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New tug-of-war possible over Kerry GAA museum

Fitzgerald Stadium has been proposed as the museum location

KILLARNEY’S long-standing plans for the development of a Kerry GAA museum at Fitzgerald Stadium could meet renewed opposition from neighbouring Tralee where new proposals are being put forward to consider a museum of its own.

At a scheduled meeting next Monday, Cllr Jim Finucane will ask Tralee Municipal District Council officials to prepare plans for alternative uses for the town’s existing but substandard courthouse and he suggested that a GAA museum might be a development worth pursuing.

Cllr Finucane said other possible uses could include an arts centre or a facility for amateur drama.

At the same meeting, Cllr Mikey Sheehy will also ask the council to engage with Kerry GAA officials on the possibility of adding murals of “distinct

Austin Stack Park has also been suggested

Kerry GAA memories” on the entrance walls to Austin Stack Park.

“It would provide a great entrance for both football fans and tourists alike entering Tralee through a main thoroughfare,” Cllr Sheehy said.

The Tralee GAA museum suggestion is likely to meet major resistance from Killarney, however, as the town has had plans of its own in that regard dating back several years.

A war of words between Killarney and Tralee broke out a number of years ago when both towns wanted to develop a tourist facility charting the history and successes of the GAA in the county.

At the time Kerry GAA administrators indicated that Killarney was the preferred choice for the proposed museum, despite the claims from Tralee which is the administrative capital of the GAA in the county.

Cllr Jim Finucane
Cllr Michael Gleeson

“Killarney is the obvious choice given the visitor numbers it attracts each year with up to 30,000 people passing through at any one time. If we build this centre it will have to be profitable and the best chance of that happening is in Killarney,” one senior GAA official said at the time.

It was indicated that an under-used training pitch immediately adjacent to the main playing field at Fitzgerald Stadium would be a good location for the development.

Prior to the economic crash, which scuppered the plans, a sub-committee was established to explore and cost the museum proposal and to determine what, if any, grant aid would be available for the project.

The idea of opening a GAA museum in Killarney was first mooted by local councillor and double All-Ireland winner Michael Gleeson who said it would be a great attraction in the busy tourist town.

Cllr Gleeson said it could provide an important centre of information for those anxious to learn more about the history and development of the association in the country’s most successful footballing county and he proposed that the museum be developed in association with Croke Park.

The proposal was for the museum to house GAA memorabilia such as cups, trophies and medals, jerseys worn by current and former inter-county stars, photographic exhibitions spanning several decades, old programmes and newspaper archives, historical GAA-related documents and audio-video footage from major games and GAA events.

There was also a suggestion that Kerry GAA legends could be engaged to conduct visitor tours of the museum on the weekends of big games, such as the Munster football final or National League encounters.

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