Tuesday, July 31, 2012

James to compete in Croatia

Kilcullen's James Nolan will once again be competing in the European Transplant & Dialysis Games, which take place in Croatia from 18-25 August.

James is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his own kidney transplant, which was donated by his sister Catherine. Since then he has been a champion for organ donation, helping to rase more than €1m for kidney research and aid for kidney failure patients.

Over the weekend, James and the other 25 members of the Irish team for the ET&D Games met up with transplant surgeon David Hickey for a motivational talk. He's pictured here with his wife Emma and Mr Hickey, who was himself a Dublin All Star in the 1970s.

James has also been a regular, and successful, competitor inWorld Transplant & Dialysis games events.

Athy Road reopened

The Athy to Kilcullen Road, closed at varying sections since February, has now been fully reopened.

The work was to allow pipe-laying work proceed. The pipes will be used in the River Barrow Abstraction Scheme, which will provide water supplies for the mid-county from the river.

The whole scheme was costed at €44m and included a treatment plant at Srowland near Athy which will process 40,000 cu m of water a day. The work which closed the Athy Road will bring the water to the Old Kilcullen Reservoir.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cookery demo for animals aid

A Cookery Demonstration by Liz Moore will be held in the Kilcullen Heritage Centre on Thursday 6 September.

The event is a fundraiser for the Kildare & West Wicklow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and begins at 7pm.

The organisation will also be holding its annual Wag & Bone Show at Punchestown Race Course on Sunday 16 September, with registration from 1.30pm.

Contact the KWWSPC on 087 2054955 or Bernard Berney Chemists about tickets.

Imelda May lookalike competition

Kilcullen Credit Union will hold an 'Imelda May Lookalike' competition on Sunday 26 August as part of its activities during the Kilcullen River Festival.

The singer is the current 'face' of the Credit Union and is an active member herself.

On the Festival day the CU will also offer a range of activities, including music, raffle, teas, coffees and other refreshments.

Hints for the lookalike competition: curling tongs, highlights, glad rags and (very) red lipstick.

Youth Theatre presentations

Two one-act plays will be performed by Kilcullen Drama Group Youth Theatre on 23/24/25 August.

The plays are 'Folie Tha' by Ciaran Gray and 'Snap'd' by Jim Daly.

Tickets available from Bernard Berney Chemist can be booked by calling 045 481497.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Maintain Hope travels this week

As 25 Maintain Hope volunteers leave for Kenya on Thursday of this week, project director Gerry O'DOnoghue says a big thanks to Kilcullen people who have supported the charity.

"The volunteers are going out to continue our project at Shelter Children's Home, Ngong, in Nairobi," he says. "Please convey my sincere thanks to Kilcullen people for their generous support of our volunteers and for the great response to the 'Tenner a Month' appeal."

Gerry is travelling out himself on Monday to make preparations for the main group.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thanks for the effort

With the window boxes looking so well and colourful just now thanks to a lot of rain and a few brief sunny days, it's a good time to gently remind people that any donations towards the cost are very welcome, writes Brian Byrne.

The displays are appreciated, as a number of Kilcullen Community Action members have been stopped in the street and had monies small and larger thrust into their hands.

But if you don't meet anyone from KCA, you can still show your appreciation by dropping something into the collection boxes which are strategically placed in the shops and cafes around Kilcullen.

Meantime, a bit of praise too for all the Main Street property owners who have invested in painting up their premises. There's been a kind of domino effect, and it seems that almost everyone has done a bit of freshening up over the last couple of months.

And no, that 'two-tone' job on the house beside Berney's Saddlers is not an experiment in colour. The work is being carried out by KCA volunteers as part of a programme of painting neglected parts of the streetscape, and Ray Kelly has just been waiting for a suitable ladder and safe opportunity to finish the uppper levels.

Kildare County Council also deserves a pat on the back too for dealing with the derelict house on Hillside which has not just been an eyesore, but became a festering sore of anti-social behavious.

A big thank you to all concerned. Regardless of how many extra points the effort might gain us in the Tidy Towns this year, all the bits and pieces are contributing to a more happy town environment.

Rugby Summer Camp

Kilcullen youngsters are invited to take part in the Newbridge RFC Minis Rugby Camp being run in mid-August.

The camp is being held at Curragh Rugby Club and will run for a week from Monday 13 August, between 9.30am-2pm.

The cost is €55 per child, with a reduction to €44 per child for subsequent children from the same family.

More information from www.newbridgerugby.com, or contact Enda Bohan 086 2597214; Mick McCoy 086 8117877.

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At Nichola Kennedy Optometrist there's a full range of prescription swimming goggles, prescription recreational specs and ski goggles now available.

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Going on holidays? Flight packs of Bio True contact lens solution in stock, complete with see-through ziplock bag, perfect for airport security.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Drop In Centre launched

Drop In Centre launch
The Diary couldn't stay at last night's musical opening of the KiYC Drop In Centre in the Tennis Club, but there was a lot happening, bands, music, noise and just plain hanging out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Council acts on derelict house


Work is underway on sealing up the derelict bungalow at Hillside which has been the focus of much anti-social activity for some time, writes Brian Byrne.

Kildare County Council is doing the work, and will recoup the cost from the owners.

The Council is using the Derelict Sites Act 1990, under which a local authority can can take measures to prevent and control such sites within their administrative area.

The designation means any land which detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood because of structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition; or are neglected, unsightly or in objectionable condition.

Residents, gardai, and organisations such as KCA have been trying to have this property dealt with for some time.

Bardons Barretstown fundraiser upcoming

The annual Fun Day for Barretstown organised by customers at Bardons is taking place on Sunday, 5 August.

It begins with the regular midday charity soccer match, and later in the afternoon there will be novelty activities in Bardons pub.

This will be the fourth year of the fundraiser, which  has raised in excess of €13,000 for Barretstown which provides holidays for seriously ill children.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bardons starts Sunday lunch

A new option for eating Sunday lunch out in Kilcullen gets going this weekend when Bardons starts serving food on Sundays.

Signature dishes including Beef & Guinness Casserole, Bardons Style Chicken Curry, and Buffalo Wings will be availabe between 12 noon and 6pm, along with a range of new dishes and specials. 

Call 045 482286 to make a booking.

Arthritis walking group

A dedicated walking group for people with arthritis will be inaugurated next Tuesday 31 July, with a walk along the river.

The event starts at 10.30am, meeting at An Tearmann.

Participants are advised to wear comfortable clothing and suitable footwear for whatever weather applies. Sunblock if sunny ...

Meanwhile, the seated exercise classes for sufferers from arthritis will resume in September in the Parish Centre.

For further information on either, contact Ethna on 087 4112228.

Dave on the run

Well done to our own Dave Clancy who completed a 10k run in 61 minutes, raising funds for the Jack & Jill Foundation.

When a wrong turn is right

"I knew it was the right place for me. There were posters advertising an upcoming Lambert puppet show, and a local drama group production."

dramadynamicsThat was ten years ago, writes Brian Byrne, when Evelyn O'Sullivan and her husband Peter 'took a wrong turning' and ended up looking at a house for sale in Kilcullen. Today, her Drama Dynamics Speech & Drama School is an integral part of the fabric of the community. It not only gives children a chance to develop their talents, but has become a valuable seedbed for teen and adult drama in the town.

Recently her 'Summer Stage 2012' workshop students presented 'Peter Pan' after a week of preparation in which some of them got a first experience in all the intricacies of stagework, a week that was underpinned by fun.

"They've been just wonderful," Evelyn said during a break at the rehearsal. "Their attention, their behaviour, from as young as four and working each day from 10am till 2.30pm. They really are fantastic and I've enjoyed it."


Watching that rehearsal, the 25 or so involved were clearly enjoying it too. And getting something of the feeling which Evelyn herself had got as a child when she was attending Maura Currivan's Speech & Drama classes in her native Cork.

"I had always been acting as a youngster at home, imitating people, so my parents decided to send me to classes. I was a bit older than the other children there, I think around twelve, and the first thing I was asked to do was pretend to be a rock star."

Which she did, to a somewhat dumbstruck audience of classmates. "I knew from then on that I wanted to keep doing this. So I stayed with Maura's class in parallel with my normal school, doing my exams through the London Acadamy of Music & Dramatic Art."

When she later moved to Dublin, Evelyn continued her drama studies, culminating in the achievement of a teaching diploma with the famous Betty Ann Norton school.

"I stopped then, and never taught. But I became very involved with amateur drama, with AIB and the Temple Players. We used to do the All-Ireland Festival circuit."

Three years after moving to Kilcullen, busy at being a full-time mother to her and Peter's five children, Evelyn was in conversation one day with a couple of members of Kilcullen Drama Group. The talk turned to the lack of drama facilities for children. "I thought to myself, 'I could do that'," she recalls. "So I put out my leaflets, and Drama Dynamics was up and running."

It filled a need for the children, but it also changed Evelyn's life 'hugely'. "You get to know the kids, and through them their parents, and it certainly integrated me." And with new youngsters joining her more experienced ones each year, the process continues.

It's more than work, though. There's a real satisfaction in watching her pupils develop their talents … and providing a place for their personalities to flower.

"As a child I never had a problem performing in front of people, but I did have a younger sister with whom I was very close, and she was incredibly shy. So I'm always aware of the shy little ones. It's like the kid in school who knows the answer to a question but is afraid to put up a hand. That's the child I want to help, to give them that little bit of confidence."

And she has a few of those who have been with her since she started Drama Dynamics, who are now 'out there flying'. "If it all ended tomorrow, it would have been worthwhile just for them."

Ten years ago it might have been a 'wrong turn' on a drive, out looking at houses. But for Kilcullen and for Evelyn herself it turns out to have been very much a right one.

(This article was first published on the Kilcullen Page of the Kildare Nationalist.)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ambulance pub quiz

A Pub Quiz in Bardons on August 13 will raise funds for the local branch of the St John's Ambulance service.

The event starts at 9pm and the entrance fee is €40 per table of four.

There will be great prizes, all in a good cause.

Youth Drop In Centre

Kilcullen Youth Club is launching its Drop In Centre on Thursday night, 26 July, with a 5-band gig.

The Centre is being operated in the Tennis Club building, with doors opening at 8pm and the event finishing at 11pm.

Music by Slap!, Flock of Budgies, Indium, Falling Feet First, and Fool the Joker on the launch night, admission €5.

Monday, July 23, 2012

KCA supports appeals

Kilcullen Community Action has expressed its support for the upcoming appeals to An Bord Pleanala against the recent planning permission for a vehicle recycling plant at Knockbounce Business Park.

At its recent meeting, members of KCA decided that it wasn't necessary for the organisation to mount an appeal of its own, as two very capable ones were being prepared, one by residents of nearby estates, the other by the existing enterprises in the business park.

The permission was granted to the principals of Dolly Skip Hire, and more than 80 people packed a meeting last Thursday night in Kilcullen's Town Hall to discuss a campaign to have the permission overturned.

KCA was one of many community organisations and individuals who submitted objections to the original planning application.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Great Butterfly Hunt

Butterfly Trail

Hunters on the prowl during Friday afternoon's Butterfly walk & talk at Bridge Camphill conducted by wildlife educator Michael Jacob. There are more pictures here. Full report later.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nature Walk revives memories

Nature Walk at Camphill

The Nature Walk conducted by Dr Mary Tubridy on Friday morning turned out to be much more, writes Brian Byrne. We not only got an ecology and geological perspective on the riverside known in my boyhood as Nugent's Field, but also a trip down more recent memories of people and changes in technology.

Part of the Wild Weekend 2 set of walk & talk events related to the Biodiversity Study being carried out by Dr Tubridy for Kilcullen Community Action, the well-attended ramble also was the first 'official' tour of the new Bridge Camphill Trail, which incorporates the farm and garden activities of the community.

For those who were on the Camphill 'campus' for the first time it must have been a real eye-opener to see the extent of the activities undertaken by the community who have been here for some two decades.


Chickens, turkeys, sheep, a variety of vegetables, berries, potatoes and other produce come off the land in an extraordinary profusion given the relatively small size of the area.

And now the recently-built trail with its boardwalk over the old weir opens up a river and landscape that most residents of Kilcullen know very little about.

(Your editor does, though, as I had the good fortune to be a small and bigger boy growing up in the town, where the river banks and Blacker's Wood -- now part of Castlemartin Stud -- were our playgrounds. We all learned to swim in the river too, something not seen for decades.)

Nature Walk at Camphill

Mary Tubridy pointed out the tree-filled pond opened up to view thanks to the boardwalk, a now scarce representation of how much of the pre-history river banks would have been. In itself it is a teeming biosystem, home to a wide range of water life, insects, birds and small animals.

The ancient wild river coming down from the mountains would have been deflected by the high points that are the Valley side and the corresponding heights opposite Nugent's Field, which provides the 'S' curves that are a feature of the river today.

Nature Walk at Camphill

Nature Walk at CamphillBut there were also manmade influences from relatively recent times. Jim Collins spoke of the weir which provided his father with power via a sluice and wheel to run a milling operation that also gave his dad the lifelong nickname of 'The Miller'.

He pointed out how his father kept the very rough-built weir in place against the frequent flood waters, reinforcing it with the chassis' of discarded vans, scrap granite stones, and anything else that would help keep the water diverted through his wheel. Many of those worn-out vehicles were vans used by the postman Jim Barber, who lived in the 1930s where the Ruby Shoes shop is now, and whose transport was always so clapped out that whatever he was driving was usually described as 'The Wreck of the Hesperus'.

Jim also revisited the story of your editor's father, Jim Byrne Jr, who operated a cinema during WW2 in what is now the Town Hall Theatre among his business interests. With electricity all but unavailable for such uses, my dad organised a generator to be hooked up to Mr Collins's wheel to provide power to run the projector in the evenings. "People would come from as far away as Allenwood because there was nowhere else to see a film," Jim recalled. "And as an added benefit, because the power was coming from my father's mill, I got free entry to the cinema, so I became an authority on Gene Autry, Tom Mix, and all the other cowboy heroes of the time."

Other memories revived too. On the bluff across from Camphill there used to be trails down to the riverside, and a 'Table Rock' halfway down under which we kids could shelter if it rained. That bluff is now totally overgrown and inaccessible, the Table Rock invisible. Nature eventually takes back its own. As it did when the weir was breached in 1947, requiring Jim Collins's father to find a more modern source of power. That's a whole other story.

Nature Walk at Camphill

And nature remains fascinating, as those who followed the whole route with Mary Tubridy found. When she finishes her study for KCA the resulting information will not only be of important scientific and ecological use, but will also be the foundation for permanent guides on the nature trail now well on its way to being developed.

The full slideshow from the Nature Walk.

Liffey photo competition

A photographic competition has been announced as part of the River Liffey Biodiversity Study commissioned by Kilcullen Community Action.

Nature Walk at Camphill

The Study is now well underway, conducted by ecologist Dr Mary Tubridy (on left above), and has included a number of popular public 'walk & talk' events under the 'Wild Weekend' banner.

The theme of the competition is The Liffey, and photographs should be of the river or its surroundings, on both sides between the boundaries of Bridge Camphill and New Abbey Cemetery.

There are four age categories, three of them for schoolgoers. They are up to 6th Class (2012), up to 3rd Year Post Primary and up to 6th Year, and Adult.

Photographs are accepted as digital images, and should be sent to info@kilcullencommunityaction.ie with a title, your name and contact details. There's a maximum of 30 images per person.

The deadline is 5pm 16 September 2012. Winners will be chosen from shortlisted images, which will be printed and mounted for exhibition in October.

Historical photographs on the same theme are welcome for inclusion in the exhibition, but will not be part of the competition.

Get clicking ...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Old soldiers celebrate...

Old soldiers celebrate...

... or maybe we shouldn't call them 'old', because Des Travers and John Martin are the most young at heart retired Army officers that the Diary knows.

Anyhow, both are having a little celebration in The Curragh Camp (of course, they don't call it that any more) this evening, marking with former colleagues the 50th anniversary of being commissioned as Army cadets.

No doubt there'll be a lot of soldierly talk, maybe a couple of drinks raised in salute ... and Des tells us that late passes have been negotiated from their COs at home.

Congratulations to both men, who have each contributed so much to life in Kilcullen over many of those years.

Strong campaign promised against Dolly planning decision

A packed public meeting in Kilcullen last night gave a solid thumbs down to Kildare County Council planners over the controversial planning permission recently granted for a vehicle dismantling facility at Knockbounce Business Park to the owners of Dolly Skip Hire, writes Brian Byrne

And they promised a technically cast-iron appeal to An Bord Pleanala against the permission. The appeal is already being prepared, and will be vetted by a number of planning professionals before it has to be submitted by the end of the month.

The objectors from residents and businesses were firmly backed by local councillors from the main parties, who said they would vote against any attempt by KCC to dispose of the Council-owned site to the developers who were given the permission.

The meeting in Kilcullen Town Hall was attended by representatives from a number of areas of Kilcullen, but particularly those living in Cnoc na Greine and Avondale estates.

The discussion expressed shock and astonishment that any planning authority would give permission for an industry that not only was against the zoning for the business park, but would so seriously impact the amenity of local people. 

Pictured above are Gordon Jones, Janet Noone, and Ray de Courcy, who conducted the proceedings.

The meeting was chaired by Cnoc na Greine Woods resident Ray de Courcy, along with Janet Noone who is leading the preparation of the appeal, and Gordon Jones.

Ray de Courcy outlined the background to the 'most unwelcome development' for the area, noting that certain requested reports had not been submitted to the planners prior to the permission being granted.

He said the enterprise, which would include a car compactor, would 'exceed sound limits', and that there was no indication as to what kind of odours would emanate from the facility.

There would be a 'huge increase' in the number of HGVs coming into the area, which 'can only have a dramatic negative impact' on the area.

"It seems that there were more restrictions placed on the provision of the Community Playground," he said, asking was Kilcullen in the future only going to be known for its dumps?

Among the deficiencies of the granting of permission detailed was the lack of public consultation, required for such a proposition, and the the fact that the objectors were not given right of reply to the further information provided by the promoters a short time before the permission was granted.

Other issues raised were the propriety of Kildare County Council giving planning permission on which depended the Council's ability to sell the site to the promoter.

Related to this was the matter of sale or lease of the property being a reserved function of the elected members of the Council. Local councillors present included Martin Miley of FF, Mark Wall of Labour, and Ivan Keatley of FG. All were asked directly how they would vote when this matter came before them.

All said they would not only vote against the disposal of the site, but that they would actively lobby their fellow councillors to take the same side. It requires a simple majority of the members to decide either way.

Martin Heydon TD also attended, and Cllr Mark Dalton of Athy Town Council was there representing Sean O Fearghaill TD. A representative of Sinn Fein also said his party 'fully supported the people of Kilcullen'.

Enterprises which have already invested in the Knockbounce Business Park were also emphatic in their opposition to the Dolly project, saying it would seriously impact on their business.

Some 270 people are employed by the existing businesses, all of which bought their sites from the Council and spent large sums in setting up.

Niall Murphy of Murphy Surveys Ltd, who employ 130 people from their Kilcullen HQ, noted that clients are constantly coming to their offices. "Having a scrapyard on the site would do us no good at all," he told the meeting.

And building contractor John Cradock, who employs 60 people, agreed completely, adding that the Dolly business 'wouldn't help the image of the company'.

Both of those companies, and two other businesses in the campus, are submitting their own appeals to An Bord Pleanala.

"If this goes ahead, it would destroy the possibility of getting other good employment industries in the Business Park," Cllr Martin Miley told the Diary after the meeting. Cllr Ivan Keatley said he was amazed that the planners had put at risk so many high quality jobs when only seven new jobs would be provided by the Dolly development.

Janet Noone, who has expertise in planning matters and whose house also backs onto the Dolly site, told the meeting that she had been 'shocked' that the permission had been granted because 'there are so many holes' in the application.

But she warned that it wouldn't be easy to get the permission overturned, going on the track record of the Appeals Board.

"This will be decided purely on the legislation, not on the opinions of the objectors," she said, noting that the ABP procedure was quite different to that used by local authority planners. She added that the appeal would also be the first opportunity to comment on the FI submissions from the project promoters.

John Cradock also warned that the campaign 'was on the back foot' in terms of the appeal to ABP. But he said the opportunity to answer the further information submission could be a 'strong' element.

Environmental issues were also raised. The meeting was told that the proposed facility would result in the 'drying up' of one of the two springs which feed Pinkeen Stream. The stream is one of a number of local waterways which is being investigated as part of the Biodiversity Survey now underway, commissioned by Kilcullen Community Action and funded by the Kildare Leader Partnership.

The passing of Gerry Brady

The Diary has learned with sadness of the death of Gerry Brady, Old Nicholastown.

Gerry will be reposing at his residence from 12 o'clock this afternoon, and removal will take place on Saturday morning at 10.30am to the Church of the Sacred Heart and St Brigid, for 11am Requiem Mass.

His funeral will take place immediately afterwards to New Abbey Cemetery, via his residence.

Family flowers only. Donations, if desired, may be made to the Curragh Hospice and there will be a donation box in church for this purpose.

To his family and many friends, we extend our heartfelt sympathy.

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If you care, be there, residents appeal

Town Hall Meeting, TONIGHT 8pm, on campaign against waste planning decision.

GAA Cúl Camp 2012

The GAA Cúl Camp will be held from Monday 30 July to Friday 3 July at Kilcullen GAA pitch, from 10am-2.30pm every day.

The cost is €55 for one child, €45 for 2nd child and €40 for 3rd child. For further information and to register please contact Caroline McGlinchey on 087 2712627.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The passing of Marie Seymour

The death has occurred of Marie Seymour, (née Meyler) of Mountmellick, Laois.

Formerly of Hodgestown, Donadea, Naas and Kilcullen Co Kildare, Rathgar and Tallaght Co Dublin. Beloved wife of the late Wesley. Sadly missed by her loving daughter Linda (Condon), sons Richard, Gregory and Wesley, brother, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-granddaughter, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Funeral Service on Friday at 1pm in Newlands Cross Crematorium prior to Cremation.

Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, to The Irish Cancer Society.

May she rest in peace

Valley sculpture project update

Legal agreements have been reached on the Eamonn O'Doherty sculpture which is to be placed in the Valley Park, writes Brian Byrne.

The project was stalled following the death of the sculptor before the piece was finished at the foundry, and new agreements had to be drawn up with his estate.

Entitled 'Homeward', the sculpture was originally to have been placed at a location on the M9, but the spate of robberies of roadside art in the last year prompted a rethink on the matter.

It is hoped that the piece will soon be at a stage where those involved with the project can view it, prior to it coming to Kilcullen.

Among the ideas put  forward around the sculpture project is that it will form a centerpiece for open air sculpture exhibitions in the Valley.

A dream of eliminating famine

If you haven't ever visited Strokestown Park in Co Roscommon, make the time when you next drive that way, writes Brian Byrne.

It's an 18th century Palladian mansion surrounded by 300 acres of parkland and traditional gardens. But Strokestown is also the memorial heart of one of the blackest periods of Irish history, the Great Famine.

And thanks to the passion of one man, Jim Callery, that history is brought to life at Strokestown. More>>

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's another Wild Weekend!

First it was the bats, then the birds, writes Brian Byrne, now Kilcullen is set to have a second Wild Weekend on Friday and Saturday.

This time it's the bugs, butterflies, and all the other animals you find by the river in Kilcullen.

On Friday morning at 11am, ecologist Dr Mary Tubridy will lead participants along the new boardwalk at the Bridge Camphill to explore the local nature. She'll also provide details of a photographic competition. At 3pm Friday Michael Jacob, wildlife educator, will provide a Butterfly Walk experience.

On Saturday morning at 11am, local resident and freshwater biologist Dr Jan Baars will set off on a walk and talk about animals in the river.

All events are suitable for families, and will start from An Tearmann.

The series is part of the Biodiversity Survey being conducted along Kilcullen waterways, commissioned by Kilcullen Community Action.