Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garden open day in Grangecon

An Open Day at Ballynure Garden in Grangecon will raise funds for the Baltinglass group of parishes.

The event is on 3 September from 12 noon until 4.30pm. Admission is €5 per person with children under 12 going free.

The entertainment includes tours of the garden, bouncy castles and slides, children's events and music.

Food from a barbecue and refreshments will be available to purchase.

All are welcome, but no dogs will be allowed.

Ballynure House is one of the county's more memorable examples of early 1800s architecture.

Geraldine dance school enrolling

Enrolling is now in place for the September start at the Geraldine School of Dancing.

One of the longest established dance schools in County Kildare, it was established more than 50 years ago under the direction of Geraldine Clifford TCRG. Today it continues under the direction of her daughter Tracey O'Dwyer TCRG, a qualified teacher with An Comhdháil — The Congress of Irish Dance Teachers.

The school holds regular classes in Kilcullen, Newbridge, Crookstown and Narraghmore, with Irish dance classes that blend the traditional and modern forms.

Call or text Tracey on 087 6533706 for further information and booking.

Donnelly family descendant views fighter's arm

An American woman who is a descendant of pugilist Dan Donnelly's family was recently the latest to come and view the mummified right arm of the fighter, writes Brian Byrne.

Amy Stammerjohn and her husband Dan visited Kilcullen, and were able to view the arm by appointment with Josephine Byrne, formerly of The Hideout where the limb was on exhibition for decades.

The arm is currently kept in storage, 'resting' after a series of exhibitions in the US, Northern Ireland and in Dublin and Limerick over recent years.

Amy and Dan live in California, and she told Josephine that her late grandmother — Mary Eileen Donnelly — had always told the story of being descended from a brother of the fighter who went to America in the 1840s, some time after Dan's death in 1820.

"The story was always in the family," Amy says. "My own mother used to speak of it too." Her grandmother had a number of details of the family in her papers, which Amy now has access to.

She doesn't have any direct documentation about the fighter's brother, but was intrigued when Josephine showed her a story from a California newspaper of some years ago, about a priest from Santa Barbara who had come to see the arm while in Ireland. "That's my uncle Tom," she said in surprise.

Josephine is regularly contacted by people who believe they have family connections — "Dan is reputed to come from a family of 17, so there are a lot of Donnellys about" — and also by historians, and relatives of people who may have had peripheral connections to the fighter.

One of these who corresponded with her was a Catherine Stover, who is a direct descendant of Captain William Kelly, who sponsored and trained the fighter at a property on the edge of the Curragh.

60 years away and back

This is the 60th anniversary of when Joe McKenna of Nicholastown first went to Canada, writes Brian Byrne.

While studying medicine and subsequently building himself a very successful career as a surgeon in Toronto, he came home almost every year to visit his family.

He's back again just now. You can read about his life and times in Kilcullen and Canada in this week's edition of The Kildare Nationalist.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Parish Lotto Draw results

The numbers drawn in the Kilcullen & Gormanstown Parish Lotto Draw held on Tuesday 22 August 2017 were 7, 8, 21 and 30. There was no Jackpot winner and next week's main prize will be €10,200.

The winners of the €50 Open Draws were Janet Dowling (Promoter Ethna Dempsey), James Lee (Kilcullen Credit Union) and Eddie Wright (Ger’s Fruit & Veg). The winners of the Promoters Draw were Vivienne Clifford and Kay Dixon and the winner of the Draw for those in the Parish Centre on the night was Siobhan Tuite.

The Parish thanks all those who support the Lotto.

JB Murphy racing in Italy

JB Murphy will be racing in the World Junior Track Championships in Montichairi in the north of Italy near Lake Garda this week, writes Liam Walker of Kilcullen Cycling Club.

On Thursday JB will ride the Scratch race and on Friday he will compete in the Points race. There are qualifying races in the afternoon before the final later in the evening. This young rider will be one of the favourites following on from his Silver medal in the European Championships in Portugal in July.

Myself and a group from the cycling club along with JB's parents will be there to cheer on this young man from Athgarvan.

Great Community Games results for Kilcullen

Congratulations to Kilcullen’s Ella Cullen on her wonderful achievement in winning a gold medal in the U12 Art competition at the Community Games National Festival last weekend, writes Papillon Rabbitte of Kilcullen Community Games. Ella competed against 28 competitors in her category with some superb artworks being created in all categories over the three-hour competition.

Congratulations also to our U14 Girls Gaelic team who secured a silver medal in a tough fought battle against a strong Cavan side in the final. They deserve great credit for their fine performances throughout the competition.

Kilcullen should be very proud of the 25 young people who travelled to the two-day event at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown. We also had representation in the U8 80m sprint (Tiernan Donnelly just missing out on a medal finishing 5th in his final), U8 Art (Keely O’Sullivan), U10 Art (Anna Williams), U8 60m sprint (Tuilelaith Mills) and U16 mixed relay team(Jake Murphy, Molly Aspell, Sally Murphy, Eoin Redmond, Ruth Birchall). It is fantastic to see so many talented young people flying the Kilcullen flag at national level.

This year also marks the Golden Jubilee of the Community Games which saw more than 4,000 young people and 10,000 spectators converge on the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, making it one of the largest sporting events ever held there.

Well done to all who took part and we hope you all enjoyed the experience.

Albert digs in to the Teach

Getting stuck in to the next stage in the Teach na nDaoine project yesterday — Albert Keenan deals with a redundant wall. (Pic: Jacinta Sully.)

Kildare treasures for Kilcullen talk on Wednesday

A reminder that a talk on '25 intriguing Kildare treasures' will take place in Kilcullen Community Library tomorrow, Wednesday 23 August, writes Julie O'Donoghue.

The talk, titled The Book of Kildare and Other Stories, will be presented by Mario Corrigan of the Kildare Library Service. It is part of National Heritage Week.

All are welcome to the event, which is free and begins at 7pm.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The passing of Catherine Hartigan

The Diary has learned of the death Catherine (Kitty) Hartigan, née Govern, late of Harristown and St Brigid's Grove, Kilcullen.

Kitty passed away peacefully in the loving care of the staff at Curragh Lawn Nursing Home. Beloved wife of the late Paddy, her passing is deeply regretted by her loving son Pat, daughters Terri, Ann, Rose, Mary and Kay, Sister Ena, sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family, relatives and friends.

Kitty is reposing at Doyle's Funeral Home, Ballymount from 4pm tomorrow, Tuesday. Removal from there will be at 7pm to Kilcullen Parish Church, arriving for 7.30pm. Her funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 11am followed by burial in Two Mile House Cemetery via Carnalway.

May she rest in peace.

Drama Dynamics registration dates

Registration for the new term of Drama Dynamics will take place for returning students on 30 August.

New students to Evelyn O'Sullivan's speech and drama school are asked to attend for registration on 6 September. And those interested in the new concept Act Dance Perform can register on 7 September.

All registration sessions are between 6-8pm.

Flowers vandalised in the night

This is what someone thought was clever on their way home last night — vandalising some of the lovingly-tended flower boxes at Hillcrest. The CCTV footage should be interesting ...

Live and learn — the Grasshopper Warbler

Did you know that there is a bird called a Grasshopper? writes Brian Byrne.

Well, I didn’t until I perused the sign at the Main Street entrance to The Valley Park earlier this year, which signposts the bird life along the river in Kilcullen.

The Grasshopper is a warbler, and rarely seen. But he is one of the no less than 21 bird species resident along the banks of the Liffey which can be walked by the general public in Kilcullen.

The sign, erected by Kilcullen Community Action with the help of grants from Kildare County Council and the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund, also notes three other types of bird which are regular visitors to the area.

A number of other local information signs are at the completed design stage and will be installed in due course.

They are based on information gathered in the course of the Biodiversity Survey 2013 which was commissioned by KCA and produced with the help of Leader.

KWWSPCA Wag and Bone Dog Show

The 15th annual Wag and Bone Dog Show organised by the Kildare West Wicklow SPCA will be held on 17 September.

The Show is held in the parade ring of Punchestown Racecourse. Every type of dog welcome, especially rescue dogs.

More details to come closer to the event.

Date for Kilcullen launch of Hazel's latest book

Local author Hazel Gaynor’s latest book will be launched in Kilcullen in Woodbine Books on Friday 15 September, writes Brian Byrne.

The Cottingley Secret is published by HarperCollins and is Hazel’s fourth historical novel. She has also contributed to Fall of Poppies, an anthology of short stories set in WW1, and a jointly-written WW1 romantic novel with American author Heather Webb, Last Christmas in Paris, will launch in October.

The Kilcullen launch will be at 7pm, and signed copies can be reserved by calling 045 482777. The book was launched in the US on 1 August.

Hazel is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages.