Thursday, May 10, 2018

Steering group established for Kilcullen 700

A steering group has been set up to put in train an organised overall celebration of Kilcullen 700 for next year, writes Brian Byrne.

This is the result of last night's meeting in the Town Hall, where a number of ideas floated at the inaugural public meeting two weeks ago were further discussed. But the primary focus was organisational.

Opening the meeting, Noel Clare said he envisaged a steering group with a limited life, probably a month, during which its members would contact other people and groups who have expressed interested in the project, and from whom a full organising committee could be formed.

Noel noted that he had set up a Google Calendar for the project, and issued access invitations to individuals and organisations which have expressed interest in it. This can be used by them to place notifications of events they plan as part of the year's activities.

During a wide-ranging discussion, Julie O'Donoghue said it would be important that the year of celebrations be fully inclusive, and that it should involve elements which everybody could enjoy for free. She said she was developing some ideas in this respect.

Antoinette Buckley said that from the business community side, they had already discussed the organising of a food festival and a crafts fair. She also hoped that the Kilcullen 700 year could help to push forward the Market Square project.

Sabina Reddy noted the 'integral' part the parish church has in the history of Kilcullen, noting that she has family letters from emigrants commenting about the building of the new church. "There's a heritage there that could disintegrate very quickly," she warned.

Noel Clare said there are many areas which the organising committee will be dealing with. These include history, music and arts, as well as the activities of business, sports and social groups in the town. Some of these would include already-planned activities, but there will be opportunity to add new ones.

On the heritage side, Nessa Dunlea suggested that the Kilcullen 700 initiative might help to put in place the lighting of the Old Kilcullen round tower, from where modern Kilcullen had come.

Antoinette Buckley reminded the meeting that funding would be neeeded beyond whatever grant aid might be acquired, and this would have to be raised locally.

The meeting heard that the relevant department in Kildare County Council was prepared to meet with representatives of an organising committee once it was in place, with a view to helping with grant funding.

Gerry O'Donoghue said the organising committee needed to be strong, and to provide a definite 'hook' on which to hang the year's activities. "You need a definite plan to put before the people, with which they can get involved."

The steering group will meet next week to come up a strategy which hopefully will see it supplanted within a month by an operational committee.