Friday, March 22, 2019

Dana Cooper, Gillian Tuite, in the BAG

Dana Cooper returns to Mick Muphy's, Ballymore Eustace, on Monday 25 March, writes Roy Thompson. Doors open at 8:30pm, Gig starts at 9pm. Admission is €12.

Dana Cooper dedicated himself to a life of music over 40 years ago. This song poet engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. He is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Musician award from Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO. He was also named the 2015 Spirit of Folk award winner by Folk Alliance International.

He was originally signed to Elektra Records where his eponymous first album was released in 1973. Since then his prolific endeavours have resulted in 28 albums.

Opening the show on the night will be young Irish singer/songwriter, Gillian Tuite. Her new single 'Something We Should Try' Co-written with Fred Koller and produced by Thomm Jutz in Nashville, was just released on Thursday 14th March.

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Support Daffodil Day

Today is Daffodil Day and everyone will have a chance to support this Irish Cancer Society initiative at the usual collection places around town, writes Brian Byrne.

It's the 32nd year that Kilcullen has contributed to the campaign, and every year local generosity raises several thousands of euro. Last year's collection brought in €4,752, bringing the total raised over the three decades to more than €100,000.

Nationally, the Irish Cancer Society hopes to raise €4m today in collections, to help its support of cancer patients and their families.

The event was organised in Kilcullen for 30 years by Nuala Collins who retired from the work in 2017. It is now led by Trish Dowling.

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The story of Punchestown in The Tanyard

Painting of the riders in the Corinthian Cup, 1854, by Michael Angelo Hayes.
The first race meeting of the Kildare Hunt Club took place at Punchestown on 1 April 1850, writes Sean Cleary. It was not a nice day, the jumps were a bit amateurish, 20 over the three-mile course and 14 over the two-miler. There was no stand, limited view and the weather didn’t help. The wind and rain increased in violence and racing continued in what was described as 'a perfect hurricane'.

The first two-day April meeting at Punchestown was in 1854, by which time a wooden stand had been erected. The first day of the 1868 meeting attracted one spectator!

The Prince of Wales, in a white coat, surrounded by other gentlemen, before the stand in 1868, engraving by TS Sanger from a painting by Henry Barraud.
If you would like to know more, come to The Tanyard, Ballitore, on Monday 1 April at 7.30 to hear The Story — the History of Punchestown, its association with the Kildare Hunt Club and its now great Spring Festival. It now has those stands and facilities galore.

Guy St John Williams, author, pundit, historian, columnist and authority on most things equestrian will trace the history of the home of Irish jump racing through 169 years, thick and thin.

The South Kildare Villages Heritage and History Group are hosting this event as their April meeting, first Monday of the month as usual. But with such a speaker and the new amplification and seating layout, gourmet coffee/tea and bickies — it will be a night to remember.

Come early, there might be a surprise or two in the wind as well. The Tanyard is behind the Library in Ballitore. New faces always welcome.

(ED: Illustrations from History Ireland, in an article by the late Con Costello.)

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Spring Equinox Saturday event tomorrow

First view of the Dun Ailinne effect, in 2008. Pic Brian Byrne.
A reminder that the Spring Equinox was Wednesday, and the annual Saturday morning viewing of the sunrise at the Dun Ailinne Interpretive Park will again take place tomorrow, writes Brian Byrne.

Everybody is welcome to the event at Nicholastown, with sunrise (hopefully) happening at 6.22am.

If the weather is clear, the rising sun will shine through the spear sculpture created by local artist Noel Scullion.

Afterwards, sun appearing or not, all are welcome back as usual to Ray and Fiona Kelly's home at 1060 Nicholastown for the customary brown bread and sausages with tea and coffee. The sausages, as usual, are sponsored by Nolan's Butchers.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Extra nights for Kilcullen play

With only a small number of tickets left for 'A Wake in the West', the Kilcullen Drama Group has decided to run the play for four extra nights, writes Brian Byrne.

The comedy, written by Michael J Ginnelly, will be performed on the additional nights of 2, 3, 4 and 5 April, at 8pm each night. The play opens next Wednesday with the usual invitation performance for Kilcullen's seniors, and a Gala night on Friday.

"There's been an extraordinary response in bookings," says the group's Vivian Clarke. "We had to meet the demand by doing the extra performances.

The cast includes Fergal Sloan, Maurice O'Mahoney, Siobhan O'Brien, Emily Kehoe, Catriona Poufong, Brid Hoey, Owen Coyne, Vivian Clarke and Dick Dunphy. The director is Eilis Phillips.

The story is set in a small town in County Mayo, in the early 1980s. Local man Tom Healy has died and has left some unusual funeral instructions with the local doctor.

His daughter Mary and his estranged son Martin, who has just returned from America for the funeral, are not happy with the request, and the play is a debate about whether they should follow tradition or not?

Admission €12. Booking available by calling Berneys Chemists 045 48197.

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Local election candidates launch Facebook pages

Both the local election candidates from the Kilcullen area have launched their own election Facebook pages. Both are seeking election to the Newbridge Municipal District in the poll scheduled for 24 May.

Fianna Fail candidate Antoinette Buckley's is here. She also has a website,, and a new email address

Tracey O'Dwyer from Brannockstown has hers here. She also has a new email,

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Kildare Lily White Day 2019 set

The Kildare Lily White Day 2019 for cleaning up local areas has been set for Saturday 6 April, and Kildare County Council will collect specified litter and waste from communities which have registered with them, writes Brian Byrne.

The event is in conjunction with local Tidy Towns groups and is part of National Spring Clean Month. The collections will facilitate estate clean-ups, litter clearance of roads, sports fields, or any public space in Kildare.

A secure location is required for temporarily storing the waste to prevent illegal dumping where waste is left for collection. National Spring Clean is for removing litter, NOT for disposing of domestic waste. The council reserves the right not to remove waste if it believes the waste is not from a community clean up.

Waste will be collected from Monday 9 April onwards. Depending on the number of cleanups it may take a week or more to get to each collection, hence the need for the waste to be left in a secure location.

All loose waste must be bagged. Bags should not weigh more than 25kgs approximately. Larger items do not need to be bagged. The following waste cannot be removed: asbestos, builders rubble, sods or clay, or hazardous waste.

Applications for collections can be emailed to: or posted to: Kildare County Council, Environment Section, Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co Kildare.

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An Garda to be consulted on Thompson's Cross crashes

The Naas Municipal District Office is to discuss recent traffic crashes at Thompson's Cross with An Garda, writes Brian Byrne.

This follows a motion by Cllr Billy Hillis that the Council consider additional safety measures at the junction, following recent accidents.

At the Naas MD meeting earlier this week, the MD Office said it had 'upgraded both junctions in recent years with new signage, road markings and associated works'.

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Coffee Morning for Relay for Life

Burke's Pharmacy is holding a Coffee Morning tomorrow, Friday, in aid of the Irish Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraising event.

Relay bags are now available to purchase €5 each from the pharmacy. All money raised goes to the Irish Cancer Society.

The Coffee Morning starts at 10am and all are welcome.

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Rolling Back the Years tonight — free

A reminder that as part of the Kilcullen 700 celebrations, Kilcullen Lions Club will hold a number of ‘Rolling back the Years’ video evenings. The first is planned for this evening, Thursday 21 March in Kilcullen Town Hall Theatre at 8pm. Admission is free.

It will feature two videos. The first was recorded in 1989 by Brendan Moran at a special celebration event on Nicholastown Green to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that estate. Although the celebration was about Nicholastown, people from every part of Kilcullen attended and it will be of interest to anyone who lived in any part of the community around that time. It features many who are sadly no longer with us and many who are very much with us but were only children at that time.

The second video will feature highlights of the opening ceremony of the Dun Ailinne Interpretive Park in 2008. Again it features many people from the community and a special highlight is the recording by the late Liam O’Flynn (above) of Dun Ailinne and the Clann March — a unique piece specially commissioned for the event.

All are welcome to what should be a great evening of nostalgia.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

'The Mental' performance for Woodbine Books

Pics: The Mental
Woodbine Books will be hosting a performance of John MacKenna's one-man play, The Mental, as part of Kilcullen 700. It's planned for 7.30pm on 2 May and tickets at €10 are available in the bookshop.

The Mental is a warm and gentle story of one man's journey through a life that might have followed a different path.

Set in St Joseph's psychiatric hospital in 1990, The Mental is the story of John Salter, a man who has been in psychiatric care for 40 years for 'attempting to do a good deed'. But times are changing and patients are moving into community houses — something John Salter is resisting.

"If I go, who'll get the crows up in the morning and who'll get them into their nests at night?" he asks.

Castledermot-born writer John MacKenna is a former award-winning RTE producer who is also the author of several novels, short story collections, plays for radio and stage, and poetry works.

The Mental, directed by Angela Keogh, was premiered and toured in the autumn of 2018. A promotional video for the play can be seen on the Woodbine Books Facebook page.

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'No resources' to provide Pinkeen Stream crossing

Unofficial crossing used by hundreds of children and parents.
Kildare County Council says it doesn't have the resources to provide a proper crossing of Pinkeen Stream between the Cnoc na Greine and Castlemartin estates and the local schools, writes Brian Byrne.

This was the response to a motion by Cllr Fintan Brett at yesterday's meeting of the Naas MD, asking that the Council work with the Kilcullen Community Centre to provide such a crossing, possibly by means of a pedestrian bridge.

The report to the councillor's motion noted that 'in recent years the Naas Municipal District Office improved the pedestrian access at this location'.

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Great support for Old Kilcullen clean-up

There was a great turnout to this year's annual An Taisce Spring Clean in Old Kilcullen, writes Fergus Aspell. Over 30 local residents gave up two hours of their Saturday morning to help clean the local roads.

This year we extended the tidy up to include the main road from Thompson's Cross to Halverstown school, Hacklow Road and Castlefish Road. It was a great community effort with many people meeting their neighbours for the first time.

The picture shows only some of the waste collected and it was great to see parents bring their children along to experience first hand the effects of littering.

Thanks to all involved.

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CPC students explore higher dimensions

Two CPC students were part of a team which presented its research findings on 'Walton's Adventures in Higher Dimensions' at an event in Trinity College Dublin last week, writes Brian Byrne.

They are Franciszek Fraszczyk and Caylum Farrell. With their friends Sarah Little from Loreto College Bray and Edward Isayev from Hartstown Community School, they have participated in the Trinity Walton Club programme for the last three years.

Caylum Farrell, Sarah Little, Franciszek Fraszczyk and Edward Isayev, at TCD's Walton Club last week.
The programme takes the brightest students from second level colleges around the country for Saturday tuition and projects in the world of science, technology, engineering and maths.

The full story is on the Kilcullen Page of this week's Kildare Nationalist.

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County Kildare 5K open for registration

The County Kildare 5K will take place on Sunday 14 April, from Kildare County Council HQ in Naas.

The family-friendly run will start at 10am and the entry fee is €15. Registration is available at, and there's a limited availability €5 discount with the code 'Kildare'.

All participants will get a Technical T-Shirt and there's a Finishers Medal for all who complete the course.

The event is hosted by the Kildare Sports Partnership, and is supported by Kildare County Council, Pobal, Sport Ireland and the Department of Health.

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