The Force is getting stronger....

Millions of Star Wars fans all over the world are feeling the Force again, as the countdown to the biggest blockbuster of the year began this week - and fans in Kerry are already lining up to buy tickets for the film’s first screenings on December 15th.

Earlybird tickets for The Last Jedi - which is expected to prominently feature Skellig Michael - went on sale on Tuesday morning, and according to Tralee Omniplex fans have been booking tickets for the first screening just after midnight on release day.

What happened in Kerry this week

Colm Cooper’s controversial testimonial dinner in Dublin later this month is 95% sold out, but the GAA in Kerry and Dr Crokes GAA Club will not be buying a €5,000 table for the event. Gooch revealed this week that over €235,000 worth of tickets have already been sold, and over half of the money raised will be divided between two charities, as well as the Dr Crokes GAA Club and Kerry GAA.

Bernadette and Michael Gilroy from Mounthawk, Tralee are fighting for HSE approval of a drug that could significantly improve the quality of life of their five-year-old daughter Maria, who has a rare condition. They say the drug has been widely available in Europe since 2009.

Walkers and swimmers at Kerry beaches will have to get used to dangerous jellyfish - due to global warming, according to Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld. His warning came after the arrival of more Portuguese man o’war jellyfish on Kerry beaches in the past week.

High levels of the potentially fatal Radon gas have been found at a new mental health facility in Killarney - three months after it opened at a cost of €13.5 million. Nursing staff at the 40-bed Deer Lodge residential unit said they were ‘shocked and surprised’ to discover that Radon levels above the acceptable level had been detected inside the state-of-the-art facility.

Has Valentia Ferry made its last crossing?

Last Sunday marked what may have been the final journey on the current Valentia Ferry, amidst an ongoing campaign for a new vessel that will bring tourists and locals to and from Valentia Island.

The current ferry has reached its age limit and is set to be decommissioned, unless works are carried out. A new ferry is now needed to provide this vital service to South West Kerry.

'How do you put a price onmy child's life?'

A Kerry family is this week pleading with the government and the HSE for the approval of a life-changing drug which they say would significantly increase their daughter’s quality of life - potentially limiting long-term brain damage.

Bernadette and Michael Gilroy from Mounthawk, Tralee are fighting for the approval of Kuvan - a drug widely available in Europe since 2009 - for their five-year-old daughter, Maria.

Killarney plays it for laughs

The faces on some of the amused bystanders looking on at the scenes around Killarney Courthouse last Saturday morning said it all.

Some thought it was a Marty party, given that the well-known RTÉ sports commentator was spotted in the thick of the  action.

Others thought the large number of gardaí and garda vehicles meant something big was going down inside the court.


Love is blind - we hope!

Kevin O’Sullivan and Anne Marie Nelligan are hoping love is blind - they’re both hoping to kickstart new relationships when they appear on the new TV3 show Blind Date next week.

Kevin (59) from Deerpark in Killarney and Anne Marie (35) from Currow each contacted the show’s producers in the hopes of finding someone special - and because they’re both up for the craic, of course.


Kerry hero flies high over Cork

Relatives of one of Kerry’s greatest heroes,Tom Crean, were in Cork Airport this week to see an image of the Antarctic explorer flying high on the tailfin of a Norwegian aircraft.

The legendary Annascaul explorer is the first Irishman to feature on a Norwegian Air tailfin.

His maiden flight took place earlier this year when the airline’s new Boeing 737 MAX took off from Belfast, bound for Stewart International Airport in New York.


€100k funding to benefit Ardfert

 Ardfert residents got a welcome boost last week as they received €100,000 as part of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme which will be used to benefit both locals and visitors to the area.

The €100,000 funding will be used to build public toilets and for coach parking which the community feels will attract more visitors to the area as it will make local amenities more easily accessible for coach tours.


Rebel witha cause

Damian O’Callaghan remembers Roy Keane as a child as if it were only yesterday. Roy, Damian and his brother all grew up together in Mayfield, on the north side of Cork city.

“We hadn’t a thing at all boy. As Brendan Grace says, ‘we were so poor growing up, we thought jewellery was cutlery’.”

By the age of 23, Damian wanted out of Cork and went in search of a new life. The high-rises of New York failed to impress him, and he went on the job hunt, hoping to get a start manning the door of some busy bar or nightclub in some other city or town.


Riders to hit rocky road to Dublin

A brave bunch of Kerry cyclists are taking to the road in aid of a very special girl and to raise funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

Declan O’Donoghue, a teacher at St Brendan’s College in Killarney, is leading a cycle from Killarney to Temple Street Children’s Hospital this Bank Holiday weekend.


Paul plans Movember giveback

A Tralee man battling a rare form of cancer is organising a fundraising Movember Charity Shave for two local cancer services - without which, he said, he would not be here today.

Father-of-three Paul Horan (52) from Shanakill Tralee, who has been fighting thyroid and throat cancer since 2012, is planning the shave in Claude Monte Barber Shop in the Square, Tralee on November 30th at 7.30pm.


Signed, sealed and delivered

It was one of the most eagerly-awaited books in years and hundreds gathered in the Gleneagle Hotel last Thursday night to get their signed copy of the Gooch’s personal story.

By the time he got to the stage to join the host for the night, Michael Lyster, Gooch had already spent over two hours signing copies and chatting to the hundreds of fans who had travelled from all parts of Kerry and beyond.


Climate change conference for Tralee

What kind of future do we want to create for Kerry? How do we create community solutions to the challenges of climate change?

These are the questions that will be discussed at a conference organised by Transition Kerry next month to discuss the effects of climate change and the community solutions to climate change.