PLANS: Gleneagle Group CEO Patrick O’Donoghue outlined the roadmap for the phased reopening of the conference and events complex. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

A series of outdoor drive-in concerts and movies set to take place across the summer are the first steps in a detailed plan for the reopening of the Gleneagle INEC Arena.

 

At a special webinar hosted by Killarney Chamber of Commerce, Gleneagle Group CEO Patrick O’Donoghue outlined the roadmap for the phased reopening of the conference and events complex. Drive-in movies will commence later this month while drive-in concerts are also on the cards with tickets already on sale for Gavin James, due to perform on Saturday, August 8.

In all, 50 shows were affected by COVID-19 however 47 of these have been rescheduled to dates later in the year and beyond. These rescheduled events include sell-out performances by Dermot Kennedy and Daniel O’Donnell.

Aside from concerts, other key events scheduled for late 2020 and 2021 include the TUI and Fórsa national conferences, Scór na nÓg, Scór Sinsir, the CLRG all-Ireland dancing championships, An Chomhdháil world Irish dance championships and Oireachtas na Samhna 2021.

“Everything we are doing is and will continue to be dictated by Government guidelines,” Patrick O’Donoghue said. “It will take time to return to the levels of business that we are accustomed to operating at, but we are determined to do so. We are working to secure artists and shows that will work while adhering to the guidelines and we are optimistically programming for the latter part of 2020 and beyond.”

The key findings of a report, produced by Dublin based consultancy firm CHL, detailing both the Gleneagle INEC Arena and also Killarney Convention Centre’s economic contribution to the locality were also outlined at the webinar.

According to the CHL report, in 2018 alone over 230,000 people attended one of the 194 shows and conferences that took place at the Killarney complex over the course of the 12 months. These 194 events generated in excess of 280,000 bed nights for the county (83,226 at Gleneagle Group properties and 196,921 across Kerry) with attendees contributing €34.6 million to the economy.

According to CHL, “The INEC/KCC is clearly good for the wider Killarney tourism and hospitality economy, though as a private commercial trading entity the Gleneagle Group might not consider that it is its role to generate such wider economic gains. However, the fact remains that it does so, and it has been doing so for the past 20 years. If the INEC/KCC did not exist, these gains would not arise, and Killarney would be the poorer for it.”