Killarney will leave other towns green with envy

Outgoing Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, with Killarney Municipal District Officer, Eileen O’Donoghue (front) and, at back, David Rae, St Patrick’s Festival Killarney Director, Saoirse Clifford, Celtic Steps, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, Killarney House and Gardens Manager Pat Dawson and Róisín Ryan, Celtic Steps.
Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

THIS year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Killarney will have an extra splash of green thanks to support from Fáilte Ireland which has provided funding of €65,000 – over the next three years – to help support and develop events in locations outside of Dublin.

Outgoing Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, who launched the initiative in Killarney, said festivals a critical role in delivering brilliant visitor experiences and St Patrick’s Day provides a significant opportunity to attract overseas visitors to Kerry outside the traditional peak tourism season.

“I look forward to seeing a great day of celebrations in Killarney,” he said.

A highlight for this year’s celebrations in Killarney will be the addition of a number of new international elements to the parade, including two US bands, the New Hampshire Police Pipes and Drums Band and the Police Pipes and Drums of Bergen County New Jersey as well as a group of majorettes from Casperia in Italy.

The St Patrick’s Day parade attracts a huge crowd to Killarney

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, said the tourism promotion body is positioning Ireland as the place to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

“A sizeable number of visitors go to Dublin every year but as part of our strategy to spread the benefits of tourism, we also want to develop St Patrick’s Day celebrations in locations across the country,” she said.

“We have been working with the festival organisers on a development plan for the festival over the last few months and, with a strong international proposition, we believe that Killarney’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations have the potential to motivate significant numbers of overseas visitors,” Ms Surgue added.

The tourism development body is aiming to grow overseas visitors coming to Ireland to attend a festival to 300,000 by 2022 and it is expected to generate €150million in revenue.

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