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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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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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