Friday, June 23, 2017

Sports night fundraiser for local photographer's cancer fight

A host of celebrities from the Irish sporting world will be at a fundraising night in Kilashee Hotel on Thursday next 29 June, to support popular local photographer Adrian Melia’s fight against cancer, writes Brian Byrne.

In an evening based around Adrian’s passions for sports photography and public speaking, horse-racing commentator Brendan McArdle will introduce such sports luminaries as Johnny Murtagh, Willie McCreery, boxer Eric Donovan, jockey Chris Heavey and other guests from the community games, GAA and rugby worlds.

The event is organised by a group The Friends of Adrian Melia, the members of which are in Toastmasters, photography, sportspeople and most of all, people who care for a man whose own work has made a difference to the lives of many people.

An auction of prints of Adrian's favourite photos from his portfolio will be part of the evening, which begins at 7.30pm.

Adrian is is fighting advanced colon cancer, which has also affected his liver. He is hoping to travel abroad for specialised life saving treatment which is not available in Ireland. At the moment, he is undergoing a very strong form of chemotherapy, but continues to work.

Tickets at €30 can be booked in advance, individually or for groups, at Eventbrite, or just turn up on the evening.

Brannockstown Bug Hotel

Insects travelling between Kilcullen and Brannockstown are now well accommodated with Bug Hotels, writes Brian Byrne.

Following on from the provision of one in Kilcullen’s Valley Park, the Brannockstown Youth Club has built a fine facility in the grounds of Brannockstown Baptist Church.

Described as a ‘5-star’ space, no doubt we’ll soon be seeing recommendations on Bug Trip Advisor …

Kilcullen Dawn Walk for Pieta House getting closer

Joan Freeman from Pieta House was in Kerry Group Naas last week giving a talk at the company's Health & Wellness Week on the work of the organisation, which helps deal with self-harm and suicide awareness, writes Brian Byrne.

While there she met with Kilcullen Community Action chairman Ray Kelly and helped to promote the Dawn Walk and Twilight Chorus Concert in Kilcullen planned for next month.

Liam Ó Maonlaí of The Hot House Flowers will be the special guest at the Concert in the Market Square on Saturday 15 July. A seated open-air event, the lineup also includes Kilcullen Gospel Choir and the Newbridge Three Sopranos.

Tickets at €10 are available from the Gospel Choir, and the Concert is the follow-on event from the Dawn Walk through New Abbey Stud on the same day.

All proceeds from both events go to Pieta House. The organisers are Lorna Brophy (087 2741701) and Richie Kelly (087 2346428).

Sponsorship cards for the Walk are available on request. Previous Walks have raised over €16,000 for Pieta House.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

James is off to World Transplant Games in Spain

Local businessman James Nolan will be among the squad of Transplant Team Ireland taking part in the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain, this coming weekend, writes Brian Byrne.

The 28 Irish competitors and 19 supporters will join others from over 50 countries in what will be the biggest gathering of transplant recipients this year — almost 1000 competitors registered to take on events as diverse as athletics, badminton, swimming, ten pin bowling and darts to name but a few.

The competitors are aged from 30 to 79 and include five liver transplant recipients and 23 who have undergone kidney transplants.

James is pictured above (second from left, front) with the team (five members are missing from the photograph). He will be competing in the 50-59 years age category in 4x100m Relay (Heats & Finals); 4 x 400m Relay (Heats & Finals); 200m (Heats & Finals); 400m (Heats & Finals); 800m (Heats & Finals); and well as in the Golf Singles and as a member of the Golf Team.

In 1987, after spending the first 20 years of his life dealing with kidney problems, James received a donor kidney from his sister Catherine. He has been ever since a very active advocate of fundraising for kidney patient facilities, and promoting the carrying of organ donor cards.

Annual trip to Lourdes in September

Each year on the 17-22nd September Miriam McDonnell and her team join a pilgrimage from Inchicore in Dublin — the Oblate Pilgrimage to Lourdes — who bring 120 very ill patients to Lourdes.

These guests come from their own homes, hospitals and nursing homes from around the country. Once in Lourdes the guests enjoy a beautiful holiday in the heart of the Accueil de Notre Dame (a hospital) looking directly at the Grotto of Our Lady.

There are hundreds of helpers who travel each year — Nurses, Carers, Doctors, Pharmacists, Catering Assistants, Cleaning Assistants, Porters and a wonderful Youth Service (100 young people) all who voluntarily pay their own way and use a week of their holidays to ensure that each guest has an amazing trip to remember.

Miriam is the Director of Nursing of the pilgrimage and has been travelling as a nurse to Lourdes with the Oblates for over 40 years. She is assisted in the task of organising the assessments, travel arrangements, and nursing care for the 120 patients each year by a team of Doctors, Nurses and Carers.

The entire team — 3 planeloads! — Move into an empty hospital floor for the five days each year and bring all the equipment hoists, wheelchairs/gloves/aprons/medical apparatus etc with them from Ireland.

If you would like to travel to Lourdes and require assistance of the Nurses and Carers you might like to stay at the Accueil.

People who would like to travel on pilgrimage to Lourdes and stay in the hotels in the town are very welcome to join us, a variety of hotels are available.

Miriam is at the Kilcullen Parish Centre each Tuesday night from 7.45pm-9.15pm. If you prefer you can telephone her on her mobile 087 9799403 to make arrangements.

Book Club for young adults at Woodbine

A Young Adult Book Club is being established at Woodbine Books, beginning next Saturday 24 June, writes Brian Byrne. It kicks off at 4.30pm.

Saoirse from Woodbine will be conducting the Club, which is aimed at young people from Sixth Class in Primary School to Third Year in Second Level.

Meetings will take place on last Saturday of every month at 4.30pm, and members will get a 10pc discount on the book of the month.

It's a great opportunity to get more involved in books and reading, which offer enjoyment, increased vocabulary, and stimulate the imagination.

"A book Club can introduce you to all sorts of books," Saoirse says. "But it also gives you the chance to meet new people and make new friends."

Interested? Contact Saoirse at 085 2079211 or 045 482777 for more information.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Thanks from Maintain Hope

Shamsi, Salma and Zahara in their new school uniforms for Ngong Township Primary School.
This is a note of thanks to everybody who contributed to making Acoustic Picnic 3 such a great event, writes Gerry O'Donoghue of Maintain Hope. These include artists, crew, tea makers, and audience. Roy Thompson is already planning Acoustic Picnic 4!

The money raised will be used to sustain our children's health and education. We are currently supporting 32 destitute children and we are implementing a Reintegration Programme in conjunction with the Kenyan Government. Where possible children are placed with living relatives in a family situation. The whole family is then supported and incentivised to keep the children in school through financial support and the provision of food, medication and basic necessities. The children's welfare and school attendance is closely monitored by our volunteers in Ngong, by local head teachers, and by the Children's Officer of Kajiado County, where Ngong Township is located.

Events such as Acoustic Picnic are vital elements of our fundraising efforts and, as well as raising much needed funds, they raise public awareness of our work and make for some memorable nights in Kilcullen Town Hall.

Thanks again to all.

Esther had an accident in school but received prompt treatment thanks to our medical programme.

May Connolly memorial refurbished

A memorial stone in the Valley Park to May Connolly has been fully refurbished by PJ Willis, writes Brian Byrne.

Mrs Connolly was a stalwart of Kilcullen community through the 1970s and 1980s, and served as chair of Kilcullen Community Council between 1977-1983.

When the memorial stone was originally erected, the suggestion of the inscription 'She gave the greatest gift of all, her time' came from the late Jerry Kelly, another person who devoted much of his life to the betterment of Kilcullen.

And now, in refurbishing it with his own expertise and time, PJ Willis has contributed a similar gift.

(For those interested in the background to all the current plaques in the Valley, it can be read here, in a piece your editor published in 2009.) 

GAA U14 Girls heading for Féile weekend

The Kilcullen GAA U14 Girls team who won the Kildare Féile Championship 2017 travel north this weekend for the John West Féile Peil na nÓg 2017 in Cavan, Fermanagh and Monaghan, writes Brian Byrne.

They were wished well for the competition last night at a presentation of kit for the event, funded by more than 30 sponsors from the Kilcullen area and further afield.

Club chairman Des O'Brien said the squad had worked extremely hard to get to this stage and he also thanked them for the level of sponsorship they had raised to support the trip. He had an encouraging word for the Mentors for achieving a place in the finals for the second year in a row, and he commended the parents for children who are 'a credit to you all'. He hoped that he would see some continue in the club and become senior players.

On behalf of the fundraising committee, Orla O'Neill thanked everybody who had made a 'huge effort' in raising over €11,000 in a relatively short space of time. She noted that the average raised per sponsorship card by the team was €170, and that €7,000 had come in directly from sponsoring companies, organisations and individuals. Any surplus left after the weekend campaign will be put back into the Juvenile section for the Girls team needs.

Liam Cronin, chairman of the Juvenile Section, thanked the parents for introducing their children to GAA at an early age, and for their commitment every weekend in helping them get to matches. He also said the mentors were the life-blood of the Club, and those working with the U14 Girls team had done a fantastic job in helping them reach their potential. For the girls themselves, they have a great 'never give up' attitude, he said, and he encouraged them to enjoy the weekend and have fun. "Hopefully, with a bit of luck, we'll be in Clones on Sunday at 3 o'clock," he concluded.

The Kilcullen squad will be challenging teams from Tipperary, New York, Monaghan, Armagh, Kilkenny, Cavan, Laois, Down and Offaly. The group will be staying in the Belturbet area with host families. They are pictured above with their new kit, and their Mentors Aoife Sully, Nicholas Birchall, Pat Devanney and Ger Breen.

Sponsors who specifically supported the weekend campaign include K-Bowl Naas, O'Keefe Lynch Accountants, Keadeen Hotel, PLR Equipment Repairs, KWETB, The River Cafe, Laura's Flowers & Gifts, Saol Nua, VTV Vehicle Testing Network, SC Dunne & Co, MGS Manufacturing Group, KCCEC, Murphy Design & Build, Sean Hussey & Sons, Ngai's Restaurant, Sigcom Ltd, Toddlers & Wobblers, Nicholas Egan, USSR Ltd, A Little Massage, Cross & Passion College, Aunty Anne's Country Creche, The Curragh Racecourse, The Beauty Hub, Delaney Commercials, Bank of Ireland, Dennison Trailers, Berney's Chemist, Derry Bros Shipping, Bord na Mona, Ecokem, BT, G&N Fencing, Burns Nowlan Solicitors, Home Instead Senior Care, CMT Transport, H&H Motors, and International Trailers Ltd.