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Tree of Light to illuminate Killarney

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TREE OF LIGHT: A 100-year-old giant Californian Redwood tree on the grounds of the St Mary's Cathedral will be lit up for Christmas. Pictured were: Fr Kieran O'Brien (Killarney Parish), with members of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Christmas in Killarney committee, from left: Kate O'Leary, John O'Mahony, Paul Sherry, President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Cllr Niall Kelleher (Cathaoirleach Kerry County Council), Cormac Foley and Terrence Mulcahy. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

A spectacular 100ft tree, festooned with close on 3,000 sparkling lights and topped with an incredible giant star, will illuminate Killarney this Christmas.
A towering Tree of Light will be located on the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral, on the landmark giant Californian Redwood tree, just outside the main door of the Pugin-designed Church.
The project is an exciting collaboration between the Christmas in Killarney Festival sub-committee and Killarney parish, creating a wonderful focal point in the town in the lead up to and during the festive season.
The lights will be officially switched on following a special ceremony which will be held in St Mary’s Cathedral on the evening of Sunday, December 8.
Killarney Parish Administrator, Fr Kieran O’Brien, and the project committee have extended a warm invitation to all community groups, schools, clubs and organisations, families and individuals to join in what promises to be a wonderful community celebration.
The Tree of Light was first lit to mark the millennium year when it commemorated all those who lost their lives in the conflict in Northern Ireland and it was again illuminated in the mid 2000s to remember those who had been killed on Irish roads.
This year’s project is all about community and it will celebrate the fact that Killarney is such a wonderful town to live in at Christmas and right throughout the year.
Fr O’Brien said it is wonderful that the Tree of Light will return after an absence of many years and it will bring something very special to Killarney for the Christmas season.
“People are still talking about how magical it was back in the millennium year and it is a very exciting project for all of us to be involved in,” he said.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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