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Ryan takes on 200k in 28 days to help his school

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ACCOMPLISHMENT: Ryan Looney (13) from Gneeveguilla, pictured with his mom Brigitta, is walking 200k in 28 days to raise funds for his school. Photo: Michelle Crean 

By Michelle Crean

He may not have the actual view of the Ring of Kerry but that isn't stopping one teen from walking its circumference - by taking on 200k all within 28 days! Ryan Looney (13) who has Autism, decided to take on the huge challenge to help raise funds for his school.

Currently in the Oak Class in St. Francis Special School, Ryan, from Quarry Cross, Gneeveguilla, wanted to raise money to help fund private therapies such as speech and language therapy carried out by Kerry Speech and Language Clinic who offer 1:1 SLT sessions.

And Ryan is so dedicated to his goal that he hasn't missed a day's walk, accompanied by his mom Brigitta, since the Easter holidays.

What's even better is that Ryan is getting huge support online through his GoFundMe and Facebook pages 'Ryan's Virtual Ring of Kerry Walking Challenge'.

"Ryan has been walking non stop all through his Easter Holidays, he has been walking over 10k a day and now has over 160k done," his mom Brigitta told the Killarney Advertiser.

"As he is back in school now and busy, he is doing the rest of the challenge in the evenings with smaller walks of 3km and 4km. He hopes to have it completed by next week. He loves being outdoors and it's something different, and we've been blessed with the weather."

Normally the school has an annual golf classic fundraiser organised by the SFSS Parent's Autism Support Group. Their last one, in 2019, raised €19,000. However, with events postponed due to the ongoing pandemic, fundraising has become harder, and this inspired Ryan and his mom take on the challenge.

"A friend had the Conqueror App and was walking to Rome virtually, so we decided to do the Ring of Kerry. It maps out the walk and once completed he will get a medal in the post. We also set up a GoFundMe page with a target of €1,000 and it's now at almost €3,000," Brigitta added.

"We have a Facebook page set up 'Ryan's Virtual Ring of Kerry Walking Challenge' and people are sending me pics as they are walking to support Ryan with #TEAMRYAN which is lovely, and he loves seeing them."

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Local soprano releases new single

Local soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan has released her second self-penned single. Following the success of her debut song ‘Forever and a Day’ which was released on July 16 and was aired on radio stations all over the world and on streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and iTunes, her second single was released last Friday. ‘Before […]

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Local soprano Mary Culloty O’Sullivan has released her second self-penned single.

Following the success of her debut song ‘Forever and a Day’ which was released on July 16 and was aired on radio stations all over the world and on streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and iTunes, her second single was released last Friday.

‘Before You Leave Me’ has a Jazz influence. Mary has been writing her own songs since March this year covering several different genres.

“Tony O’Flaherty of Sonas Studios has brought my songs to life and I am delighted with the production on the songs,” Mary told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Fun Urban Orienteering event coming to Killarney town

The event is free, open to all ages, levels of fitness and is both wheelchair and buggy friendly.Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership are calling on you, to get out and #BeActive as part of European Week of Sport 2021, which runs from September 23 to 30. Sport Ireland, the national coordinating body for European Week of Sport in […]

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The event is free, open to all ages, levels of fitness and is both wheelchair and buggy friendly.
Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership are calling on you, to get out and #BeActive as part of European Week of Sport 2021, which runs from September 23 to 30.

Sport Ireland, the national coordinating body for European Week of Sport in Ireland hope that this year’s event will inspire even more people than previous years and has funded multiple flagship as well as local events run by the Network of Local Sports Partnerships, including this ‘Family Street Orienteering Kerry’ event.

“This free event looks to offer everyone an opportunity the get out and be active and maybe try something new,” Gearóid O Doherty, the Coordinator of Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership said. 

“Urban Orienteering is an activity that you can do on your own or with your family and friends. You get to challenge yourself a little and still go at a pace that suits you – and what a beautiful location to do it all in, Killarney town!

“With many people possibly new to the Kerry region, be that through work, college or otherwise, this is an ideal way to get involved in the community and explore the streets and lanes of Killarney in a fun and active way.”

The Kerry Orienteers Club have designed the courses for this event and are looking forward to the excitement of it all and helping those new to the sport to continue taking part in the months and years that follow.

“We know that, for a lot of people, this will be their first time trying orienteering, but they can rest assured, as we will be there to talk them through it and help them out if needed,” Brendan O’Brien from Kerry Orienteers said.

“If it is something they want to try again, we can signpost them to other events, both locally here in Kerry and indeed nationally. Orienteering is a fantastic sport that allows you to build your skills and confidence, with all events having a variety of routes to cater for all levels.”

To cater for physical distancing and government guidelines, there are several staggered start times for participants to choose from, beginning at 6pm and the last group heading off at 7.30pm. With free t-shirts for all who sign up and additional workshops onsite, from the likes of Leave No Trace Ireland, it is sure to be a fun and vibrant evening, all stemming from the start point at ANAM – Killarney’s Arts and Culture Centre.

Places are limited for this event. Free online registration is available and those looking to attend are encouraged to book their place early to avoid disappointment.

For more information, you can visit any of the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership social media accounts or go to www.sportireland.ie.

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