Fáilte Ireland ramps up Brexit preparations with a €5 million investment to support tourism businesses

Fáilte Ireland will invest €5 million to support the tourism sector as it prepares for Brexit.
The announcement by Fáilte Ireland – the National Tourism Development Authority –  marks a significant ramping up of its activities to ensure Irish tourism is both ‘product-ready’ and ‘industry-ready’ ahead of the UK withdrawal from the EU.

The investment comes as new figures published by Fáilte Ireland today show the number one concern among tourism businesses is Brexit, particularly those in northern counties.

The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Industry Barometer is a survey of more than 500 tourism businesses nationwide providing insight into past performance and future prospects. The latest figures reveal that 7 out of 10 (69%) tourism businesses cite Brexit as their top concern – a figure which rises to 80% for accommodation providers in northern counties and 90% in the restaurant sector, both of which report a decline in their business from the UK last year.

More than 3.4 million British tourists, on average, holiday in Ireland every year and spend up to €1.6 billion. This contributes more than €233 million annually to the Exchequer.

Fáilte Ireland is warning that the fallout from a hard Brexit could cost more than €380 million to the sector.

The €5 million investment by Fáilte Ireland will help businesses assess the risk, respond to changes and diversify into other markets in a fresh drive under its ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme. Its work will focus primarily on border counties and the South East region which have been most adversely affected by the devaluation of sterling and the drop in Northern Ireland and Great Britain visitors.

As well as providing support for over 1,000 businesses across the country, the Tourism Development Authority will also deliver a more targeted programme of training and mentoring for more than 100 businesses in border counties.

Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive, Paul Kelly, said:
”Fáilte Ireland is working intensively with businesses to help them prepare for Brexit. Brexit remains a key concern for every facet of the tourism sector as our latest barometer survey shows. This is particularly true for the restaurant sector nationwide, as well as accommodation providers in northern counties, who report that their visitor numbers from the UK are down over the past year. The prospect of a hard Brexit, or a potential no-deal scenario, leaves us with significant uncertainty relating to the wider implications it could have on tourism, particularly on the performance of our nearest and biggest overseas market. A less obvious consequence is that we are at risk of missing out on tourists from other core markets as the UK is our greatest competitor and the weakening value of sterling could make it more attractive to long-haul tourists, as well as those from Northern Europe. However, overall, the tourism sector is reporting a positive outlook for 2019. This sentiment would be very much underlined by what was a hugely successful year for tourism in 2018, with visitor numbers and revenue at all-time highs.”

Fáilte Ireland will spend €1.75 million specifically for commercial development to provide Irish tourism operators with opportunities to sell their products to growing markets such as the US. This work will focus on supporting northern counties particularly by bringing major international tour operators to Ireland on bespoke itineraries which they can then sell in core markets. Central to this programme of work will be the retention of the UK market by selling Ireland as a business tourism and golf destination – two types of tourism which typically yield a high number of UK tourists.  An additional €1.5 million will be spent on marketing and PR with campaigns targeting the Northern Irish market and the remainder of the Brexit allocation will be invested in business supports and resources.

Paul Kelly added:
“As we await the final outcome of Brexit, and with the situation changing on a daily basis, it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of impacts that Brexit will have. Our key message to tourism businesses is ‘prepare and diversify’. Any tourism business which does not have Brexit contingencies as a central focus of its 2019 business plan needs to act fast. The most prudent action we can take as a sector is to be ready for the challenges it will bring. Fáilte Ireland has developed a series of initiatives to build capabilities within the industry which will allow them to continue to prosper in the face of this challenge. This includes investing €5 million in a comprehensive programme of supports and commercial development designed to help tourism businesses located particularly in border counties, to ‘Get Brexit Ready’ by diversifying to other markets and reducing their reliance on the British market.”

Other concerns highlighted in the industry barometer include the implications of the increase in the VAT rate to 13.5%.

Despite these concerns, today’s barometer results, which take into account the overall performance of 2018, strike a positive note overall. The proportion of tourism businesses expecting trade to be up in the year ahead (59%) outweighs those expecting a downturn. This is especially true for attractions, with about two thirds (68%) expecting more visitors this year.

High-profile business women urge ambitious Kerry female entrepreneurs to join development programme


The call is open for ambitious female entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their businesses to join the latest cycle of Going for Growth, the award-winning business development programme.

Going for Growth is a six-month part-time programme, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, which assists ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth aspirations.

The programme is calling for female entrepreneurs from Kerry to apply for the programme before the deadline of Wednesday, November 28th.

Two past participants on the programme from Kerry are Nathalie Vos of Bunny & Clyde, a luxury nursery and children’s furniture brand based in Kenmare and Deirdre Fee of Medical Mobility, which is based in Killarney and supplies mobility and independent living solutions.

Both were on the latest cycle of Going for Growth and would recommend the programme to others. Deirdre Fee said:

“Through our Lead Entrepreneur and Going for Growth, we as a group have been able to share our experiences good and not so good, in both running and up-scaling our businesses. What a wonderful group of women. Everybody felt equal. The positive energy in that room each and every day was absolutely electric and left our heads buzzing with ideas after each session.”

Going for Growth is seeking applications from female entrepreneurs – across all sectors – who are strongly focussed on growth. Ideally, businesses should be well established and trading for at least two years. (Eligibility criteria in notes below)

Sixty places will be available for this 11th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2018 and the deadline for applications is Wednesday, November 28th.  There is no charge for those selected. Anyone interested is encouraged to register their interest in receiving an application form at goingforgrowth.com.

Most owner/managers agree that growing a business can be a very isolating experience and it can be difficult to find someone on your wavelength who understands the issues involved. The Going for Growth round table initiative is designed to address these challenges and those selected will join interactive round table sessions led by Lead Entrepreneurs.

The Lead Entrepreneurs are successful business women with personal experience of growing a business and urge others to apply for Going for Growth. These high-profile business leaders volunteer their time to encourage participants to set and achieve personalised goals and milestones to address the opportunities and challenges they face in driving growth in their businesses.

Some of this year’s Lead Entrepreneurs include: Louise Phelan, Paypal, Fidelma McGuirk, Payslip and Marian O’Gorman of The Kilkenny Group. Previous participants are ambassadors of the benefits for Going for Growth and several now volunteer their time as Lead Entrepreneurs, including: Marissa Carter, founder of Carter Beauty, Nikki Evans, founder of PerfectCard, and Oonagh O’Hagan, owner of Meagher’s Pharmacy Group.

Going for Growth is designed to be action and results-oriented and to go beyond classroom style learning and the usual inputs of professional trainers, consultants and academics. The round tables are based on real experience of what has worked and what hasn’t worked in real life situations.

Previous participants report significant progress, with the great majority reporting an increase in confidence, a reduction in psychological isolation and a feeling of being nearer to achieving their growth goals.

At the conclusion of the most recent cycle (10th), the 65 participants reported:

  • combined sales of €66.8million,
  • the creation of an additional 90 full time jobs, bringing to over 740 the total number employed,
  • four first time exporters, increasing to 30 the number of participants with export experience.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, said:

“Supporting ambitious business women to start new businesses is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland and in 2017 more than one in three Enterprise Ireland backed start-ups were led by women, an increase from one in ten just five years ago. Having impacted successfully on the number of start-up businesses led by female founders, a key focus for Enterprise Ireland is to increase the number of companies that achieve scale. 

“The Going for Growth programme provides unique supports to ambitious business women in the achievement of their growth ambitions through learning, collaboration and most importantly, through role models and mentoring.  We will continue to partner with Going for Growth, to grow the cohort of businesses of scale led by ambitious business women, expanding their reach in global markets, and creating and sustaining jobs at home.”

Olivia Lynch, Partner KPMG, said:

“Entrepreneurs are critical to the future success of the Irish economy. As advisors to a wide range of family and privately-owned businesses, we applaud the proven record of Going for Growth in helping women in business realise their full potential.


“At KPMG we work with many businesses in overcoming challenges and creating opportunities and we’re delighted to continue our support for this exceptional programme. In doing so, we recognise the key role of Enterprise Ireland, all of the Lead Entrepreneurs and the contribution of so many hugely committed individuals. I have no doubt that the eleventh cycle will prove highly valuable to all of the participants.”

This is the 11th year of the programme and more than 600 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in Going for Growth. Check out www.goingforgrowth.com for more details.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Paula Fitzsimons on +353 87 2774385 or Martha Kearns at StoryLab on +353 87 2720212


Storytellers from America and across Ireland, singer/songwriter and yarn-spinner John Spillane, Fishamble’s ‘Silent’, written and performed by Pat Kinevane, The Story Swap Sessions and The Young Tellers Concert are just some of the delights awaiting you at the 7th Sneem International Storytelling & Folklore Festival which takes place in the village of Sneem in South Kerry this November (9th -11th). 

This unique festival in the award-winning village of Sneem has become an established purveyor of the ancient art of yarn-spinning with the tradition being kept alive by young and old.

Festival founder and local seanchaí Batt Burns said, ‘We’ve nurtured young talented tellers to perform year on year but there should be a more formal route to develop this tradition. Not just for tradition’s sake either. Storytelling might be an ancient tradition but our education should take note of the positive role it could play in developing great communicators of the future.”

With Connie Regan-Blake (USA), Frances Kennedy and Tom Moore (Kerry), Pat Speight (Cork) and festival founder Batt Burns all ready to tell some tales, a storytelling concert will also delight festival-goers as Cork’s John Spillane steps into the limelight. Pat Kinevane’s Olivier Award-winning solo show ‘Silent’ is the festival’s theatrical feature, Lunchtime Theatre, folklore lectures and Storytelling in an 18th Century Barn, this festival weekend is sure to leave everyone wowed by the power of words.

Full details on www.sneemstorytellingfestival.com

LloydsPharmacy opens new Kenmare store as local basketball club welcome sponsorship

Local Basketball club Kenmare Kestrals had plenty to cheer this week receiving €400 in sponsorship from the newly opened LloydsPharmacy in Kenmare.


LloydsPharmacy, Ireland’s leading pharmacy group, opened its new Kenmare store on the same premises as the former Kenmare McSweeney pharmacy and will provide specialist healthcare services including free blood pressure testing and heart health advice, BMI monitoring, skin analysis consultations, free prescription delivery service as well as advice on medicine management, emergency hormonal contraception, nutrition and more.


Free text alerts can be sent to patients on a repeat prescription highlighting their prescription is ready for collection, on request.


Furthermore, a new range of services will be introduced to the Kenmare region to include a LloydsPharmacy smoking control programme and the LloydsPharmacy ‘Change Your Health Direction’ health programme available for all customers free of charge. This eight-week programme advises customers on how to make small lifestyle changes for a healthier, happier life.

LloydsPharmacy colleagues undergo extensive training to give expert, year-round advice. Last year, colleagues received over 17,000 hours of training in general health, flu, pain management, heart health, skincare and more.


Pat Watt, at LloydsPharmacy, said: “We are very excited to bring our expert led healthcare service and increased product range across skin, vitamins & supplements and beauty to customers in the Kenmare area.

“This new store marks our third store opening in Kerry with current stores at Tralee Fairies Cross and Ashe Street,”


Local LloydsPharmacy customers will also avail of an increased product range including vitamins by Revive Active, skincare brands Avène, Bioderma, Trilogy and Nuxe, and beauty brands L’Oréal and Maybelline.


During October, LloydsPharmacy is offering 33% off certain skincare ranges including Avène, Trilogy, Vichy and 50% off Nivea and Neutrogena everyday skincare range. There will also be 50% off vitamins including Pharmaton Active Life.


In the lead up to Christmas, LloydsPharmacy Kenmare will offer a great selection of Christmas gift packs including items such as Sanctuary, Baylis and Harding, and hampers made to order.


Coiste Scor Chiarrai AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Coiste Scor Chairrai took place at Kerrys Centre of Excellence on Thursday night last September 20th where there was a huge attendance which included Vice Chairman of the County Board Diarmuid O Shea. Prior to the start of the meeting a minutes silence was observed for the late Betty O Brien, former Secretary of the County Scor and Peggy Cronin whose daughters  Anne Mangan and Sheila McCarthy are very much involved in the promotion of Scor on the death of their Mom. The A G M opened with Cathaoirleach Criostoir O Cillin who welcomed everybody to the meeting.  In a very detailed Secretaries Report which was  presented by  Suzanne Ni Laoire giving full details of the years activities. She went on to congratulate Scor na nOg all Ireland winners Spa, in Set Dancing while Na Gaeil in Leiriu and Dr. Crokes in the Quiz were just pipped at the post for honours. Scor Sinsear saw Churchill win their 3rd National title in a 5 year period in the Question Time. Fossa in the instrumental Music failed in their bid at the final hurdle.  Scor Na bPaisti was once again a tremendous success which finishes at County level. Treasurer; Anita English was happy to announce that the Scor was in a fairly healthy state.

Chairman Christy Killeen made a plea to all Clubs in the County as we celebrate the 50th year of Scor founded back in 1969 by the late Derry Gowan, Fermoy County Cork to make a special effort  to participate and at least take part in one of the 8 displines; ( Scor Sinsear, Scor Na nOg and Scor Na bPaisti). The aim is to make sure all Club Cultural Officers have their respective Clubs represented. He thanked both Estuary Print, Ballylongford and Lee Strand for their kind sponsorship during the year; he also thanked Radio Kerry ,Radio Na Gaeltachta, Kerryman, Outlook Magazines and Kerrys Eye along with the various Advertisers for their coverage of Scor throughout the year.

He finished up by thanking all participants who took part in all 3 Scor competitions along with their tutors and wished them well for the year ahead.

A vote of sympathy was extended to all Scor families who suffered bereavements during the year.

The following are the Officers who were elected for  2018/19

Chairman                             Christy Kileen, Finuge

Vice Chairman                    Jackie Walsh, St. Senans.

Secretary                             Suzanne Ni Laoire, Mastergeehy.

Assistant Secretarys             Mary Philpott, Currow

                                             Siobhain Casey, Reenard

Treasurers                            Anita English, St. Marys Cahersiveen

                                             Therese Keating, Na Gaeil

Munster Delegates               Tom Herlihy, Ballymacelligott.

                                             Jackie Walsh, St. Senans

P. R. O.                                Jack Hennessy, Asdee.

Chief Steward                      P J Mulvihill, Moyvane.

Ring of Beara Cycle 2019 sells out within 24hrs

The Ring of Beara Cycle Kenmare 2019 took less than 24hrs to sell out completely this week. Over 4200 spaces for the event were snapped up by eager cyclists who have secured the date in the diary for 2019.

The popularity of the event is not only testament to the great reception riders receive all along the Beara Peninsula but also the state of cycle tourism in Ireland.


Mickey ‘Ned’ O’Sullivan of the Ring of Beara Cycle Kenmare Organising Committee said, “It’s great to see the event selling out so quickly again this year. We’ve had four brilliant years to date and I have no doubt 2019 will be set to match them. The event receives great support from the communities along the route and the fantastic volunteers who make the event possible. We’re looking forward to May already!”


Participants choose between 110km or 140km routes for the cycle when the event went on pre-sale for past-participants on Wednesday and opened to the general public on Thursday. 


Last week the Ring of Beara Organising Committee presented cheques totalling €53,000 in donations to Castletownbere Community Hospital, Castletownbere Day Care Centre, Kenmare Family Resource Centre, Kenmare Special Olympics, Kenmare Special Needs Group and St John of God Services Kenmare.


If anyone is interested in volunteering for the event next year, please email info@elitevents.ie


For more information please contact Kelly@eliteevents.ie or 0646635512.

Culture Night in Kerry will be catching all right

Culture Night this year takes place on Friday 21st September. With the national catchphrase ‘Culture is Catching’, venues and public spaces across Ireland open their doors to host a programme of free arts entertainment from 5pm until late. In Kerry the event is in its fourteenth year and the selection this year is “one of the best to date”, said Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Norma Foley who, along with Moira Murrell, CE of Kerry County Council, Kate Kennelly, Coordinator of Culture Night in Kerry and importantly Culture Night participants from across Kerry came together to mark the launch of Culture Night is week at  Tralee Town Park. All event details for Kerry are available on www.culturenight.ie under ‘Kerry’. The printed programme will be available in Libraries and from Kerry County Council from September 7th, and on line at www.culturekerry.com.


This years’ local Culture Night Ambassador, is vocalist and musician Gemma Sugrue, who knows all about catching culture, having been reared in a family where theatre, music and storytelling were part of everyday life. Gemma is urging everyone to enjoy the free events on the evening and look at September 21st as a starting point for a greater relationship with the many cultural offerings available in Kerry.


The Arts Office at Kerry County Council has been busy co-ordinating events with local organisers and is supported in this work by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. A total of 13 towns and villages are involved across Kerry, offering 58 events, in 48 venues.  “Culture Night offers great choice and is a very important showcase for creative people and organisations right across the county”, stated the CE at Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell.

Events start at 5pm in Killarney at the annual Kerry Visual Artists Showcase in Government Buildings, a significant exhibition of work by artists in Kerry. A commissioned event titled “The Landed Gentry & the Help” takes place at Killarney House at 7pm and will be delivered by musician and composer Criostóir O’ Loingsigh who will bring the audience through a history of music that was listened to by the owners and workers at Killarney House throughout the centuries. In The Brehon on the Muckross Road, performer and vocalist Grace Foley will take to the floor for an intimate performance followed by a Site-Specific Theatre piece that will use four bedrooms in the hotel. Eleanor McEvoy is in concert at Muckross School House and a Voices for Women Writing Workshop at The Plaza Hotel kicks off at 6.00pm and is followed by Kampala to Killarney, an Afro Trad Ireland musical journey in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland.

In Castleisland artist Nik Taylor whose art was commissioned as part of a Creative Ireland Kerry Vacant Sites initiative will be on hand from 10.00pm at Browne’s Bar to discuss the artwork and its impact on the town. His monument to dereliction is opposite the Carnegie Building in the town for all to see from September 14th. In Killorglin, KFest are running Film Screenings and featuring bands including The Slut Club who will take to the stage at The BarN from 8.00pm. An Lab in Dingle are running an Art Adventure, magical mystery bus tour and guided walk to see new visual art and music in a secret venue near the town. South Wind Blows, Nelliefreds and Beo Binn present Lumina with Third Smoke and locals Mattie Barker, Clare Sands, Martin Scharer and Ben Janning of Dréimire. Meanwhile at An Diseart the art of lantern making is explored and Irish filmmaker Lelia Doolan’s documentary on Bernadette Devlin McAliskey will be screened at McCarthy’s on Main Street.

Cahirsiveen have a full line up of events from 5.00pm through to 10.30pm which include music making with The Chime Cave, a creative workshop called STEAM not STEM for teenagers which blends art, technology and engineering at The Old Barracks and a poetry night at the Skellig Star Hotel features storytelling, comedy and song from 8.30pm onwards.

The launch of Number 5 in the ‘Handed Down Series’ takes place in The Heritage Centre in Scartaglin at 8.00pm and Tureencahill Community Centre have an evening of culture featuring local Sliabh Luachra talent.

Meanwhile in Tralee a full programme includes youth choral performances, an art installation at Roundy’ Bar, a Me and The Moon process painting workshop at Collis Sandes House as well as a new Neil Martin composed work at Siamsa Tíre along with a full evening of entertainment and art experiences. A full programme of events is scheduled for Kerry County Museum including free admission to all exhibitions as well as behind the Scenes Tour and medieval family fun. A launch of Kerry’s new Music Instrument Bank takes place at Culloty’s Music Shop on the Mall at 6.00pm and Behind The Scenes at Kerry Library in Moyderwell will include a guided tour of the local history archive and reserve collections. Catherine Young Dance & the Welcoming Project have organised an evening of world music, song and dance and has titled the evening as a Céilí Afro DABKE, A world music céilí dance.  In Listowel the line-up of events includes open galleries, Book Club Bingo, Silent Readings and more from Listowel Writers Week. St. John’s has a night full of happenings including the RTE & Conor Keane Documentary on One: Shame, Love, In Shame. A poetry installation called Poetica Illumina will light up the Square using trees as wonderful canvasses for an audio-visual display. The Seanchaí Centre is hosting two events combining tours of the facility and a Comhaltas Open House, while readings, music and song will carry the audience into the later evening at John B’s Bar on William Street and Christy’s Bar in the Square. There is so much not to be missed so remember ‘Culture is Catching on Friday 21st September. All events are free to enjoy. For full programme details go to www.culturenight.ie or www.culturekerry.com or phone 066 7183541. Culture Night Kerry is brought to you by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Creative Ireland programme in partnership with Kerry County Council.



Microsoft employees are soon to set off on a 350-kilometre cycling challenge along the Wild Atlantic Way in support of Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice, LauraLynn. On September 5th, 65 cyclists and 17 crew will take to the roads in Kinsale to complete their challenge over three days, arriving in picturesque Kenmare on September 7th.

The truly inspirational care being provided for children at the LauraLynn facilities in Leopardstown has motivated and empowered the Microsoft team to get back in the saddle for the fifth year running and build on the €170,000 they’ve fundraised in previous years for the organisation.

In marking the launch of the cycling challenge, Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland said: “Microsoft has a long history of supporting LauraLynn. As a charity located close to our campus in Leopardstown, we have developed a strong, positive partnership with the inspirational team at LauraLynn. Through software donation, technology training and employee-led activities such as the Wild Atlantic Way charity cycle, we partner with LauraLynn to support the life-changing work they undertake on a daily basis.”

Ray Snowdon, a member of the cycling team and Global Business Intelligence & Analytics Manager, Microsoft said: “We are now in our 5th year of the Microsoft charity cycle for LauraLynn, and it continues to generate so much energy and passion across the Microsoft Ireland campus while raising much needed funds for LauraLynn, Ireland’s only children’s hospice. We know of the fantastic care that is provided by the team there and we are delighted that our target of €80,000 will help contribute to the complex care needed by the children at LauraLynn. Having grown from 10 cyclists in 2014 to team of 82 today, we aim to bring our collective amount fundraised for the charity to over €250,000. This goal is motivating our team to work together, complete the challenge and have fun along the way.”

Also commenting was Orla O’Brien, CEO of LauraLynn Children’s Hospice: “We are humbled at the continued support shown to LauraLynn by Microsoft Ireland. This is the fifth year that Microsoft has selected LauraLynn as their charity partner for their annual charity cycle, which this year runs from Kinsale to Kenmare – no mean feat! We know the Microsoft team have always gone the extra mile when raising funds and awareness for LauraLynn, which has had a significant impact, and we are so grateful for their continued support. It is heart-warming to see such enthusiasm and dedication from the entire Microsoft Ireland team who are wholly committed to their fundraising target and cycle challenge. I would like to say a big thank you to all the cyclists, and along with all the staff at LauraLynn, wish them well on their journey.”

The 65 cyclists and 17 crew from Microsoft begin their journey on Wednesday, September 5th setting out from Kinsale, Co. Cork and arriving at their destination of Kenmare, Co. Kerry on Friday September 7th. The team will cycle for approximately 7 hours per day, travelling an average distance of 120km.

To find out more about the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice, please visit https://lauralynn.ie/