We look at this week’s Irish News Highlights: Oryx for Dublin Zoo, Last Newry Mass & Kilkenny retirements
Dublin Zoo welcomes new birth of ‘extinct in the wild’ oryx
Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a scimitar-horned oryx, a species classified as extinct in the wild. Born last month, the newest addition to the scimitar-horned oryx herd brings its total to four, the zoo announced last week.
The scimitar-horned oryx was once widespread across northern Africa but due to overhunting, habitat loss and competition with domestic livestock, they have gradually disappeared from the wild.
The species have now been classified as extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as there has been no definitive evidence of their presence in the wild for more than 15 years. Since 2013, Dublin Zoo has financially supported the reintroduction programme for the scimitar- horned oryx in Tunisia.
Through conservation breeding programmes, zoo-bred oryx have been reintroduced into semi-wild areas in four national parks across Tunisia. Currently there are over 200 oryx in such semi-wild areas. After a bumper year with many new arrivals, Dublin Zoo is thrilled to announce its highest ever visitor numbers with 1,143,904 people passing through the gates in 2016.
It is over 40,000 more than 2015 and is the sixth year running that visitor numbers have exceeded the one-millionth mark.
End of last English mass in Newry
Newry church drops last English-speaking Sunday mass due to priest shortage, as Polish service remains Worshippers in Newry are disappointed that St Brigid’s Church will no longer have a Sunday service said in English. Due to a dramatic fall in the number of priests, which has seen the total drop from nine to three over the course of a decade, there will now only be three services a week said at the church from now on. That includes English-speaking services on Friday and Saturday evenings and a Sunday Polish Mass.
Other weekday services and a Saturday morning Mass in Newry’s cathedral and a Saturday vigil at St Mary’s Old Chapel have also been axed. The congregation in the Meadow parish have been angered that they were not consulted prior to the shock announcement and are disappointed that a petition attracting 600 signatures had not been acknowledged.
Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey told the Belfast Telegraph that he also felt that it was unlikely the Down city would be able to sustain the four Sunday Mass services at Newry Cathedral due to dwindling congregation numbers.
Speaking about keeping the Polish Mass he said: “It’s important that we keep it. They haven’t got a Polish church and it’s right that they use ours, because they are part of our community.”
Killarney named among best places to retire
An American travel website has picked Co Kerry town Killarney as one of the best places to retire to. Oyster.com has published ten of their top ‘retirement- worthy spots’, and Killarney featured alongside destinations as far-flung as Malta, Thailand and Ecuador.
They state that hiking trails, shops, restaurants and golf courses are just a few of the reasons that Killarney is a top-choice for those wishing to retire to Ireland.
They say: “Are you Irish? Or just love rolling green hills and horse-filled farmlands? Killarney, Ireland may be the ideal place for you to relocate. The town is a stop on the famed Ring of Kerry and has excellent hiking trails in the adjacent national park.
“Additionally, the cute town, with horse-drawn carriages to boot, is easily walkable. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants — not to mention, some of the country’s best golf courses. With historic sites and local culture abound, it’s unsurprising that it’s one of the most-visited places in Ireland.”
The beach town of Puerta Vallarte in Mexico claimed the top spot on the list for its stunning beaches and bustling nightlife.