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The secret behind Fassbender’s rally documentary

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PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS: Fassbender's promotion of the Rally of the Lakes and Killarney is unmeasurable and it was down to Cormac Casey of KC Print and the 2019 Clerk of the Course Dermot Healy.

By Sean Moriarty

A new online documentary by local Hollywood A-lister Michael Fassbender has put the town of Killarney and local motorsport on the world map - and it all started in the offices of KC Print.

The Killarney-based company is Ireland’s largest trade printer and its managing director, Cormac Casey, is the son of the Killarney Advertiser’s late founder Danny.

Early last year Cormac was looking for ways of promoting the town and its motorsport heritage on the 40th anniversary of the cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes.

In his role as part of the event’s coordination team, he wanted to do something big to mark the occasion. Fassbender was already making waves as a racing driver in America and Cormac wanted to find a way to bring the town’s most-famous son and its biggest early summer event together.

He invited Fassbender to act as the rally’s ambassador and the Fossa man jumped at the opportunity.

Dermot Healy, the 2019 Clerk of the Course, backed the project and worked closely with Motorsport Ireland to create a ‘Lakes RallyFest’ event to facilitate Fassbender’s participation.

Cormac set about finding a suitable car and pulling together a team of rally mechanics to run the chosen Ford Escort Mk2 over the weekend. The project was independently funded through the support of the Killarney Advertiser, Dermot Healy Motors, Portwest, Irish Health Foods, and MIS Insurance.

In return, not only did Fassbender act as the best ambassador the county’s biggest motorsport event has ever seen, school road safety trips and town centre meet-and-greet sessions are examples of the hard work he put in, and he also produced a high-quality documentary on the event.

This was on top of unprecedented media attention Fassbender’s participation in the rally attracted. Major national daily newspapers, radio stations and TV channels gave coverage to the rally and its star driver.

The biggest of all was Fassbender’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show a few weeks after the rally where he spoke of the event and his home town to a worldwide audience of millions.

One year on, part-one of a three-part documentary series made its debut on Tuesday evening on social media channel VERO.

The six-minute programme, its length purposely mastered for an online audience, has been going viral since it aired.

The programme shows Killarney’s beauty at its best and also captures the thrill and excitement of rallying.

It is the perfect advertisement for both the town and the rally, especially this year when the Coronavirus conspired against the 41st running of the rally, as the show-reel captures what rally fans and the town were missing over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The show has reached millions of viewers worldwide and was even picked up by RTÉ’s Six-One main evening news bulletin on Wednesday evening.

“This was not a case of Hollywood coming to Killarney, this was Killarney going to Hollywood,” a justifiably proud Cormac Casey told the Killarney Advertiser. “People questioned the value of what we were trying to do last year, but the rewards, as we have seen this week, go far beyond my expectations.”

In another coup for the KC Print Group, the Killarney Advertiser was the first print or online media organisation anywhere in the world to reveal in last week's issue, that the documentary was to be released.

Turn to our Motoring section on page 31 for a full review of the film.

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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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