Sunday, March 18, 2018

'Conceptual' design for Market Square on the way

A 'conceptual' design for the re-development of the Market Square will be presented to a meeting of the project committee in four weeks' time, writes Brian Byrne.

This was committed to by Kildare County Council at a workshop held in Kilcullen Town Hall on Thursday.

Director of Services Joe Boland said the design will be a 'recognisable conceptual plan' which can be used for a 'knowledgable discussion' of the possibilities for the Market Square area.

He said there was a lot of information in what the project committee had already worked on, and commented that it was 'usually consultants' who would have brought it to this stage.

Earlier the meeting had been told by Antoinette Buckley that the committee needed help to 'get to the next stage' of the project.

And Deputy Martin Heydon emphasised the urgency of moving on with the designs, as the next round of funding from the Town & Village Renewal Scheme required applications to be in during May.

"You need to have a plan ready for this year," Deputy Heydon said, adding that this was the third year of the Scheme and a number of other communities in the area had already drawn down significant funding for their own projects.

Present at the workshop in addition to the Market Square Committee were officials of Kildare County Council with expertise in Roads, Urban Planning, Parks, and Engineering.

Urban designer James Hennessy, who is a consultant to the Council on a number of projects, complimented the project committee on 'phenomenal' work to date.

A wide-ranging discussion during the workshop emphasised the need to balance commercial activity with heritage, culture, and quality of life for residents, in the implementation of plans for the square.

We'll post more detail stories from the workshop over the coming week.

'Essential travel only' — Garda

The Garda are warning people not to travel unless they absolutely have to today, with a Sever Weather Alert in place until 6pm, writes Brian Byrne.

The Kilcullen Garda District Text Alert has issued an 'essential travel only' advisory.

Kildare County Council’s Severe Weather Assessment Team re-convened at 10am to discuss and analyse the current and forecasted weather conditions. A status Orange level weather warning remains in place for Kildare with occasional heavy snow showers continuing and leading to further accumulations and some drifting. The Severe Weather Plan has been activated and full crews are in place.

It is still snowing steadily in Kilcullen, and while the Main Street is drivable through slush, the footpaths are covered in snow. We understand that the road to Naas is posing difficulties for some vehicles, in the Two Mile House area.

Kilcullen GAA says all Feile games due to be played today have been cancelled, and this morning's Camogie practice was also cancelled.

The Hideout is open today from 12.30 for food and drink all day.

Walls of The Priory is open as usual today for food and drink.

Nugents Carry Out is open from the usual time.

Eurospar is open, as is Steve's Daybreak and Cross's Centra.

Crean's Place closed at 11.30am due to the weather conditions.

The Bridge Barber closed at 12 noon.

Brannockstown Baptist Church is closed.

CCTV 'would enhance public safety'

Pic: Oliver Peters.
A CCTV system in Kilcullen would enhance public safety, the recent AGM of Kilcullen's Community Text Alert heard, writes Brian Byrne.

Inspector Oliver Henry said that if it was decided locally to go for such a system, the Garda would work with the community on the idea. However, he noted that such systems can 'put a burden on a community' in terms of cost and ongoing operation.

"The cost has come down significantly," he added, saying that Athy had received a Town & Village Renewal Scheme grant towards the €80,000 cost of their system. He suggested that a system for Kilcullen wouldn't cost so much, perhaps €20,000 of locally-raised money along with available grants.

Deputy Martin Heydon said he had attended a meeting in Moone where they had expressed a 'strong interest' in CCTV. "The grants are there, but the take-up on the systems has been low because of the costs to communities. There's also a challenge on data protection, but other counties have dealt with that and I'd want to see why Kildare and Laois can't."

The deputy added that there would be no greater deterrent to mobile criminals if there were four cameras at every motorway junction. "I'd hope that by the next AGM of this group we would have a model in place."

Inspector Henry said there would be a 'huge' advantage in thinking about the CCTV idea in a 'strategic' way.

Here we go again ...

It's not deep, but the snow is still falling and it's something of a miserable morning out there. So at this 7am Sunday, the Diary's advice is to get back under the duvet and sleep it out.

And think of New England, where they've had three different snowstorms in the last week or so, averaging 15" (38cm) deep each ...

(It's about 2cm on my back step this morning.)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spring Equinox gathering next weekend

The annual gathering at the Dun Ailinne spear monument for the Spring Equinox will take place next Saturday 24 March, writes Brian Byrne. All are welcome.

The equinoxes are the days when the rising sun, weather permitting, shines through the sculpture created by local artist Noel Scullion in a commission from Kilcullen Community Action.

The actual Spring Equinox this year is next Tuesday 20 March, but there's a window of several days on either side of the date when the phenomenon is possible.

As usual, all who gather on Saturday are invited back afterwards to Ray and Fiona Kelly's home at 1060 Nicholastown for sausages and brown bread and hot drinks.

Dawn on the Saturday is officially at 6.18am.

This occasion will also be the tenth year since the first view of the sun through the spear, and the picture above is one taken by your editor on that occasion. There have been many others since, and each one is different. The set here is from the Autumn Equinox 2017.

Come on Ireland!

Lots of green jersey support across the generations in advance of today's big game.

Daffodil Day next week

Daffodil Day is next Friday 23 March, writes Brian Byrne.

Last year's collection for the Day, which supports the work of the Irish Cancer Society, raised €5,314 in Kilcullen.

Trish Dowling has been in touch with the usual team of collectors for next week, but would love to hear from anyone else who wants to help.

You can get in touch with her by emailing

'Chicago' was an exercise in theatrical excellence

The Diary went along for the first half of last evening's final performance of 'Chicago' by the CPC Transition Year students, and found a production that was equal to anything from a professional musical presentation, writes Brian Byrne.

There are many in the cast who could have futures in the theatre and musical world if that is their wish, but what was more important was the dedication to excellence which showed throughout, in every part of the evening from front of house all the way through the music, the singing and dancing, and the superb set and backstage work. That was already evident from the rehearsal session we went to last week.

We're not going to single out any individuals, but merely say that for all who went along to support it — it was full houses all three nights — they had a super musical theatre experience.

Well done to all concerned.

More pictures from rehearsal and show here.

Open or closed St Patrick's Day

Because the public holiday part of St Patrick's Day is being celebrated on Monday, we have been asked about opening and closing times for local businesses today. These are the few that we know of.

Nolans Butchers is open this St Patrick's Day from 8am-3pm. They will be closed Sunday and Monday.

Eurospar is open today until later.

Woodbine Books is open 9am-6pm today, closed Sunday and Monday.

Secret Kloset Boutique is closed until Tuesday.

Burkes Pharmacy is open 9.30am-6pm today, closed Sunday and Monday.

Berneys Chemist is closed until Tuesday.

The River Cafe is open today as normal, closed on Sunday and Monday.

Hair by Eilish is closed today, open again on Tuesday.

The Bridge Barber is closed for St Patrick's Day. Open on Sunday/Monday 10am-2pm.

There is no parade in Kilcullen this year.

All pubs will be open (and packed and noisy from 2.45pm!).

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bus Eireann loses Kilcullen service

Bus Eireann has lost the tender to operate the 130 bus service it currently provides through Kilcullen, writes Brian Byrne.

The service operates four times a day south from Dublin to Athy and three services a day northbound.

UK-based firm Go-Ahead won the tender, and is expected to take over the service towards the end of this year or early next year.

Other companies which failed to get the route included Transdev City Connect, First Group plc, and Synergy.

Bus Eireann lost five other services through Kildare in the process, 120, 120C, 123, 124, and 126.

Dawn and Aidan delighted with Irish Indie Bookshop win

Aidan Cunnane and Dawn Behan and everybody involved in Woodbine Books are over the moon with winning the title of Irish Indie Bookshop of the Year 2018, writes Brian Byrne.

The award was made by the Booksellers Association, and Woodbine won the Irish Region title, which puts them in the running for the Best Bookshop in the UK and Ireland title to be announced in May.

With a big 'thank you' to everybody who supported them by leaving comments about the shop on the Booksellers Association website, Aidan and Dawn believe part of the reason for their win is that this showed how much Woodbine had become part of the community in Kilcullen.

Working alongside Dawn and Aidan are Seoirse Behan, Deborah Behan, Paula Kavanagh and Ann Cramer.

The word has spread, and already today they've had people coming in to congratulate them. They have also seen new customers as a result.

Storytelling in An Tearmann next Tuesday

The Kilcullen story-telling group ‘Triple Spiral Storytellers' are holding an open event in An Tearmann on Tuesday 20 March at 7:30pm, writes Tim Ditchburn. Everyone is welcome.

That day is ‘World Storytelling Day’ and to mark the occasion there will be two guest Storytellers, Simone Schuemmelfeder and her husband Michael Phelan. Both are well known exponents of the art of oral Storytelling and run workshops across our region, most recently at the Riverbank Arts Centre. Simone was with us back in January and enthralled everyone with stories from around the world.

Why not pop in to hear stories from these remarkable Storytellers. A €5 donation will be collected at the door. Tea and cakes will be provided by Jo from An Tearmann, an added treat.

Phone 087 2767669 or email for further information.

County success for Kilcullen Community Games Art

Kilcullen participants took ten medals in the Community Games County Art Final, writes Papillon Rabbitte.

This year's Community Games County Art Final saw over 300 children from all over Kildare descend on the Patrician Primary School in Newbridge.

Kilcullen had 18 boys and girls participating across the different age groups. Over the last couple of years, the Kilcullen children have done exceptionally well at this level of the competition. The U12 Girls category alone saw Kilcullen take home the county gold, silver and bronze.

Our total haul of ten county medals is itself a fantastic achievement. Credit is due to all the creative and talented children who put in such great effort to produce some incredible artworks over the three hours of the competition.

Congratulations to all the children on their success. The medal winners are U8 Girls - 4th Maya Tyrrell; U10 Girls - 1st Mae Cowper-Gray; U12 Girls - 1st Ella Cullen, 2nd Della Cowper-Gray, 3rd Leah Keogh; U14 Girls - 3rd Abbey McNamara; U8 Boys - 3rd James Keogh, 4th Darragh; U12 Boys - 2nd Tom Aspell.

Ella Cullen (gold U12) and Mae Cowper-Gray (gold U10) will now represent Kildare at the National Finals in the University of Limerick in May. We wish them both the best of luck!