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Spectacular new viewing platform opened at the Blasket Centre

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WHAT A VIEW: Róisin, Ruarí and Cibéal Ó hÓgáin, from Dun Chaoin, Chorca Dhuibhne, at the new Wild Atlantic Way viewing point at the clifftop site of the OPW run Ionad an Bhlascaoid (Blasket Centre) in Dún Chaoin in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

 

A new stunning addition to the tourism infrastructure of the Dingle Peninsula has been officially opened as part of a major programme of investment of over €2m in the Blasket Islands.

 

Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) officially opened the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way viewing point at the clifftop site of the OPW run by Ionad an Bhlascaoid (Blasket Centre) in Dún Chaoin in the West Kerry Gaeltacht.

The project, designed by Paul Arnold Architects, is a strategic partnership of Fáilte Ireland, the OPW and the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

The overall project includes the restoration of the original house on the Great Blasket Island of the renowned island writer Tomás Ó Criomhthain, the development of a walkway and viewing platform at the clifftop site, and a major upgrade of the exhibition at Ionad an Bhlascaoid. Fáilte Ireland’s investment in the Blaskets comes under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy with the aim of driving sustainable growth in the Irish tourism sector and higher revenue and job creation around Ireland.

“The development of this viewing platform will complement the existing Ionad an Bhlascaoid which is an important national heritage facility which focuses on the unique literary heritage of the Great Blasket," Minister O’Donovan said.

"It also creates a focal point for visitors to the Dingle Peninsula along the Wild Atlantic Way to stop, slow down and safely experience the breath-taking views of the Blasket Islands and the rugged beauty of this idyllic part of West Kerry. The walkway and viewing point are accessible to people of all ages and abilities and makes extraordinary places such as this within reach – free of charge – to citizens and visitors.”

The Viewing Point is the first phase of a major re-development of the Blasket Centre, which was originally built in 1993 in conjunction with locally based Fondúireacht an Bhlascaoid.

"We are at an advanced stage on a major upgrade of the exhibitions at Ionad an Bhlascaoid which is due to commence in October, and will be opened in 2021."

He concluded that COVID-19 has seriously affected the tourism sector in the last few months. Government has identified the need to act quickly in stimulating the economy, especially around home tourism.

"I have recently launched the Free Admission initiative at OPW Heritage Sites, of which the Visitor Centre is one, to offer all visitors access to the many historic buildings and sites in Ireland. We all need to play our part in getting Ireland back on its feet again.”

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Black Valley broadband installation gets underway

Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry. The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland […]

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Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry.

The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland to be electrified but broadband in the region is expected to be live in the second half of the year with residents already able to pre-order their connection. 
“It is well known that Black Valley was one of the last locations to get electricity due to its remoteness and challenging terrain, so we are extremely pleased to be commencing the rollout of our high-speed fibre network now with a view to connections being available later this year,” said National Broadband Ireland Deployment CEO, TJ Malone.
  
“We are determined to ensure the rollout is as fast as possible and connection is made easy for Black Valley residents, and we have a plan in place to work around the location’s all-important tourist season.

“Black Valley is a symbol of NBI’s mission that no area will be left behind no matter how rural or remote and we are delighted that this beautiful location moves one step closer to high-speed fibre today, with all the opportunities that will unlock for the local community.” 

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Players of the year don’t duck a challenge

They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh […]

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They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh weren’t going to shy away from the latest task on their home patch.

The two top footballers in the country teamed up to launch a charity duck race which will form part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Killarney, where they both live.

When the working day was done, busy secondary school teachers David and Louise had some great quack and they got caught up in the spirit of the occasion along the scenic River Deenagh in Killarney National Park.

The reigning Player of the Year and Ladies Player of the Year award winner demonstrated their competitive streak when they expressed confidence that their own ducks will win The Deenagh Duck Dash on the same river at noon on Monday, March 18.

But, luckily, festival chairman Jason Clifford was there to keep the peace and he even threatened to cry fowl and brandish a card at the star players – with duck yellow deemed the most appropriate colour.

Considered by many to be the greatest players of all time in their respective codes, between them, Fossa hotshot David and Corca Dhuibhne star Louise have an incredible nine All-Star awards.

But they might be tempted to swap one if their duck wins the fun-filled race on the day after St Patrick’s Day.

All proceeds from the event will go to St Francis Special School in Beaufort, Killarney which provides specialist education for young people with learning disabilities.
Festival chairman Jason remarked: “This isn’t just a race – it’s great fun for the whole family.
“Picture the scene with a flotilla of vibrant rubber ducks racing down a winding river, their owners cheering them on and all in the name of a fantastic cause”.
Super prizes await the winners, the cost of a rubber duck to participate in the race is just €5 and they can be bought online at https://stpatricksfestivalkillarney.ie/.

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