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Virtual ceremony for this year’s Celebration of Light

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Supporters of a Kerry cancer charity are encouraged to get online again this year to mark the annual Celebration of Light ceremony.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, cancer support charity, Recovery Haven Kerry, will stream its annual Celebration of Light ceremony live on its Facebook page next Thursday, August 19 at 8pm.

The charity is inviting the public to join with them for the virtual ceremony, which aims to celebrate those touched by cancer and remember those we have lost.

While disappointed that the event cannot take place in person, organisers have ensured that the uniqueness of this poignant event remains at the heart of the online ceremony, with all the usual prayers, readings and blessings remaining.

Similar to last year’s online event, the ceremony will feature contributions from Recovery Haven founder, Marian Barnes, the charity’s patron Dick Spring, 2009 Kerry Rose Sally-Ann Leahy, and Rose Hotel owner and valued Recovery Haven supporter, Eibhlín Henggler.

The virtual event, which has been beautifully compiled by the Ballymac CE Scheme, will again be MC’d by Sean Lyons and will also feature a performance from the Kerry Choral Union.

The emotional release of candles and stones will also form part of the celebration from Banna Strand, with the valued support of Banna Sea Rescue.

Organisers are now inviting the people of Kerry to join them on Facebook on the night for what promises to be a truly special virtual experience.

The charity is also encouraging supporters and followers to be part of the ceremony by lighting a candle in their home on the night. Special Celebration of Light candles are currently on sale at Recovery Haven at 5 Haig’s Terrace, Tralee and are also available at SuperValu in Castleisland, Listowel and Killorglin and at both Mods & Minis stores in Killarney.

“Because people cannot be with us in person and release their candles into the water as they traditionally would have, we would love for them to light a candle in their home with us,” said Recovery Haven PR & Marketing Officer, Marisa Reidy. “If they wish, they can also take a photo and tag Recovery Haven on Facebook so we can share and acknowledge their valued participation.”

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Musician Liam O’Connor back and busier than ever

By Sean Moriarty Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions. On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Local musician Liam O’Connor has gone from zero to hero following the lifting on the ban on live music as a result of pandemic restrictions.

On Saturday he played his first gig in over 18 months, next Friday he will release a new single, and before that he will play a special gig in London.

Liam and his family played at the Kerry County Council organised ‘ANSEO’ concert in North Kerry that was run to coincide with the Listowel Harvest Festival last weekend.

It was his first live show since he played at St Brendan’s College, Killarney when he shared the stage with special guest, former Irish rugby coach, Joe Schmidt. That event took place on March 11, 2020, the night before the country entered its first COVID-19 lockdown.

The ‘ANSEO’ series of concerts signalled the return of live music in Kerry and the O’Connor family shared the stage with other local musicians like Tim O’Shea and his Afro Trad Ireland group.

“People were delighted, they were mad for it, they were obviously missing it,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser. “But they are not letting go just yet, they are still a bit hesitant.”

This Sunday Liam heads to London were he will help Dan Tim O’Sullivan steer sheep over Southwark Bridge (see page 36 for more on this story).

To cap an exceptionally busy period for the local accordion player, he has joined forces with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame. Brennan and O’Connor will release a new single – ‘Strong in Numbers’ on Friday next, October 1.

They previously performed together at a concert in the Friary in 2017.

“It was such a positive experience for all of us we just had to repeat it,” he added. “So not only have we done this recording of ‘Strong in Numbers’ but we are planning to do the Friary again later this year. After that, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

Meanwhile, the ‘ANSEO’ series visits Killarney on Sunday night.

The Fair Hill car park will host two shows featuring: The Gleneagle Concert Band; Pauline Scanlon with Mick Galvin; The Small Hours; The Rising; Cathal Flaherty and Truly Diverse.

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Coach operators plead for Government aid in budget

By Sean Moriarty   A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season. He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff […]

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By Sean Moriarty
 

A Killarney tour operator has called for the Government to provide further financial aid for the industry in light of an uncertain 2022 season.

He described to an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media on Wednesday how a coach with just two American tourists and two staff is currently touring Ireland.

Representatives from the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) including Mike Buckley of Kerry Coaches, were invited to outline the detrimental impact COVID-19 has had on the coach tour industry.

Mr Buckley said he and his industry colleagues were desperate to highlight that Ireland was open for business and that the empty coach was an attempt by tour operators to prove how far they are willing to go to get this message out there.

“There is a reticence by people who travel in large numbers, people are not buying,” he told the meeting.

“There is anecdotal evidence that one coach operator is touring Ireland with two passengers, a driver and a tour guide.”

Mr Buckley said he was grateful for the previous support the industry had received but that funding stems back to the summer of 2020 and they were not included in the July 2021 round of funding.

That money was put towards existing loans on buses and coaches and has now dried up.

“It was like putting a bandage over a major bleed or haemorrhage,” he added.

The CTTC said that the coach industry contributed €215 million to the economy in 2019, the last year full figures are available for.

“Shops, cafes, hotels, attractions are hugely dependent on coach tours,” he added.

Kerry Coaches, in peak times, employ up to 114 drivers and tour guides.

“We are down to a skeleton staff,” he added.

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