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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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Dancing classes set to unite communities

By Michelle Crean There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities. KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support […]




By Michelle Crean

There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities.

KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support Centre, has teamed up with dance instructor John Moriarty to teach both Ukrainians and multiple cultures living in Kerry Irish set dancing steps from next week.

The first class will take place on Tuesday evenings, starting next week (September 27) at St Mary’s Parish Hall at 6.30pm and all are welcome to join.

The idea is to help Ukrainians living in Killarney and Kerry to come and have fun and get to know locals better, KASI coordinator, Marilyn Catapat-Counihan, explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“We have a women’s group for all ages where we do crochet, sewing and art and crafts, where they can talk which is good. I had the music on and they were dancing. I asked if they would like to do dancing classes so I organised it with John Moriarty who is well known in Killarney.”

She added that the women are very excited to learn set dancing and get to know other people from the area.

“Sometimes when you meet new people the language can be a barrier and when you’re dancing everybody is moving. He will open it to everyone so there’ll be integration, it’s fun as well. They are all very excited.”

To find out more contact John on 086 1579381.

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Multiple Sclerosis Walk celebrates 20 years

By Sean Moriarty The rising cost of fuel is already having a negative effect on charity events with some limiting numbers. On October 9, the annual Multiple Sclerosis South Kerryv Walk […]




By Sean Moriarty

The rising cost of fuel is already having a negative effect on charity events with some limiting numbers.

On October 9, the annual Multiple Sclerosis South Kerryv Walk takes place over the Old Kenmare Road.

First run in 2002, this year’s event will celebrate 20 years since its foundation but two years were lost as a result of the pandemic.

This year’s walk will be limited to 150 people – three coach loads – so event organisers can cut back on running costs.

It will only be possible to participate in this year’s event if walkers pre-register.

“Walkers must raise at least €40 to make it worthwhile,” organiser John O’Shea told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Spaces are limited, 150 people equals three coaches and we need smaller coaches to get into the start of the Old Kenmare Road as that is just a bog road. We have limited numbers for cost and operational reasons.”

Mr O’Shea thanked event sponsors O’Callaghan Coaches and The Gleneagle Hotel for their support of the event.

Registration forms can be obtained by calling John on 087 2348824.


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