2019 was a busy year for Kerry College’s Monavalley Campus. Their second graduation event of the year took place on 12 December at the Rose Hotel, Tralee with 550 certificates issued to graduates who attended on the night with their families and friends.
A joint special award was presented to Digital Journalism and Radio Production students Barry O’Donnell and Dara Ó’Cinnéide – who are both visually impaired and who inspired the class group to produce a short feature ‘Cluas Chiarraí’ about the sounds and soundscapes of County Kerry.
Barry O’Donnell is originally from Dublin and living in Tralee. He studied Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin and worked as a Technician with CIÉ for 20 years. Living with sight loss following an acquired brain injury in 2007, Barry attended rehabilitation courses with both Headway and the National Council for the Blind. This gave him the skills to travel independently and to use assistive technology. Barry is a disability activist and has contributed to numerous radio and TV programs and is passionate about all things radio and in particular radio drama. Barry recently completed the one-year Digital Journalism and Radio Broadcasting course at Kerry College’s Monavalley Campus and has, to date, presented several radio shows on Phoenix FM, a community radio station in Dublin.
Dara Ó Cinnéide is 27, from Tralee, and has been a Guide Dog owner since 2011. He is currently working with his second Guide Dog, Hansen (aka Handsome) who has been by Dara’s side throughout one of the most important years of his life, as he took on his biggest challenge yet when he started the Digital Journalism and Radio Broadcasting course at Kerry College’s Monavalley Campus in September 2018. Dara has gone from being the shy guy in the room to making documentaries for Radio Kerry and being comfortable to sit behind a radio desk and present a show.
The short feature ‘Cluas Chiarraí’ is based on Barry and Dara’s experiences in navigating their respective worlds via sound. The series won Gold (Short Feature) and Bronze (Innovation) at the IMRO National Radio Awards in Kilkenny in October 2019. Winning these awards truly proved what is possible.