Saturday, March 25, 2017

And we faced the rising sun ... again

For the tenth occasion since the Dun Ailinne spear sculpture was erected as the centrepiece of the interpretive park, a group of early morning people gathered to mark the arrival of spring, writes Brian Byrne.

The event has become a tradition, regardless of the weather, and on many of those occasions the sun obliged, shining through the amazing Noel Scullion sculpture.

This morning was a perfect one of those, Sol obliging with the special anniversary, and Nature generally providing what was scenically the best patterns of light clouds to add interest to the photographs. Underfoot, there was a light frosty crispness to the grass.

Afterwards, again by tradition, we all repaired to Ray and Fiona Kelly’s home nearby for sausages — provided by Nolans — and brown bread, washed down by copious mugs of coffee and tea.

Another great greeting to the spring. All the Diary's pictures from this morning are here.

For the record, the first occasion can be seen on the Diary here.

For those who aren’t familiar with the background to the monument and the thousands of years of heritage which it commemorates, you can look back through the various Dun Ailinne events here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kildare Mayor's visit to New York

To give Kildare people an insight into why the Mayor of the county travels to New York every year for the St Patricks Day parade, Mayor of Kildare Ivan Keatley provides the following chronological account of this year’s visit and what events were attended.

Day 1 – 16th March 2017
Myself and the Chief Executive of Kildare County Council Peter Carey began our visit with appointments with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland at Ireland house on Park Avenue. It was reassuring to see how optimistic the IDA were about Ireland’s future prospects in attracting and consolidating foreign direct investment in-spite of the political climate. We were keen to point out the obvious key advantages in locating in Kildare such as the motorway network and access to airport and port, consolidation of zoned commercial land in our recently adopted County Development Plan, an educated workforce and access to key infrastructure.

Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland outlined their key strategies to us, for gaining access to the US market in separate meetings later that day and we were able to discuss the challenges and opportunities that our Local Enterprise Office and Kildare Failte have in order to fully exploit Kildare’s potential in both areas.

All three meetings also gave us an opportunity to present the agencies with our unique new promotional video packs commissioned by KCC and our LEO and they were very well received.

Day 2 – St Patricks Day
St Patricks Day began with a visit to St Patricks Cathedral for mass celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It might seem like an unfashionable thing to say but mass was one of the highlights of the weekend, especially the singing of Amhrán na bhFiann and The Star-Spangled Banner at the end, amplified by the enormous and impressive vaulted cathedral ceilings, which was full of emotion and pride.

It was on then, to 34th St on 5th Avenue to greet our fellow Kildare people who gathered from all over New York and some on holidays from Ireland to get ready to lead them under the NYC Kildare Association banner down 5th Avenue to 81st street. A tradition that started in 1896, the parade took an hour and a half and it’s hard to describe the scale and size of the place, sky scrapper after sky scrapper. Starting at 11am the line of Marchers were still passing Trump Tower at 5pm. It’s fair to say that our Irish American community bring celebrating St Patricks day to a whole new level.

Day 3 – 18th March
On Saturday we visited Ground Zero to view the memorial to the victims of 9/11 and the exhibition centre that has been built on the site of the Twin Towers. It was an extremely poignant afternoon as we were part of an eerily silent crowd taken through the tragic events of 9/11. From speaking to many Americans and in particular, Irish Americans following the recent election of their new president, I wonder how much we have learned since that awful day.

The biggest highlight of the trip for me was the unbelievable friendship and hospitality we were shown by everyone, especially those in the NYC Kildare Association. In particular the appreciation they showed to KCC in allowing the Mayor of the day the privilege of travelling to the US to show solidarity and to help continue the connection they have with their county. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Association’s dinner on Sunday night in Yonkers where I met people from Castledermot to Coill Dubh, Carbery to Straffan and everywhere in between.

At no time in recent history has this been more important. Their appreciation was emphasised by the current president John Duggan in his speech that evening in Yonkers where the gathering of Kildare people on a spring evening and the Irishness of the place made it feel more like Athy or Naas than anything you would expect to find in the Big Apple.

Equinox gathering tomorrow morning

A reminder that the annual KCA gathering at the Dun Ailinne Interpretive Park takes place tomorrow morning from 6.30am, writes Brian Byrne.

The gathering, to which everybody is welcome, will be followed by the usual sausages and brown bread at 1060 Nicholastown, courtesy of Ray and Fiona Kelly. The sausages are sponsored again by James Nolan.

Weather conditions this year have so far made it impossible to view the Equinox rising sun through the spear monument at the Park, but there is a window of several days on either side of the event when it can be seen, weather permitting. The actual Equinox was last Monday.

The picture above was taken by your editor last year.

Pat Coldrick in the BAG

Pat Coldrick, classical guitarist and composer, returns to play in the BAG on Monday 27 March, writes Roy Thompson of the Ballymore Acoustic Gigs.

Pat Coldrick has become a firm favourite of BAG regulars, and has enthralled his audience each time he has visited. No stranger to playing much larger venues — having sold out at the National Concert Hall on three occasions — he returns to play the intimate setting of Mick Murphy's Bar.

Pat has been working for the last six years in Ireland but has also performed recitals in Europe, the USA and Russia. He has been described as ‘pushing the boundaries of classical guitar’ with his musical interpretations and compositions and has made classical guitar exciting, interesting and more accessible to music lovers in general.

While Pat plays his own arrangements of great classical pieces, it is his own compositions that sets him apart – pieces such as Lament, CityJam and Antarctica to name but a few. Once Pat begins to play people are immediately captivated by his dedication, passion and skill. His interpretation and delivery of each piece combined with his superb artistry as a performer results in his unique ability to make his audience laugh and equally move them to tears.

To date he has produced two albums – Cayendo in 2010, and CityJam was released in November 2014. Since CityJam was launched his music has been played on all the major radio stations in Ireland and was voted ‘Album of the Week’ on RTE Lyric FM.

He is mainly self taught and in a relatively short period of time he has put together an impressive body of work and has gained considerable recognition throughout Ireland and Internationally both as a performer and composer.

Brannoxtown NS Table Quiz

The popular annual Brannoxtown Table Quiz will take place in Markeys Mill Bar, Milemill on Friday 31 March 2017 starting at 8.30pm, writes Audrey Moore.

Entry is €40 for table of four, with fabulous prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. Brannoxtown U13 Credit Union Quiz team Ben, Lucy, Donal and Samuel, who won the recent Credit Union regional competition, have made up one round of questions — hopefully we can be smarter than the children and answer correctly!

This is always a fun night, and it is open to the community to participate and we hope to see you there. You can purchase a ticket at the school or arrive on the night. Contact Kate Monks on 087 6687130 also for tickets.

Today is Daffodil Day

Today is Daffodil Day, writes Nuala Collins, and after 30 years collecting in Kilcullen with my wonderful team of collectors past and present, I have handed over the baton to Patricia Dowling of Nicholastown for the Main Street collection.

Anne Brennan and her team will continue their great work on the north side of the town. I wish all the volunteers good luck — I know people will give generously to this worthy cause.

ED NOTE: On behalf of the community, we extend a special thanks to Nuala — pictured above with Teresa Meaney in 2014 — for 30 years of great work with Daffodil Day. Last year’s collection in Kilcullen was €4,920.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Want to talk to Dermot Bannon about home buying?

A home buying information event on 6 April in Palmerstown House might be of interest to Kilcullen people in that position.

Popular TV architect Dermot Bannon will be the key expert at the event, which will be on from 6.30pm-9pm, and  is organised in association with Bank of Ireland.

Dermot Bannon will discuss with participants various topics about the big step of buying a home -- where to buy, what kind of property, whether to build new or get a fixer-upper?

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, and registration of interest can be made at Bank of Ireland Kilcullen.

Date set for Cycle for Crumlin

This year’s Murphy Surveys Cycle for Crumlin will take place on Saturday 22 July, writes Brian Byrne.

It will be the fourth holding of the event, which has raised over €30,000 for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital since it was inaugurated in 2013.

This year’s cycle will offer a choice of 100km or 50km routes and cyclists from Murphy Surveys will be joined by friends from Kilcullen Cycling Club.

Cyclists of all levels are invited to join in on the day and the registration fee of €25 will be donated to the charity. Food and refreshments will be available at Murphy Surveys HQ after the event.

Contact Caitriona or Nuala at for sponsorship cards and more details on how you can get involved.

Pictured below are Ray and Niall Murphy and members of staff handing over a cheque from last year’s Cycle to representatives of the charity. More than 120 cyclists took part in the event.

Open Evening at Halverstown NS

There will be an open evening in St Joseph's NS, Halverstown, on Thursday 30 March, beginning at 7pm, writes school principal Barry Whelan.

All are more than welcome to attend.

Please view our website and ‘Like’ our Facebook page ‘St. Joseph's National School, Halverstown’.