Monday, February 17, 2020

Weather: Britain votes for Europe

One of those pretty pre-sunrise skies this morning, the air quite still, but it will nevertheless be a cold and blustery day. Some sunshine throughout, especially in the afternoon, interspersed then with some showers, maybe heavy bursts.

Temperatures up to around 8 degrees, slipping in the evening to a couple above freezing. With some late rain, that could make night-time driving a bit of a worry.

For the record, this was the day in 1972 when the British Parliament voted to join the European Common Market.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Upcoming Wild Kildare events

In addition to the range of local talks in Kilcullen over the next month or so on biodiversity and related environmental issues, a stand at the Cottage Market in Newbridge Town Hall on 7 March is well worth including in the diaries of all interested in such matters, writes Brian Byrne.

It will be manned by people from Wild Kildare, who will be delighted to talk to everyone on Wildlife and Biodiversity.

The event will run from 10am until 2pm and is free of charge.

The group will show some of the projects it is currently involved with, as well as answering any queries on pollination, wildlife, and biodiversity matters in general.

There’s no charge, and no booking required. Just turn up. More information available from or phone 087 6872939.

Later in the month, on Wednesday 25 March from 8pm, Wild Kildare will be giving a talk on Irish moths, in Newbridge Parish Centre.

Moths are often an overlooked but very important part in our wildlife ecosystem. The presentation will be given by moth enthusiast Philip Strickland, who will talk about some of the 1,500 or so different moth species that call Ireland their home. The evening will also explain different techniques to trap moths and how they are used, and Wild Kildare's new moth project, recording the moths of Co Kildare.

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Is this phone in the back of your taxi?

A Diary reader has asked for help in locating her mobile phone, which she left in the back of a taxi going from Naas to Clane on Friday night 7 February, writes Brian Byrne.

She says it's a black Samsung A40 phone, and the Kilcullen connection is that the taxi driver was from Kilcullen.

The taxi was a 7-seat car, which the party of three got into at the rank opposite Kavanagh's Bar. There was a child booster seat in the vehicle.

The owner says the battery is probably dead and she can't make contact with the phone. She believes it could have slipped down the side of a seat in the rear.

If the driver reads this and can find the phone, he can contact the Diary and we'll put him in touch with the owner.

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Last Triple Spiral Storytellers next week

This coming Wednesday will see the very last Triple Spiral Storytellers gathering in An Tearmann, writes Tim Ditchburn.

Next Wednesday 19 February, Fiona Dowling will be joining us to tell tales from around the world under the theme of 'Arts and Crafts'. Things kick off in An Tearmann at 7:30pm with the usual tea and coffee and cake from Jo before we enter the world of Storytelling with Fiona expertly guiding us. As many of you know, Fiona hails from France and Ireland and has been visiting Kilcullen for many years — mostly recently to run Storytelling sessions for the TT Group.

Everyone is welcome for the drinks and cake, and, of course, to be listeners. Without listeners, there would be no stories.

Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the storytelling at the Triple Spiral Storytellers over the last two and half years. I, for one, have enjoyed every minute of the journey.

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Heritage and creativity grants available

Applications are open for Kildare County Council's Heritage Grants Scheme 2020, for projects that promote interest, education, knowledge and enjoyment by facilitating an appreciation of the heritage of County Kildare.

Applications are invited for community heritage projects which will benefit or relate to at least one of the aspects of heritage as set out in the Heritage Act 1995. Application forms and details for this grant are available on the Council's website, or by emailing or telephone 045 980791. The Closing date for applications is Friday 6th March 2020 at 5pm.

Also, as part of Kildare's 2020 Creative Ireland programme, Kildare County Council invites applications for bursary awards that will develop bodies of work with a public interface/engagement. It is envisaged that a series of bursaries will be awarded in the region of €3,000-€10,000. Funding may only be used to support events/projects that focus on cultural activity involving the arts, creative industries, heritage and the Irish language.

Applications are invited from individuals and groups to make applications to creatively explore themes of Well being; Sense of place; Heritage (which may include historical exploration); Music; STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics); Irish language; and Climate change.

A project which combines two or more themes is desirable. Closing date for receipt of applications is Tuesday 18th March 2020, 12 noon. Details of the grant can be obtained here.

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Westport town architect to address Kilcullen meeting

A reminder that a public meeting will be held on this coming Thursday 20 February to be addressed by Westport architect Simon Wall on how that town reshaped its town centre, writes Brian Byrne.

Organised by Kilcullen Community Action, the meeting will be in the Town Hall and start at 7pm.

All are welcome, and anyone with a particular interest in the long-term development of Kilcullen is urged to attend.

A visit by KCA to Westport will be considered for a later date.

Under the direction Simon Wall, then town architect for Westport's UDC, an Integrated Action Plan was drawn up in the late 1990s. The town was subsequently improved in a project that involved all public and private interests and public consultation.

The project began with changes to streetscape signage, provision of timber sash windows, under-grounding wires and providing high quality street furniture.

Old and derelict buildings in the town centre were tastefully redeveloped and re-purposed, and people were encouraged to live over the town's shops to bring 'life' back to the areas.

Implementing the plan also provided paths and greenways, and car parking was largely confined to the edges of the town. Motor traffic within the town was restricted.

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Weather: God bless you

The country is under storm Denis warning, but for our area it's looking like fair weather through much of the day, albeit with some gusty wind peaking strong in the afternoon.

Some rain forecast at teatime in squally, thundery showers. Temperatures between 7-9 degrees.

This is the day attributed to a decree in 590 by Pope Gregory that 'God Bless You' is the proper response to someone sneezing, as a sneeze was believed to be an early symptom of bubonic plague.

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Many came to childcare centre's expansion opening

Despite the atrocious weather this afternoon there was a large turnout of parents and friends of the Kilcullen Community Childcare's official opening of its new after-school rooms, writes Brian Byrne. The attendance included the new Kildare South Independent TD, Dr Cathal Berry.

The facilities are in the upstairs section of the building, which had not been completed when the Centre opened in 2014.

Speaking before the scissors-armed children present shredded a ribbon to mark the occasion, KCCEC chairman Caryl Traynor thanked everyone involved in the project.

He outlined the historical background of the Centre, which was located in prefabs before the present building was provided, after much effort on the part of volunteers. "It was a place where the roof had to be patched whenever the weather was like it is today," he noted.

He recalled also that when the new building was provided, it was financed 75pc by the Kildare Leader Partnership and the balance by local fundraising and a social finance loan. "But for this phase of the development, we were able to finance 75pc of the work ourselves, and we are grateful to Kildare County Council for providing the balance from their Community Fund."

The chairman said the Centre now caters for well over 100 children, and has a staff of 15. "And we are looking for further staff, including a caretaker."

The completion of the new areas means the service has a dedicated room for after-school children and also enabled the Centre to offer a new breakfast club and increase capacity in both after-school and pre-school services.

Children using the service are provided with hot meals at breakfast and dinner and have designated areas for homework, dining and fun activities. They have had an input into the design and decoration of the room and were very proud to show their families around their home away from home.

The next project on the agenda of KCCEC is the expansion of the back area of the centre into a garden. The land ear-marked for the development is part of the area owned by the CPC nuns and leased by Kilcullen Community Centre Ltd, and KCCEC is very grateful for the cooperation and generosity that are making this next phase of development

As well as an all-weather outdoor play area, the garden will have a sensory corner, an outdoor kitchen, fruit and vegetable planting and lots of space for the children to explore and develop.

Caryl Traynor praised the centre’s amazing staff and thanked them for their exemplary care and education of the children. He thanked the project manager, builders, CPC nuns, local representatives and the wider community and the families of the children for their continued support of the service.

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KCCEC upstairs facilities opened

Some views from today's opening of the new upstairs facilities at the Kilcullen Community Childcare & Education centre. Full report later, and all the Diary's pictures can be viewed and downloaded from here.

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'Which bin?' waste quandary addressed by Dara

A very interested audience at Kilcullen Library yesterday heard an instructive and entertaining presentation on sorting waste, writes Brian Byrne.

Given by Kildare County Council's Environmental Education Officer, Dara Wyer, the afternoon talk was one of a series of similar presentations in the Council's programme of increasing awareness of how to recycle home waste.

A key element of the talk was to ensure that no residual food contamination should be left on any otherwise recyclable containers. "The bottom line, if there's food in it, it doesn't go into the recycle bin," Dara emphasised.

A simple tip on disposing of plastic bottles is to squash them into a compact form and then put the stoppers back on so they will keep that status and not take up more space in bins.

He outlined the changes in overseas countries, especially in Asia, which have changed their previous willingness to accept the world's waste, which makes it more important to reduce such waste here at home.

Cutting back on the use of foil in the home was another tip, with the addendum that any balled up foil, even if completely clean, should not be put in the recycle bin.

He also noted the common plastic bottles of cleaning agents with trigger tops. "The bottles can be recycled, but not the triggers, which contain metal and are too complicated to work with. But keep the trigger tops, you may be able to use them with other bottles."

His pet problem product is the tube of crisps, 'very effectively marketed, but it's essentially just a bag of crisps, with no less than four elements in its packaging'. These include plastic wrapping, non-recyclable; foil; the cardboard tube, and a metal base. "About 85pc recyclable, but it can go into the recycle bin." Without the top plastic wrapping.

Metal is generally fine, and rigid plastics are suitable too. All plastic wrapping should go in the domestic waste bin.

All recyclable materials must be clean and dry, and running plastic food trays and containers through the dishwasher should clear them of any food contamination.

"Any kind of paper can be recycled, but it must be dry," he warned. The pre-wrapped sandwich is another bugbear, 'apart from the fact that it's about three days old, but that's your choice'. It can't be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable. Dara suggested always getting the deli counter to make up your sandwich fresh, and then have it wrapped in paper.

There was much more. Including a reminder of the scary new lifestyle trend which resulted in 300 million single use coffee takeaway containers being dumped in Ireland last year. But at the end, despite the complexities, all present did go away with a better handle on the 'which bin' quandary.

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New facilities opening today at Childcare Centre

The official opening of the new Afterschool and Preschool rooms will take place this afternoon in the Kilcullen Community Childcare & Education Centre, writes Brian Byrne.

The event begins at 2pm with ribbon cutting at 3pm.

The new facilities will be located in the upstairs area of the Centre, which was first opened in 2014, following more than a decade of work by volunteers to bring the project to fruition.  The official opening was in November of that year.

The works were carried out by Kennycourt Construction, who built the original building.

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Unique opportunity to enhance Kilcullen biodiversity

Kilcullen has a unique opportunity to look at local biodiversity and how it might be protected and enhanced, writes Noel Clare of Kilcullen Community Action. As part of a Kildare-wide initiative sponsored by Kildare County Council and the Kildare Leader Programme, two ecologists have been appointed to the town and will run two workshops where they will work with the local community to help promote local biodiversity.

The workshops will take place on Tuesday 10th March from 6.30pm to 9pm and on Saturday 21st March from 9am to 12.30pm. They will provide practical tips for creating and managing wildlife habitats including woodland, hedgerows, wildflower meadows, pollinator friendly ornamental beds, habitat boxes and more.

Anyone with any interest in supporting local biodiversity is welcome to attend. In particular community groups with land — all local sports clubs, community centre, church, and schools, are encouraged to send someone along. Local farmers and anyone with a garden be it big or small, would also be very welcome.

Places for the workshops should be booked in advance by contacting Paul Leighton (087 2941206), Noel Clare (087 6497619) or by emailing

Biodiversity includes every aspect of nature and wildlife. The Kildare Biodiversity Programme was launched in Newbridge on Thursday night. Speakers included Eanna Ni Lamhna, Juanita Browne and Bridget Loughlin.

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Newstalk presenter to speak at Kilcullen Women's Day lunch

A lunch on International Women's Day in Kilcullen will raise funds for St Brigid's Hospice.

The event on 8 March will be in Fallons, and is being organised by Tracey O'Dwyer and friends.

Susan Keogh of Newstalk's breakfast show will be the guest speaker.

Tickets €25, contact Tracey at 087 6533706 or email

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