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…
Kodaline to play stripped down Killarney gig
By Michelle Crean
One of Ireland’s best known bands – who have had their recently released studio album streamed more than 60 million times – as well as reached 100 million YouTube views – are set to come to Killarney.
Kodaline will play their first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour on December 4 in the Gleneagle INEC Arena, which is part of a nationwide tour across the country.
Tickets went on sale yesterday (Friday) from the www.inec.ie.
‘One Day At A Time’ is the band’s fourth album, and adds a new chapter to a career that has already encompassed three number 1 albums in Ireland, two Top 5 albums in the UK, and more than a billion streams at Spotify. Kodaline approached the album with a streamlined process that took them back to their roots. The majority of the sessions revolved around the four band members alone in their modest recording space in Dublin, with bassist Jason Boland leading the production side of things.
In 2019, Kodaline played some of the biggest shows of their career. At home in Dublin they sold-out two huge outdoor shows at St Anne’s Park, while a 10-date UK tour culminated with a packed show at London’s historic Roundhouse. Further afield, they hit festivals including Lollapalooza, Benicàssim and Open’er before becoming the first Irish band to headline the massive NH7 Weekender in Pune, India. Their extensive touring throughout Asia also included a headline set at Monsoon Music Festival in Vietnam plus dates in China, Japan, South Korea, The Phillippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.
“We’re excited to do our first ever stripped down fully acoustic tour, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and something that’s gonna be very special for us. Hope to see you guys there,” the band said.
Relief for students as State exams finally begin
Kayleigh O’Connor and Bethany Kelly pictured ahead of their Home Economics exam on Wednesday afternoon.
By Michelle Crean and Grigoriy Geniyevskiy
Although it was a Leaving Cert like no other – that didn’t stop some students from feeling nerves and others relief – as they finally began their State exams on Wednesday morning.
After a mix of homeschooling due to the COVID lockdowns, it was a tough final year for the Sixth Years who at times had no idea if they final school exams would even go ahead.
Some have opted for no exams, while others want a mixture of Accredited Grades combined with the option to sit the exams.
And it all began on Wednesday morning as English Paper 1 was first up followed by Home Economics in the afternoon.
For Killian O’Brien, a student in St Brendan’s College, he said that there was no stress as he headed in.
“I’m grand out, not stressed at all.”
George Griffin, also a student in St Brendan’s College was glad to begin the final leg of his school journey and said he too felt grand about it.
“Predictable grades are a good backing to it, it levels out the stress.”
His classmate Darren Counihan was “not too worried” about what was ahead of him.
“You can only go up in points, not down thanks to accredited points.”
Luke Tindall, also a student in the school said he was alright and “not too stressed”
For Adam O’Connor there was some nerves.
“I’m feeling a bit of everything, but mostly stressed,” he said. “I’m just waiting to get it done and over with.”
In Killarney Community College Oliwia Bielanska spoke to the Killarney Advertiser after coming out of her first State exam.
“I was nervous at first, but once I started writing it was all good.”
Aoife O’Brien from the same school said she was “kind of nervous” but that “it was fine”.
“It wasn’t too bad.”
Stefan Lajdar, also a student in Killarney Community College said it went “alright”.
“I finished a bit earlier. I was a bit under pressure before the exam, but it was easy enough. We have a backup with the predicted grades so it was fine.”
A turbulent year
Principal of Killarney Community College, Stella Loughnane, acknowledged the uniqueness of this year. “This year has been a turbulent and emotional year for this particular Leaving Cert group. Thankfully, all of our students sitting these exams have the security of knowing they already have an accredited grade from their subject teacher and can really try to improve on that when sitting their chosen exams. I think this is of great comfort to students and will ease some of their nerves.The majority of our students have embraced this challenge and chosen to sit their exams.”
She added that also this year there are a lot more COVID guidelines from both the Department of Health and the Department of Education that both the school and students must adhere to.
“This year has shown how adaptable our students are, therefore I don’t believe they will cause too much fuss. However, like every other year, our students arrived with the age old butterflies in their stomachs but a willingness to begin their exams.”
Sean Coffey, Principal of St Brendan’s College said it was great to see the exams finally underway.
“It has been the most incredible two years for the students. This is as fair as you can get really. I would say the Sixth Years had a less disruptive year than other students as they had their eye on the prise and could see the finish line in sight.”
Lucky local wins dream Barraduff home
WIN A HOUSE: Barraduff Community Field Organisation fundraiser sub-committee members: Derry Healy, Michael O’Keeffe, Cathy Somers, Linda Dennehy, John Culloty and Rory D’Arcy pictured in the INEC on Sunday evening during the ‘Win A Dream Kerry Home’ draw.
By Michelle Crean
It has been seven months in the making but it was one lucky local who claimed the top prize – a 𝟯-𝗕𝗲𝗱 d𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 h𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝗱𝘂𝗳𝗳.
Ticket no. 17033 owned by Catriona Moriarty was the winner, chosen on Sunday evening in the ‘Win A Dream Kerry Home’ fundraiser prize draw live streamed on Facebook and the website from the INEC Arena, Killarney.
The MC for the evenings event was Rory D’Arcy, fundraiser committee member.
Committee member, Liam Warren, joined Rory to speak about the history and aims of the Barraduff Community Field Organisation since its inception in 1977. It was then time for the prize draw, with the combined value of all prizes in excess of €300,000. Rory introduced the independent adjudicating team of Peter Malone, Solicitor, Malone Hegarty Solicitors, and Denis Murphy, Auditor, Moriarty & Murphy Accountants.
It was certainly a night to remember for all prize winners, particularly Catriona Moriarty who will soon be receiving the keys to her new home.
“The Barraduff Community Field Organisation are forever grateful to all who supported this fundraiser, through purchasing of ticket(s) and sponsoring of prizes, to assist us in realising the vision of our local community. This is only the end of the beginning of another chapter!” Michael O’Keeffe said.
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