Killarney National Park Education Centre
Killarney National Park Education Centre is a non-profit making entity, run under the joint auspices of the Kerry Education Service (through Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre) and The National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Centre is based in Knockreer House, the last of the Kenmare mansions, which is situated on a hill close to the town of Killarney and has spectacular views over the National Park. Please scroll down to find out more about what we do and who we are.
The mission statement of the Centre is:
"To run educational courses and activities within Killarney National Park that will promote knowledge, understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of the natural environment for all."
Our ethos is based very much on a hands-on approach to learning about nature, and it is hoped that through this the participant will become more aware of the value of an unspoilt environment and the need for conservation. Below is a short quote from Arthur Vincent describing one of the future roles he had envisaged for Killarney National Park:
"I want especially to have the young people come to Muckross to trail those mountains and to enjoy nature in all its aspects. I hope that Muckross will be made a real garden of friendship…"
Arthur Vincent, 1876-1956, Senator and Donor of the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park.
What we do:
We work with groups from all backgrounds, ages and abilities, including primary schools, post-primary schools, third level institutions, tour groups, youth groups and also provide facilities and programmes for the general public and the corporate sector.
Hostel accommodation is available for use for groups who are visiting the National Park to avail of services offered by the Education Centre.
Read through our services and facilities on the lefthand side and our contact details are in the visit us section or at the top and bottom of the page.
Who we are:
Our friendly staff are always ready to discuss your requirements with you. They are as follows (please scroll down):
Chris Barron - Field Studies Co-ordinator
Chris studied conservation at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire and Countryside Management at Aberystwyth University in Wales. He has been running the education centre since 2001 and has been living and working in the National Park since finishing studying for his degree in 1998. Chris came to Killarney National Park first of all as a volunteer in 1993 as part of the GROUNDWORK workcamps which are run each summer clearing Rhododendron from the oak woodlands. As well as working as a volunteer in the national park he co-ordinated the workcamps from 1996 to 2001. Chris worked on the Corncrake conservation project for BirdWatch Ireland in 2001 and has worked on a number of walking trail projects both in the UK and in Ireland. He is a Heritage in Schools Specialist and is listed in the INTO/Heritage in Schools Scheme. Chris has a deep interest in ecology and natural history, he is a keen hill and mountain walker and enjoys gardening and photography.
Darren Reidy - Field Studies Instructor
Darren graduated from University College Cork in 2009 with a First Class Honours Degree in Ecology & Environmental Science. Here his final year dissertation investigated the factors controlling the distribution of plants on Irish salt-marshes. He has a great love for environmental protection and has been actively involved in a number of campaigns including presidency of UCC’s Environmental Society; this included involvement in a campaign that resulted in UCC becoming the world’s first university with a Green Flag status. Darren has experience working as a research assistant for the research group Phytotechnology Ireland. He has also travelled to Bolivia to volunteer on a project to conserve the Blue Throated Macaw, an endangered species of parrot, and since his return to Ireland has been working for KNPEC. A native of Kerry he is well acquainted with local ecosystems and enjoys spending time outdoors.
Catherine Daly - Field Studies Support Teacher
Catherine's background is in teaching. She graduated with a BSc and H Dip in Education from NUI Galway in 1976 and spent 20 years working as a biology teacher and science teacher in Tralee Community College and Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai before being seconded to Killarney National Park Education Centre. While on a career break from teaching she worked for two years on an environmental science project at the Institute of Technology in Tralee and was subsequently awarded with an MSc in Environmental Science in 1994. Catherine also completed a Diploma in Field Ecology at University College Cork in 2003. She is a Heritage in Schools Specialist, listed in the INTO/Heritage in Schools Scheme and has delivered a number of Science Live Demonstration Lectures for the Royal Dublin Society. Catherine is a fluent Irish speaker. Her hobbies include golf and reading.