled that Quest Killarney has once again proven so popular with adventurers who are looking for a new challeng,” Oliver Kirwan, Race Organiser, said.

“Killarney itself is a great draw to visitors both from Kerry and further afield, introducing new people every year to its inspirational terrain. We are very much looking forward to preparing for 2023 as we encourage more people to discover their next adventure and put themselves to the Quest! We are grateful to everyone who gave us support and volunteered their time. We’d like to thank our main event sponsors Volvo and The Gleneagle Hotel, and also the contribution of our event partners All Real, Gnarly Peaks, Nuasan and MCG Kayaks.”

Organisers Elite Event Management are delighted to announce their event dates for 2023: Quest Kenmare on 11 March 2023, Quest Glendalough on 1 April 2023, Quest Lough Derg on 9 September 2023, and Quest Killarney on 7 October 2023.

For more information on next year’s events please visit


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