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The life and legacy of Vicky Phelan celebrated at poignant event

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The life and legacy of the late Vicky Phelan was celebrated in poignant style in Tralee at the weekend as local cancer support charity, Recovery Haven Kerry, hosted the Kerry stage of the nationwide Vicky Phelan Campaign and Portrait Tour.

The Tralee-based charity joined forces with portrait owner David Brennan and friends and family of the late cervical cancer campaigner for the two-day awareness raising initiative, which was kindly hosted by MTU Kerry and supported by Tralee Chamber Alliance.

The Sólás Centre at MTU’s North Campus was the location for the weekend’s activities, which began on Friday night with an emotional, but hugely inspirational unveiling of the portrait by owner and lifelong friend of Vicky, David Brennan.

In front of an audience of over 100 invited guests, including some of Vicky’s friends and parents John and Gaby, David gave an empowering insight into every aspect of the stunning portrait, beautifully detailing the symbolism of each section.

Another of Vicky’s friends, John Wall, was also there to speak about who he called ‘Vicky the person’ and, like David, offered a wonderful insight into exactly the kind of woman Vicky Phelan was, away from her media persona.

Deirdre Walsh of Radio Kerry was also on hand to moderate a fascinating panel discussion with prominent cancer awareness advocates, including 221+ campaigners Lyn Fenton and Caoimhe O’Neill Forde, as well as inspiring 18-year-old Roísín Ní Chadhla – BT Young Scientist and Student Public Health Researcher.

Recovery Haven Kerry Chairperson Tim McSwiney and Dr Brendan O’Donnell, MTU Registrar, both spoke eloquently on behalf of their organisations, in welcoming the tour to Kerry.

As part of the weekend’s programme, the stunning portrait was also on public display at the Sólás Centre on Saturday morning, where, once again, David Brennan, explained its origins and meaning behind it. The previous night’s speakers and Vicky’s parents were once again present for Saturday morning’s event, which was attended by over 60 people.

“Given the nature of our work in supporting those with cancer and their families, we are honoured to have been part of this special and very moving event which celebrates the legacy of a remarkable woman and continues her work of raising awareness and the importance of self-advocacy,” said Recovery Haven Kerry manager, Gemma Fort.

“We are extremely grateful for the co-operation of MTU Kerry, particularly the Department of Nursing and Healthcare Studies under the leadership of Dr Gerardina Harnett, and the support of Tralee Chamber Alliance and many other local businesspeople and community groups.”

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Kerry rowing clubs flock to Killarney for the start of the coastal season

There was a fantastic spectacle of colour and rowing on Lough Leane last Sunday (June 16th) with the coastal rowing clubs of Kerry participating in the first ‘Head of the […]

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There was a fantastic spectacle of colour and rowing on Lough Leane last Sunday (June 16th) with the coastal rowing clubs of Kerry participating in the first ‘Head of the Lake’ time-trial for coastal one-design boats.

The event, hosted by the local Flesk Valley Rowing Club, signalled the start of the summer season for clubs rowing the coastal ‘one-design’ boats.

It was fitting that on the weekend that the Killarney National Park celebrated the 60th anniversary of the opening of Muckross House to the public, that hundreds of people also flocked to the Flesk Valley shore to appreciate and enjoy the splendour of the park.

Speaking after the event, Flesk Valley chairman, John Fleming thanked all the Kerry clubs who supported this new event and congratulated all the first-time rowers taking to the water in a competitive event for the first time.
“We were delighted to welcome our neighbouring clubs Workmens’ and Fossa, and look forward to renewing rivalries with them again at the Killarney Regatta at the end of this month,” he said.

“We would also like to thank Mary B. Teahan, Andrew Wharton, Johanna King and the Kerry Coastal Rowing Association for all their support and encouragement, and Denis O’Leary for coordinating safety on the water.”
Flesk Valley would also like to thank the Killarney National Park, Leanes Tool Hire, Hegartys Shop and Muckross Rowing Club for their support.

“This was a great start to the coastal rowing season, and augurs well for the months ahead as clubs build towards the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships to be held in Dingle at the end of August,” added the chairman.

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NPWS announces nature scholarships to mark ‘Muckross 60’

Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of […]

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Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Niall O’ Donnchú, this week announced the inaugural ‘Muckross 60’ nature scholarships to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the opening of Muckross House and Gardens to the public. The scholarships will be funded and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Niall O Donnchú said, “Killarney and Muckross have a very special place in Ireland’s heritage legacy, and  such beautiful gems need constant care, nurturing and indeed protecting by future generations. In supporting these third level scholarships, the NPWS is building the knowledge base of the future to assist those generations in continuing to realise the full beauty and nature value of the very unique Muckross House and Gardens and Killarney National Park.”

Mr O Donnchú added: “Killarney has a long history of scholarship, research and frontier work on nature and that continues to this day in the management of Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens. The endowment of these annual scholarships is a very clear attestation that this crucial work continues to be undertaken across our national park system and especially here in Killarney and Muckross. This work has been pioneering in respect of wildlife and nature research and indeed the reintroduction of endangered species and the discovery, even this year, of more.”

Minister for Education and Kerry T.D. Norma Foley also welcomed new scholarships to mark the 60th anniversary of Muckross House.

“Muckross House is one of the jewels in the crown of Kerry tourism and received almost one million visitors last year. These scholarships will further add to our understanding of this outstanding part of our national heritage,” she said.

Muckross House was built by the Herbert family, who were local landlords. They became very wealthy during the 18th century due to the working of the copper mines on the Muckross Peninsula. They commenced the building of the present Muckross House in 1839. It was completed in 1843 at cost of £30,000, just two years prior to the Great Irish Famine. The Herbert family hosted the visit of Queen Victoria to Muckross House in 1861 but later got into financial difficulties and lost the house in 1897.

It was then bought by Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. He in turn sold it in 1911 to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian gold miner. Bowers Bourn gave it to his daughter Maud as a wedding gift when she married Arthur Rose Vincent, an Irish barrister who later became a Senator.

After Maude died from pneumonia in 1929, Arthur Rose Vincent decided to donate Muckross house to the Irish nation as a memorial to his wife. Muckross House was transferred to the state in 1932 with its 11,000 acre estate and became Ireland’s first National Park in 1933.

The park and gardens were opened to the public but the house remained closed until 1964 when it was reopened as a folk museum on June 14, 1964 following a campaign by people in Killarney.

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