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Skellig Michael to reopen to the public later this month

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WELCOME NEWS: Mayor of Kerry Patrick Connor Scarteen says he welcomes the announcement that Scellig Michael can reopen later this month.

By Michelle Crean

There was a welcome reaction to news this week that Skellig Michael can reopen to the public later this month.

On Wednesday, Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), announced a target date of June 21 for the reopening of Skellig Michael to public visitors.

The OPW’s work crews are currently on site undertaking preparatory health and safety works prior to reopening, and as things stand, it is likely that the target date will be achieved. The reopening date is subject to weather conditions remaining favourable for works on the island and intending visitors are advised to consult heritageireland.ie for updates ahead of planning their visit.

"I am very pleased to be able to share this much-anticipated good news with holidaymakers eager to visit Skellig Michael this summer and with the rural communities who rely on tourism to the island," the Minister said.

"I myself look forward to visiting this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site soon and I hope that weather conditions will allow OPW staff to complete the required preparatory works so the reopening can go ahead on June 21. Thanks to the progress we have made on the path to recovery, we will have the opportunity to discover and enjoy national treasures such as these over the coming months.”

WELCOME

Mayor of Kerry Patrick Connor Scarteen says he welcomes the announcement as he called for the reopening "on numerous occasions".

The announcement by Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Mr Patrick O’ Donovan TD that boat tours to the Skelligs can recommence on June 21 pending works being done which is contingent on decent weather is a huge boost to tourism in Kerry," he said.

"I’m sure the announcement is very much welcomed by those who earn their livelihoods from such trips and associated businesses. I look forward to visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site again soon. Fingers crossed for good weather!"

The news was also welcomed by Councillor Michael Cahill who said that it is great news for Cahersiveen, the Iveragh Peninsula, South Kerry and the entire county.

However, he added with caution that "this “target” date must be struck accurately as the recovery of business in the whole area is dependent upon it".

“The Skellig boatmen have been drawing people to South Kerry for decades and the knock-on spend by visitors can be felt in shops, restaurants, pubs, accommodation, B&B's, hotels, etc., throughout the county,” he said.

“This is a unique product which has been enhanced by its association with Star Wars and it is critical that it reopens as soon as possible in order to save the local jobs and livelihoods that itself has created down through the years. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of Skellig Michael to the Kerry tourism package and it is integral to future employment in the region along with The Ring of Kerry, The Kerry Way and hopefully soon, The South Kerry Greenway. We must show that we are ‘Open For Business’ and get back to what we do best.”

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Therapy dog begins first day of school

By Michelle Crean A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff. On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county […]

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By Michelle Crean

A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff.

On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county to welcome such a dog.

It’s part of the My Canine Companion (MCC) charity which has a number of therapy dogs in schools across the country.

Deirdre Horgan from MCC paid a visit to schools looking for families for the charity’s socialisation programme. ​​​​​​

Zoomer is a mix of a sheepdog and a poodle and Deirdre’s dog Fifi is his mother.

In May Fifi had 10 puppies all named with the letter ‘z’. Just recently Fossa National School welcomed Zoomer’s sister Zazu to their classrooms, and puppy Zoro went to the CBS in Tralee.

The dogs not only provide comfort and support to pupils and students with Autism but to all in the school.

“There is an increasing body of research to support the benefit of a dog in school,” Ber O’Connor, a teacher in St Brigid’s, said.

Zoomer will be under the guidance of Ms O’Connor and some Transition Year students who will undertake a specific training programme for the therapy dog.

“The dog will be based in different rooms around the school but will have a timetable of interactions. We hope Zoomer settles in well and brings joy to many of our students lives. You can follow all the updates of Zoomer’s life on Instagram by following @zoomersbk or his TikTok account ‘zoomerthepuppy’.

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Brian James secures much sought after award

A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’. Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last […]

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A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’.

Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last week.

The highly respected and sought after Drapers Awards celebrate the very best of independent fashion retail and Brian James saw off exceptionally tough competition from other menswear stores to bring home this much coveted award.

Brian James were announced the winners at a celebratory luncheon in The Hilton London Bankside amongst fashion industry leaders and were presented with the iconic Drapers mannequin bust to much applause.

Commenting that Brian James has been a destination for fashion-conscious shoppers for more than 15 years, the judges praised Brian James’ strong “roster of brands” and said that it “offers an aspirational experience in Killarney”.

“Killarney is an incredible town to trade in – it is a brand in itself, offers the best of everything to those that are lucky to live here and an unbeatable experience for those that visit,” Brian O’Shea, who founded and runs Brian James for the last 15 years, said. “This award recognises Brian James and Killarney as a superior shopping destination town. Brian James and the other superb retailers in Killarney are an important piece of the jigsaw – the Park, the lakes and mountains, the hotels, restaurants and bars… it is the whole picture which guarantees the experience is first class.”

He added that his team are a key element of the experience at Brian James.

“My sincere thanks go to each of the team as without them we could not provide the customer experience and service we aim to ensure each and every time. Brian James’ success is also down to the partnerships we have developed over time with key international brands. On the store itself, of course we have relocated to our new super store on Main Street and more than doubled our floor space. Although it has been great to be able to design and create this stunning space to enhance the customer experience, it also allowed us to add more brands to our menswear mix. This year we will have added Hugo Boss and Eden Park to our familiar brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Gant, Barbour, Bugatti and Farah. The new space also plays host to ladies collections from Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein, Diesel and Superdry and this is an exciting new element we are really enjoying too!”

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