Monday, August 20, 2018

Pat Nolan back for holiday

Pat Nolan from Logstown, who has lived in America for a long time, is home to Kilcullen on holidays with her partner Greg Mackay, writes Brian Byrne.

Pat left Ireland in her early 20s and lived in Belgium for five years before heading across the Atlantic.

For many years she was based in New York and Connecticut, then moved to Seattle where she now lives.

Turns out she's another Diary reader from afar.

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Naas women's rugby team officially launched

The Naas women’s rugby team was officially launched in Forenaughts recently, writes Kevin Greene of Naas Rugby Club. This means that Naas is now one of just four clubs in Ireland to have sides at under-10, U12, U14, U16, U18 and Senior level and it is something the club is immensely proud of.

Jenny Murphy.
The team came together for the first time as 26 girls undertook an open training session with the club set for an exciting new chapter in its history. The newly developed side certainly won’t be lacking in experience on the sideline as former Leinster and Ireland star Jenny Murphy is leading the way, alongside Adam Coyle who has played for Ireland at under 20 level and will be part of the Naas Senior squad for the coming season.

The team has been established on the back of some excellent success at underage level in recent years and with women’s sport in Ireland at arguably its highest point, it’s the perfect time for this plan to come together. Naas will compete in the senior leagues and while they will begin in the bottom division, this will give the players a chance to get to know each other better and get a plan together, as it’s a very youthful squad with players coming together from different parts of Kildare. The team will train every Wednesday night at 7.30 and any interested parties are invited to attend as they look ahead to the season.

Youth rugby for girls between the ages of 12 and 18 will recommence on Monday 20 August at 7pm. Fielding sides at U14, U16 and U18, the club will provide opportunities for all. Building on last year's success, winning the U18 2nd division title, the club is looking forward to an exciting season. At mini level the club will field sides at U10 and U12.

Club registration day for new and existing players will be on 1 September.

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another great spectacle from Mac & Norman Vintage Rally

We don't have any numbers yet, but at the trucks end I'd be very surprised if Peter Sully hasn't achieved the 100 or more that this year's Mac and Norman Vintage Rally brought through Kilcullen, writes Brian Byrne.

As Mark Phelan notes from his drone footage, it took the whole caboodle an hour to pass through Kilcullen on its way to Walls of Kilgowan where the Auction is due to take place about at the time of writing.

As usual, the cavalcade was led by the motorbike men and women, with the vintage cars following on. Then the trucks, making serious noise through town to everyone's enjoyment.

And afterwards the tractors. New and old and older, the Diary's pictorial chronicle of the convoy has concentrated mainly on the older.

In the 16th year of this extraordinary fundraising work for the Irish Cancer Society, the Diary salutes all involved in the Rally's organisation and participation.

All the Diary's pictures are here.

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New Brannoxtown principal 'very much at home' in small schools

Dr Sarah Fitzpatrick, Principal of Brannoxtown CNS.
Her own experience as a pupil in a two-teacher school, and a subsequent career path which involved regular interaction with small schools, underpins the enthusiasm of Dr Sarah Fitzpatrick for her new role as Principal of Brannoxtown Community National School, writes Brian Byrne.

"In my heart, this is very much a homecoming for me," she told the Diary during yesterday's Family Open Day. "I'm very much at home in this environment ... and delighted to be part of a new chapter in the school."

Sarah has worked for the last three years as a teacher in Naas CNS, and reflects on how this latest move 'happened very quickly'. "I was on holidays when the position came up, and I applied for it while I was away. Then I met with Dr Rory O'Toole the day after I came home from Canada ..." And now she is in the middle of what is undoubtedly a challenge to get Brannoxtown CNS up and running in a very short time frame. "But it's also a great opportunity, with the new patron."

Prior to going back to teaching, Sarah worked with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), finishing as Deputy Chief Executive. During that time she was directly involved in developing the Patron's Programme for Community National Schools.

"We worked with hundreds of small schools, really got a sense of what they are. Though every school is different — each one has its own peculiarities and conditions that makes each a very special case."

When she decided to return to teaching, Sarah says she was inspired to work with Community National Schools from her experience with them during the development of their Patron's Programme. "Particularly from working with teachers in the CNS system."

Though not from the area, Sarah has followed the recent story of Brannoxtown NS 'from afar', and is very much up to date with what the school means to the people of Brannockstown. "There are clearly fantastic ties with the community ... it's almost overwhelming to see such a generosity of spirit from a community for the school."

Brian and Sean Murphy, past pupils, entertained through the afternoon.

Bouncy castles and ice-cream on a sunny Saturday.

A touch of paint added colour.
Yesterday's Open Day was sunny, colourful and musical, with a number of past pupils coming along to revisit their earlier classrooms. They also contributed with football displays and some expert fiddle playing.

But bouncy castles and face-painting and an ice-cream van are not what will make the revived Brannoxtown national school work. It will need a mix of patience, enthusiasm, and professional expertise, to attract families back to a school with an extraordinary heritage.

That mix is there. If a sunny Saturday afternoon is a sign for a positive future, the laughter of happy pupils in a small school will return to Brannoxtown.

Past pupils Leah Mallon, Emily Carter and Amy Nolan revisited memories.

Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin, Conor O'Toole, and Anthony Carter.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

This is a disgrace ... again

This the kind of thing that so depresses after all the work the Tidy Towns volunteers do to keep the place looking good, writes Brian Byrne.

It's the state of the recycle facility in the cattle mart car park … and this is only Saturday.

The sign says that covert CCTV 'may' be deployed to catch illegal dumping. I think this shows that CCTV should be mandatory, especially when the facility is a courtesy on private property. And highly publicised prosecutions should be swift.

Meanwhile, though, does anyone recognise the old soft toy?

The really sad part about it is, we'll likely lose the facility if this is allowed carry on.

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Have you seen these dogs?

UPDATE: DOGS FOUND. Two mini Jack Russell dogs have been reported missing from Spratstown-Crookstown area since 7pm last night, writes Rose Barrett.

They both had radio collars and are micro-chipped. Their owner is appealing to anyone who may have seen them.

Please PM Maura or ring her at 086 8743119 if you have seen them.

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Billy's Woodbine window of memories

National Heritage Week 2018 is now under way, and in addition to the extensive programme of talks and other events lined up for Kilcullen and surrounding towns, Woodbine Books has a window display of total 1950s/1960s nostalgia, writes Brian Byrne.

All the items have been provided by Billy Redmond, and are just part of his extensive collection of memorabilia, which we get to see quite rarely.

The theme of National Heritage Week this year is about telling the stories from the past. There's a whole window of them here.

The Coronet Camera company was in existence since 1926 in the UK, beginning its popular camera series with the Ajax, made from cardboard. This Consul model was introduced in 1950 and was a much more stylish piece of equipment. It used 120 film. The company closed in 1967.

Enamelled buckets were coated steel and were a mainstay item in every home, eventually superseded by plastics for consumer and agricultural use. This one is unusual in that it is in two sections, and has a pair of stick-out handles to help while separating them. Up to the early 1960s, enamel buckets were used to soak cloth nappies, before the advent of disposables.

This Army bugle was finished in brass and copper and was typically used for military, scout and hunting. Billy's one still has the manual of military bugle signals with it.

I remember my mother using these butter paddles to make fancy butter blocks, rolls and balls, to serve with food in the Hideout Grill in the 1950s. I became quite adept at it myself. Don't know if I could do it now.

The Singer electric portable sewing machine from the early 1960s was a mainstay in most homes, where women cut and sewed clothes before the arrival of cheap department store clothing. It was very skilful work, with the electric model a big advance on the treadle one used by my mother when I was a youngster.

The triple size cobbler's last is a vintage piece, made of cast iron. The sizes were only approximations for working on a wide range of repairs, when leather soles were common.

The cast-iron kettle is typical of items used for hundreds of years, though this version probably dates to Victorian times in its design. Cast iron, though very heavy, is still valued in cooking because it can withstand high temperatures.

This is a galvanised iron washboard, which was bought in Byrnes Hardware in the 1950s. As well as iron, the ridges could also be timber, or glass. An alternative use came in the late 1950s with the advent of the skiffle music groups, where they were part of the rhythm section, played with thimbles.

Ever Ready bicycle lamps like were used through the 1950s all the way to the 1970s (the only difference was the knob on the top got snazzier. They used a double-cell battery, and there's something in my head that they cost 2s/6d a time. Over the winter, cycling home in the dark from Newbridge College, we all shifted to dynamoes because the batteries had a half-life of very little light.

More cast-iron fire ware. The cauldron was very popular for houses where the kitchen fireplace had hangers where they could be suspended above the heat. My grandmother had a really big one and used to cook feed for her pigs in it in a disused cottage where the wall down to Moyola is now.

There just lots of other stuff to stop by and take a look at. Maybe you have your own family stories relating to some of the items. If you do, call in tell Dawn or whoever is working in the bookshop.

And if you see Billy in the street, tell them to him too ... and tell him thanks for the memories.

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