The Franciscans are to gift Áras Phádraig to Killarney Town Council to be run jointly by the council and the Kerry Parents and Friends organisation.
The Áras contains a concert hall and several meeting rooms and is used for community purposes.
The building extends to 2,600 square metres and includes a 1,000 sq. metre hall containing a theatre, changing rooms, toilets, a kitchen and meeting rooms.
Áras Phádraig was built in 1960 and extended some twenty years ago.
Announcing the decision to hand the complex to the council, the Franciscans’ Guardian in Killarney, Fr Philip Forker, praised everyone who had done voluntary work to run the centre, saying the work of the Áras PhAdraig management committee was “outstanding”.
“Since we first came here in 1448 the people of Killarney have been unstinting in their support and friendship," Fr Forker added.
He pledged that a prayer centre and church at the Áras would be his order’s main focus of attention in the years ahead.
He also announced that a substantial refubishment of the centre is to begin immediately.
Commenting on the Franciscans’ announcement, the mayor of Killarney, Mr Patrick O’Donoghue, called it "one of the most generous gifts Killarney Town Council and the people of Killarney have ever received”.
"On the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Franciscan Order this is a further outstanding expression of the generosity and service the Franciscans have given the people of Killarney since they first came here 561 years ago," the mayor remarked.
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