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Some Killarney residents should watch their gardens like hawks

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A “compelling” case is being made for the intensive use of lands within walking distance of Killarney town for housing. Close to 700 residential units will be needed, according to the draft Killarney Municipal District Plan for the next six years.

For Killarney town, so compelling is the case in the well-put-together, suspiciously cohesive, logically built-up and well-written plan, one wonders if one smells a CPO - a Compulsory Purchase Order?

For instance, we are told up front that the zoning strategy is to “build up critical mass” in the towns and villages of the Killarney area.

We are told that Killarney is the only town to have enjoyed significant growth, going from 13,760 in 2011 to 15,312 in 2016. Although the growth can’t be properly measured because of changes in census boundaries, we are told in another section.

We are told that Killarney has “unique” requirements as a tourist town and that this places significant pressure on local accommodation, in terms of provision and cost.

“In addition to the absence of affordable accommodation, the town requires significant numbers of seasonal workers, which creates extra pressure in terms of the high numbers seeking local accommodation and high rental costs,” it is stated.

The figure of 685 units is mentioned in the context of Killarney’s unique status of being the town with the oldest average age in the nation, thanks, we are told, to all the retirees who move here.

Significant areas of available and serviced land are not being released onto the market, and the proposal now is for almost 70 hectares south of the bypass and north of the Flesk to be zoned for housing. Next to nothing is to be allowed beyond this until houses have gone up in that area.

But the real meat, I suspect, is in the statement that as much as 30 per cent of the new housing will beon “infill or brownfield sites” within the town.

(By the way, there is a lovely howler on page 52, under the section “Housing Land Requirement”, where it states that “a principal tenant” of the approach is a sequential approach to zoning of residential lands, extending outwards from the centre. Nice one!)

But the part that interests me most is this:

“The Local Authority shall facilitate the redevelopment of all backland, infill, vacant and derelict sites throughout the town. It will encourage the construction of well-designed, high-density apartments or residential units subject to achieving a high quality of living accommodation for incoming residents, adequate provision of amenity space and refuse storage.”

Then there is the rather cheeky step of corralling the back gardens of the old houses in New Street, with accompanying map. And statements that New Street is to be” regenerated”.

In this context too, the Mission Road and Beech Road car park will be developed for housing and commercial, it is envisaged.

Green Lane and Pound Lane are other areas where there is plenty of  “underutilised rear residential gardens”. Sunnyhill, too, gets a mention in the unused land context.

The “sizeable” gardens in New Street would be developed as “a cohesive unit”, it is envisaged. This is, of course, language for a “new New Street” into the area south and adjoining Beech Road car park.

One thing interests me: with the plans for higher density within the town walls, as it were, what sort of heights are we really talking about? Heights like the Plaza? The Cathedral? The Beech Road apartments? The question of height provokes headaches in Killarney and there are real concerns about infill development. So any kind of gung-ho approach as appears in the new town plan about filling in here, there and everywhere on the basis of great need, warrants very careful scrutiny, it seems to me.

Already a situation is developing where Kerry County Council have opened an enforcement file on the two-storey mews building underway at the back of the West End, one of the town’s oldest buildings. New Street residents complained that windows are going in at the eastern side where they should not go in in the apartment development and will overlook their gardens and privacy and deprive them of light.  A warning letter has been issued from the council to the applicants.

And let's face it, this town has not distinguished itself in the development allowed in many of the old lanes.

Back to the draft plan. In the middle of it all, the horseshoe bat gets prime mention in the plan. I can’t understand the horseshoe bat’s import… and have to digress a bit here again. The lesser horseshoe bat gets a whole page to himself. I blinked a bit here. Is this about the jarvey horses and my bad eyesight? No, the lesser horsehoe bat.

Actually, he is actually in good condition we are told. Great! However, he could be disturbed by artificial lighting. Okay! Right!

On a morning where deer - also protected - are hopping in front of motorists and taking up car parking spaces in Beech Road, I would have thought they deserved a mention in a draft plan for their impact on the town, if only to protect humans?

But away from the deer and the bats. If I were a resident of Green and Pound Lanes and Lower New Street, and maybe Sunnyhill, I would be watching my little back garden roost like the proverbial hawk.

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Happy Birthday Sham

Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole. Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters. One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday […]

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Well-known Killarney character Seamus ‘Sham’ Courtney celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday (Thursday) at his favourite town centre watering hole.

Sham who has entertained countless tourists over the years with his pronounced Kerry accent is one of the town’s best loved characters.

One video recorded by RTE’s Today Show around the time of his 71st birthday has amassed 7.5 million viewers.

Yesterday he visited one of his favourite pubs, Jack C O’Shea’s on High St, where proprietors John and Joan O’Shea and their ever-present dog Ginny placed decorative balloons around the bar to mark the occasion.

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Killarney acts excited to play outdoor mini music event

By Michelle Crean ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend. On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that […]

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By Michelle Crean

ANSEO, Kerry’s newest outdoor mini music and arts event, plans to have six shows at three venues, including Killarney Town Centre next weekend.

On Sunday September 26, there’s plans for an afternoon show by The Gleneagle Concert Band, Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin, and The Small Hours from 2 to 4.30pm. Later that evening, from 7 to 9.30pm, acts such as The Rising, Cathal Flaherty, and Truly Diverse, will play.

It’s all part of two weekends of entertainment including tomorrow (Saturday) at the Town Square Listowel where Eoghan Duignan, John Browne and Brendan O’Sullivan, Tim O’Shea & Afro Trad Ireland, as well as Liam O’Connor and Family play from 1pm to 3.30pm, followed by an evening show from 6pm to 8.30pm featuring Seamus Begley and Donogh Hennessy, Sephira, and Peter Staunton and Super Ceili.

In Tralee on Saturday September 25, acts such as Inish, Lorraine Nash, and Oracle will put on a show from 2pm to 4.30pm, with Mark Leen: ‘the man with many voices’, Aisling Urwin & Andy Yelen, and Renovator playing from 7pm to 9.30pm.

ANSEO Kerry, supported by Kerry County Council, has been created to celebrate and support local artists and get them back out performing via a live outdoor music event for those who love Kerry and its talent.

Culture and local art will also be celebrated on a big screen at all of these events highlighting local talent including super works from visual arts Kerry, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Me + The Moon, Kerry Biosphere, St John’s Theatre, as well as Landscapes + Seascapes film, animations and mapping.

“It’s been an unbelievable feeling to be back performing again after what was the longest 18 months for everyone but I feel especially musicians because we were the first to close and just about the last to open again properly,” Cathal from Beaufort, and now living in Killarney town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“When I read the news a few weeks back that we can perform indoors again it didn’t quite sink in until I was actually playing indoors a few days later. Since then my phone has been hopping with bookings and I’m just so grateful for anyone who has booked me so far. It’s still not entirely back to normal but I won’t be complaining for a while as it’s just so great to be back at it again. I want to give a special thanks to the guys behind ANSEO who have booked me for their Killarney run of shows which I’m really excited for, and also to be sharing the stage with two other incredible Kerry acts – The Rising and Truly Diverse. I know the Truly Diverse lads very well over the last decade so I know it’s gonna be a great show and I can’t wait to get up on that stage and play my own songs in front of real people again!”

ANSEO Kerry will be a family-friendly, alcohol-free, ticket only event for 200 people in pods of four. The concerts will be free of charge and there is expected to be much demand for these socially distanced shows. Tickets are limited but the shows will also be streamed online for those who can’t be there in person. ANSEO Kerry is being run in-line with full Government guidelines and protocols in place.

Tickets are bookable via www.anseokerry.com.

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