Listen to Paddy Nugent - Kilcullen in the 1930s with Brian Byrne.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GFG has WiFi

A discovery in the aftermath of Christmas puts the new Good Food Gallery at the top of my local cafe list in at least one respect.

The GFG has free WiFi internet access. As far as I know, the only public establishment in town that does. Indeed, it is a facility rare enough even in the wider mid-Kildare.

For this writer, who likes to get out of the office and work in more sociable surroundings now and then, this is great. And, as a matter of interest, I just posted this item from the place, over a nice black coffee and scone.

Brian Byrne.

Colouring winners

The winners of the recent colouring competition in Scoil Bhride in aid of the Kilcullen Community Playground Fund were Caoimhe Stopes, Leon Cullen, Jade Clarke, Louise Breen, Nishya Azlan and Erin O'Neill.

They were presented with their prizes by Tanya Sheridan of the Playground Committee.

Helping to manage the older years

Getting older is one of the inevitable facts of life. And there are going to be a lot more older people. That's an equally inevitable course of the demographic of today's Ireland, which suggests that the number of over-65s is going to double in the next 10 years.

The third inevitable is that as we grow older, we can find it more difficult to look after ourselves.

"It used to be that there were only two choices for people in that position, moving into one of their children's home, or to a nursing home," says Amanda Bohan, who has just opened a new business based in Kilcullen which offers a third alternative, Home Instead. This is a personal support service for elderly people in their own home. Amanda is pictured here with her Caregiver Manager Suzanne Rankin.

homeinstead

'Home Instead' is a global franchise which began in America in 1994. It was brought to Ireland in 2005 and now there is a growing network of owner-managed branches of the organisation across the country. Amanda, originally from Johnstown and now living in Calverstown, has acquired the franchise for County Kildare.

"I really only planned to get involved in some volunteering work with older people, when my youngest child began pre-school," she says. "But I came across Home Instead and heard that they were looking for somebody to open up in Kildare.”

With a background in environmental science and upper management in pharmaceuticals and the waste industry, it might seem an odd choice to go into Senior Care. But Amanda has always had a strong interest in the area.

“When I was going through College I used to do night work in a nursing home in Clontarf. I also used to spend time helping care for my grandfather on a farm in England, as he had Alzheimers. So I have a huge passion for Seniors.”

The initial negotiations with Home Instead involved what Amanda describes as some ‘pretty rigorous’ interviews and personality evaluations. For her own part, she wanted to be sure herself that she was prepared to give the job total commitment.

“I have to be at the end of a phone 24/7, for families who might need help at any time. But I decided that I could do that.”

The next step was a training stint at Omaha in Nebraska, USA, where Home Instead was founded. This was followed by further training in Dublin. “It’s all non-medical, and I have done all the training that the caregivers undergo. I already had the business experience, so I was then ready to go.”

Amanda is quite clear that there is a need for what she is offering, that there’s a gap in the services available because the resources available to the HSE in this sector are limited. “The emphasis now is on having older people live in their own home for as long as possible, and they can do that, with assistance.”

The Home Instead motto is to ‘assist, encourage, and stimulate’. The services offered range from companionship through light housework and meal preparation to help with personal hygiene, medication reminders, taking the client to do their shopping and to appointments.

“It can be as simple as helping them to walk their dog or complete a jig-saw puzzle, or be more complex like reminiscence activities for those suffering from early Alzheimers or dementia. That can include helping them to put together something like a family book to tell the story of themselves before they are seriously affected.”

The work, Amanda says, is ‘person-centred’. “It isn’t task oriented, and what we really emphasise is compatibility between the client and the caregiver. We have been interviewing for caregivers over the last while and there’s a huge variety in age and personality. In the work we spend a lot of time trying to match these up.”

Recruitment of people to be caregivers was on the theme ‘Special Touch Needed’. “We had a tremendous response. The danger was that we would get people who are just looking for work, but in fact we overwhelmingly got applications from people who had looked after somebody already.”

The experience gained in the global network is all available to underpin the local office’s service. Home Instead gives full training to those selected to go on their panel of caregivers. And because the business is operating county-wide, it needs caregivers in all parts of Kildare.

Amanda will spend much of her time for the next while networking with GPs, nurses, and hospitals, while scheduling and organising is carried out by Suzanne Rankin, Caregiver Manager. Living in Newbridge, she was one of 260 applicants for the job. “It turned out she had previously worked for Home Instead on Australia’s Gold Coast,” Amanda says, clearly very happy with the symmetry of it.

Every client’s requirements are different, and Amanda and her team will ensure that all needs are individually addressed. Confidentiality is absolutely important, as is continuity. “When we match up a client and caregiver, they will stay together. Older people don’t like chopping and changing.”

It is work which involves building trust, as Amanda has to satisfy the person concerned about their mother or father that they will be properly looked after by the service. “I’m passionate about it, and that is what I have to get across.”

Clients pay for the Home Instead service themselves, but there is a 41 percent allowance against tax, which is adjusted on a monthly basis. There are basically three levels of care -- companionship, home care, and personal care which can include helping during early onset of Alzheimers or dementia. Rates start at €18.90 an hour. Live-in and overnight care can be arranged on an agreed rate.

Home Instead is also available to advise on how to raise difficult subjects to older people, such as their children’s concerns about diminishing driving ability and similar worries.

Home Instead is based in the Main Street premises formerly used by Adrian Dunne’s pharmacy.

(This story was originally published in the Kilcullen Page of the Kildare Nationalist.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Miscellany total grows

The total funds collected relating to the recent 'Miscellany on Sunday' has reached €4,065. On behalf of the organisers of the fundraising event for Michael Garry House hostel for the homeless, Phena Bermingham says a big 'thank you' to all who have donated.

TV documentary on Dan Donnelly

A TV documentary about Dan Donnelly, the legendary 19th century fighter with strong Kilcullen connections, will be screened on TG4 on January 1 at 8.15pm.

The programme, part of which was filmed in Bardons pub during the year, has been produced by Andrew Gallimore, who has previously produced similar programmes on Irish fighters Mike McTigue and Jimmy McLarnin.

The sequences shot in Bardons include interviews with Josephine Byrne, owner of the famous Donnelly’s Arm relic.

Others featured include Jim Berney, who played the part of Dan Donnelly in the famous An Tostal pageants held at Donnelly’s Hollow on The Curragh in the early 50s.

TG4 was the main investor in the latest production, so the Irish language version gets first screening.

Aer Lingus has expressed an interest to show the English version on their in-flight service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Money presented to PKRF

Money presentations €18,515 were made last week from two fundraising occasions to James Nolan, founder of the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund.

jamespresent1

They were the proceeds of the PKRF participants in the Flora Womens Mini Marathon earlier this year, and from local man Kevin Talbot’s run in the recent Dublin City Marathon. Kevin is the son of Jim and Margaret Talbot.

The money is being used to pay for training machines for home dialysis, according to James, who is himself a kidney transplant recipient and works tirelessly for organ transplant and for dialysis patients.

Street cleaning service 'safe'

Kilcullen has been assured that street cleaning services in the town 'will not be affected' by a dramatic cut in funds for such services throughout the county.

Kildare County Council passed the 2010 Budget on Monday December 7.

"Funding for street cleaning services was reduced by 11 percent on 2009 figueres," says local councillor Martin Heydon. "At the budget meeting I highlighted the importance of the street cleaning services for Kilcullen and the massive positive impact that these services have had."

Following questions from Cllr Heydon, Director of services Joe Boland assured the councillor that the present street cleaning services would 'remain unaffected'. "I will continue to strive to maintain these services for Kilcullen," Cllr Heydon promised last week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Carols by Candlelight

Just a reminder...The Annual "Carols By Candlelight" Service at Brannockstown Baptist Church will be held on Wednesday, 23 December at 8:00pm.

This year the musical accompaniment will be provided by the Dara String Quartet, and a local soloist will be singing a special selection. Pastor Mark Hamblen, the church's new pastor, will be speaking briefly as well.

The church building has been recently renovated and now has new heating as well as refreshed look inside.

The event should last about an hour, and all are very welcome to attend.

Mince pies and tea will be provided after.

For more information, visit our website at www.BrannockstownBaptist.ie or tel. 045 420 811.

Christmas Day Service will be held at Brannockstown Baptist Church at 11am and will last for half an hour. All are very welcome to attend.

For more information, visit our website at www.BrannockstownBaptist.ie or tel. 045 420 811.



Bell found for Tanzania

Following a plight highlighted in the Kildare Nationalist and on the Diary recently, a bell has been secured locally for a church in Tanzania.

The church was built five years ago in the town of Arumeru, but still didn't have a bell to call parishioners to worship.

They wanted the real thing, not an electronic unit, both because of tradition and the fact that electrical services may not always be reliable.

Well, the church will have a bell pealing out its message in the new year, thanks to Miriam McDonnell of Curragh Lodge Nursing Home, who just happened to have one lying around, as you do ...

churchbell

“Well, it was quite a coincidence,” says Miriam. “We had built a new oratory in the nursing home, and a friend of mine who was doing some work on a former monastery came across the bell which was no longer needed. He gave it to me for the oratory, but when I heard it I knew it was too loud for our requirements.”

Then she read about the need in Arumeru, and made contact with Miontini Ako, who was looking after the appeal for the bell.

"It is small, but a great loud little bell which can make plenty of sound," says Miontini. "It is just what we needed."

Meantime, Miontini wants to express his gratitude to all who have recently donated a wide range of items for a container of aid which he’s organising for Fr Dan Noud’s school and clinic projects in Nangwa and Mogitu. Fr Dan is a Pallotine missionary who is from Brownstown and has spent most of his life working in very harsh conditions in Tanzania.

"We're still looking for some old windows. They don't have to be perfect, just useable, to keep the dust out. Maybe somebody, a builder perhaps, has some old ones taken from a job where he replaced them?"

If you can help in this regard, Contact Miontini at 085 1182776 or Michael McLoughlin at 086 709872. The container will be loading soon for shipment.

Pictured is Nico Sawe from Arumeru, receiving a church bell for the new church there, from Miriam McDonnell.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blizzard in Boston

bostonblizzard

Just in case we don't get a real white Christmas here, Noel Brady, son of John and Anna May's from Brannockstown, sent the Diary these pics from outside his home in a suburb of Boston.

Stay snug inside, Noel.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santa says new specs now

nicholawindow
Santa coming down the track for new specs at Nichola Kennedy's. He wants to beat the PRSI optical benefit cuts which begin on January 1

Footpath repairs 'temporary'

Local councillor Martin Miley has been informed by the area engineer of Kildare County Council that the reason the temporary repair work on the New Abbey Road footpatch was undertaken was because of a fall some months ago of a woman pedestrian on the broken footpath.

Also, because of recent flooding repair work, and with the deterioration of the weather, the Council was concerned that the permanent footpath could not be completed in a reasonable time.

However, Cllr Miley was assured that in the near future the footpath will be properly constructed with new high kerbs and cobble lock surface as agreed.

Jim Collins.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa goes to disco

santadisco5

Santa took a break from his pre-Christmas work to visit with the youngsters at this afternoon's Disco in aid of the Community Playground Fund.

Christmas Dues time

parishdues

The annual Christmas Dues envelopes are dropping through Kilcullen letterboxes around now. It’s a big job addressing and filling the more than a thousand envelopes which are involved. A group of volunteers are pictured here doing the job in Kilcullen Parish Centre.

Motorway to open Monday

Well, as most of you probably know, the new section of motorway linking Kilcullen with the Carlow by-pass is now to open on Monday.

It was going to be opened sometime anyhow, but the politicial wrangling of recent days really puts into question who is running things in this regard?

Anyone who listened to the discussion on KFM yesterday morning will just have shaken their heads at how many different hymn sheets were being sung from. Surely, in a €300m project, there is a little money for proper communications between the various parties (and not just the political ones)?

Cllr Martin Heydon has welcomed the minister's U-turn (although everybody knows that doing a U-turn on a motorway is illegal). "The current two lane N9 is extremely dangerous," he says, "particularly the stretch between Kilgowan and Crookstown in Kildare South where just a few weeks ago there were four accidents in a 24-hour period. The idea that this road which takes between 18,000 to 20,000 cars a day would remain as the main Dublin to Waterford road over the Christmas period, while the brand new motorway lay idle was absolutely ridiculous.”

Anyhow, drive safe, on whatever road you take.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Row over road opening delay

Both Deputy Sean Power Deputy Jack Wall have denied suggestions that they asked for a delay on opening the new section of the M9 following lobbying by local traders.

Speaking on radio this morning, both said that Kildare County Council local representatives had been told last week that the road was not ready to open.

KFM Radio presenter Clem Ryan noted that local gardai had said on air yesterday that the road would be opening next Monday. However, Kildare County Council spokesman Charlie Talbot said that 'legal formalities' with the contractor had not yet been concluded. He said that discussions would be resumed before Christmas, but couldn't offer a date by which it might be opened. It was reported this morning that the NRA signed off on the road last week and that it is ready to open, but Mr Talbot said the Council knew nothing about this, and they were the agents for the NRA on the project.

Deputy Jack Wall said the local area engineer was 'not yet satisfied' on health and safety aspects of the road, and said it shouldn't be opened until all were agreed.

A number of businesses which will be affected by being bypassed have been running a campaign to have an off-ramp installed near The Priory, without success.

It will bypass the notorious traffic blackspot of Castledermot and enable southbound traffic to go all the way beyond Carlow without hindrence.

Santa visits toddlers

Kilcullen Community Toddler Group held its Christmas Party yesterday morning.

santatoddler

The youngsters and their carers decorated (and ate!) gingerbread men, made decorations and hosted a very special guest.

A Christmas evening celebration for the Grown Ups is being planned, and details can be found on the Group's website at kilcullentoddlergroup.com

There will be no playgroup on December the 23rd or 30th but regular sessions will resume in the New Year on January 6th.

Advent carols

A Carol and Prayer Service is being held every Sunday of Advent at 7.00pm in Kilcullen Parish Church.

The final Carol Service will be performed by the children of the Parish on December 20th at 5pm. There will be Mulled Wine/Tea/Coffee/ Minerals and Mince pies for everyone in the Parish Centre after the Carol Service, and a very special person will visit!

All welcome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gerry retires from Silliott Hill

When Gerry Crehan retired recently from managing the Silliot Hill recycling and waste distribution facility, he ended a 13-year period during which he oversaw major changes in how waste is dealt with in Co Kildare.

gerrycrehan

That was just a small part of his 38 years of service with Kildare County Council. He worked initially with the Waterworks Department in Newbridge, then joined the newly set-up Environment Department in the Council.

“The Water Pollution Act had just come into force, so our early work required us to licence all firms in the county who were discharging anything into the sewerage system. Later it expanded to air quality, noise problems and that kind of thing.”

It was all about trying to bring industry in the region into the 20th century in environmental terms. “The bigger companies took to it easily, some of the older ones found it a bit strange. Farming practices, for instance, gave us particular pollution issues.”

At the time, the County Engineer was John Carrick, whom Gerry remembers as a ‘very far-seeing’ man who believed in education as the best way of regulation. “Between ourselves, Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture we got a lot of good work done on the farming front, using the carrot rather than the stick.”

When he was asked to come and work at the Silliot Hill facility, it was to stand in for a week until a replacement was appointed for a person who had left.

“It turned out to be a very long week,” he says with a grin. “We were building the lined cell in what was known as ‘Joe’s Pit’, as the existing landfill area was filling up rapidly. We were also applying for an EPA licence.”

The facility at Silliot Hill was a former sand pit, converted into a ‘dilute and disperse’ landfill. As part of the original setting up, a baseline survey had been undertaken of all ground water wells in the area. Over the years it had been among Gerry Crehan’s duties to monitor that system. So he was quite familiar with the facility.

The ‘week’ stretched into two, and then three and eventually Gerry’s name on the licence as acting manager made it rather a permanent job. One which wasn’t always easy. Indeed, he had a ‘baptism of fire’ in his first year.

“When we were moving to the new lined cell, the old landfill was capped. But instead of coming straight up through the vents, the landfill gases went out sideways and under some homes on the Carnalway Road.”

Gerry discovered this and immediately informed his then boss, County Engineer Jimmy Lynch, and County Manager Niall Bradley. “The Manager straight away got the people concerned put up in a hotel. It was just before Christmas, so it wasn’t nice that they had to spend Christmas away from their homes. But there was no option. And I remember myself, in the wind and the rain of that particular Christmas morning, I was going around checking sampling points in and around the facility.”

A new system was designed to extract the gases, and part of this was ‘flaring’ them through a pair of vents. “The blue flames were very visible at night and occasionally people would call wondering if it was spaceships landing or something.”

The use of the new lined cell system was a big improvement on the old ‘dilute and disperse’ method. But any landfill is just that, and will always bring its own problems of smells, litter and more.

“What I tried to do was to keep in contact with all the neighbours to the site and work to minimise any difficulties for them. Invariably I found them all to be very nice people. I also tried to run an ‘open house’. If anyone wanted to come in and see what we were doing, I wasn’t going to hide anything. If I could do something I would, and if I couldn’t, I told them.”

Eventually, even the new pit was full and the landfill closed. It was part of the licence that the current recycling and distribution facility would replace it.

“We worked out a system that would be as simple as possible for people to use. And I’m happy now that I’m leaving that it is a good place to come. It is clean underfoot, it is user friendly, and I think the staff here get on well with the customers. And by and large the customers tell us they’re happy with it.”

From a one-time ‘dump’ which had one man working there, the operation has become something of a mini-industry, with a current workforce of up to 17 people. Over the years, some initiatives worked, others didn’t.

“We had a composting pilot plant at one stage. It wasn’t of scale enough to make a profit, though, and it fell by the wayside. Then we had another operation for composting sludge, which did produce excellent compost, but the turkey litter which was being used as amending material made the air quite ‘fowl’ and I eventually had to tell the guys running it that we were closed.”

The recycling idea began when Gerry was watching loads of cardboard being dumped by shops and other commercial companies. It was also rapidly filling increasingly scarce landfill space. “I suggested to these people that I would halve their charges if they left it in for recycling.”

He did a deal with Smurfits to take the material, which was later extended to newspaper and other paper waste.

“I looked at other things then, the bottles, the clothing banks, the plastics. I was trying to find markets for them.”

Eventually most of the plastic was being converted into corrugated land drainage pipes by Galway plastics entrepreneur John Concannon. “Now we can show visiting schoolchildren pictures of our raw plastic bottles, and drainage pipes used in the local motorways which were made from them.”

Gerry may have just retired, but he won’t be inactive. He is studying to be a barrister, and whatever spare time he has left over he will continue to indulge in his passion for horse-racing.

Meantime he looks back, mostly with fondness, on a ‘week’ that was 13 years long.

Brian Byrne.

(This article was originally published in the Kilcullen Page of the Kildare Nationalist.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Camphill Concert

There will be a Christmas Concert at Camphill Dunshane next Thursday, 17 December, at 8pm.

Featured performers are Lynn Hilary, Don Mescall and John Fitzgerald.

€25 entry includes seasonal refreshments. Tickets available from Bernard Berney Chemists or Dunshane.

The Passing of Christopher Archbold

We have learned of the death of Christopher Archbold, St Brigid's Grove and late of Halverstown.

Christopher is reposing at his residence until removal on Wednesday morning at 10.30am to the Church of the Sacred Heart & St Brigid.

His funeral will take place after 11am requiem mass to Crookstown Cemetery.

Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, to the Friends of Naas Hospital.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

A slew of Kilcullen Santas

Kilcullen was well represented in last Sundays Santa 10Km fun run in Barretstown Castle.

santas - 2

The McGlynn family, Ray Kelly, Mary Walker all ran in aid of the Kilcullen Playgrpound Fund.

It's an unbelieveable sight to see over 400 Santas in one place. Well done to Chas Lambe, Ruth Brennan, Amanda Finn and Ann Marie DeCourcy who completed the run as well.

santas - 1santas - 3
santas - 4

Sorry if we missed out on any other Kilcullen Santas.

Ho Ho Ho...

(ED: Any ideas on the correct collective noun for a bunch of Santas?)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winner of draw

Leah Mullaly of Kinneagh is the winner of the 2009 Parish Draw first prize of €12,000.

Vivienne and Lily Clifford of Brannockstown won the second prize of €1,500, and Jack and Susan Curley of Gormanstown the third prize of €500.

The five €100 prizes were won by Ann Dunlea, Gilltown; Vincent Jennings, Knockbounce; Syl and Anne Gannon, Gormanstown; Paddy O'Connell, Brownstown; and John Kennedy, Dunlavin.

Library news

Kilcullen Community Library will be closed from December 22 to Friday 1 January.

Still on the Library Service, there's a short story competition for young adults organised by Newbridge Library. It is being judged by local writer Mae Leonard.

The theme is 'Libraries & Books', and entries must be no longer than 1,200 words. Prizes are vouchers for Easons of €50, €25. Entries must be in Newbridge Library on Saturday 30 January.

Age limits 15-18 years.

'Theft' a tour de force

It was never going to be anything but an excellent show. That's what we expect from Kilcullen Drama Group. It is what they have made us feel entitled to. A dangerous thing that.

And I guess that just before every production, those involved get seriously scared that this might be the one with which they fail.

Well, 'Theft' has finished its run now. And they can relax. It has been another tour de force. Another superb piece of professional theatre from some of the best amateurs in the business.

This time the crew were Bernard Berney, Fergal Sloan, Esther Dooley, Philomena Breslin and Vivian Clarke. But of course, there were many more in the background, as usual, headed up by Mischa Fekete who took over directing soon after rehearsals began.

'Theft' is a moral tale, as are most such comedies from Eric Chappel and his writer peers. Simple in concept and philosophical in execution. And very translatable to modern Ireland from the original, especially by Bernard Berney who played the obvious villian of the piece, the burglar Thaddeus Quill. Captured by Celtic Tiger developer Vivian Clarke and his wife and their houseguests in the course of robbing the businessman's home.

While trying to persuade his release from each of his captors in turn, constantly at the end of a gun held by one or other of them, Quill uses his knowledge of human nature, along with what he has found during his ransacking of the house, to show that he is not the only villian there. Indeed, he may well be the least dishonest of them all. After all, he is just what he is, while each of the others lives in an identity of secrets.

Bringing the Irish situation today into almost every line, and being right up to date including the recent unparliamentary outburst by 'Go-Go' Gogarty in the Dail chamber, both highlighted the recent wrongs that have been, and still are being perpetrated on the ordinary people of the nation by the powerful in every sector, and gave us the chance to laugh loudly at them. At the moment, laughter is a scarce and very important commodity.



At the end of the evening, Bernard made a surprise presentation to Madge Clarke, acknowledging not just her own and the late Harry's lifetime involvement with the Drama Group, but also that of two more generations of the Clarke family. Bankers, politicians and bishops may come and go and fleetingly cause us grief in the guise of looking after our interests, but it is that kind of communbity commitment that really sustains us all.

madgepresent2

Once again, on behalf of the audiences, thank you all.

Brian Byrne.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas lights switched on



Ray Kelly shot these at the switch-on of the Christmas lights on Friday night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Passing of Bernard Hillis

The Diary has learned of the death of Bernard Hillis, Cnoc Na Greine Walk, and late of Hillside.

Bernard is eposing at his residence from 11am on Sunday and removal will take place on Monday morning at 10.30am Kilcullen Parish Church, arriving for 11 o'clock Requiem Mass. His funeral will take place immediately afterwards to St Brigid's Cemetery.

Family flowers only please.Donations if desired to Cancer Research.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Reconstruction of footpath

This year KCA highlighted the Church Road for attention due to its neglected appearance. KCA undertook the painting of the wall.

The major work of replacing the broken footpath which has been in bad condition for decades needed to be addressed. I contacted the local councillor Martin Miley who brought the problem to a meeting of Kildare Co Council. As a result Martin Miley organised a site meeting with the local area engineer, Noel Clare and myself. The Council's position was that, as finance to purchase material was scarce, work could not commence.

I undertook to buy some of the necessary footpath material and 126 kerbs etc were delivered to begin the work which started last Wednesday 9th December. The broken pavement slabs were removed on a section of the path and, to our disappointment, instead of cobblelock the Council laid tarmac on the old pathway, which must be only a temporary measure?

Councillor Miley will be contacted to let us know what happened to our original agreed plan.

Jim Collins.

Optical Benefit cuts

Nichola Kennedy tells us that cuts to Optical Benefit as a result of the Budget means the free glasses, or the €42 towards glasses of their choice, will cease for qualifying PRSI at the end of December.

Free eye tests will still be available, but anyone planning a change of glasses under the scheme should do it before January 1.

Similar cuts hit Dental Benefit.

Lions give €2K to playground

Kilcullen Lions Club has pledged €2,000 to the fundraising campaign being run for the Community Playground project.

Playground committee member Evelyn O'Sullivan says this is a 'massive boost' and a great endorsement of the campaign, which needs to raise €50,000 of the €250,000 cost of the facility.

The project has already received a number of individual donations, and has been backed by the proceeds of a performance of 'Theft' by Kilcullen Drama Group this week. In addition, the returns from December issue of The Bridge will go to the cause.

Meanwhile, the Committee is continuing its fundraising with a Children’s Christmas Disco being held in Kilcullen Community Centre on Friday 18th December. There will be two discos, the first at 4.30pm for infants to 2nd class and the second from 6.30 to 8pm for older children up to 6th class. The cost of entry is €5.

Other events planned include a Table Quiz, bag-packing and a street collection early in 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Path repaired

The footpath to the parish church on the New Abbey Road has been repaired, after being in a bad way for decades.

pathfixed.jpg

This follows the placing of motions relating to the issue before the Athy District Committee of Kildare County Council by newly elected councillor Martin Heydon.

Representations about the state of the path, on which a woman took a bad fall in the summer, had previously come to nothing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Fair in Rome



This is the Christmas Fair held at the Piazza Navona in Rome every December.

Fundraiser for VdeP



The Badminton Club's Christmas fundraiser was in aid of the St Vincent de Paul.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Meals on Wheels survey

Kilcullen Lions Club is undertaking a survey to establish if there is a need of a ‘Meals on Wheels’ service in the Kilcullen area.

The survey will be conducted over a number of months. The service would involve a number of people cooking a daily meal for those unable to cook for themselves.

If anyone has any ideas on the subject they can contact Sheila at 481535 or Frances at 481566.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Santa Dash Barretstown.

This Sunday Ray DeCourcy, Teresa McGlynn, Mary Walker and Ray Kelly will be donning Santa Suits to run in the Barretstown Santa Dash 10k to raise funds for the Kilcullen Playground Fund.

Please support the Santas.

Motorway link idea resurrected

The issue of a ‘northern link’ to the M9 motorway was revived again at a recent meeting of Kilcullen Community Action.

It was raised as part of a discussion on a planning application by Kilsaran Concrete to build a concrete manufacturing plant at its site in Brownstown, north of the town.

JJ Warren said the plan was to relocate the existing plant from Halvestown to the Brownstown site, where the company already has a dry mortar production operation.

The meeting heard that 11 employees currently at Halverstown would be transferred to the new operation should it get the go-ahead.

Concerns about increased traffic through the town were discussed. JJ Warren said the company reckoned that 70 percent of trucks carrying the concrete blocks would be going through Kilcullen. The balance would be heading towards Naas. The increase in traffic through Kilcullen is estimated at about 30 percent.

Mr Warren disputed the company’s figures, saying his own calculations suggested a greater increase of ‘axles’ going through the town.

He said the issue provided an opportunity to revive the ‘northern link’ road mooted prior to the opening of the bypass some 18 years ago.

He noted that the Brownstown site was only a kilometre from the Rosetown bridge over the motorway, and a new intersection there would provide easy access both north and south without the requirement of going through ether Kilcullen or Naas.

“It would save the company money too, as up to 12 kilometres per round trip would be saved,” he said. “The volumes which would come from the plant would easily justify the investment.” He added that there was a precedent for a local authority working with a similar private company on a project like this, in the €2.6m upgrading of roads at Ballymore to cope with a project for Readymix Ltd.

KCA chairman Kieran Forde said the company had been a good employer in the Kilcullen area for decades. “In principle we welcome the move, but we are concerned about the traffic.”

It was decided to make a strong submission on the application, suggesting options which might be considered.

Parenting Guide in preparation

The Kilcullen Carer and Toddler Group is preparing a ‘Guide to Parenting in Kilcullen’ which is planned for launch next spring.

The group wants the publication to be one ‘written for parents by parents’ and is asking for all parents in the locality to share their best tips about all aspects of parenting and raising children in the area.

Example suggestions include locating the best buggy-friendly walks around Kilcullen, finding what places are available for fun with older children, and any other experiences of childcare or dealing with schools.

The group is open to ideas from all, from first-time parents to grandparents, and has set up a special suggestions mailbox in the Library.

Suggestions can also be emailed to guide@kilcullentoddlergroup.com. Name and contact details should be included.

Drama scrapbook

A scrapbook of memorabilia from the Kilcullen Drama Group is currently being prepared, and anyone who might have old programmes or photographs is asked to get in touch with Nessa Dunlea.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night's Gala performance of 'Theft' is in aid of the Kilcullen Playground Project, which needs €50,000 of a local contribution towards the €250,000 cost of the playground.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Great response to 'Miscellany'

More than €2,600 was collected this afternoon in donations at the 'Miscellany' held at Berminghams in aid of the Michael Garry House hostel for the homeless.

Over 300 people attended, and according to Phena Bermingham the entertainment talent was 'awesome'.

Unfortunately the Diary was unable to attend, but there will be a full report later.

Lions launch Paul & Suzanne's food place

Given Paul Carey's long association with the Kilcullen Lions, it isn't surprising that the first evening gig in the new 'Good Food Gallery' would be a Cheese and Wine evening to raise funds for one of the club's projects.

The recent event was to support the Cross and Passion College Transition Year students in two of their regular enterprises this year, the Christmas Party for Kilcullen's Senior Citizens and the annual musical production, a reprise of a favourite, 'Grease'.

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There was a good turnout for the evening, which doubled as a showcase for the really excellent facility which Paul and his wife Suzanne have set up in the former guesthouse operated by the late Alice Coleman. It was fitting that Alice's daughters Pat and Ber were also there for the occasion (they're pictured above with Paul and Suzanne).

Having lived in Kilcullen for 14 years, Paul and Suzanne are particularly delighted to have opened this business in the town. "We have always wanted to to this, but our work took both of us away from Kilcullen, and the recession got in the way too," he told those at the event, adding that it was thanks to the Dunlea family that they got the opportunity to set up in the present location.

"Our business here is about good food, simply," he said. "We have a fine selection of cheeses, for instance, and our own fresh-prepared food both for consumption on the premises and to take home."

The Careys are also preparing their own fresh food and freezing it so that customers can have it from their own freezers at home. Very soon they hope to have their own ice-cream available as part of the offering.

The coffee shop which is part of the Good Food Gallery is already a favourite with people both from Kilcullen and further, and there's a lunch menu which offers both value and food interest that is broader than in most places.

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(This article also appeared on the Kilcullen Page of last Wednesday's Kildare Nationalist, the only local paper that fully covers Kilcullen happenings.)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Breffny tells (nearly) all...

OK, it has nothing to do with Kilcullen except that there are probably a lot of people in town who have become addicted to Bill Cullen's 'Apprentice' TV series.

One guy who was everyone's favourite was Breffny Morgan, and he talks here to Jack Murray of Mediacontact.ie

Presentation for Billy

The Ballymore Eustace branch of Fine Gael is to make a presentation to former councillor Billy Hillis this evening.

The event will take place in Paddy Murphy’s pub at 9pm. The branch will be acknowledging his many years as a local representative on Kildare County Council, on behalf of the local community.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The passing of Violet Whyte

The death occurred in the early hours of last night of Violet Whyte, St Bridgets Avenue, Kilcullen.

Violet is survived by her son Martin, daughter in law, Elaine. Grandchildren- Zara, Jackie, John, Niamh and Orna and great-grandchildren Zoe, Alex, Megan, Evie, Ryan and Rachel.

Violet will be reposing at Martin's residence at Halverstown, Kilcullen, from Thursday, 3rd December 2009 from 6pm.

Funeral Mass in Kilcullen Parish Church on Saturday 5th December 2009, 11am, with burial after in New Abbey Cemetary.

Viloet is predeceased by her husband Jack Whyte and her daughters Olive and Rita.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Juvenile Badminton gets CU support

It is a real indicator of success when anything, either a consumer item or an organisation, has a waiting list.

And that's the case with Kilcullen Juvenile Badminton Club, now going from strength to strength and with a couple of league titles under its belt. There are some 48 youngsters now involved, and as well as providing a good sports outlet it means that the future of the adult club looks very sound indeed for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, a number of the Juveniles who began with the club half a dozen years ago have already moved on to the adult level.

It is the kind of community activity that Kilcullen Credit Union likes to support, and last week the CU's Pat Stafford officially handed over a full set of club T-shirts to the Juvenile Club.

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"We have a set of values that are based around community and social responsibility and we have a fund from which we support opportunities like this," says Pat, who is currently chairman of Kilcullen Credit Union. "Where we have a group of young people active like this every weekend is exactly the kind of thing we like to donate to."

It is also a way of creating awareness about the Credit Union, although thh sponsor's name actually doesn't appear on the shirts in this instance. "We found that the cost of having our own logo on the shirts would actually pay for quite a few extra ones, so we decided to give the club the better value by doing it this way," Pat Stafford says.

The Juveniles compete in both the Dublin and Kildare leagues, winning the former twice in the last few years as well as having good success in the Kildare competition.

While the bulk of the members are from the Kilcullen area, there are also youngesters from a wider hinterland that stretches to Naas and Hollywood, for example.

A Summer Club held over the last two years is substantially responsible for the major increase in membership over the last while. It seems that those new to the sport get a taste for it and join the main club.

Saturday mornings are the general Juvenile Club times, and there are also matches on Friday nights and Saturdays. On average there are over 65 league matches in a year.

Drama Group, Bridge, help playground

A special fund-raising Gala presentation of 'Theft' will be performed on Tuesday 8 December in aid of the Community Playground Project.

Tickets at €10 are available from Berney's Pharmacy. A wine reception begins at 7.30pm.

In addition, all proceeds from the December issue of The Bridge will be donated to the project.

Some €50,000 has to be raised locally for the project, which will cost a total of €250,000.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Phil is first lady chair of CU

A little bit of history was made at tonight's 39th AGM of Kilcullen Credit Union when Philomena Griffin was elected as the first lady Chair of the organisation.



Full report later.

Santa comes to Stonebrook

Santa arrived at Stonebrook Farm last weekend.

Santa with Elves

There's a special Santa Village at the farm between now and Christmas. For details, call 086 2661720.

Remember next Sunday

Just a reminder that next weekend is the ‘Miscellany on Sunday’ fundraising event hosted by Tom and Phena Bermingham at their home in Mooretown on the Athy Road.

The event raises funds for the Michael Garry House hostel for the homeless, in Newbridge, and has been run since 2000.

All entertainment is provided by local people and includes drama, music, poetry and just general plain chat. Among the latest to sign up to entertain is Kilcullen's pastoral worker Hannah Evans, a lovely singer.

There is no entry fee but donations can be given in a box by the door. It starts at 2.30pm on Sunday 6 December and continues until everybody has gone home.

Planning blog

David Mulcahy, a planning consultant from Athgarvan, has set up a blog about Planning in Kildare which may be of interest to readers.

It keeps business people and the general public up to date with planning matters in the county.

There is also an opportunity to submit queries about planning.

The link is kildareplanner.wordpress.com