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The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens re-opens after €18m renovation

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The five-star Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, located close to one of Ireland’s most iconic tourist destinations, the Gap of Dunloe, officially opened its doors last Friday after undergoing a stunning 18-month renovation of the restaurant, bar, reception, lobby and lounge spaces as well as the enhancement of the gardens and car park.

A substantial €18million investment by the hotel’s owners, the Liebherr family, has brought new life to the hotel, enhancing its long-standing relationship with the beautiful surroundings and maximising the property’s unrivalled views of the Gap of Dunloe. The Liebherr family has been at the forefront of tourism and manufacturing industries in Killarney and the surrounding areas for over 60 years, employing 1,000 people across the country. Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, joined Dr Isolde Liebherr to celebrate and welcome the reopening of this magnificent five-star hotel.

Speaking at the official re-opening, Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD said: “It is my great pleasure to open a new jewel for tourists in Ireland, in a place that is one of the jewels in the crown of our entire tourist industry. The Liebherr family’s commitment to Ireland, with more than 1,000 employees, is so important and appreciated. The rebirth of this hotel is a further sign of the Liebherrs’ dedication”.

Local building contractors Griffin Brothers led the year-and-a-half-long renovation with the assistance of O’Carroll Engineering who implemented the building’s steel works. At the height of the build, the site had over 160 people working across all areas, including Tralee company Designer Landscapes Ltd who, along with Head Gardener Dave Barry, updated the gardens and outdoor spaces using a beautiful collection of native and international flora and greenery finished with Kilkenny limestone.

Swiss company Monoplan took the lead on the design aspect of the build. Despite updating and reinventing the hotel spaces, the Monoplan team was eager to retain and reinforce existing elements of the property that made it so special. The transformation begins at the driveway where guests instantly perceive the Dunloe Castle Heritage Park with its unique tree population.

The public areas of The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens were redesigned and rebuilt to ensure optimum efficiency and accessibility throughout the hotel. The primary focus of the build was to retain the identity and integrity of The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens to give guests a sense of homecoming with the familiar silhouette of the two towers and an interior design that relates to the tradition of the hotel. It was equally important to create a whole new building with extraordinary spaces, new terraces and a design that lives up to the expectations of a five-Star hotel.

Managing Partner at Monoplan, Philip Wohlfarth, said of the renovation: “The double height window in The Grill Restaurant ensures that everyone will be able to take in the beauty of the Gap of Dunloe. The new terraces and enhanced landscaping will allow the hotel’s customers to sit outside and enjoy the magnificent surroundings”.

The restaurant overlooks the iconic view of the Gap of Dunloe in spectacular fashion, with a room height of six metres and huge panoramic windows to the south. This area is characterised by natural light, fresh colours and the connection of interior and exterior. In contrast to this, the lobby, the library tower and the bar have been designed in such a way that dark, warm tones and precious materials create an inviting, rather introverted atmosphere to sink into.

In the façades of the towers the new, the old and newly-interpreted come together in an exemplary way with the familiar stained glass flower windows which were removed, cleaned and re-set in the stone clad tower, juxtaposed to protruding contemporary window reveals in dark aluminium. Similarly, the interior design combines existing pieces of furniture and artwork with a whole new fit-out that is rich in texture and detail, completed with bold wallpapers and traditional tiles.

Speaking at the re-opening of the hotel, Managing Director of Killarney Hotels Ltd, Michael Brennan, said: “After an 18-month refurbishment and renovation we are delighted to be re-opening The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens. The Liebherr family has over the past 60 years continually re-invested in their hotels and the completion of this latest renovation project demonstrates once again their commitment to Killarney and the surrounding area. We look forward to showcasing the magnificent work that has been done here at The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, which has enhanced the facilities we offer our guests and has increased employment within the hotel sector. The hotel has a rich history but in all its many years has never looked as good as it does now”.

The gardens at The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens are celebrated in all aspects of the renovation and can be enjoyed both outside and from within the property. Guests can traverse the world in an hour in the gardens of the hotel. The voyage starts with Chilean fir trees and leads on to Australian gums, South African lilies, New Zealand cabbage trees, New Zealand cherries, Japanese maples, North American dogwoods, South American fuchsias and back to its roots with a Killarney strawberry tree. While the newly developed herb garden delivers fresh seasonal herbs for the hotel’s chefs.

“The new planting has been designed to complement the existing garden,” explains Head Gardener Dave Barry. “An example would be the new roundabout that has been planted with large pine trees. These are similar to the pine trees that were planted in the 1920s and tower over the entrance of the gardens.  On the south side guests are overlooking a 300-year-old mature oak tree with the stunning view of the Gap of Dunloe in the background.”

The gardens surrounding the shell of MacThomas' medieval keep have a dramatic setting, looking towards the mountains girdled by the Ring of Kerry. Camellias, magnolias, roses and rhododendrons, handpicked by renowned plantsman Sir Roy Lancaster, now flourish in the sheltered grounds together with rare specimens such as the aromatic-leaved 'Headache' tree. In the paddocks to the front of the hotel, descendants of Hafflinger ponies brought over by Dr Hans Liebherr half a century ago still graze in the lush paddocks and will continue to bring joy to guests of all ages.

Speaking about the re-opening of The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, Kerry TD Brendan Griffin, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, said: "This is very positive news for Kerry tourism. The Europe, The Dunloe and Ard na Sidhe hotels are some of the top hotels in Kerry and this investment builds on a strong tradition of hospitality by this hotel group. I wish the management and their teams the best of luck with the re-opening and assure everyone involved that the government is fully committed to working with them to achieve the best possible future for the tourism industry."

2018 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the story of The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens. A chapter that is a fitting foundation for the next half-century.

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Top 10 Essential tips for Leaving Cert Students in lead up to June 5

The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting […]

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The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting year.

The natural anxiety felt by students is often heightened by the annual media hype around the state exams and it is really important that you do your best to manage that stress effectively, so that you are ready to perform to the best of your ability once the exams start. The following tips may help to keep you focused and a little calmer in the lead up to June 5.

1. Review, don’t cram – Focus on summary notes, flashcards, or mind maps. This reinforces what you’ve already studied. Prioritise areas where you feel less confident, but don’t try to learn new material.

2. Practise past papers – Review marking schemes and time allocation for each question you will need to answer on each paper. Practise a sample of questions against the clock. This will maximise your scoring potential.

3. Organise your materials – Check the exam timetable and highlight your own exams. Prepare the stationary that you need, gather pens, pencils, calculators, and so on. Pack your bag the night before to avoid last-minute stress.

4. Maintain a healthy balance – Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest is crucial for memory, concentration and stamina. Eat well, include proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your meals to maintain energy levels. Drink plenty of water, hydration is essential.

5. Try to manage stress – Schedule short breaks during study sessions and do something enjoyable and relaxing, like a short walk, playing or listening to music. Get fresh air and some light exercise. Use relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation.

6. Focus on a positive mindset – Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of your preparation. Concentrate on what you know and not on what you think you don’t! Try to avoid negative self-talk and steer clear of discussions that heighten anxiety, such as comparing how much you’ve studied with friends.

7. Plan your weekend – Create a realistic timetable for the weekend, balancing study sessions with breaks and relaxation and don’t overdo the study. You need plenty of energy for the exams.

8. Stay connected – Talk to friends and family, if you are feeling overwhelmed reach out and get support from loved ones. If it’s helpful, have a short, focused study session with friends to clarify doubts.

9. Keep things in perspective – The Leaving Cert is important but won’t define you and regardless of what happens you have several options open to you. Try to reframe the media hype as the whole country getting behind you, for what they know to be a tough time for you.

10. Get Set for exam day – Double-check the venue, seating arrangements, and required materials for the day of the exam. On the evening before the exam, do a light review of key concepts but avoid heavy studying. Ensure you know how to get to the exam venue and plan to arrive early (at least 30 mins on the first day). Decide what you’ll wear to avoid rushing in the morning and have your water and snacks ready to go.

Above all else, give the exams your best shot! Once they are over you have a lovely ‘study-free’ summer and bright future to look forward to. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

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Disability toilets for Killarney Library

Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year. Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting. She said: […]

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Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year.

Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting.
She said: “Application has been made for funding to the Department. As soon as the funding is approved, work will commence on the provision of Disabled Toilet Facilities.
“While ramps are installed for accessibility, it is unacceptable that any public building be without disabled toilet facilities in this day and age.
“I am aware of several people with a disability who constantly use the services of the Library and are very happy with the staff and the services that Killarney Library offers but are disappointed at the lack of disabled toilets.”
“I will be keeping the pressure on to have these facilities provided as soon as possible.”

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