Sunday, January 26, 2020

Final Kilcullen 700 presentations

Final presentations of Kilcullen 700 plaques were made recently to thank the recipients of their support for the year-long celebrations in 2019.

They were to Pat Stafford for Kilcullen Credit Union, Geraldine and Tony Gahan, and Jo Mallon of An Tearmann.

A plaque was also presented to Kay Hartigan, related to the planting of 700 trees in the middle of the year.

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Drama Dynamics scores well in Féile Luimnigh 2020

Pic: Drama Dynamics.
On their first external competition outing, the young students of Drama Dynamics have achieved second place in the Féile Luimnigh 2020, in the U18 Group Drama category.

Their teacher Evelyn O'Sullivan says on their Facebook page that 'it was a great day out, full of fun and friendship'.

"I was so proud of each and every cast member for their team work and wonderful performance," she says, expressing thanks also to the organisers for their warm welcome, and for the support from the parents. "Till the next time ..."

They're not finished, looks like they're targeting a full win the next time they hit the road.

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Weather: cloud, brighter later, chilling down

A bright cloudy start, not going to get much better until a patch of clear skies in late afternoon.

Apart from a possible lunchtime shower and some rain later this evening, it looks like being otherwise dry. Winds changeable, mostly light.

The early high of 7degC will slide down to a couple above freezing by tea, but will warm a bit with the late drop of rain.

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Auditions available for children’s Choristers

Kilcullen church organ.
The Choristers of Saint Brigid is a brand new vocal group based in Kilcullen for boys and girls aged between 6-13, writes Peter Moloney. It is hoped that this new choir will bring together children from a wide variety of backgrounds and musical abilities.

Auditions will be held on Monday next 27 January, between 4pm-6pm in the Kilcullen Parish Centre.

Combining classical music with new voices, the mission of this group is to create vocal sounds which truly lift the soul of God using human voices. The repertoire will be mostly classical church music, occasionally using contemporary music.

The Choristers offer a new and exciting experience for children who have a love of music and being a part of this choir will be a truly unique musical experience

The dream is to sing, learn, grow and travel. If your child has musical talent and ability, with an interest in auditioning for this choir, please get in touch to reserve a time slot. Feel free to make contact for more information or with any further queries you may have, contact Peter 087 8172489 or Niamh 086 1758458.

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Money provided for road safety at Kinneagh Cross

A sum of €10,000 has been allocated to making road safety improvements at Kinneagh Cross, writes Brian Byrne.

The cross, which is very busy and has a particularly blind issue for traffic coming from Newbridge, has been the scene of a number of accidents over the years. Recent ones include a crash in August 2019 which resulted in long traffic delays on all roads through the cross. In October 2017, a motorcyclist was in a collision with a car, and just a month before that a further incident involving damage but fortunately no injuries were recorded.

Many who regularly travel the roads through the junction will have experience of other incidents, and many 'near-misses' at the cross.

The funds for improvements have been provided by the Department of Transport and Communications to Kildare County Council. As yet, no details of the works to be carried out, or a timeline, are available.

The provision of funds has been welcomed by Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer, who has been making representations on this and other road and pedestrian safety issues in the Athgarvan-Kinneagh area. Her campaign over recent months to have road safety works carried out in her home area of Brannockstown, following a fatal tragedy, has also been successful.

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Big juvenile badminton weekend in Kilcullen

Volunteers Nora Hogan and Ann-Marie Cunningham. Pic: Kilcullen Community Centre.
More than 170 juvenile badminton players from over 30 Leinster clubs are competing over the weekend in Kilcullen Community Centre.

They're taking part in the Leinster Yonex Juvenile Westside Fest Tournament hosted by Kildare Badminton Association.

The event on Saturday saw U11, U15 and U19 players battle for honours. The Sunday competitions involve U17s in the morning and U13s in the afternoon.

Kilcullen Juvenile Badminton Club has provided the shop for the competition, and a large number of players, supporters, and volunteers are making the weekend the biggest Juvenile badminton event in Leinster.

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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Plays initiative will recall life in Kildare in War of Independence

A series of free plays based in the era of the War of Independence and Civil War is planned to begin this summer in Maynooth, and will also be performed in the wider Kildare area, writes Brian Byrne.

The plays, collectively titled Fractured, will feature the fictional Barry family living through the 1920-1923 period and actions in Kildare, and four writers have been involved in their creation — Martina Reilly, Claire Joyce, Joe Bergin and Brendan Farrell.

Designed as a sequence of 'episodes', they will be performed twice a month over two years. It is envisaged that the plays will be produced, directed and performed by creative people from all over the county.

The initiative will be produced by Down at Heel Productions and is sponsored by Kildare County Council. It will be launched in Maynooth University Library on 30 January at 7.30pm, where the cast and directors will be recruited.

All with an interest in being involved in some capacity are welcome.

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#GE2020: Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy, Independent candidate

Cllr McLoughlin Healy signing her nomination papers in Naas Courthouse with her husband, Dr Bernard Healy, and County Registrar Eithne Coughlan.
Holding public bodies to account is a key plank of Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy’s campaign to win a Dail seat in Kildare South, writes Brian Byrne.

Her strategy emphasises her work in this regard with the Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board. She raised what were to be telling questions about its governance, when appointed to the board after winning a Newbridge seat in the 2014 local elections. She promises to bring the same attitude to the Dail if elected, with transparency in government a strong focus of her strategy.

But there’s much more to getting elected than putting a forensic magnifying glass over the nuts and bolts of how public bodies work. Getting an historically high vote as an independent in her electoral area in last year’s Council contest was arguably as much to do with everyday matters. These are also key to pulling in a Dail seat — to modify a well worn political phrase, ‘all votes to national office are local’.

So she points to her work over the years in helping to deliver the Newbridge Town Hall refurbishment, the town’s skatepark, funding to protect the Curragh Plans from a range of problem issues, and the success of her campaign to have webcasting of public Council meetings.

Formerly a nurse, and being married to Kilcullen-born GP Dr Bernard Healy, she has front-line knowledge of local and national health care problems. Bringing up a family of three also tends to keep her grounded in everyday reality. Part of that is her role on the management board of the Kildare LGFA U14s girls county team.

She is an accomplished communicator, with a qualification in the field, and among her recent initiatives is a series of podcasts — ‘Straight Talking with Fiona Mac’ — which has dealt with subjects including women in sport, drugs, climate change, and local government reform.

Her election manifesto promises she will be a ‘truly independent TD, unfettered by the party whip system or by any pre-election deals’. “I have the potential to hold the government to account and to really put the Kildare South constituency on the map,” she says. “For too long this constituency has been the poor relation of the commuter belt constituencies ... people remain frustrated and angry about access to essential services such as healthcare, policing, public transportation and social housing. We also face serious quality of life issues due to high rents, long commutes and childcare costs.”

She lists a long range of policy priorities under Accountability in Government, Transport and Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Action, Health, Education, Policing and Defence, Housing, and Small Business Tax Policy.

Just some among the details are seeking more autism support units, an independent statutory pay review body for the Defence Forces, funding for safe pathways, cycle paths and cyclist facilities, increases in the construction of social housing, and the provision of an independent valuation office for dealing with business rates.

The whole thing is an exhaustive list. And exhausting just to read it all, let alone get it all implemented. Maybe candidates should be careful what they wish for?

(Article derived from material supplied by the candidate.)

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Xinnian Kuaile! to all Chinese friends

Happy Chinese New Year, and to all our Chinese neighbours Xinnian Kuaile!, writes Kilcullen Librarian Julie O'Donoghue.

This lively creature visited the library this morning to help us celebrate the new year.

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Kilcullen helps to clean The Curragh

If you're wondering where all the Kilcullen Tidy Towns people are today, no, they're not canvassing for any candidate, writes Brian Byrne.

They're cleaning up litter in the Donnelly's Hollow area, as part of a combined cleanup of roadsides and public parts of the Curragh Plains this morning.

The cleanup has been organised by Tidy Towns groups in Kildare, Newbridge, and Milltown as well as Kilcullen.

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#GE2020: Canvassing for Dr Cathal Berry

Canvassers for Dr Cathal Berry, Independent candidate in the upcoming election, working their way through Kilcullen this morning.

On a sad note, the candidate was unable to accompany them himself, as he is attending his father Pat's funeral in Waterford and Cork today.

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Biodiversity Town project getting under way

The Kildare Community Biodiversity Project will be formally launched on 13 February in Newbridge, and groups and individuals in Kilcullen are invited to go along, writes Brian Byrne. Kilcullen is one of ten Biodiversity Towns selected for the programme.

At the recent Kilcullen Community Action meeting, Eoin Houlihan said Green Pine Consultants, who are delivering the programme for Kildare County Council, had advised that other groups and people in the selected towns may be invited to link in to the scheme.

Suggestions include community groups, members of the farming community, schools, environmental groups, heritage groups, sports clubs, churches, local healthcare facilities, residential groups and residents, angling clubs, and businesses.

Paul Leighton told the meeting that there are already 12 estates signed up to Kilcullen's own biodiversity programme.

Following the launch, in Newbridge Town Hall and starting at 7.30pm, two training sessions will be organised for each community, from late February to end of April.

These will provide practical tips on biodiversity, and to identify a range of opportunities that can make a real difference in biodiversity, both for wildlife and residents.

The training events will include field sessions that will provide ideas on making the most of community spaces in the participating towns.

A Biodiversity Report will be prepared for each community by the consultants, and presented in the summer.

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Weather: a few tears for Anne Boleyn

This was the date King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, in secret, in 1533. Wasn't destined to end well.

Maybe in reflection of that, today's nice dry, partly cloudy start will give way to some tears of on and off rain through the morning. A temperature bump to 7degC will slip back slightly through the mostly dry, but dull afternoon.

Light winds will turn a bit more brisk after tea.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Ross gets combat sports writing award

Local young sports writer Ross Markey has been awarded the title of Top Journalist for FightBook MMA (2019).

The web-based publication offers combat sports news from all over the world, and Ross is currently its lead writer. He is also a staff writer at FightPost: MMA & Boxing, and a contributor to the Martial Arts Chat Podcast.

Ross also has his own combat sports blog since 2016, Markey Martial Arts, where he describes himself as 'an aspiring MMA writer. Well, he seems to be doing it.

He said he is absolutely honoured and humbled to receive the award. "The guys over at Fightbook MMA have given me a tremendous opportunity over the course of the previous year to contribute," he says. "An opportunity I can truly never repay."

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Secure box for defibrillator presented to First Responders

Mary Kelly of Home Instead presents first responders John Davitt, Suzanne Lawlor and Mary Rafferty with the box today. Mary Rafferty works as a carer for Home Instead and is now also a Kilcullen First Responder.
Home Instead Senior Care has kindly donated a heated secure box to Kilcullen Community First Responders for their defibrillator.

In business 10 years, Amanda Bohan has built the Home Instead care provision to now 160 carers employed in the greater Kildare area. The company and their carers realise the importance of first responders in the community and within their own community. Home Instead’s main office is now in Newbridge but was formerly in Kilcullen and they remain avid supporters of the community here.

The location of the box is being finalised but it will enable the responders to access the equipment easily for their rostered time.

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Fiona Dowling returns to Kilcullen storytelling

The next session of the Triple Spiral Storytellers will feature the return of Dublin-based French storyteller Fiona Dowling, writes Brian Byrne.

The event will be on Wednesday 19 February, once again in An Tearmann, beginning at 7.30pm.

Fiona's stories this time will be on the theme of 'Arts and Crafts'.

A €5 donation on the door, and the evening is suitable for all ages. Further information from Tim Ditchburn on 087 2767669.

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It looks like the cone over the broken pump stump near Ladbrokes won't be stolen or kicked away by late night people any more, writes Brian Byrne.

No, the pump itself is not being replaced yet — that's a long-running story since it was knocked down.

Today, Kildare County Council is placing a BIGGER cone on the spot. And instead of relying on sandbags to keep it in place, they says they're bolting the cone to the broken base of the pump.

At least that'll mean there are unlikely to be any more claims from people who fall over the stump ... the Diary understands that there is already one in train.

Can we just not get the pump fixed and re-installed as a heritage piece of our street furniture?

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Preschool and Afterschool in Ballyshannon

Pic: Early Scholars.
Early Scholars, a childcare business based in Athgarvan, will be starting Preschool and Afterschool in Ballyshannan Hall to facilitate local families of the Kilcullen area, and particularly pupils at Ballyshannon NS. This follows the closure before Christmas of the previous service which operated in the Hall.

Early Scholars, which has also recently established Preschool and Afterschool services in St Joseph's NS in Halverstown, is operated by Suzanne Fleming.

"We are hoping to get back the children who left," she says. "However, we do understand that parents are a bit fearful of closure again. I would like to reassure parents and will arrange for a parents evening in the hall over the coming weeks to discuss the future of the preschool under Early Scholars.

"I would would like to thank the principal of Ballyshannon NS, Lorraine McGovern, and parents from the parents committee and past parents of the preschool who have offered their services to help us going forward to reassure the families."

All inquiries related to the Preschool/Afterschool Service can contact Suzanne at 086 2456187.

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Photo record of Community Garden project planned

Making a photographic record of KCA projects such as the upcoming Community Garden was discussed at last night's meeting of Kilcullen Community Action, writes Brian Byrne.

The idea came from a suggestion by KCA chair Ann Cashman that the group should interact with Kilcullen Photography Club in a range of ways.

"We could see if they'd be interested in producing photographs showing the 'spirit of The Valley', for instance," she said. "Or helping us get our Fairy Trail onto the internet."

She said it would be a good local group to interact with, as 'it's always a scramble for good pictures when we are making Tidy Towns applications'.

The meeting heard from Martin Sheridan that work on the new Community Garden is likely to start from 1 February, and it was agreed that the project should be documented photographically over its development.

It's understood the full development of the garden, in the grounds of the Community Library, will take around four years.

Following a suggestion that one of the local drone operators should be asked to take aerial shots before the work begins, Ray Kelly said he would make enquiries on that.

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'Keep doors locked' appeal from An Garda

A warning has been issued by An Garda for people to keep all doors locked even when they are at home.

This follows a break-in at Gormanstown last Saturday evening, and an aggravated burglary in Brannockstown on Tuesday evening.

Anyone with information related to either incident is asked again to contact Kilcullen Garda Station on 045 481212.

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