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“Park resources are at their lowest ever level”




A small number of politicians have been angry with me over last week’s column on the shameful state of the Blue Pool and particularly on my questioning their lack of thought and of not taking the National Park seriously. Yet the National Park is “a disgrace”, one concedes

I am glad they are angry, because if they are angry maybe they will get together and apart from wound the messenger, do something by way of united lobbying and serious strategic thinking.

While one or two local councillors may join a “meitheal” in cutting rhododendron, and much credit to them they do, this is not strategic or serious thinking for the National Park.

Killarney Nature Conservation and the Greens and other volunteers did exactly this three decades ago, before it was called a meitheal.

But whatever it is called, cutting a piece of rhododendron and poisoning it here and there is a skirmish, it is not the battle and it is only a part skirmish of part of the battle. Such attacks did not work 33 years ago, and they won’t adequately answer the problem now.

What needs to be done? Maybe we need to examine what it is we understand by ‘National Park’?

The way it emerges in the public forum is very strange. The park is where deer run out from woods in the dark of night onto the path of innocent motorists, where ticks reside, lurking under fern bringing the debilitating Lyme disease, where the army needs to be called in to tackle the rhododendron, where planning is restrained for one-off houses, where people get lost, are knocked down by cyclists, break legs, and need to be rescued.

In other words, the Killarney National Park in the public forum, even in Áras and Chontae Tralee, is problematic – sometimes it strikes me that it is being viewed like the threatening dark forest in the European imagination.

Then there is the Fáilte Ireland image that everything is perfect. The truth lies elsewhere. The real story within the park is that resources are at their lowest ever level.

It is now, of course, quite conveniently being allowed back to nature – let run wild, based on some laissez faire and skewed interpretation of conservation that things are not to be touched. Trees that fell in 2010 alongside walkways remain where they fell, rotting and ugly; wooden bridges disintegrate and are not repaired; deer are over-running what is left of the yew and oak forests; what remains of the forest floor is eaten by sheep; river beds are not dredged or cleared of weed; deer fencing cannot be put up on roads because it would interfere with the deer.

This is just plain neglect. It is cockamamie for not having a plan, for not being bothered to come up with one, for not investing or lobbying for manpower, and for pretending to understand conservation.

Yet the vast majority of Killarney people have a deep connection with the park, and understand instinctively what it is and what it should be. To them the park is Killarney’s unique and ethereal beauty, a place of pleasure once confined but now available to all.

They understand the National Park is a place that encourages reflection and awe - but it is also a place to be managed.

It is therefore beyond belief that no national politician claiming to represent this town grasps the fundamental importance of the National Park for the people of Killarney and makes it a priority.

Perhaps this says as much about politicians, who are meant to be our legislators, as it does about the state of the park.

There is in fact an act, the 1932 Bourne Vincent Memorial Park Act, to accept the “gift” of the Muckross Estate which obliges the Commissioners for Public Works and the minister responsible to manage and maintain it properly “for the general purpose of the recreation and the enjoyment of the public”.

Section 12 of that 1932 legislation specifies “all works necessary” for the proper maintenance and management of the park for the public enjoyment. This includes the employment of enough personnel such as “water bailiffs and game keepers and workmen”.

So, if the walkways in the Blue Pool are not manageable, if the forests are neglected and endangered, if the deer over-run, is it enough for our TDs and senators to put down odd questions? Should our legislators, who include now a minister, not be pursuing a breach of primary legislation on behalf of the people of Killarney? Should they not be urged to do so by local councillors?

It says a lot that if two landlords managed it for hundreds of years the new Ireland, turning away billions in tax from Apple, and coming down with politicians and public servants, can’t.

A month in the park might help after all…


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Ballyspillane Community and Family Resource Centre launch Ageless roadshow

  Ballyspillane Community and Family Resource Centre is putting on a series of meetings and talks to offer older members of the community a chance to meet people from organisations […]





Ballyspillane Community and Family Resource Centre is putting on a series of meetings and talks to offer older members of the community a chance to meet people from organisations that will enhance their lives.

The first talk will take place on October 3 at the Ballyspillane Community Resource Centre and will continue thereafter on a regular basis.

Thomas Doyle from SpecSavers will give the first talk and other groups like the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Alone, Family Carers Ireland, the Health and Safety Executive, Heartbeat Killarney, Be Active Be Well and the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland will join at future dates.

“We felt there was a need to bring all the organisations that can give older people the opportunity to come and meet organisations to offer support, services and activities that align with the life they wish to live,” said Sophie Haighway of the Ballyspillane Community Resource.

“The Ageless road show is a combination of organisations to help older people in the community. The groups that have committed to attend are the on alternative months. There will a guest speaker each month,”

The roadshow will be held in Ballyspillane CFRC the first Tuesday of every month from 12.30 pm-2 pm.

Further details from Sophie on 085 7723723.


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Climb Carrauntoohil three times in one day

A Tipperary woman is going to attempt to climb Carrauntoohil three times in one day to raise money for a sick child. Nikita Conlon from Roscrea is a personal trainer […]



A Tipperary woman is going to attempt to climb Carrauntoohil three times in one day to raise money for a sick child.

Nikita Conlon from Roscrea is a personal trainer and care assistant who has been working in health care for 18 years.

While working at the Milford Care Centre she met the family of Noah Quish. The six-year-old from Monaleen, Limerick was born with serious health issues ranging from a heart defect, severe laryngomalacia, severe sleep apnoea, scoliosis and chromosome deletion.

‘I worked in the Milford Care Centre for five years where I met Una Quish, Noah’s mam, so I felt the need to do something to help his family. I decided to set up this fundraiser.
“I plan to set off at midnight on Friday October 6, and hope to finish at 5 pm on Saturday.

“I have previously Climbed Kilimanjaro in February 2023 and raised over €6000 for the Dean Maxwell Nursing Home in Roscrea,” she said.

“My whole life I have felt the need to help others and now it’s time to help Noah and I need the support to help him.

“This challenge is not going to be easy but I am going to give it my all.

“I have experienced hikers coming along on the day.’

Her plan is to leave Cronin’s Yard at midnight and to return to the starting point at 4.30 am. She will restart at 5 am from the bottom of the Devil’s Ladder. By 10 am on Saturday she hopes to have started her third and final lap.

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