Sunday, February 15, 2015

It Says in The Bridge: February 2015

Kicking off the February 2015 issue of the Bridge are, deservedly, Nolans Butchers with their achievement of the 'Champion of Champions' accolade from the Countryside Alliance Awards operated in the UK & Ireland, writes Brian Byrne.

Their lead story piece shares the front page with a lead-in to the recent 'Open All Hours' event organised in Kilcullen Community Library, and with a big 'Thank You' to Sean Crowe on his retirement from his position as caretaker in the Town Hall Heritage Centre. Sean has, with a wonderful equanimity, looked after groups, associations, and visitors to very many events in the Centre over his years there.

Other news matters include the upcoming Kilcullen Drama Group presentation of 'Caught in the Net', which promises to be as hilarious as the 'Run for your Wife' to which it is a sequel. 'An hilarious slapstick, knockabout comedy' writes Bernard Berney, not at all a biased writer by the fact that he's playing the same character in this one as he did in the original in Kilcullen 21 years ago.

Bernard is also the writer of news of a visit to Kilcullen by Frank and Anne Brady, with whom he had attended primary school, and the memories their visit raised.

There's also information on the preparations for the second 5K Fun Run organised by Grainne McGrath, which is gathering pace and people. The March presentation of 'Grease' by the TY guys and gals in CPC is also prominent, and those who want to get to an always excellent production need to keep their attention on the booking day of 2 March.

Brannoxtown NS pupils have been getting a Cycling Safety Training Course, and still on schools news, we read that Nadya Dunne in 4th Class Scoil Bhride won two golds in the Leinster Schools Swimming Competition, in 50m Butterfly and 50m Freestyle.

There are a lot of feature pieces this month. In the regulars, a strong page from the KWWSPCA highlights a shocking case of abuse and neglect of a staffie dog found on The Curragh, which finally died in good care in Kilcullen. Much happier is the coverage of the recent 'Open All Hours' event in Kilcullen Community Library, which revived memories of shops and business people and their customers over several generations.

There's a very nice reflection on a former Kilcullen character, Mickey Gordon, by Jacinta Sully. That rang several bells with this writer, as I many times drove him home from Kilcullen to Naas after he had finished his work cleaning the cinema here. A reprise of an anonymous poem recording an 'epic' journey by Mickey to Knock and back is well worth a read.

In a number of spaces, James Healy muses on Queen Elizabeth, North Korea, Pope Francis, and the first issue of The Bridge. He also has a short story about the famous Alarums Threepail, and found time to pen another alternative Poem & Parody on 'The Whistling Gypsy'.

Almost equally prolific this month is Billy Redmond, whose rather shorter than usual 'Off The Cuff' is nevertheless very to the point about the cutting down of the cross on Carrauntoohill, a call for the removal of the Angelus, John Delaney (of Irish soccer fame) and his singing, and a sushi bar. Elsewhere he waxes on how we can all do our bit for tourism. But the most interesting, arguably (and I wouldn't be the one to argue with Billy's priorities) is a spread of extract from the book he recently published for private family distribution on his own life.

I had a special interest in the two pages given over to the late Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny, most famous for his rescuing of Italian Fascist dictator Mussolini. He came to live locally in Martinstown, and I do remember him as an occasional dinner customer in The Hideout Grill at the turn of the 60s. The article is adapted from a BBC piece marking of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Elsewhere, Julie Dunlop writes topically on 'This Funny Old Thing Called Love', Sean Landers is back in Taiwan and wondering about his future, and Gavin Coyne suggests ways of making it easier to do in 2015 all the things we want.

Given the time of year, there's not much sport in this issue, but we do get the details of the GAA Committee for 2015, and a fairly comprehensive report from Kilcullen Badminton Club.

And let's end with a thought from our own (now revered, if not actually reverend) Bernard Berney, who has thoughts on love. Love that begins at home with parents, brothers and sisters. Later with friends and acquaintances. "Having learned love at home ... we can attempt to bring it to the world," he writes.

Wish that we could, because this very troubled world needs all the love it can get.