Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Parish Lotto Draw

The numbers drawn in the Kilcullen & Gormanstown Parish Lotto Draw held on Tuesday 30th August 2016 were 18, 27, 28 and 30. There was no Jackpot winner and next week's main prize will be €7,400.

The winners of the €50 Open Draws were Jack Melia (Promoter Miriam McDonnell), Mary Foley (Kathy Flynn), and Karolina Swedura (Mick Dunne).

The winners of the Promoters Draw were Wednesday Bridge Club and Mick Dunne, and the winner of the Draw for those in the Parish Centre on the night was Anne Brennan.

The Parish thanks all who support the Lotto.

Broadband from Old Kilcullen

The rollout by the Imagine broadband company of its service from a transmitter at Old Kilcullen will benefit 400 households there and in Calverstown, Narraghmore and Suncroft, according to a local TD.

The investment has been welcomed by Deputy Martin Heydon of Fine Gael, but he says more still needs to be done to meet the broadband needs in rural parts of south Kildare.

"I will continue to push Imagine and other providers to convince them that there is a demand to meet increased investment in broadband provision, as the substantial take up on this present rollout is proving," he says.

Deputy Heydon added that the state's National Broadband Plan is still in progress as well, but it will take more time before that brings services on the ground. "So I want to work in tandem with that to get more service options to local Kildare residents."

Concert for church organ fund

The 2016 Brother Raphael Berney Memorial Concert will take place in Kilcullen Parish Church on Saturday 24 September, writes Brian Byrne.

The concert will feature tenor Dave Maguire and organist Paul McKeever, and admission is €12/€10 (concession), with the proceeds in aid of the John White Organ Fund.

The event will start at 8pm sharp.

Sponsorship has been provided by Berney Bros, Fallons, Appleton Property and Pianos Plus.

Urgent replacements of components of the organ, which was installed in 1890, are required, and this concert is part of a fundraising campaign which began last year.

Marketing 'The Quare Land'

When Vivian Clarke and Bernard Berney aren’t going over their lines for the reprise of ‘The Quare Land’, they’re either pub-crawling or going to Mass, writes Brian Byrne.

Which is not quite like it sounds, because they're actually on a mission. Not from God, like the Blues Brothers, but from Kilcullen Drama Group.

Or, more simply, marketing their performance. In between their rehearsals, both eminent Kilcullen Drama Group actors have been soliciting an audience.

“Especially in places like Dunlavin, Hollywood and Ballymore,” says Vivian Clarke, the younger of the duo in years (though there would be conflict if any imputation was made about a differentiation in ability). “We tour the pubs, and tell the people in them what we’re doing.”

In that part of the hinterland of Kilcullen, they don’t need to explain themselves much. “People will come up to us and ask ‘what are ye doing now?’,” Vivian says. It even works when they arrive to shill their gig at Mass in such communities. But the timing has to be right. “They’ll stop and talk to us about the show before they go in to Mass,” says Bernard. “They’ll even let themselves be late. But on the way out, they’re just interested in getting away.”

That’s all a reflection of the heritage of Kilcullen Drama Group, which has always been an organisation to which the outlying villages would provide support, regardless of the play.

The two-hander production stars Vivian and Bernard playing a land developer and land owner respectively, with Bernard spending his whole time on stage in a bath. The original four-night run in April of this year was extended by another four nights, and due to popular demand it will be on stage again on the nights of 7/8/9 September.

The proceeds of the first night are being given to the Teach na nDaoine project.

Monday, August 29, 2016

GAA Ladies Seniors in final on Saturday

Kilcullen Senior Ladies Gaelic football team are in a championship final this Saturday, 3 September, when they face Celbridge at 2.30pm in Hawkfield, writes Aidan Gleeson.

Kilcullen have never won a Ladies title at senior level, so it would be a historic occasion for the club should they win. The girls have put in a brilliant effort all year, starting back in February running up and down hills on the Curragh, and they have put in some outstanding performances en route to this final. Hopefully, there will be a big support from Kilcullen there on Saturday to support the girls. Cill Chuillin Abú!

Kilcullen Panel: Lorraine Schwer (Captain), Katie Willis (Vice-Captain), Aoife Molyneaux, Emily Vaughan, Karen Bell, Amy Moran, Dáire Smyth, Bróna Dooley, Lisa Aspell, Clare Kelly, Jayne Peacocke, Sinéad Maher, Sarah Doherty, Nanci Murphy, Ciara Pembroke, Rachel Hovendan-Keane, Laura McMahon, Amy Barker, Kate Timmons, Ellie O’Toole, Avril Glendon, Sinéad Jones, Annie O’Toole, and Lydia O’Toole.

Selectors: Niall Timmons, Dan Bell, John Glendon, Aidan Gleeson. Team sponsor: The Spout.

Paul's 'Flying B' headed for Santa Pod

When Paul Graham gets to the Santa Pod Raceway in England this coming weekend, he'll be pitting his skills and his car against some of the best of his fellow dragsters, writes Brian Byrne.

The young Kilcullen man, who works as a mechanic in Dunlea Kia, will be hitting supercar acceleration in his modified VW Beetle as he punches it down the quarter-mile strip. When he reaches the end of the course, in around 13 seconds, his 'Flying B' bug will be doing around 100mph, its driver fuelled on adrenalin.

The car is an original 1975 Beetle, which Paul and his father Herbie acquired after visiting a drag race weekend in Bishopscourt in Northern Ireland two years ago. "Before we got home we had sourced the car in Letterkenny," says Paul, who has just finished serving his time at Dunleas, and is the fourth generation of his family to be a mechanic.

It was almost foreordained that his car would be a VW, as Herbie worked for years in a Volkswagen garage in Naas, and is a complete VW fan.

Which was also a big plus when it came to making the required modifications, in particular re-building the 1200cc VW air-cooled motor to 2110cc. In dragster trim, which means the fan-belt removed for the sprints, it outputs some 140hp.

Most of the car is otherwise standard, apart from the rear tyres which plant a lot more rubber on the track than the front ones, to provide the necessary grip on launch. "That's where the driver has to be really good," Paul says. "The race can be lost or won in the first 60 yards."

While the races are in pairs, each car may not be in the same class, so it's the individual car's time that is important, not which is first to the end. "Though if the other car is in a more powerful class, it kind of pushes you to go faster," says Paul, who has already raced the car many times in Bishopscourt, the only proper drag strip on the island of Ireland, and at Abbeyshrule airport.

The weekend at Santa Pod will be his first excursion to England, to a track that is acknowledged to be the best in Europe. It also has a special 'sticky' surface which he'll be interested to see how it affects his performance.

The event is specifically for VW cars, labelled VW Action, and has over the last several years delivered some of the best drag racing action at any VW show, including cars from the Volkswagen Drag Racing Club, the most successful single make drag racing club in Europe.

The ‘Flying B’ name of the car is in memory of Paul’s late Gran, Beatrice. The ‘B’ is actually scanned from a sample of her own handwriting and incorporated into the graphic by a friend.

“The baby blue colour was also her favourite colour,” Paul says. “And as it happened, the original colour of the car was baby blue too.”

Serendipity rules, even on the dragster track.

Street collection for flowers next weekend

The street collection for the Kilcullen Tidy Towns Summer Flowers display will be held on Saturday next, 3 September, writes Brian Byrne.

With the flowers in full bloom now, everyone in town is very much appreciating the work that goes into the display, which adds substantially to the summer buzz on Main Street.

The flowers are paid for by donations from individuals and businesses, but there's still a shortfall which it is hoped will be helped by the street collection.

The costs, an estimated €5,300, include the provision of the flowers themselves, extra plants, and maintenance of the water systems.

Another Diary milestone

The Diary recently achieved another milestone, reaching and going beyond 72,000 page views in a month, writes Brian Byrne.

In the global scheme of things internet, that might not seem a figure to write home about. Big publishers fight for, and many achieve PVs in the millions, some of them on a daily basis. But for a number of reasons, I feel our little local achievement is worth a mention.

I regularly hear the comment that the Diary is 'great for Kilcullen people who have emigrated'. I get that. But what most viewers might not know is that only 10-12pc of the blog's readership is from our wild geese. Every one of the others are local to Kilcullen. Because there's nothing on the Diary of any interest unless you have a connection to Kilcullen.

So first, in a 'thank you' to all of our readers, and to contributors. You have not just stayed with us since we started this very local web publishing experiment almost a dozen years ago, you have become part of a daily endeavour to chronicle Kilcullen and its people and its doings in a traditional way but with modern technology.

I never expected that we'd get this far. I started the Diary, as I have said before, to find a way back to my local journalism roots of some four decades ago. A time when I used to send my typewritten copy, and the accompanying photographs I had printed in a makeshift darkroom, by bus to editors in Carlow, Naas, and Dublin. From then I moved from freelancing in a variety of publications to staff as a broadcast journalist at RTE News and then back to being self-employed as a contract publisher with national and international clients. From that latter time I began to develop a niche involvement as a motoring and travel journalist into what is now my main work.

In 1999, with colleague Trish Whelan, we established what was then a new way of providing local news of important county issues, KildareNet News, located on the Kildare County Council website. It was surprisingly successful. We were even profiled in a segment on RTE TV’s 'Nationwide'. KNN didn't make any money though, and after just over five years we eventually decided to suspend it because it was taking too much time from the necessary business of making a living.

That was when I decided to go on a personal basis with what I learned, many years later, was 'hyperlocal' news, a service for an absolutely local audience. The Kilcullen Diary. That's what you read to the tune of up to 72,000 page views a month. That's what you are part of, as readers and also in many instances as the subjects of the Diary's content either individually or from being involved in different elements of the community. It has been for me a roller-coaster ride that is still pulling the Diary to places I hadn't really envisaged.

And now to the other 'thank you'. To the local businesses who advertise on the Diary. It was never intended to be a commercial operation. I never sought that kind of support. But over the years a number of local enterprises asked if they could advertise. So I added that to the mix of information which is in many ways as important as the news from the locality.

Finally, a figurative raising of a glass to all involved, as producers, advertisers, and readers, as we reach this latest milestone. Thank you, all. And 'slainte is saol' to all of us.

Onwards …