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GAA rows in behind cultural centre being planned for Killarney

An independent company has garnered wide-ranging support for its efforts to build a museum next to the home of Kerry GAA.

Colm Cooper in action at Fitzgerald Stadium
Colm Cooper in action at Fitzgerald Stadium
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

THE GAA AND Kerry County Board have backed plans to establish a gaelic cultural museum next to Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.

A final decision on the planning application, submitted to the town’s planner in December, will be made next month.

Local county councillor Michael Gleeson has told TheScore.ie that organisers behind the project are “optimistic” of a positive outcome.

“Killarney is situated on the very periphery of a very rich area called Sliabh Luachra, which is the home of great Irish music, poetry, song and dance,” Cllr. Gleeson explained. “We hope this museum will celebrate the rich culture of Kerry and the GAA will be a very central aspect of all that.”

The idea was first proposed to Killarney Town Council over eight years ago by Cllr. Gleeson but it has only been over the last two years that experienced business people from across the community and GAA circles have become involved.

“Every year between 1.25 and 1.5 million people visit Killarney and it’s astonishing the amount of people that ask where the can see and learn more about the GAA in Kerry, teams past and present along with the cultural life of the area,” he explained.

“The county board has been very positive, both through its former chairperson Jerome Conway and his successor Patrick O’Sullivan, and we’ve also had meetings with officials from Croke Park. The Association has given huge support, even offering a sizeable loan if the project gets the full go ahead.”

Should the museum be given the green light, a two-story structure will be built on an area of land adjacent to Fitzgerald Stadium. Described as “an ideal location”, part of the ground’s boundary wall will be demolished during the construction phase and the organising committee is hoping that tours of the facility may also be included in the centre’s offerings.

“We are optimistic that it will receive a favourable adjudication from Killarney’s planning official. We hope then that Fáilte Ireland will see the tourism merit in this and grant the project funding.

“Thereafter the museum would be a totally independent entity. It is intended to be self-financing within a short number of years with any profits generated after that re-invested back into the project to enhance it further.”

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