Monday, April 15, 2024

Lions April Whist


The Kilcullen Lions April Whist session is being held this coming Thursday the 18th.
As usual the venue is Scoil Bhride, playing from 8pm.
All Whist players welcome.

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Have you booked for A Skull in Connemara?


It might seem odd that graveyards would 'recycle' graves in order to make room for the newly deceased, but limiting time for the use of a grave is a feature in some countries, such as Portugal, Greece and Italy, writes Brian Byrne. In these cases, exhumed remains are often reburied in a common bones ossuary, or cremated and handed back to families.
But in the overcrowded Leenane cemetery of Martin McDonagh's 'A Skull in Connemara', the local gravedigger's job includes exhumation of remains after seven years and pulverising them to dust with a hammer. Which is all right until he opens the grave of a friend's wife and finds the bones are missing. Historical rumours that the woman had been murdered are resurrected ...
Kilcullen Drama Group are presenting 'A Skull in Connemara' in the Town Hall Theatre from Monday next 22 April to Friday 26 April. The production is a dark comedy that some say is the playwright’s funniest. The cast comprises Maurice O'Mahony, Siobhan Murphy, Alan Clarke and Josh  Kelly. This is Josh's first play with the adult group — he was a member  of  the Kilcullen Youth Theatre and had a part in the play 'The Black Eyes'. It is directed by Eilis Phillips.
The Friday will be the Gala Night, in aid of Kilcullen Gospel Choir's fundraising for Relay for Life. Wine reception as usual from 7.30pm. The play begins at 8pm sharp each night.
Tickets may now be booked at the NEW phone number 087 4707652.





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Seniors safety information evening


A reminder that a Safety and Local Services information evening for senior citizens will be held in Kilcullen Parish Centre THIS EVENING, Monday 15 April, writes Brian Byrne.
The event will begin at 7pm and will include presentations from Sgt Jon Brien of Kilcullen Garda Station and from a support coordinator of the ALONE organisation. Both will answer any questions people may have. All are welcome and there will be time for tea and a chat.
This event is for senior citizens so please share the information with neighbours and family members who may not be users of the internet and social media.
It has been organised by Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer.

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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Mohammed Jendia's story


Mohammed Jendia from Gaza, aged 23, was one of the speakers at last Friday's screening of Israelism in Kilcullen Town Hall, organised by local supporters of Palestine, writes Brian Byrne. The following is his story in conversation with me.
I arrived here in Ireland four months ago. My story in Gaza, in this war, in this new fight, is only part of my story, to tell it all would take maybe two days. Israel had cut off the water and electricity and food and fuel, coming into Gaza, and you can imagine the suffering. After that came the bombing, killing thousands of people. The bombing increased and the IDF told us to move from north to south, the south is a safe area. So a lot of people went there, but my father and I stayed at that time in Gaza City. 
After one week, the house where my sister was in the south was bombed. She had injuries on her face and her legs and her body, and after nine days she died. Her children 4-year-old Ali and 1-year-old Sara were also injured. When we heard she was injured, my father and I decided to go and say goodbye to her, but the IDF had at that time forbidden anyone else to move from the north to the south. They had occupied all the hospitals and they prevented any ambulance cars to help any person. My mum rang me and my father and said she wanted to see us, that she missed us very much. So we decided to leave Gaza City. But if you want to go to the south you have to walk at least ten kilometres. Even if you are injured, or sick or old, you have to walk, you are not allowed to use a car. My  father is sick and he can't walk well. But he gave me his bag and I carried it and my bag. They were very heavy. But we did it.
When we arrived I saw my mum and I ran to her and we hugged each other. She asked me did I want something to eat, or to sleep, and I said I only wanted to sleep. I slept only two hours and the bombing started again, so the Israelis were lying about it being safe in the south.
After that I received a call from my brother in law in Ireland, and he told me he was applying for a visa for me and the kids to go to Ireland. He wanted to see his children again. I said OK. All my life, I never had dealt with kids. Even to change baby Sara's nappy, my mother had to show me. There was also a danger that we could be killed in the random bombing while we travelled. But I said no problem, I will do that.
When we arrived at the crossing, the guards told me we don't travel through today, to come back tomorrow. They got the names from the IDF, and we were not going through. I told them it is very dangerous to go back, but they said they couldn't help me. We went back the next day and they exited me, and we went on to Cairo. 
The most difficult thing for me was that Ali had been so long without his mum, and all the time he was asking me "where's my mum?" I couldn't say anything except "Don't worry Ali, we will soon see your father, inshallah." We arrived here in Ireland and we met lovely people here and they supported us, and thank you. Now the children are OK, in Gaza they were injured but they're now OK.
I only lived through it for 40 days, what is it like for the people who have been going through it for now 188 days? It's unbelievable. You can't imagine what is happening there. All the hospitals in Gaza [are gone]. There is no hospital, no schools, no houses. My house is gone, all my neighbours' houses. We don't have anything now in Gaza, my family is homeless. The situation there is very very difficult.
This is the worst time. I lived through other wars from Israel, but this you cannot call it war, it is genocide. I need another word, something bigger, you cannot imagine what is happening there. Every day I lose more of my friends. Yesterday I lost two cousins, and every day I am very sad. But I can't do anything. I hope that someone can stop Israel and have a ceasefire now, but it's very very difficult for us.
I studied mobile computing and smart phones in university. I can write code and I'm an applications programmer. But because of the lack of internet and electricity, we only have electricity for eight hours, [I couldn't work there].
At this time I hope to stay here because the situation in Gaza is very difficult. You know, maybe it needs 20 years or 30 years to bring Gaza back as it was. After that I would return to Gaza because it is my home.
(The funds raised at Friday's event are going towards trying to bring the rest of Mohammed's family out of Gaza.)

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Sewage improvement works in Cnoc na Gréine will last eight weeks


Sewerage improvement works in the Cnoc na Gréine estate will begin tomorrow, Monday 15 April, and will last for eight weeks.
The works are being carried out by AXE Contracts on behalf of Kildare County Council and Uisce Éireann. Some delays travelling through the estate can be expected.
Contacts for any issues are Padraic Egan for the Contractor at 087 3814886 or Sarah Walsh for Kildare County Council at sjwalsh@kildarecoco.ie.
Following a lot of work between the Council and Residents, negotiated by Cllr Tracey O'Dwyer, the estate was taken in charge in 2022. "Since then the next phase was to have the public lighting infrastructure upgraded, which is now complete," the councillor says. "However the biggest issue has always been drainage in the estate and I am absolutely delighted that finally these much needed works will commence next week."

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Canoe Club summer camp for junior girl members


Kilcullen Canoe Club is hosting a Summer Camp for Junior Girls members which will run for four consecutive days in July.
The camp is designed for girls to advance from Level 2 to Level 3 in Paddle Skills. It's for KCC members only.
The dates are 16-19 inclusive and the event is in association with GoPaddle.ie and sponsored by Her Moves and Kildare Sports Partnership.
Those interested can secure their place through the KCC members WhatsApp group.

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Cnoc na Gréine needs a little extra help


Cnoc na Greine Residents Association
are seeking extra committee members to help with the range of activities they manage on behalf of the whole estate.
The involvement is 4-5 meetings a year, event organising such as family days and clean up days, help with collecting annual maintenance fees, and offering new ideas — all views are taken on board and there's collective decision making.
Other jobs include continued work with maintenance of green areas, and follow up with estate requirements now that they are taken in charge by Kildare County Council.  
The committee say every bit of support helps, even by just attending the meetings. Contack via Facebook page @cnocnagreineresassoc or Email: cnocnagreineresassoc@gmail.com.

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Run Club Open Day


A reminder that an Open Day is being held by the Kilcullen Community Run Club today, Sunday 14 April, starting and finishing at Kilcullen Community Centre.
The event is open to all, and offers a 3km walk route or 5km running course. Families (and their dogs) are welcome to take part in a social group which holds regular meet-up days.
The Open Day begins at 9.30am and will finish around 11am with coffee and chat at The Coffee Hatch.
There will be warm up and cool down exercises and all participants can walk or run at a pace that suits themselves.

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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Realities of the Gaza tragedy

Event organiser Emily Barrett with Mohammed Jendia.

Three different perspectives of the same story backgrounded the showing in Kilcullen's Town Hall last night of Israelism, writes Brian Byrne. There was a full house for the screening of the documentary, which takes the theme of how the traditional America-Israel relationship can fall apart at individual level when reality is confronted. But there were also people there with direct knowledge of the impact on ordinary people by the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Their stories? An escape to Ireland by an young Gazan with his sister's two little children — the mother had been killed by Israeli bombing. The sadness of a woman who wrote about Palestine two decades ago that nothing has changed since ... except that it has all gotten worse. The anguish of an Irish pro-Palestine Jewish activist over genocidal actions by the state of Israel.
Mohammed Jendia, a 23-year-old software coder, told the Diary about living under the initial bombing of Gaza City after the October Hamas attack. His father is unwell and when Gazans were told to go to the 'safe' south of the enclave, Mohammed stayed with him while his mother, and his sister and her two children — aged four and one — went south. Later they heard his sister and children had been injured in bombing, and they decided to go to them. "We had to walk, we weren't allowed use a car. I carried my father's bag as well as my own, as he couldn't do so." When they finally reached their family, his sister had died from her injuries, Mohammed and his father not getting the chance to day goodbye.
"My sister's husband lives in Ireland and he arranged for visas for me to bring his children to him," Mohammed says. "I set out with them, knowing nothing about caring for small children — my mother had to show me how to change the baby's nappy. When we got to the crossing to Egypt, we were sent back because our names were not on the crossing list." The 4-year-old, Ali, was asking for his mother, but Mohammed couldn't bring himself to reveal their mother, his sister, had died. "We'll be with your Daddy soon," he kept saying. After a number of days they were allowed through and travelled on to Ireland. Mohammed is now living here, with no home or work to go back to, and last night's screening of Israelism was raising funds to try and bring out the remainder of his family still trapped in Gaza.
Felicity Heathcote and her husband Dr Niall Holohan.


Felicity Heathcote's The Resting Place of the Moon was first published in 2007, based on her experience of the West Bank and Gaza where she and her diplomat husband Dr Niall Holohan lived from 2002 while he was Ireland's representative to the Palestinian Authority. During that time, Felicity and her daughter Clare worked with UN agencies, among other things training local psychologists to help people deal with the mental difficulties brought by the ongoing conflicts. Her premise in The Resting Place of the Moon is a Conference of Birds, where birds bring from different areas of the Holy Land the stories of tragedy, brutality and, occasionally, inspiration. "Rather naively at the time, I thought that if I could bring these stories to the attention of the world, something could be done," she told the Diary last evening. "Twenty years later, everything has got steadily worse, and still nobody speaks out against it." In addition to a re-print and updating of The Resting Place of the Moon, Felicity has recently published a second book, A Gaza Diary, a record of some of the terrible sufferings of the people of Gaza over decades. "Nothing has really changed since the winter of 2008/9 other than the scale of the death and destruction," she says sadly. Proceeds from both books go to helping the people of Palestine.
Jacob Woolf.

A third speaker last night, Jacob Woolf, is an Irish activist with the Jews for Palestine group. Jacob says he is representative of a 'significant and growing' cohort of Jewish people in many countries who are against their identity and tragic history being used to "justify and whitewash what is the genocide currently taking place, as well as the legitimacy of what Israel has done." Born and raised in Ireland, Jacob's Jewish roots go back through generations of rabbis, originally to Ukraine.
The screening of Israelism may have brought to a Kilcullen audience new knowledge about the influence of the American Jewish support for Israel since 1948, as it follows two American Jews through their own recent journeys to an understanding of the reality. In the US and Canada, a strong online campaign describing the documentary as anti-semitic tried to have screenings cancelled in a number of venues, notably universities. In many cases those cancellations were reversed following the intervention of academics.
For last night, it was very clear that those present were already supporters of the Palestine cause. Perhaps a preaching to the converted, and not garnering the potentially dodgy media traction that noisy protest marches bring. This tragedy will not be resolved soon. But if the story continues to be told, word by word may, slowly but inevitably, trump chaos with reason.
ED NOTE: We'll be telling the stories of the three speakers in more detail later.

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The passing of Josie Ivory (née Donohoe)

The Diary has learned of the death of Josie Ivory (née Donohoe), Castlefish, Kilcullen, on 12 April 2024. Josie passed away peacefully at Tallaght Hospital in the company of her loving family. 
She is sadly missed by her loving husband Michael, son Michael, daughter Deirdre, grandchildren Tadhg, Gavin, Jenna, Eoghan and Hannah, extended Landers, Donohoe, Byrne, Ivory, Farrelly and Hughes families, neighbours, relatives and many friends.
Josie will be reposing in Halligan’s Funeral Home, Station Road, Rathvilly (Eircode R93 C560) on Sunday from 3pm concluding at 7pm. Funeral Home private thereafter please. 
Her funeral will arrive to The Church of The Sacred Heart and St Brigid, Kilcullen, on Monday morning for 11am Requiem Mass after which she will be laid to rest in St Joseph's Cemetery, Gormanstown, Co Kildare.
Josie’s Funeral Mass can be viewed live on the church's webstream link. Family home strictly private please.
Rest in peace.