Tuesday, June 28, 2022

End of covid subsidy immediate reason for bus service loss

The immediate reason for the closing of the Newbridge-Kilcullen bus service is the ending of a special subsidy by the National Transport Authority, writes Brian Byrne. The subsidy has been paid for the last 20 months as a temporary Covid measure.
According to the operator JJ Kavanagh, the numbers using the service have dropped and as yet have not returned to pre-Covid levels. They announced the closure of several local services from 1 July due to 'low patronage'. The Newbridge-Kilcullen service was suspended entirely between March-August 2020 due to Covid.
Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer says Kilcullen already has an inadequate public transport service, 'so it is just not an option' to drop the service. Cllr Chris Pender says the news is a 'bitter blow' and has expressed his anger that a vital transportation service 'can just be abandoned without any consultation with public representatives or service users'. Both councillors have committed to working with the transport operator and the NTA to try to have the service continued.
Kilcullen Community Action describes the planned ending of the service as 'dreadful news' and says the town is 'losing a hugely important connection to our nearest neighbouring town — important for workers, shoppers and students'. "Surely it goes totally against current government policy and as such needs the concerted efforts of all our public representatives to make sure this decision is reversed," the group says, "especially at a time when we should be encouraging more people to use public transport."
Local businessman Martin Murphy describes the matter as a 'travesty' that 'completely restricts' Kilcullen people. As would be expected, commentary on local Facebook pages is highly negative, and includes suggestions that the operator's claim of 'low patronage' be challenged. 
Since 2011, bus services through Kilcullen have been severely cut back by both private operators and Bus Eireann. This was despite commitments given in 2009 by both groups that services through Kilcullen would be retained after the opening of further sections of the M9 motorway.
In 2015 a 'Save our Buses' campaign was set up after service cutbacks affecting Castledermot, Castlecomer, Athy and Kilcullen. At one public meeting the bosses of Bus Eireann and the National Transport Authority were told bluntly that they were effectively 'abandoning' rural Ireland. There was no representative there from JJ Kavanagh, the other primary, and private operator on the affected routes.
In 2017, JJ Kavanagh made further changes to their schedules which meant that one morning and two evening services bypassed Kilcullen and other villages between Kilkenny and Dublin.

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Tractor & Car Run in Narraghmore

A Charity Tractor & Car Run will take place in Narraghmore on Saturday 9 July, in aid of Narraghmore Foróige Club.
The run will leave Mel's Car Park at 4pm, and will finish with a barbecue in Mel's Yard.
The event is being organised by Narraghmore Vintage Club. All are welcome.

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Weatherday: Long distance stamp

Brush Sheils and the late Jimmy Aspell at their Spout ICS fundraiser gig (2016).

The heavy overnight rain will continue through the morning, easing to sunny spells and showers in the afternoon.
Temperature up to 15deg in moderate to fresh breezes from the south with gusts.
On this day in 1939, a Boeing 314 Yankee Clipper flying boat operated by Pan American landed at Foynes from the United States, inaugurating the first scheduled airmail service between the US and Ireland,

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Monday, June 27, 2022

Branockstown planning sustainable watering system

A solar-powered sustainable watering system for the flower beds in Brannockstown is being considered by the local Community Group, writes Brian Byrne.
The Group has made an application to Kildare Leader for funding for the initiative, which would use untreated ground water accessed from the source for the original village pump. A solar-powered pump would be used to circulate the water to the beds during the spring and summer.
This was one of the plans discussed at tonight's Village Update Meeting, held in the refurbished Old School building. There was a very good turnout to the meeting, which also provided the opportunity for villagers to see the renewed historic building.
The Principal of Brannoxtown CNS has told the Group the old building is available to them for meetings as and when they need it.
Lance O'Brien was elected Chair of the Group for the coming year, with Richard Kelly Vice-Chair, Trevor Schwer as Treasurer, and Alice Farrell as Secretary.
A Clean Up night was arranged for Tuesday 5 July, with volunteers meeting at 6.30pm in the Baptist car park. All welcome.

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Dancer Kayla qualifies for Montreal 2023

Local young dancer Kayla Reid has qualified for the Irish Dance World Championships, scheduled for next April in Montreal, writes Brian Byrne.
Kayla was placed fourth amongst 83 competitors over the weekend at the Irish Nationals dance championships, held in Athlone.
In April she represented Leinster in the Irish Dancing World Championships. A Scoil Bhride pupil, Kayla is daughter of Kevin and Cecilia Reid and dances with the Curley-Brennan Dance School in Newbridge. 
Her mother Cecilia danced in her youth with Jenny Landers in Kilcullen.
Kayla has danced in previous provincial competitions, and also danced in Glasgow at the All Scotland Championship on two occasions, placing 5th and 6th. Dancing in the Great Britain Championships, she was placed 3rd last October.
Her sights, and dazzling feet, are now firmly fixed on doing well in Montreal.

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JJ Kavanagh lops local services, cites 'low patronage'

JJ Kavanagh has confirmed that they are ceasing a number of local bus services from 1 July, including the 129 Newbridge-Kilcullen route, writes Brian Byrne.
The company says they had to make 'the difficult decision ... due to low patronage'. "Since returning to full operation, the passengers numbers have not returned to the expected levels as previously seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic," a company statement says.
The other routes affected are 737 Naas–Dublin City/Dublin Airport; 873 Carlow–Bagenalstown–Kilkenny; and 846 Clane–Naas.
Last week, Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer was told that the cessation of services was due to the removal of supports by the NTA. She said she would continue to work to have the service maintained.

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Did you lose your phone?

A phone has been found in the Mile Mill area.
The owner can retrieve it by calling 086 1984201.

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Weatherday: Energy from the atom

Woodstock House & Arboretum (2015).

A bright start will go partly cloudy through the morning, with a slight chance of a shower. Cloud will thicken in the afternoon, with showers of rain from late evening.
Temperatures up to 14deg, feeling cooler in light to moderate gusty breezes from the west, veering southerly and strengthening later.
On this day in 1954, the first atomic power station was opened, near Moscow.

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Awards night for Kilcullen AFC U12s double champs

A great night for the Kilcullen AFC U12 Premier Team tonight, when they were presented with their awards in the clubhouse, writes Sheena Coogan.
The lads had a great season, winning both the Premier Division and the U12 Cup.
Double Champions!

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Brannockstown Village Update meeting Monday evening

The Brannockstown Community Group are holding a Village Update Meeting tomorrow night, Monday 27 June, starting at 8pm in the Brannockstown Old School building.
The purpose of this village meeting is to: Give everyone a chance to see the fantastic refurbishment of the old school building.
Share some detail about upcoming projects planned for the village, such as the sustainable watering project and the natural planting plan, to name just a few.
Obtain your input on ideas for community events, such as a Halloween event for the children and a Christmas event for all in the village.
Agree an event calendar for the village that offers something for all age groups.
Provide an update on Brannockstown’s participation in the Tidy Towns, including funding, and committee members.
Select a new Community Committee to continue the excellent work of recent years and ensure that all external funding sources are maintained.
We really hope you can come along to this informal gathering; it has been far too long since we were all able to meet up face-to-face. However, if you can’t make it but have some ideas, please feel free to email lanceobrien12@gmail.com ahead of the meeting. 
All ideas welcome for consideration at the meeting.

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Lots in common between Berney Bros and Maryland

Image: Berney Bros.

While not quite as long established as Berney Bros Saddlers in Kilcullen, owner of Maryland Saddlery Hope Birsh would have had lots in common to talk about when she visited the Kilcullen business last Thursday, writes Brian Byrne.
Hope started riding at the age of five, and at the age of 13 she was teaching others to ride in a barn in the heart of The Bronx in New York City, within walking distance of her home.
After moving to Maryland to teach riding, she was inspired to set up her own saddlery when a newbie couple came along who had been sold far more gear than they would ever need.
Hope's full story is here.  As you might expect, it's a really nice one.

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Kilcullen's U17 Girls are Champions

Image: Kilcullen GAA Facebook.

Kilcullen U17 Girls
are County Division 1 Champions following a win over Raheens yesterday.
The final score in very tough playing conditions was Kilcullen 4-13, Raheens 3-10.
The full report is on the Kilcullen GAA Facebook page. 

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Goulding's Hardware closes next week

Image: Naas Ball.

A famous name in Naas retail will close its doors on 30 June, when Pat and Betty Goulding retire, writes Brian Byrne.
They have run their hardware store in the town for more than four decades.
Pat and Betty live in Ballysax, and he served his time to the hardware trade in Brennans Hardware in Kilcullen.
A longtime stalwart of the Credit Union movement, Pat provided 29 years service both at Kilcullen CU and at Chapter 7 level.
The Diary wishes them well in their retirement.

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Weatherday: 'The land for which I hold the greatest affection'

Scenes from the Kennedy visit to the family Homestead.

The heavy overnight rain will ease in the morning to scattered showers and some sunny spells. But heavier showers returning in the afternoon.
Temperatures up to 15deg in fresh to strong winds from the south with gusts.
On this day in 1963, US President John F Kennedy began his state visit to Ireland.

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