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Wander Wild Festival kicks off across Killarney National Park today

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Wander Wild Festival, Ireland’s great outdoors festival, kicked off today (Friday) in Killarney and runs until Sunday.

Organised by a team of local volunteers, wellness and outdoor experts, the festival is now in its second year.

The unique adventure and wellness festival, set in the lakes and mountains of the UNESCO Killarney National Park, has over 120 events for the body, mind and soul. You’ll have the chance to explore new adventures and recharge with a hike, bike, kayak, swim, stretch, ramble, or enjoy yoga, food tours, a concert or live podcast, against a backdrop of stunning scenic landscapes.

We’ve pulled together some highlights of events that you won’t want to miss.

The Nature Valley Mangerton Hike with Roz Purcell

Nature Valley, sponsors of Wander Wild, had a special hiking event this morning (Friday). Roz Purcell, founder of The Hike Life, lead a small group up the famous Mangerton Mountain, her favourite mountain in Ireland! The four-hour walking route had spectacular views of the Devil’s Punchbowl, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Horses Glen, Killarney National Park and, on a good day, South West to Kenmare Bay.

Sunrise Dip & Outdoor Sauna

Start the morning in an exhilarating way with a sunrise dip in the lake at Dundag followed by a traditional sauna by the calming lakeshore with a panoramic window of the surrounding mountains. Enjoying the soothing therapeutic benefits of a sauna, surrounded by nature promises to be a one-off unforgettable experience.

Mountain Trail Runs

Explore new terrain with one of three relaxed and social runs to choose from. Terrain covers fire roads, forestry trails, stone trails, and boardwalk trails. Some bravehearted individuals might even be enticed to take a dip in a waterfall or lake en route! Day and night options available.

Wim Hof Workshop

The pinnacle of cold therapy - the Wim Hof Method Workshop will help people to deal with stress better, improve their mental health, and build resilience. During the four-hour workshop you will learn a tailored technique to help you to breathe deeply and fully, get tips on how to improve your concentration and be guided on how to stay calm in a stressful environment (the cold!).

3D Blue Pool Wood Experience

One of the absolute highlights of the weekend promises to be the Blue Pool experience - the immersive 3D light and sound installation around the pool in the heart of Cloghereen Nature trail by well-known artist Augustine Leudar. It will feature an extraordinary walk-through 3D soundscape that uses many unique cutting-edge audio techniques to turn the forest into a subtly surrealistic sonic wonderland. See nature come alive!

Explore Killarney’s Lakes

Whether you want to get active and kayak, or sit back and relax on a boat trip, see parts of the Killarney National Park that are hard to access by foot as you cruise on the water. Explore the ruins of the 7th century monastery Innisfallen Island where it’s said that King Brian Boru studied. Visit hidden parts of the park on the 3 lakes, or hike the 10km up through The Gap of Dunloe and enjoy a 1.5-hour boat trip back to Ross Castle.

Children’s Programme

From Gruffalo hunts and digital treasure hunts to musical master classes, an escape room and a buzzing ‘Kids Zone’, the little ones (and not so little ones!) are guaranteed a weekend of adventure, nature, music, creativity and most importantly, fun!

Foodie Tour

Join Kenmare Foodie Karen Coakley on a daytime or evening food tour sampling small signature dishes and tasting local artisan produce. Scratch beneath the surface and discover Killarney's new and very vibrant local food scene.

Live Podcasts & Premieres

Join Shane Finn as he hosts a live 'Pushing Limits' podcast with special guest former AFL player Brid Stack and mountaineer, Killian Buckley. Or get an exclusive look at two new Irish adventure films as they host their premiers - '1,000KM of Chaos' - the story of adventurer Kevin Leahy, and Alan Corcoran’s 'Unsinkable'.

Forest Bathing

Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the forest on a 2.5 hour forest bathing walk. This health and wellness practice supports participants to relieve stress, to be in the present moment, it creates awareness for the natural environment and connect people with their senses. The fun won’t stop when the sun goes down as Killarney hosts the electric basecamp for the festival. The town will be buzzing with market stalls, and live entertainment in local bars all weekend.

Unique Gig with Mundy & Friends

Mundy will be joined by special guests for some exclusive performances in the stunning St Mary's Church of Ireland. The beautiful natural acoustics and the spectacular backdrop that the intimate church venue offers will provide the perfect setting for a fantastic night of music from the acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter.

No need to bring a car - shuttle buses will bring you from the town centre to all the activities out of town. For more info and to book any event go to wanderwildfestival.com.

The festival is sponsored by Nature Valley and supported by Failte Ireland, Kerry County Council, and Killarney Chamber of Commerce.

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]

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The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]

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Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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