Friday, December 13, 2019

Steiner School Craft Fair

The Kildare Steiner School is holding a Christmas Fair next Wednesday 18 December, from 12 noon until 2pm.

Everybody is welcome to go along and join in carol singing and partake of the soup and refreshments.

There will be a bring and buy stall, seasonal goodies, crafts, and you can buy Christmas wreaths there too.

The School is located at Gormanstown on the Dunlavin Road.

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Shop local this Christmas

It's that time of year again when the Christmas shopping hits the top level of everyone's daily lists, writes Brian Byrne. And again, we encourage people to shop locally, help keep your local businesses and friends in business. There's no charge for the mention on this page, so if you are a local business and have something to tell us about, email the Diary.

Who doesn't love a few flowers at Christmas, and especially if they have been put together in a personal bouquet of just what the recipient wants? Well, for that very personal touch for a loved one this year, contact Catherine Mulrennan's Kildare Flowers. She has been designing floral arrangement for all occasions in Kilcullen and the wider area for a long time now. Based in Kinneagh, she'll take orders on 086 3275668, or 045 481092. If you don't know exactly what you need, she'll advise.

Though his Clarkes Menswear shop isn't actually in Kilcullen, Vivian Clarke is a Kilcullen man through and through, and for a gift for the man in your life there's no better place to go. A Gift Voucher might well be the idea for those hard to buy for. Even if they're not in to buy on any given day, customers from over the years will always stop for a chat with Vivian when on their way up or down the street in Newbridge.

Another local business, by Niamh O'Connor, offers an option for unusual Christmas presents as well as unique gifts for all occasions — her Curious Quirkes are framed caricatures and quirky pictures, available in a number of local outlets and on her Facebook page Curious Quirkes. There are Christmas cards available too.

With the long Christmas holiday looming, there's a lot of pressure on the ladies to have their hair in best shape, and among the local salons none is better known than Hair by Eilis, which is offering special deals for the season. Specialists in colour correction, and dealing with problems like hair breakage.

There's something very special about a personalised gift in real leather, and in Kilcullen we have Carve On who specialise in just those things. Whether for the golfer, the traveller, the note-taker, or the lugger of stuff, the range of specialised hand-made gifts is well worth browsing on their website for. Your someone special's Christmas gift problem might well be solved.

Now, here's a thought. Is there someone you want to give a Christmas nod to who would love to have themselves or one of their children get the boost of a course at the Drama Dynamics School of Speech & Drama during 2018? Evelyn O'Sullivan (she recently completed an MA, congratulate her!) tells us she has gift vouchers available, and her range of courses include adult acting classes as well as her very vibrant children's courses.

It's hardly necessary to mention Nolans at all, so widespread is their fame for providing the best poultry and meats, not to mention the seriously individual deli items. But there's a special emphasis on Christmas with free range turkeys that have people queuing right along the street every Christmas Even when it comes to collection. Don't forget either the spiced beefoak smoked hams and — if you fancy something different on Christmas Day — free range chickensgeese duckspheasants and mallard. For after Christmas, it's when the delicacies come into their own, the home-made sausages, the puddingsrasherscheeses and smoked salmonHampers can also be made to order as presents.

Always a mouth-watering exercise looking at the Kalbarri Cookery School's Facebook page, Siobhan Murphy's classes are a superb way both to enjoy learning new kitchen tricks and having a good time with friends old and new. Check out what's upcoming and maybe book yourself or a loved one in for a class in the new year. Kalbarri also provides full Christmas dinners to prior order on a collection basis.

As we face the food and drink rush of Christmas and New Year, some will be wondering if they should be already preparing to do something about it all afterwards? The No1 Fitness gym and fitness centre beside Bishop Rogan Park might be just the best idea. Functional Training, Iron Circuit Training, Cardio/Strength Training and more. Phone 045 484935.

Don’t miss Crean's Place last two supper clubs of the decade. Because one Christmas dinner is not enough to celebrate with everyone you love, start the festivities early with their Christmas supper club on Sunday December 22nd.
Then unwind and chill at their Tapas night on Saturday Dec 28th.

All the Christmas menus are operating in Kilcullen's various eateries, with really good value offers for small or larger groups who want to hold their pre-Christmas get-togethers. For the size of the town we have an amazing selection of bistros, food pubs and restaurants. Think The Hideout (045 484602), Crean's Place (045 830000), Fallons (045 481063), Bardons (045 482286), and Walls of the Priory at Kilgowan (045 403355).

Also our coffee shops for those less formal meet-ups, The Final FurlongAn Tearmann, and the River Cafe. And don't forget that a voucher towards dinner at any of the restaurants makes a very acceptable Christmas present.

The local chemist's shop has always been a traditional stop for the Christmas present, and though our old favourite Berneys Chemists are not having their Christmas Shop this year, they still have a great selection of very acceptable gifts for loved ones.

Mouthwatering treats for those with a sweet tooth are always on sale in Armelles's Kitchen, and the seasonal offerings from Kenny and Armelle are nothing less than pure baking artistry. Their Main Street shop and bakery offers their extraordinary range of cakes and patisserie specialities are a joy to experience, and would make an intriguing and very acceptable gift for virtually anyone.

For those with interest in all things horses, Berney Bros is almost a place of pilgrimage. Saddles, harnesses and other riding necessities, and also a big range of outdoor clothing which is of interest to everyone. One of the Kilcullen's flagship stores, it is worth a visit even for the wonderful smells and colours of the leatherwork, and the sound of the craftwork going on in the back rooms.

Burkes Chemists on Hillcrest, another shop with a great range and very friendly staff. And you might also like to contribute to their Vincent de Paul Christmas Tree presents, which they will choose and wrap for whatever gender and age you want to contribute to making it a happier Christmas for those less fortunate. There's also a very nice selection of toys.

Nichola Kennedy Optometrist is asking have you stocked up on your contact lenses and solutions for over the Christmas season? For dry eye customers make sure to stock up on your lotions and potions to make sure your eyes get well looked after over the Christmas break. Eyebags make a great gift too, and there are other accessories for family and friends with glasses. And make a resolution to give yourself a new look with some snazzy new glasses in the new year. And have you ever considered a gift voucher for Nichola Kennedy Optometrist? Those who receive them love them because they can use it to buy glasses, prescription sunglasses, prescription swimming goggles, contact lenses, or even some designer sunglasses to wear over contact lenses. Nichola and her staff wish all their loyal customers a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018.

Local photographer Conor Williams has a special touch with local and abstract prints, and his work is available as unique and affordable Christmas gifts. He's also offering gift vouchers for portrait  sessions, individual photography lessons and a one-day photography course. Contact him on 086 8721707.

Ger Dooley's Kildare Bathroom Company is well into the festive spirit, and now is the time to maybe make a note to put by a little time in the new year to go to the Link Business Park and browse through the latest in bathroom ware.

Our local Eurospar as always has put together value for money selections of top Christmas season food and drink favourites, and it's well worth considering the convenience and hassle-free experience of shopping local for them. Business owner Derek Walsh and his staff are on hand to help with any queries.

The Tech Service shop on Main Street offers a repair and sales service for phones and computers, and is an easy local stop to get that present for the gadget person in your life. It is operated by Leo Chen and his wife Rachel. The business specialises in repairs of all kinds of phones and tablets, and stocks a range of new and used phones and tablets as well. Typical repairs such as replacing broken phone screens or batteries can be carried out on an almost while you wait basis, or certainly 'come back after a cup of coffee'.

Since Shirley Kavanagh-Hallion opened her Secret Kloset Designer Outlet on Hillcrest, local ladies and others from much further have been making the trek to find her unique choices in style and fashion. In addition to the range of dresses, coats and other wear, there's a wide selection of interesting ladies' clothing accessories perfectly themed for the cooler weather of the season.

To encourage and remember the spiritual origins of Christmas, a browse through the wide range of items in the Parish Centre Shop will certainly provide gift ideas for all ages. With Christmas Cards, Christmas Mass Bouquets, Cribs, Angel Gifts and much more. Call by and talk to Valerie or Geraldine.

Ger's Fruit and Veg Kilcullen now have beautiful candle arrangements in stock, a perfect gift. Also wreaths, top quality Christmas trees and for a healthy alternative present why not order a fruit hamper? Fresh fruit and vegetables as always, if you drop your list in they'll have your order ready for collection.

There's absolutely nothing better than giving a book to both children and adults as a gift for any occasion, but especially at Christmas when there's a little more time after the day to have a quiet read. Dawn Behan and Aidan Cunnane's Woodbine Books has established itself as a beautiful browsing space for all book lovers and if you need any help in choosing just the right one, any of the very books-dedicated people in the shop will be delighted to help. And they have a great coffee machine too ...

The Vincent's shop is always a treasure chest worth rummaging in, with only the best of quality pre-owned goods. And if you're concerned that you might run out of reading material over Christmas, then take a little time to browse through the books section.

The Valu€ Zone is another one of those places where you'll find not just what you're looking for, but also things that you might not be expecting. Meantime, though, seasonal needs like Christmas decorations, cribs, cards, and stocking fillers are just a small part of the good value stacked on the shop's shelves. Think of it too for a wide selection of photo frames, stationery, and those all important batteries. Lots more, go in and browse before you try outside of town.

Downtown in An Tearmann they carry a range of select gifts for all ages and both genders, as well as a small but nice range of Christmas cards. Wooden toys and ornaments are a speciality here, while the mobiles made of glass and wood and gentle textiles are always worth a browse. And don't forget the Manna organic shop at the back.

One of the nicer things about Christmas is sitting at home with family and friends, maybe in front of a real fire, with seasonal snacks and a convivial drink. All you need in wines, beers, sherries and spirits is to hand in CarryOut in Market Square, where Paddy Nugent and family have best value in town to help a quiet celebration of the season.

Jane Russell in the Link Park has established her handmade sausage and bacon products as among the best in the land, gracing the tables of the region's top restaurants and in a wide range of independent and national chain outlets. The factory shop is the place to get some great sausages, dry cure rashers and fresh blood black pudding at wholesale prices. In addition to classic products, there's a Dinner Range of handmade sausages to mouth-watering recipes. Just the thing to make Christmas a little different, and most acceptable presents along with, say, a good red wine.

If you have someone in your circle of close friends who is big into fashion and grooming, you could do worse than get them a present of a Gail's Rails personal shopping day, or a professional wardrobe assessment. All the details are available here.

And don't forget your dog deserves a pampering for Christmas too. Local dog grooming specialist Sabrina Rice operates her award winning services from the Cottage Vet premises in Walshestown. She's just announced that the very popular baby powder cologne and shampoo for pets is back just in time for Christmas. Open every day except Sunday until Christmas.

More local shopping ideas later. Keep coming back.

New dates for Bridge Camphill Christmas regulars

With so much going on in the last week before Christmas finally lands, it's no harm to mark in your diary the date and time for a couple of evergreens from the Bridge Camphill Community, writes Brian Byrne.

The Santa Sleigh which is a regular traffic-stopper in town will leave An Tearmann at 4.30pm on this day week, Friday 20 December. An occasion to salute all the residents and helpers in the community that brings a smile to everyone on Main Street on the occasion.

And the Bell-Ringing performance in An Tearmann that really kicks off a close to Christmas feeling fuelled by camaraderie, mince pies and punch, this year is on Monday 23 December, at the new time of 5pm.

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Children from all over post in The Valley

The postbox in The Valley for letters to Santa Claus has turned out to be a very busy facility, writes Brian Byrne.

The most recent meeting of Kilcullen Community Action heard that it was attracting attention from children far from the Kilcullen area alone.

"The letters are from children in several surrounding counties," says Lisa Evers, who is managing the collections at the postbox on Santa's behalf. "They're from Laois, Carlow, and even Meath."

It was suggested that this also reflects the increased footfall in the park since the provision of the Fairy Trail.

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Songs for a Winter Night this evening

The Songs for a Winter Night this evening will be one of those special events that have become a feature of Woodbine Books.

Starting at 7pm it will be an evening of seasonal music, poetry, laughter and prose from the pens of Patrick Kavanagh, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Mary Oliver and Laurie Lee, with new work from Angela Keogh and John MacKenna and music penned by the Fleet Foxes, Jackson Brown, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Gretchen Peters and Shane Sullivan plus traditional Christmas songs.

Performances by Shane Sullivan (guitar and vocals), Angela Keogh and John MacKenna. Tickets for this are €10, and can be booked at 045 482777.

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Nás na Rí Singers in Christmas fundraiser for young homeless

What promises to be a most uplifting performance of traditional and favourite carols will take place in Naas this evening Friday 13 December, writes Brian Byrne.

Presented by the Nás na Rí Singers, they will be accompanied in Vivaldi Gloria by the County Kildare Orchestra Vivaldi Ensemble, and joined by the choirs of Naas Community College and Gael-Choláiste Chill Dara.

The venue is the Church of Our Lady & St David, Naas, and the concert begins at 8pm. Proceeds are in aid of Homeless Care CLG, the charity caring for Kildare's young homeless.

Tickets are €15 for adults and €5 for children. They are available from Choir members, Barker and Jones in Naas, or at the door.

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

GAA Committee ratified at AGM

The Kilcullen GAA Committee for 2020 was ratified tonight at the Club's AGM.

The officers are Chairman Dan Bell, Vice Chairman Jim Buckley, Secretary TBC, Treasurer Lynda Coughlan, Vice Treasurer Emma Kenny, PRO Adam Timmons, Irish Officer Colm Sheehan, Player's Reps Brian Bell and David Marshall. amd Registrar Liam Cronin.

The other members of the committee are Eamonn Wynne, Jennifer Shortt, Carl Traynor, Ed O'Loughlin, and Grainne Timmons.

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Keys found, are they yours?

A set of keys, marked 'Kilcullen' found at end of the bridge this evening, can be collected in Carry Out.

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'Walk with the Light' is last Kilcullen 700 event

The final official event in the Kilcullen 700 celebrations will take place next Sunday 15 December with a symbolic lighting of the tower at Old Kilcullen and the bridge, writes Brian Byrne.

Everybody in the community is invited to gather at Old Kilcullen at 4pm when one of Kilcullen's oldest residents, representing Kilcullen's past, will switch on lights to illuminate the tower. This part of the event will remember that it was at this monastic site Kilcullen began.

Then a walk by candle-light, lanterns and torches, will bring those present down to Kilcullen itself, finishing at the bridge, where the first one built began the modern settlement of Kilcullen. There, a school child representing Kilcullen's future will switch on special lights on the bridge itself.

Kilcullen Gospel Choir will perform at the bridge, and there will be refreshments and the opportunity to meet and chat in the Heritage Centre afterwards.

All are welcome to any part of the event.

Meanwhile, a performance by The Moon and Sixpence band TONIGHT in the Town Hall will raise funds towards the cost of lighting the tower and the bridge. Tickets available on the door, at Hair by Eilis, and Berney Chemist.

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