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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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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

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 follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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