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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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Relief as indoor dining finally resumes

By Michelle Crean After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in. Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday. According to the new […]

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By Michelle Crean

After almost 500 days of closures the sense of relief was evident this week as restaurants, cafés and bars were finally allowed to welcome customers back in.

Some had reopened for outdoor dining previously to help keep their businesses afloat but it was back to normal on Monday.

According to the new rules as set out by Fáilte Ireland and the Government, in order for customers to access indoor service, they must show proof that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Those who are not yet vaccinated can only be served outside.

A maximum of six people aged 13 and over are allowed per table and it’s advised that face coverings be worn when not at the table, there is no time limit, customers can only eat or drink at a table and not at the bar or counter, and one person must give their details for contract tracing purposes. Live music and dancing is not allowed.

The Killarney Advertiser spoke to a number of businesses this week and overall the feeling was relief that they can finally get back to normal service but the issue of staffing still remains.

Brian Murphy from Courtney’s Bar said he was feeling nervous.

“I’m feeling nervous as we don’t have enough staff,” he said. “It’s a Monday so hopefully we can cope. Things will settle down and we’ll find a level we are all happy with.”

At the Porterhouse Restaurant Lee O’Callaghan said “It’s great to be back open and have people coming into the restaurant”.

“Hopefully we have a long season after being closed for so long.”

Staff at Reidy’s, Ellen Shannon, Rory Carroll and Jack Sweeney, added that they’re delighted to return to indoor dining.

“Hopefully we get back to normal soon and to brighter days ahead.”

At Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Fair Hill, customers echoed the same sentiments about being finally open.

“We are delighted to be back,” Danjoe Aherne said.

“We appreciate everything Alan Breen has done for us. We’re glad to be back home again!” Charlie Buckingham said.

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Time to get your skates on!

By Sean Moriarty People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline. A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council. Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people […]

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By Sean Moriarty

People of Killarney are being urged to have their say on a new skateboard park before next week’s deadline.

A public consultation on the project has been launched by Kerry County Council.

Cllr Donal Grady, who first put forward the idea of a Killarney skateboard park in 2018, is urging the people of the town to have their say.

It is proposed to build the park on land adjacent to the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre with help and support from the KDYS.

“In 2017 a group of skateboard enthusiasts approached me, they had no designated safe area to enjoy their sport. Sport is vital for youths, stakeboarding increases metabolism, improves balance and enhances coordination use,” Cllr Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport. I commend Kerry County Council, management, engineers and the planning team for getting the project to this stage, it’s now up to the people of Killarney to have their say. It’s vital positive submissions are lodged by Wednesday, August 25,”

Submissions can be lodged to the Playground Unit, Finance Dept, Kerry County Council.

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