Tralee parkrunner named Vhi parkrun Hero


Pat Sheehy from Tralee has been named a Vhi parkrun Hero as he picked up the award for November.


The monthly award recognises and rewards inspirational, hardworking and dedicated members of the parkrun community who embody the ethos of parkrun or have made an outstanding contribution – be they participants or volunteers.


Pat is a core member of the Tralee parkrun team and has volunteered 250+ times for both parkrun and junior parkruns that take place on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9.30am.


If you think someone from your local parkrun deserves to be celebrated as a Vhi parkrun Hero nominate them using the online application form. Winners will be announced monthly and will receive a €250 One4All voucher and plaque courtesy of Vhi.


parkrun in partnership with Vhi supports local communities in organising free, weekly, timed 5k runs every Saturday morning at 101 venues all over Ireland, with around 10,000 people of every age and ability taking part each week. The events are organised by more than 1,000 volunteers every weekend from Bere Island to Ballina to Ballinteer. Over 190,000 registered participants have run more than 5 million kilometres at parkrun Ireland events since it started here in November 2012. Originally launched in the UK in 2004, parkrun is the single biggest participation running event globally with nearly three million registered participants and an average of 165,000 weekly participants.


Nominate your Vhi parkrun Hero at or register for a parkrun near you at New registrants should select their chosen event as their home location. You will then receive a personal barcode which acts as your free entry to any parkrun event worldwide.

The Spirit of a Rathmore Christmas

A student-led Christmas carol night commenced the Christmas festivities with the world renowned musician Liam O’ Connor  for the
second annual ‘Musical spirit of Sliabh Luachra Christmas concert’ in St. Joseph¹s Church, Rathmore last Wednesday night.

The concert was shepherded by Rathmore parish priest  Father Pat O’ Donnell  and inspired students of Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra were led by their TY coordinator the powerhouse Norma Aherne. This was a unique opportunity, driven by the youth of Rathmore to showcase talent in music, song and dance whilst being suitably aided by their music teacher Margaret Dennehy. In its second year running, this show was a very successful night. The event was headlined by the talented Irish musician Liam O’ Connor who holds the World Record for the fastest accordion player, he is also known as the ³Jimi Hendrix of the accordion, was accompanied by his son Oísín and daughter Saoirse.

The prodigious family wowed the audience with an array of tunes whilst the spectacle saw plenty of individual local talent exposed on the night as well.  Even though it was a Transition Year organised event, a third of the school students were either involved in singing playing or dancing.

North Kerry to host National Golf Tourism Event

Tralee & Ballybunion, Co Kerry, have been chosen as the venue for the Irish Golf Tour Operator Association National Golf Tourism Conference 2019.

The Networking event and Gala Awards Dinner will be shared across the Rose Hotel Tralee and Ballygarry House on October 20thand 21st2019.   Monday’s golf tournament will be hosted at world renowned Ballybunion Links Golf Club.

The IGTOA -Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association Ltd is an organisation that represents Ireland’s leading Golf Tour Operators. The IGTOA also represents the many companies that form the wider Irish Golf Tourism Industry. The IGTOA embodies Ireland’s leading Golf Tour Operators, Golf Courses, Golf Resorts, Accommodation Providers, Transportation Providers and companies who offer supporting services to the golf tourism sector such as Golf Media, Golf Merchandising, Golf Course Services and Golf Equipment.

Chairman of the IGTOA Denis Kane has said how delighted the organisation is to be returning Kerry in 2019 “The Links and Parkland Golf courses in the South West of Ireland are revered the world over with Co. Kerry courses amongst the most sought after for tee times.  We are excited to return to North Kerry in 2019 having held our AGM in Tralee in July 2018. Kerry offers exceptional accommodations to suit all client budgets, is rich in  culture, charm and experiences..everything the International Golfer requires to create lasting memories.”

2019 promises to be an exceptional year for golf in Ireland with Lahinch GC hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open July 4thto 7th and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland hosting the 148thOpen Championship July 18thto 21st.

Seven schools in Kerry will undergo major improvement works next summer


Fine Gael Senator Paul Coghlan for Kerry said sevenlocal schools will undergo major improvement works over the summer months thanks to Government funding through the Summer Works Scheme.


“Today’s announcement confirms the Government’s continuing prioritisation of capital funding for school buildings here in Kerry which will enhance the learning and working environment for pupils and teachers.

“My colleague the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh has announced that 307 schools across the country will receive more than €40 million for Summer Works projects for delivery in 2019. Minister McHugh confirmed to me that six primary and one post-primary schools in Kerrywill receive funding for major improvement works.


Scoil Barr Dubh,Scoil An Fhirtearaigh and An Bhreac Chluain B will undergo structural improvements. Raheen National School, Loughguitane NS and S N Mainstir O’ Dtorna will undergo improvements to windows. The one post-primary school, Tarbert Comprehensive, will avail of improved curricular requirements.


“It is great that this announcement is being made now in advance of next year, to give schools more time to prepare for the planned works. The works will be carried out in schools mainly over the summer months in order to keep disruption to students, teachers and other to a minimum.


“The projects receiving funding relate to applications submitted by schools in categories 7, 8 and 9 under the multi-annual scheme. For any schools who applied under category 10, which relates to external works such as upgrade and resurfacing of yards and car parking, there will be further news on this next year. Given the scale of the projects involved further detailed analysis of these applications is required with a view to enabling approved applications to proceed in 2020.

“In addition, Minister McHugh has also announced a further round of the Summer Works Scheme, which will open for applications in early 2019 for projects to be delivered from summer 2020.


Minister Joe McHugh added: “The Government’s Project Ireland 2040 plan included a major package of investment in education for the next decade with the school building budget increasing by 70 per cent.


“This investment will provide for the continued increase in demographics while also allowing for a greater focus on refurbishment and upgrading of existing schools.


“All schools approved for the 2019 Summer Works Scheme will be notified via the Department’s Esinet portal later today with further details and instructions on how to proceed.

“This year, almost €540 million will be invested in school building infrastructure under the school building and modernisation programme.”

Its all about road safety for Kerry pupils

Primary school pupils from around the county have used their artistic skills to highlight and promote road safety through their winning submissions to the 2019 Kerry County Council Road Safety Calendar competition which is hosted annual by the local authority.


Charlie O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive, Kerry County Council this week presented the twelve winning pupils from various primary schools with a copy of the 2019 Road Safety Calendar, featuring their artwork and a ‘Road Safety Pack’ from the Road Safety Authority. The Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr. Norma Foley presented individual prizes to the winning pupils.


Pupils were invited to enter a picture containing a road safety message and the winners were selected for inclusion in the calendar by a judging panel.


The winners, chosen from a total of 400 entries, and whose artwork features in the calendar are:


Month Name School Class


January Kate Heaphy Tarbert N.S. 6th
February Tony Dowling Dromclough N.S., Listowel 6th
March Lilly Nowak Ardfert N.S. 6th
April Jamie-Leigh Donegan Killury N.S., Causeway 4th
May Ella Mahony St Teresa’s N.S., Kilflynn 5th
June Michael O’Sullivan Scoil Dar Earca, Valentia Island 6th
July Kyra Henderson Sixsmith Bunscoil an Chlochair, Daingean Uí Chúis 6th
August Ciara O’Donoghue Loughguittane N.S., Muckross, Killarney 6th
September James Neeson St. Oliver’s N.S., Killarney 6th
October Pádraig O’Halloran Castlegregory N.S. 6th
November Áine Newsome Scoil Bhreac Chluain, Annascaul 4th
December Áine O’Sullivan Lissivigeen N.S., Killarney 5th



Cathaoirleach Foley congratulated each of the pupils on their wonderful drawings and said that “the standard of the competition is extremely high and it is great to know that these pupils, through their drawings, are contributing to raising awareness of road safety throughout the county”.


Co-ordinator of the event, Michelle Mullane, Staff Officer, Operations, Capital Infrastructure and Safety Department, was delighted with all the entries: “We had over 400 entries from schools around Kerry. It is fantastic that the teachers/pupils got so strongly involved and it is my hope that each pupil who took part will have an increased awareness of road safety as a result”.


The 2019 Road Safety Calendar will be available to download from Kerry County Council’s


Jackie Healy Rae name will again be on the ballot paper for 2019 local elections

this will be no easy task and I know that my back will be very much to the wall in trying to win a seat” Jackie Healy-Rae Junior to be a candidate in 2019 Local Elections


With the 2019 Local and European Elections fast approaching a lot of parties are finalising their candidates to fight those elections, the Healy-Rae’s are no different.

Following on from Boundary Commissions most recent report, it has put forward the recommendation that for the upcoming 2019 Local Elections there will be now 6 constituency’s in Kerry, an increase from 4 in 2014. The Healy-Rae’s have always strived to provide a full political service to the people of Kerry both locally and nationally, in keeping with this, in order to continue to provide a full political service and given the increase in the number of constituencies we will be fielding additional candidates in the upcoming 2019 Local Elections.

Our first new candidate will be Jackie Healy-Rae Junior, son of current TD Michael Healy-Rae. Jackie is a 23 year old parliamentary assistant working with his father with almost 5 years now. We believe that Jackie is the ideal candidate to fight for a seat in the new 4 seat Castleisland Constituency.


The Castleisland area which includes areas in East Kerry that have been represented by a Healy-Rae since 1973, and also includes new areas such as Ballymacelligott, Brosna and Knocknagashel which we are keen to provide more local representation to since they became part of the new Dáil constituency in 2016. This is why we believe is extremely important to field a candidate in this area as not to do so would almost be like we were abandoning the people that we have represented for so long and also not to give the people of the new area an opportunity to have a more robust local representation from the Healy-Rae’s.


Over the last 5 years Jackie has worked with Michael he has gained invaluable experience in the political field, he says “I have not been short of teachers when it comes to politics In my lifetime, obviously, the experience I have gained from my father in the last 5 years has been invaluable, from dealing with constituents on a daily basis, doing clinics both with my father and on my own, knowing the issues and how to deal with them, name but a few things has really given me a better education then anyone could hope to learn from in any college”,continuing on as to how he started working with his father Jackie says “it was in December 2013 when an opportunity became available to start working with my father and I jumped at the chance, both my parents were very hesitant at letting me do this, they wanted me to pursue college, but, if I’m being totally honest, I knew that ultimately I wanted to pursue politics and no college for me will prepare you for not just a life In politics, but they will not provide you with the skills either and that is why when I saw the chance, I took it with both hands”.




Asked how Jackie was feeling after being selected to run in this area, he said “I am very honoured to be a candidate for the Healy-Rae’s in the upcoming 2019 Local Elections, this is something that from a very young age I have always wanted to pursue and I am delighted to now be getting the chance to put myself before the electorate and I will be doing everything I possibly can between here and next May to ensure I do my best to win a seat” speaking about the other candidates in the area, he added, “I have to acknowledge that even at this early stage it is a very competitive field with many established sitting county councillors at present, many of those who I remember from attending council meetings with my father at a very young age, that just speaks to their ability politically, so this will be no easy task and I know that my back will be very much to the wall in trying to win a seat”.


Asked today what would it mean to be elected to Kerry County Council, Jackie responded by saying “obviously, it would be a huge honour and a privilege, to serve where my grandfather, father, uncle and now where both my cousins serve, it really would be huge, but I can’t really even think about that, there is a long road ahead of me and the people will have their say and it is ultimately their decision, so I won’t even dare to dream about it, but obviously it would be a massive achievement.


Speaking to Jackie’s father Michael about his son now entering the political arena he said “I would wish him every good luck in his endeavours in trying to get elected to Kerry County Council. Getting elected to the council is extremely difficult and I would earnestly hope that the people of the Castleisland area will be willing to give him an opportunity, as I have always said in the past, if people give a person a chance, it is then up to themselves to show that they have the work ethic and the interest in the issues on the ground at heart and people can decide subsequently then as to what they think of that person capabilities. All everyone in life wants is an opportunity and a chance and I hope Jackie can be given that and I would be very grateful for it”.



Primary Schools and IT Tralee Secures Funding for Virtual Reality Programme

Primary Schools and IT Tralee Secures Funding for Virtual Reality Programme A number of primary schools in Kerry in collaboration with IT Tralee have secured funding under the Department of Education and Skills’ School Excellence Fund, to implement an innovative virtual reality teaching programme. The funding, designed to support innovative projects in teaching and learning using digital technologies, will see the purchase 60 virtual reality headsets for use in the development and implementation of a teaching tool for the Primary Language Curriculum – English and Irish – through an enhanced learning environment utilising virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) tools. Other subject areas such as History, Geography, Science and the Arts, will also be investigated over the course of the study. The four participating schools are Ardfert National School, Abbeydorney National School, Tralee Educate Together National School and Scoil Mhuire de Lourdes, Lixnaw.


The project uses VR enabled low-cost digital devices for the creation of a virtual, highly engaging collective learning environment for each student in a class that can be controlled by the teacher. The teacher leads the progress of the students through the environment and can control the pace and level of advancement through the environment to suit the learning requirements of the syllabus and student ability. The system is based around the Google Expeditions software, which is available for use by schools, free of charge. This software is run on low cost, tablet style devices, housed in a low-cost headset ‘holder’ with all units being tied together through a wifi gateway. All content within the system can be fully vetted and controlled by the teacher at all times from a ‘master’ tablet. Commenting on the Project, Dr. Joseph Walsh, Head of School of STEM at IT Tralee said, “Children have enquiring minds that are naturally curious and adaptable.


Digital technology can create an environment that nurtures these values and harnesses these attributes. It also encourages the competencies that children will need to develop and thrive in future global economies.” The IMaR Technology Gateway and Lero at IT Tralee, have committed to providing technical support to the primary school teaching staff on this initiative, and will be responsible for installation and maintenance of the school kits throughout the 3 years of the project, providing technical support to the primary school teaching staff. Marie O’Connell project lead at Ardfert National School added, “Through the use of a VR/AR tool the pupils benefit from rich opportunities in experiential learning which will be inclusive of all learning styles, needs and abilities. This project and the virtual reality experience it provides will engage and motivate all learners and provide them with the opportunity to engage with the wonders of our world without leaving the classroom.”


IT Tralee will support the schools and teachers at the start of each school year to provide training and outline supports available throughout the year, the first of which took place on Friday December 14th at IT Tralee’s North Campus. ####ENDS#### For Media queries please contact Sarah Flaherty 0667191895.

National Learning Network Kerry receives National Inclusion Award



National Learning Network Kerry were recently honoured when its Sporting Chance course received a People Make Places award at the National Inclusion Awards in the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin. The awards, which are a Cara initiative, aim to highlight the outstanding work of people and organisations all over Ireland, who are enhancing participation opportunities for people with disabilities in sport and physical activity.

The Sporting Chance course provides training and QQI qualifications in the area of sport, recreation and exercise for people who require additional support in areas such as learning, mental health or those recovering from injury or illness. As part of the course, students deliver practical coaching to a number of schools and organisations throughout Kerry. Among the programmes delivered are an athletics programme to children with special needs in Nano Nagle school Listowel, a swimming programme to children from the autism unit at Killahan National School and a Summer Activity Camp with teenagers from the Kerry Intervention Disability Services. The Sporting Chance students who attend from throughout the county are responsible for planning, organising and delivering the sessions to each group in a fun environment, focussing on participation and inclusion.

This is the second national award the programme has received this year, having been honoured in April with the Nutramino Health and Fitness Industry award for Inclusive Health and Fitness. In the new year, the students will be organising sport and activities days for schools in Pallaskenry and Killarney and a number will also be volunteering on Camp Abilities, a national sports camp for children with visual impairments which takes place every Easter in Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre.


Big win for Ardfert Family

During the ad breaks for this year’s Londis sponsored Tastes Like Home with Catherine Fulvio a text-in competition was run for a family to win a cheque for €5,000 from Londis.



The winners were recently announced as the Carroll family from Ardfert.

Time to get Kerry walking again

It’s that time of year again, when Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership have teamed up with Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland to bring the National Operation Transformation Walk to Kerry.  Now in its ninth year, the walk will see people all over the county put on their walking shoes, embrace the weather and enjoy a wonderful walk along Tralee’s canal.


Hundreds of Kerry walkers are expected to get involved in what has always been regarded as a fantastic day out.  Walking is a great opportunity to get active and this is the first chance to join with the RTÉ leaders in their goal of getting fitter and healthier in the New Year.


The Kerry Operation Transformation walk for 2019 is very similar to last year’s walk and will take place on Saturday 12th January at 11am to coincide with the official RTÉ start time. The walk will start at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and follows an 8km route along the old tow path of Tralee Ship Canal with the option of a shorter route.  It is suitable for people of all ages and abilities.


This is the perfect opportunity to shed those holiday cobwebs and to get started on New Year’s resolutions.  It’s a chance to face new challenges in the company of many others.


According to Askea Calnan, Community Walking Programme Facilitator with Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership, the Operation Transformation Walk “is a great opportunity to stretch our legs and get active.  And if the weather is looking a bit miserable come on out any way, it’ll be great fun. Come along, meet new people and enjoy the day. Registration opens at 10.30am so please arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to register, and then enjoy a hot cuppa while you wait for the walk to begin.”


“On behalf of Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership we would like to acknowledge our partners support, because with them the event would not be possible – An Garda Síochána, Civil Defence, Ballyseedy Café, volunteers and the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre,” she added.


ENDS – For more information contact Askea Calnan, Community Walking Programme Facilitator on 087 7667231 or Córa Carrigg (Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership) on 087 2043631