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Smiles of welcome as Killarney House opens to the public

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THE doors of Killarney House swung open this morning as the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, together with Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, performed the official launch.

The €10 million project was announced in 2011 by then Minister Jimmy Deenihan and involved a major refurbishment programme for the House and its ornamental grounds and gardens. The project involved collaboration with the Office of Public Works as project managers and Fáilte Ireland.

The three principal rooms of the house, which have been restored to their former glory, are now open to the public for the first time – the dining room, the living room/library and the drawing room. The house is being developed as the main visitor and interpretative centre for the National Park, highlighting the beauty and interpreting the richness and significance of the Park’s landscapes, habitats, flora and fauna as well as telling the story of man’s interaction with the Park over the centuries.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said: “I am delighted to be here today to officially open the wonderfully refurbished Killarney House, which will be a fantastic addition to the town's already rich tourism offering. The House's setting is absolutely beautiful, with the ornate gardens already proving very popular with visitors and locals alike. The location of Killarney House is also unique and I have no doubt that it will help to draw many visitors staying in the town into the expanse of the National Park.

"It's great to see the main rooms of the House being open to the public for the first time as we enter the peak summer holiday season. Work will continue on the National Park Visitor Centre at the House which, once complete, will provide an added attraction to visitors and an excellent opportunity to explain the significance and importance of the natural heritage of Killarney and Kerry.

“I am also pleased to announce today that the Irish Museum of Modern Art and my Department have agreed a partnership to showcase its collections in Killarney House, which is a wonderful example of how our National Cultural Institutions can expand their reach.”

Significant State investment has been made in Killarney House, with collaboration across a number of Departments and agencies. “Today is a milestone for the town of Killarney who for so long wanted to see the house restored and utilised for the benefit of the local community and economy. This project is a great example of how investing in our natural and built heritage contributes positively to sustainable tourism,” added Minister Humphreys.

Speaking today Minister of State Griffin said: “Killarney House and Gardens, located within walking distance of the town centre, provide an added attraction for visitors and a vital link between the town and the National Park. It also provides another experience for visitors who are exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. 2016 was a record year for tourism and that strong performance is continuing into 2017. A key part of the tourism success story is our policy of investing in heritage sites such as Killarney House.”

The leas-chathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Paul Coghlan, Ballydowney, Killarney, said: "The restored gardens were opened to the public last year and I am delighted that we are now seeing the opening of the rooms of the house with original furniture of Lord Castlerosse, Earls of Kenmare and ‘The Man Who Built Washington’, John McShain.”

Killarney House at a glance

KILLARNEY HOUSE, previously known as Kenmare House, was the seat of the Kenmare family until 1956. The Kenmare family are descended from Sir Valentine Browne, appointed Surveyor-General of Ireland by Queen Elizabeth I in 1559.

In 1952, the seventh and last Earl of Kenmare died leaving Kenmare House and Estate to his niece Mrs Beatrice Grosvenor. In 1956 the House with a section of the estate was sold and eventually acquired by Mr John McShain, an American of Irish descent, who, with his wife, used the House as a summer residence from 1958 until their deaths

In 1979, Mr McShain sold the estate to the Office of Public Works to be incorporated into the National Park with the provision that the use of Killarney House and its immediate surrounds be reserved for his wife and himself for their lifetimes. In 1998 upon Mrs McShain’s death, the State took over the property.

The three principal rooms of the house have been restored to their former glory and are presented much as they were when the McShain family was in residence. The items on display include items that originated in the former Kenmare House and also many fine pieces acquired by John and Mary McShain.

The house is set in extensive gardens which lead into the wider demesne area and from there into the natural zone of the National Park. The House is situated in the southern edge of Killarney Town Centre. Its formal entrance, known as the ‘Golden Gates’ faces Countess Road and is less than 400m from the centre of the town.

In 2011, the Minister announced a major refurbishment programme for Killarney House and its ornamental grounds and gardens.

 


 
Above: The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, sitting at the writing desk of Lord Castlerosse, 6th Earl of Kenmare, shares a joke with Pat Dawson, Manager, Killarney House & Gardens, and Harry O’Donoghue, whose family have connections with the house for three generations. PICTURE: VALERIE O'SULLIVAN

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Important date reminders about CAO applications

The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process. Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in […]

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The normal closing date for CAO applications is on February 1 at 5pm, so it is really important that any students applying from Leaving Certificate, Further Education or as Mature Applicants are clear on the deadlines and application process.

Before you start make sure to look at the CAO handbook which is available as in interactive flipbook or to download from www.cao.ie, which also has a lot of resources to help applicants and parents.

To register, log on to www.cao.ie and click on Apply, it will ask you first to input your personal and contact details along with the category of applicant you are. Once you create a password and submit payment you receive you CAO number which means you are registered. It is advisable to go through the Demo Version of the CAO form first which is available on their website in the ‘Student Resources’ section.

Applicants who register before January 20 at 5pm will be charged the discounted application fee of €30, which increases to €45 up to February 1. Once you have registered you have until February 1st to add and change your courses, free of charge. On May 5, the Change of Mind facility will open and you will have the change to change your courses, with certain restrictions, up to July 1 at 5pm.

Course choices

You have the option of filling in 20 courses in total – 10 choices on level 8 (Honours Bachelor Degrees) and 10 on level 7/6 (Ordinary Bachelor Degrees / Higher Certificates) and it is advisable to fill as many as you can to give yourself the best chance of being offered a place on a course you like.

It is essential though that you research carefully all the courses you are going to include. Often students are careful about their first couple of choices but don’t research the courses that are further down the list well enough. Don’t make this mistake. Every course you put down should be one that you are genuinely interested in and willing to do so consider all options carefully. The majority of level 7/6 courses have progression routes onto level 8.

Order of Preference

This is the golden rule of the CAO and a very common mistake made by students every year. Always put down your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points from the previous year. Points for courses change each year and you will not know the points for 2022 until the day that the Round 1 offers are issued by CAO, which is usually a couple of days after the Leaving Cert results come out. Also you don’t know what points you are going to get until those results come out and it will be too late to make changes to your CAO application at that stage.

Restrictions for the February 1 deadline

While you will get the opportunity to change your course choices later in the year, there are certain restrictions to take note of regarding the February 1st deadline. If you are applying for ‘restricted courses’ they must be added in by February 1as they require some other form of assessment apart from Leaving Cert points such as an aptitude test or a portfolio.

Such assessments are usually carried out between February & April. Students who are applying for Medicine must apply to do the HPAT by January 21 on https://hpat-ireland.acer.org/.

Any students applying for the HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) or DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) schemes must have applied to CAO by February 1.

You then have until March the 1st to complete those applications and up to March 15 to have supporting documentation sent to CAO (see www.accesscollege.ie). In the case of mature applicants, most HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) require applications to be in by the February 1 deadline.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or email info@mycareerplan.ie

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