Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kilcullen celebrates with Nolans 'Champion of Champions'

The recent House of Lords presentation to Nolans of the Champion of Champions Award from the Countryside Alliance may have been special, but the real event was this afternoon, when the Award was presented to members of the total Nolans team, writes Brian Byrne.

The presentation was made by GAA guru extraordinaire Micheal O Muircheartaigh, who said that one day it could be joined by the Sam Maguire Cup when that prize is next won by Kildare. He described Nolans as a true 'Centre of Excellence' in business and community involvement.

The celebrations were joined by a full shop of customers and friends who enjoyed the occasion, the music, the food and wine, and above all the triumph of an Award that was for Ireland as much as Nolans and Kilcullen.

The shop had reached the top of a competition in which more than 30,000 businesses in these islands had participated over the last decade.

The official parts of the celebrations were conducted by local sports commentator and journalist Killian Whelan, who outlined the history of the business as well as introducing the contributors.

James Nolan himself once again thanked the members of the shop's staff, without whom none of the success enjoyed by the business would be possible. He also paid tribute to the previous generations of his family who had established and built the business which he found himself in a position to move further, in particular his late father Andy. "I know he'll be looking down proudly today, and smiling because it's Saturday and the shop is full of people," he added.

Noel Clare, representing Kilcullen Community Action, spoke about how Nolans was not just a business to be proud of but also an important social hub in Kilcullen where people in the community met regularly in a similar convivial atmosphere as a pub, 'but without a hangover at the end'. He paid particular thanks to James Nolan for his regular inputs into the Enterprise Module in the curriculum of Cross & Passion College, and also noted his continuing work in raising money for kidney research.

Finishing up, Micheal O Muircheartaigh read out the names of the members of the Nolans team, relating them to positions on a GAA team.

A tour of the whole Nolans operation was then made available to any who wanted to take it.

All in all, a wonderful celebration of local achievement gone international. There are more pictures here.