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“We’ll be at the door to welcome you in”

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A WARM WELCOME: Fr Kieran O'Brien from St Mary's Cathedral will be on hand to welcome parishioners back to Mass next week. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

Mass returns next week but it'll be a different experience to what it was pre-lockdown with a smaller barely there congregation, hand sanitisers and face visors for the priests.

In Killarney, St Mary's Cathedral has the capacity for 1,400 parishioners. However, current Government guidelines are set to just 50 people indoors which includes the Priest, Sacristans, Eucharistic Ministers and ushers - but as the cathedral is so large, Parish Administrator Fr Kieran O'Brien says they can easily accommodate 200 people while staying within the two metre distance rule.

"We know people are longing to come back," Fr Kieran told the Killarney Advertiser this week. "We'll be at the door to welcome you in. There is capacity for 200 with social distancing taken into account that we've calculated."

The plans and preparations are well underway but it'll be a gradual process, he added.

Before entering parishioners are asked to hand sanitise and respect social distancing as ushers guide them to their seats. During Mass Fr Kieran will sanitise his hands and wear a facial visor before giving out communion and is respectfully asking people to take the communion in their hand.

After each Mass the church will be sanitised and cleaned by a team of volunteers.

Also this weekend, the cathedral will be 'fogged' clean which will last for three days, ahead of its official reopening for Masses.

Although in recent weeks people have been allowed in for personal prayer from 11am to 5.45pm, he said that it's been a difficult few months saying Mass in an empty church alone.

"It has been difficult certainly - this pandemic has affected everyone. But people were tuning in on the Internet and their radios and people sent us messages of appreciation."

And he added, that in future baptisms will more than likely be one service for four separate families with a maximum of 15 family members each.

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Better late than never Christmas present for St Francis Special School

By Sean Moriarty St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use. Husband and wife team Ciaran […]

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By Sean Moriarty

St Francis Special School received a very late Christmas present this week – a specially adapted bike for the pupils to use.

Husband and wife team Ciaran and Karen Dwyer, directors of Guerin Engineering and Pumps Ltd in Kilcummin, presented the special adapted bicycle to the staff and pupils at the Beaufort school on Tuesday.

After seeing an online request last December that the school needed the bike, they decided to gift one.

They contacted Glencar Medical, a Dublin-based firm that specialises in the supply of equipment to schools like St Francis, and ordered the bicycle.

However, nothing is straightforward in the current climate, Brexit, COVID and war all contributed to a delay in getting the bike to Ireland. Once it was in Dublin there were further delays in sourcing the special straps that St Francis’ children need to ride the bike safely.

It all came to a happy ending this week when the Dwyers were finally able to present their Christmas present to the school.

“We saw this request and we contacted the school and said we wanted to buy one, they told us where to get one, and we ordered it,” Karen told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We had it paid for by the end of the year but then it took three months to get it into the country. It took more time to import the specialist parts. The costs were increasing but we did not mind at all.”

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Jordan Lee to tell his story to the county’s schools

Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry. The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series […]

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Paralympian Jordan Lee will share his experiences with schools all over Kerry.

The Killarney man has embarked on a countywide tour ‘Jordan’s Drive’ in association with Kelliher’s Garage, a series of informal talks on his achievements and how he overcame his disability to reach the top of his chosen sport.

The 21-year-old was born with a foreshortened left arm known as amniotic band syndrome but has enjoyed a successful sports career which included representing Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Now he wants to share his story and inspire other students to follow their dreams.

His tour started last week at Colaiste na Sceilge in Cahersiveen and over the next few weeks, depending on his training schedule, will visit schools in Firies, Milltown, and Killarney.

“Don’t be afraid of people with disabilities or different backgrounds,” he said. “A few years ago there was only typical people in classrooms – you never came across people with disabilities or from various different countries. It is a lot more mixed now. I want to inspire people to treat everyone on the same level.”

‘Jordan’s Drive’ is made possible thanks to his role as a brand ambassador for Kelliher’s Garage, dealer principal, Tim Kelliher explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“Having got to know Jordan so well over the last couple of years we have come to realise how much of an inspiration he is so we decided to ask him to hop into his Toyota CHR Hybrid and bring his story out into the highways and byways of the Kingdom,” he said.

“Headlined ‘Jordans Drive’ and organised by my marketing team headed by Yvonne McMahon they have travelled to many of the schools around Kerry from Cahersiveen to Beaufort, Killorglin and with other dates planned for Firies and Milltown to name but a few. He has spoken his many words of wisdom to the children who have been in awe of the journey and his achievements, and we at Kelliher’s Garage are delighted and proud to have him as our brand ambassador.”

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