Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mary Fogarty celebrates 90th in style

It was a fun night in Walls of The Priory last evening when Mrs Mary Fogarty celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends, writes Brian Byrne.

She's pictured above with her daughters (back) Breda, Josie and Mary, and (front) Phil and Ann.

Below she is pictured with her sister Joan, and (bottom) her grandchildren Maria, James, Megan, Katie, Paula, Lisa, Ivan, Zoe, Amy, Suzanne, Karen, Chloe and Shane.

Criminal damage overnight at CPC

A disgraceful episode of criminal damage was inflicted on the premises of Cross & Passion College last night, with six windows deliberately smashed in around the new extension, writes Brian Byrne.

There are indications that the perpetrators had been drinking in the area, with a number of discarded cans near the points of attack.

In at least one instance, part of an old tree stump that had been left in the area was heaved through the window of a classroom. In another, the remains of a broken bottle suggest it might have been the weapon.

The damage was discovered by members of a local football club which were using the school's pitches this morning for practice.

The Garda have been informed. The area is covered by cctv cameras, and it is hoped that the perpetrators might be identifiable from the footage.

UPDATE: A number of the flower boxes on the Convent Wall were also interfered with last night.

Photos: Brian Byrne/Kilcullen Diary.

St Joseph's NS and real life science

Pupils in St Joseph's NS, Halverstown, are conducting a very practical experiment in how bags of different materials decay in landfill, writes Brian Byrne.

It's part of the Senior Room's study of materials and their properties. For the experiment, the pupils have buried two bags — one plastic, one paper — in a hole in the ground.

They will dig them up in two months' time to see how each have been affected. The bags are of similar size, and in the same place underground, so that the test in under the same conditions.

Well done, St Joseph's … that's real life science.

(Pics from the school's Facebook page.)

History went live in Kilcullen Library

Kilcullen Community Library's contribution to the Culture Night programme yesterday was a very engaging presentation to children and their parents on ancient weapons and dress, writes Brian Byrne.

Michael Moylan of 'Irish History Live' brought along a selection of tools, clothing, and weapons and armour which would have been used by the Vikings and by people of the Middle Ages, and in a very hands-on way those present learned a little bit of what it was like in those par-off times.

Michael Moylan is based in Ballyfoyle, Co Kilkenny, and has been operating his 'The Museum that Comes to You' show since 1999. It is particularly popular with schools, for which it offers a fun way to deal with different periods in history, making them come more alive than just with books.

More information from 087 6803098.

Kilcullen sculptor's latest piece

Noel Scullion with 'Hearts of Oak'.
A sculpture by Kilcullen artist Noel Scullion was unveiled in Kildare town yesterday to mark the town's achievement as 'Ireland's cleanest town 2016' by Irish Business Against Litter, writes Brian Byrne.

The Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Martin Miley Jr; with Cllr Murty Aspell, Kildare-Newbridge MD.
The event was in the presence of Mayor of Kildare Cllr Martin Miley Jr and councillors from the Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District, as well as Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin, and County Arts Officer Lucina Russell. It was also the launch event for County Kildare's Culture Night Programme 2017.

The Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Martin Miley Jr; with County Arts Officer Lucina Russel; Noel Scullion; and Conor Horgan of Irish Business Against Litter.
'Heart of Oak' is made from both Wicklow and Galway granite stone, and is a representation of a split acorn from which another oak will eventually grow.

(Pictures by Pat Foley, Kilcullen.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Brannoxtown NS committee preparing presentation to save school

A committee has been formed by the residents of Brannockstown called Save Our School Brannoxtown (SOSB).

SOSB is exploring a number of possibilities to save the school. It is preparing a presentation for the Department of Education and the Patron which will be delivered to them shortly.

SOSB also sought a meeting with the Patron who declined to meet it before the 30th September. The committee understands that three pupils are attending the school and that it is expected to close on 30 September.

SOSB will keep the local community advised of any developments.

Extra garda for Kilcullen

Kilcullen is getting an extra garda from 9 October, writes Brian Byrne.

The arrival of Gda John Brien, previously attached to Naas, will bring the complement in Kilcullen up to four, with Sgt Mary Mulroe, Gda Joanne O'Sullivan, and Gda Jim Lacey.

The move has been welcomed by Deputy Martin Heydon, who has been working on the issue for some time. "There was a clear need for another garda in Kilcullen, with the closure of Ballymore station," he told the Diary.

The expansion of Garda personnel here also reflects the growth of Kilcullen over the last decade, and the consequent need for enhanced Garda services.

Painting raffle for local Vincent de Paul

The Kilcullen branch of the Vincent de Paul Society has received another painting to raffle. Tickets will be on sale over the next two weeks and the society will be grateful for any support received.

The painting, a watercolour of the old canal bridge at Jigginstown, is a compact work, with a sense of old-world calm and an appreciation of the how the engineering achievement of the canal blends almost naturally with its pastoral setting. It would make a welcome addition to a sitting-room, a hall, a reception area or office. The photo above doesn't do it justice, but the real thing can be seen in Berneys Chemists over the next two weeks.

Tickets in the raffle are very modestly priced at €2 each, (3 for €5 and 6 for €10) and represent an opportunity to get extraordinary value while helping a local charity.

Tickets for the raffle will be sold on the coming two Saturday mornings (23 and 30 September) outside Nolans, Eurospar and Centra, and will also be available during opening hours in Berneys, and the local Vincents Shop.

Dress up, play history today, for Culture Night

An event associated with Culture Night in Kilcullen this afternoon is aimed at giving youngsters — and adults who want to revive their childhood warrior fantasies — the chance to dress up in Irish history, writes Brian Byrne.

'Irish History Live' takes place in Kilcullen Community Library between 2.30pm-4.30pm, when there will be old weapons, armour, uniforms and costumes available.

Everyone who comes along can dress up and test their warrior skills, pretend for an afternoon to be living in a past which helped shape our today, and generally just have some fun.

It's 'hands-on history', as Librarian Julie O' Donoghue puts it. "The children will be able reenact, dress up, wield weapons and ask as many bloodthirsty questions as they like."

Admission is free.

(Image courtesy Maria Pop/Pexels)

Kildare fitness buff secures place in World Ironman Championships

A Kildare triathlete and local gym owner will be taking to the world stage in October 2018 after he recently secured his place at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, writes Maxine Strain.

Mariusz Olejniczak, a Newbridge resident who is joint owner of the No1 Fitness studio in Kilcullen, managed to battle his way to overall 2nd place in the amateur ranks at the Ironman Wales event on 10 September. Remarkably, Mariusz managed to finish ahead of up to a dozen international professional athletes in the process by taking 14th place overall.

Mariusz’s achievement in Wales was extraordinary when under extremely difficult weather conditions he took 10:00:12 to conquer the famously gruelling route. Mariusz finished a 2.4 mile swim in a time of 57:08, before taking on a 112 mile bike journey that took 05:37:53 to complete, and then finally running a distance of 26.2 miles in a time of 03:13:26 to complete the gargantuan challenge in a little over 10 hours.

Such amazing feats of athleticism are nothing new to Mariusz, having competed in races all over Europe and won age group titles in events such as the 2011 Galway Ironman 70.3 and the 2015 Dublin Ironman 70.3, along with winning ‘The Race’, a 24-hour 250km endurance race in Donegal last year. Mariusz has completed many ultra marathons and over 30 marathons, his last one in Dublin 2015 where he covered the 26.2mile course in a time of 2hrs 38minutes.

Mariusz trains from No 1 Fitness studio in Kilcullen and along with his business partner, Beata Zielinksa, they have already developed a reputation for producing some very competitive age group triathletes. The No1 Fitness logo has been a regular feature on podiums throughout 2017.

When he takes to the coastline of Kailua-Kona next year it will be his second time competing at the Ironman World Championships, having previously qualified when he posted a personal best time of 08:59:28 in Ironman Klagenfurt-Austria in 2014.

Speaking upon his arrival back in Ireland following his stunning performance in Wales, Mariusz outlined the commitment that goes in to training for such events.

“I’m delighted to have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona once again, and I’ll certainly be giving it my all when I go back out to Hawaii next year. The amount of training that goes into preparing for these events can be quite gruelling, but I am lucky that I take plenty of enjoyment from keeping myself in good shape.

“Our gym at No1 Fitness in Kilcullen means I have a good base for training, as along with practising for the three triathlon disciplines, I have to do plenty of strength work to make sure I’m in the best shape possible.”

“Honestly, I get as much enjoyment from helping other people train for these events as I do from training myself. Helping others achieve their goals through the training I provide at our Triathlon Academy is hugely rewarding.”

Proudly wearing the flags of both Republics on his tri suit, Mariusz will now represent Poland and Ireland as he competes against the best triathletes in the world. With 12 months to prepare before he jets off to Hawaii, a very busy few months in the water and on the roads around Kildare lie ahead.

Castlemartin Lodge day cancelled

The Castlemartin Lodge family fun day planned for this weekend will not be going ahead.

The event had already been rescheduled by two weeks because of the weather.

But now the residents say the green is too waterlogged to use, so the event has been cancelled.

Viewpoint: Conscience at Thompson's Cross?

A woman cyclist was killed right outside my hotel in Berlin this week, writes Brian Byrne. A classic cycle death by a turning truck at an intersection. The incident was the reason the last two kilometres of my drive back to the hotel took nearly 40 minutes — which is totally inconsequential compared to the loss of that woman's life

She died instantly. A colleague later said he saw her feet sticking out from under a blanket as emergency services and the police did their work. Afterwards in the afternoon I had reason to walk across that intersection. The police had been meticulous in recording the details of the tragedy. Yellow marks on the road showed the outline of her body, where her bicycle had fallen, the position of the stopped truck.

Sand on the road had soaked up the blood. The battered basket of her bike had been placed against a railing. A cardigan which had probably been in the basket hung sadly from a traffic lights post.

All that afternoon and evening, every time I waited for the lift from my third floor I was looking directly down at the spot. The next morning, as I was waiting there for the last time, the sand had been dissipated by the traffic. A life brushed away. But the yellow marks remained.

Last evening, back home, I cycled up to Thompson's Cross to see the completed 'safety improvements' carried out there in the last couple of weeks. I wasn't impressed with the plans. I'm not impressed with their implementation.

For years I've written about the various changes to Thompson's Cross in response mostly to public pressure from motorists and residents. Changes for which nobody has ever admitted directly that what went before each of them was wrong. I was asked to talk about the current works in advance on radio. I told it like I saw it. But even if they hear, nobody listens.

Last evening I saw the same 'safety' pencil cones designed to ‘encourage gradual merging onto the main road for cyclists'. I saw the newly-completed footpaths ‘extending from the junction for a short distance’ for a place which sees very few pedestrians — though I don't begrudge those few the facility. And I saw space inside those footpaths which could have so easily been used for cycle paths to take cyclists safely through a junction made more dangerous for them almost a year ago.

I saw again, in my mind, the yellow marks on the road where that woman cyclist died in Berlin this week.

I cycle that road through Thompson's Cross sometimes. Many others do it more often. I don't want any of us to become yellow marks on the road. Or to have it on the conscience of some car or truck driver who might be involved in making that happen. Whatever about the consciences of those who cheapskate on our local road design safety.

A cardigan is probably still hanging sadly on a traffic lights post in Berlin ...