Saturday, May 25, 2024

Halverstown Cup final for schools on Wednesday

Cricket Leinster's Anne O'Meara coaching Scoil Bhride and Brannoxtown CNS pupils in 2022.

Cricket teams from Two Mile House NS and Scoil Mhuire in Ballymore Eustace will meet in the final of the first ever Halverstown Cup for schools, next Wednesday at the Halverstown Cricket Club in Brannockstown, writes Brian Byrne. The match will begin at 10am.
This follows several weeks of cricket coaching in six primary schools in the area, and two rounds of group games to select the finalists. The other schools were Scoil Bhride Kilcullen, Brannoxtown CNS, Newbridge Educate Together, and St Joseph's Halverstown.
It's the third year that Halverstown CC has been coaching in local schools, beginning in 2022 with just two. More than 300 school pupils were taught the basics of cricket in the expanded initiative this year.
The coaching programme, led by Halverstown CC's Stuart Conroy, is supported by the Kildare Sports Partnership, Cricket Leinster, and Halverstown Cricket Club which both provides their ground for the event and donated the trophy. It is hoped that this will be a competition that will grow year by year.

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Kilcullen town website being revamped

The website is being revamped and will include updated information about Kilcullen and the town’s activities, writes Brian Byrne.
The news was revealed at the recent inaugural meeting of the Kilcullen Business Group, which heard that their members will soon be canvassed to see what they want on the updated site. was built  in 2018 on a voluntary basis by Gareth Landy for Kilcullen Community Action. Among other things it was designed as a definitive directory for local community and sports organisations, and many businesses, but is now out of date. It also lists places to visit and provides a short history of the town. 
The prospect of a related phone app was also mooted at the meeting, which also heard that KCA is talking to Kildare County Council about the possibility of releasing the domain name for use by the community. In the early days of the internet, the Council acquired ownership of the .ie domains for every town in the county. But they have never been used.

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Naas Country Market celebration

Members of Naas Country Market celebrated a special birthday yesterday for their chairperson Hazel Gray, at Kalbarri Cookery School. They're pictured here with Kilcullen member Hilary Jones Pallister.
Naas Country Market is held every Friday from 9.30am-12.15pm in the Moat Theatre Naas. 
All food and vegetables sold are produced within a 15km radius of Naas.

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Friday, May 24, 2024

Funding from LEP for two Kilcullen entities

Two Kilcullen organisations have received funding under the Local Enhancement Programme 2024, writes Brian Byrne.
They are the 9th Kildare Kilcullen Scouts who have been awarded €1,592.52, and Kilcullen Community Centre, granted €2,346.79.
The money comes from a total allocation of €33,659.84 for 10 Kildare projects. The programme for 2024 makes of €6 million available nationwide, in capital supports for small community groups and organisations.

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Ballyshannon NS Early Scholars Open Evening

An Open Evening will be held at Ballyshannon NS on Tuesday 11 June, to launch an Early Scholars Preschool and Before & After School Care. The event will run from 6pm-8pm. All are welcome.
The initiative will be opening in September 2024.
Ballyshannon National School is located on the main Kilcullen/Athy road 5km outside Kilcullen. Eircode R56 FF60.
Enrolment forms on website or follow us on x:@BallyshannonNS.

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Maplewood Lodge, Narraghmore

Dowling Property is delighted to present to the market  this superior 5-bedroomed, B3-rated detached home for sale. Standing on an impressive c.1.28 acre landscaped and mature site in this highly sought-after location in the heartland of Kildare.
This fine home boasts a very impressive list of features which includes five double bedrooms (two with en-suites), home office, utility room, two bathrooms and detached garage. 
The gardens are a real highlight and are mature and landscaped and have been lovingly cared for over the years, by its "green fingered" owners. There is extensive well-kept lawn areas both front and rear along with mature hedging and planting throughout. 
This fine home also benefits from having a large block-built garage which is accompanied by a separate car garage, a steel shed and a log cabin, which is a welcome addition to any property. 
Narraghmore has long proved popular with buyers as it offers countryside living on the doorstep to the city. There is excellent access to M9/M7 making it ideal for the city commuter. Schools and sporting activities are located close by and it is this superb combination that should make this home top of your home hunting list. A Real Gem!
AMV €500,000 Call 045 482189.

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GAA popup cafe on Saturday

Don’t forget to visit the Field of Dreams Pop Up Cafe this Saturday 25 May at Kilcullen GAA. It's an opportunity for people in the community to catch up on the plans for the club and will include an update on progress of the Field of Dreams project.
Home baked treats and barista coffee will be served from 10am. All welcome.
This will also be a chance for people to buy plaques for the Kilcullen Abú wall. The initiative will close soon and the club won’t be installing any more after that. 
The plaques at €100 each can be paid for in instalments across 10 months. Kilcullen GAA are asking all of the community to get behind the development through buying a plaque.

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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Scoil Bhride rebels and redcoats march on Old Kilcullen

Around a hundred pupils from Scoil Bhride made the school's annual walk to Old Kilcullen today to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Old Kilcullen, writes Brian Byrne.
The battle was one of the first engagements in the 1798 rebellion and took place on the 24th of May, with two separate clashes between the United Irishmen and the forces of the Crown.
Prior to their walk, local historian and retired teacher Gerry O'Donoghue briefed the children on the battle and its significance, and later at the tower he showed them locations which were part of the battlefield. "They were very knowledgable and enthusiastic about this piece of their local history," he told the Diary. "Their teachers have had them well prepared over the past weeks."
Several members of the group were dressed as rebels and redcoats for the occasion, leading to bemused glances from passing cars as they marched up to Thompson's Cross on their way to fight. As they approached the tower area, once again the hill resounded to shouts of "Up the Rebels!"
The children also had their picnic lunches at the graveyard around the tower before marching back to school.

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'Meet the Candidates' reminds of Kilcullen's good fortune

Current sitting councillors in the Newbridge Local Electoral Area and those hoping to be elected all support working to get the €1.4 million funding to complete Kilcullen’s Market Square plan, writes Brian Byrne. That was the response to a question from the floor by Antoinette Buckley at the end of last night’s ‘Meet the Candidates’ event, which was otherwise a Newbridge-centric meeting. Understandably, as it was organised by Newbridge Community Development, and took place in the Newbridge Town FC premises.
Nine of the declared candidates accepted the NCD invitation to outline their views on a range of key issues, in front of an audience of around 50 who thought it worth their while to turn up. Those present were sitting councillors Chris Pender (SocDem), Rob Power (FF), Tracey O’Dwyer (FG), Peggy O’Dwyer (FG), and Noel Heavey (FF). Aspirational representatives present were James Stokes (SF), Ronan Maher (GP), James Garvin (IND), and Aina Conway (LAB). Not present were Melissa Byrne (Aontú), Terri Thorpe (SF), and Christoir MacCormack, Tom O’Donnell and Leanne Ní Neill (all IND).

Moderator Evonne Boland of NCD outlined the ‘rules of engagement’ and the three main themes for discussion — Development & Planning, Community & Social Infrastructure, and Transport & Mobility. Through the evening, NCD strictly managed the operation, especially the no audience interaction until a Q&A session at the end. Issues with the sound system meant that, occasionally, participants had to speak louder, and sometimes that turned out to be better.
There was considerable crossover between all three themes in the issues raised, many grounded in a Newbridge feeling that the town doesn’t get equal treatment with Naas, where, coincidently, the HQ of Kildare County Council is located. 
Cllr Rob Power.

The next Newbridge Local Area Plan, currently in draft preparation, was extensively referenced, with Cllr Rob Power emphasising the need for representatives to ensure that follow-up happens and that capital funding follows identified needs in the plan. James Stokes highlighted the need to deal with the ‘blight’ of dereliction, and also to provide more social housing, saying that walking by derelict premises which could be converted to homes was a ‘crazy' situation. For Cllr Chris Pender, adequate green and open spaces are a ‘massive priority’, and also that the LAP should include a time-frame for completion of its elements. Cllr Tracey O’Dwyer headlined the need to identify adequate land for Newbridge primary and secondary schools, and that the LAP should 'be delivered on'. 
For Cllr Peggy O'Dwyer, it is about sustainable planning that both preserves what the community has and moves forward in areas such as housing, where the county is currently 'playing catch-up'. Ronan Maher wants the plan to encompass transport initiatives that make sure 'nobody has to drive 20 minutes in a car to go to the shops'. 
James Stokes.

The situation that 'other towns have community facilities that Newbridge doesn't' piques Cllr Noel Heavey, who wants the LAP to utilise land in the Council's ownership at Great Connell for those facilities. James Garvin criticised what he sees as 'piecemeal solutions' to problems in Newbridge, and wants existing Council properties assessed to see if they could be better used in alternative ways. For Aina Conway, priorities based on her recent canvassing include facilities both for older people and for older children, and a special needs school.
Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer.

Dealing with dereliction was pitched as a focus point, and responses included suggestions that such properties should be taken into Council ownership, levies imposed, and the removal of the rates waiver given to retail business properties that are left closed down.
Deficits in facilities for minor sports was a highlight issue during the Community & Social Infrastructure segment. Aina Conway noted that there were clubs which can't take on new members because of inadequate buildings and spaces. James Garvin raised the need for a swimming pool, referencing families having to drive to Naas to swim, and also how some local clubs can't train in winter because their facilities flood. Cllr Noel Heavey said that 50 acres of already zoned community land at Great Connell would be ideal for a community campus catering for a range of sports and other needs. 
Ronan Maher.

That concept of a multi-sports facility is also on Ronan Maher's wish-list, who also said there is a need for more playground space, preferably a number of smaller ones located around the town. Cllr Peggy O'Dwyer mooted that population growth had led to the facilities deficit, and that the LAP was an opportunity for community and sports groups to identify their requirements. Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer said providing facilities for younger people and for older people, 'from the cradle to the grave', needs to be part of Newbridge's planning, with a special emphasis on the provision of independent living for older people. 
Cllr Chris Pender.

Cllr Chris Pender wants houses made available for people suffering in domestic violence, and that future community infrastructure needs should be achieved by a number of groups working together and 'co-locating'. Cllr Rob Power highlighted the role of local representatives in advocating to Government for funding, and also reminded those present of the direct interventions carried out by the Council in supporting community initiatives such as Tidy Towns. James Stokes reprised the need to provide essential community facilities in tandem with every housing development, and also noted the bureaucratic difficulties experienced by community groups in filling the forms for funding applications.
Cllr Noel Heavey.

Cost, planning, and joined up thinking were the key concern headlines in the Transport & Mobility module. For James Stokes, reliability of service and lower costs were main considerations, especially for young people. He particularly noted difficulties for students who need to go to Maynooth University from Newbridge. Cllr Rob Power's starting point was about proper planning of initiatives such as cycle lanes, providing good public transport links into the town from outlying areas, and investing in park and ride spaces to 'shift the modal' and get people out of their cars. Cllr Chris Pender wants an orbital bus service within Newbridge to bring people into the town centre and schools, and to encourage people and their children onto public transport. Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer noted the new bus service from Dunlavin to Newbridge, which is proving a 'boon' for areas like Brannockstown. She said more feeder lines like that are needed. 
Cllr Peggy O'Dwyer.

Cllr Peggy O'Dwyer brought up the Local Area Transport Assessment currently in progress and encouraged people to input to it when it comes for public consultation. She also noted, in terms of the push for 'active travel', that 20pc of people are living with some kind of disability and they must be catered for. Ronan Maher emphasised the need for transport planning that would improve connectivity between 'where people are and where they want to go'. For Cllr Noel Heavey, a big issue underpinning local traffic problems is the number of traffic lights, which make vehicle movement 'very inefficient'. He said there must be room for transport units to move, and it was up to councillors to 'represent the people' for needed changes. 
James Garvin.

James Garvin raised a statistic that 70pc of people in Newbridge drive to work, and the Dunlavin bus service had given people in that town an option to leave their cars at home. Calling for 'safe routes' to school and safe cycle lanes for children, he also cautioned that any changes in transport planning had to be aware of the needs of people with reduced mobility. Aina Conway noted the need for adequate school bus transport so people didn't have to drive their children into town, and added that 'affordable' bus and train prices would help reduce the amount of driving.
Aina Conway.

During the concluding Q&A session, matters raised from the floor included the need for a multi-purpose space for minor sports such as volleyball, the problem for the athletics club in not owning the property where it operates, and the provision of elder-friendly homes within the community where older people would feel safe and have home care services which would stop them having to go into nursing homes before they should have to. 
From the floor.

While it was a night for expression of attitudes rather than resolution of issues, the NCD exercise did offer direct exposure with current councillors and aspirational candidates which may colour the makeup of the next local representative cohort in the Newbridge LEA. 
For this writer, it was also a reminder of how fortunate we are in Kilcullen, our village grown bigger, to have our community centre campus and all the facilities connected to it and around it, central to schools and in walking distance of shops and other businesses, thanks to the foresight and generosity of the sisters of the Cross & Passion in providing the land many decades ago.

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