Saturday, December 16, 2017

Brannockstown-Bethlehem this afternoon

There was a special feeling of the Middle East about Brannockstown today when it was transformed into something like Bethlehem of 2,000 years ago.

All the pictures can be viewed here.

Stephen Foster theme for Maintain Hope concert

The Maintain Hope concert on 17 January will be an eclectic mix of music, song, story and dance, writes Maintain Hope founder Gerry O'Donoghue.

The Camptown Singers, a choral group formed specially for the concert, will create a musical insight into the life and times of the American composer Stephen Foster by visiting, through song, the world of the American South portrayed in Gone with the Wind. The group, under its musical director Monica Martin, consists of Christy and Madge McDonald, Robert and Maeve Jordan, Eileen Doyle, Gertrude Coffey, Philomena Breslin, Maurice O'Mahony, Gese Mucke, Margaret Talbot and the talented Kelly brothers.

Leah O'Sullivan on the harp will combine with the vocal talents of Eve McMahon to demonstrate the variety of emerging talent in the area.

Singer-songwriter Roy Thompson will include his own compositions in his programme.

Sean Leahy and friends will provide a lively session of Irish Music and dance.

The lineup will also include Noel O'Grady, a multi award-winning singer including five times winner of Oireachtas na Gaeilge competition for traditional singing.

Brian Byrne, who has become the Keeper of Memories for Kilcullen, will contribute a nostalgic piece, and Dick Dunphy and Bernard Berney are immersed in rehearsal for a specially commissioned comedy sketch.

A pair of tickets for this event would make an ideal Christmas present. They're available now from Berneys Chemists.

Narraghmore Village Heritage Festival

The annual Narraghmore Village Heritage Festival will take place this year on Thursday 28 December, from 11am, writes Brian Byrne.

The highlight event will be the vintage tractor and classic cars Santa Run.

With street events and entertainment, it's a grand way to get everyone out from in front of the box in the corner after the over-indulged days of Christmas.

There will be vintage displays, village fun, and a vintage tea-shop, as well as games and races for children.

Silliot Hill arrangements for Christmas

The Christmas arrangements at the Silliot Hill Recycling Centre have the facility closed on 24-26 December and 31 December-1 January, writes Brian Byrne.

On all other days through the Christmas season the Centre will be open from 8.45am-3pm.

Kildare County Council asks everybody to recycle all glass bottles, jars and drink cans at the nearest recycling bank (in Kilcullen at Leinster Marts Car Park, by kind courtesy of the Mart).

Please remember not to leave any boxes or bags at these sites and if the banks are full, do not leave any glass or cans around the banks. The Council will be working to maintain these sites over the Christmas period. To report banks that are full, or to report any littering incidents, call the FREEPHONE Litter Line on 1850 243 143.

Please note that the Silliot Hill facility will NOT be taking in Christmas trees for recycling after the festive season. The nearest locations for trees recycling will be Fair Green, Naas, and the Council Nursery at Naas Road, Newbridge, from Friday 5 January to Saturday 20 January.

Last chance for GAA Christmas Hamper

Pic via Kilcullen GAA Facebook
Today's the last chance to get into the annual draw for the GAA Christmas Hamper.

Tickets on sale outside Nolans all day.

The results will be announced tomorrow.

Schubert mass for Kilcullen tonight

A Schubert Mass will be performed in Kilcullen Parish Church this evening, 16 December, writes Brian Byrne.

It will begin at 6.30pm and will feature the Gormanstown Choir, and the organists will be Peter Moloney and Ella Fallon.

The Parish Carol Service will take place on 20 December, with the Kilcullen and Yellow Bog choirs, and a special guest appearance from Eliot Davis from Naas. The evening begins at 8pm. Organists will be Peter Moloney and Ella Fallon, and the Camphill Bell Ringers will perform.

Image by Wilhelm August Rieder - Original is in Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Public Domain.

Brannockstown live Nativity today

All is ready for the Live Nativity which will be held in Brannockstown today Saturday 16 December, writes Brian Byrne.

With local actors, a craft fair, carols and refreshment, the event from 3-5pm will feature a recreation of Bethlehem's bazaar.

It is being hosted at the Baptist Church, and donations will be accepted in aid of Barretstown.

#GiveUsASong for cancer research

A countrywide invitation is being extended to singers, choirs, and musical groups in schools and businesses to organise a sing-song over the weekend of 2-4 February, to help the fight against cancer, writes Brian Byrne.

Groups of individual friends can also get involved in the Caroline Foundation for Cancer Research's #GiveUsASong fundraiser to mark World Cancer Day on 4 February.

Aine Lawlor of RTE is the 'face' of the event, for which participants are asked to register their session with the Caroline Foundation to receive a #GiveUsASong pack, validate the fundraiser, and have the gig listed on the website of The Caroline Foundation. "Each event can be as simple or elaborate as the organisers want it to be," says Helen O’Sullivan-Dwyer, who established and is chairperson of the Foundation.

The Foundation is a constituent of Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT) led by Prof John Crown. Its mission is to fund additional research scientists to work within CCRT team through The Caroline Foundation Fellowship, which fully funds Dr Alyson Murray and co-funds Dr Fred McMahon.

It was established in the memory of Caroline Dwyer, who died at the age of 35 after a protracted battle with cancer. During this time she was the first in Ireland to participate in some trials through the CCRT which has bases in UCD, DCU and St Vincent’s University Hospital. The custom-made treatment she received not only extended but enhanced Caroline’s life.

"We are a volunteer driven organisation, 100pc of funds raised going into cancer research — no fees, no expenses," says Helen O’Sullivan-Dwyer. "CCRT is part of a global network of cancer researchers and we believe that irrespective of where research happens the learning benefits everyone — whether we are in Dublin, Cork, Belfast or London."

Anyone interested in taking part can register their interest by emailing Helen at

Caroline was the daughter of your Editor's first cousin Dermod Dwyer. It would seem appropriate that I bring my own guitar out in public for this cause, and if anyone wants to join me in a #GiveUsASong session on that weekend, get in touch.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Some thoughts on books from Woodbine

Dawn and Saoirse from Woodbine Books offer a few insights into books by local authors, and some about celebrated people who lived in the region, as well as what children and teenagers might be reading just now.

Woodbine Books is a shop where the hyped blockbusters don't get any more space than the more unusual and thoughtful choices, which makes it a more interesting place to browse for the better read.

There's no better gift you can give than a good book, to child or adult. Books keep the imagination sparking ... and it's so much fun trying to choose.

Maintain Hope concert in January

A New Year Gala Concert is to be held in January to raise funds for the Maintain Hope children's charity, writes Brian Byrne.

Organised by the usual crew of friends of Maintain Hope in Kilcullen, it is instead of the pre-Christmas one which has been held for many years.

"With people very busy in the run-up to Christmas, and so much on, we decided to change the date this year," says John Martin. "In the dark and sometimes dreary days of Post-Christmas, we thought we would provide a bit of relief at that time."

The date is 17 January, once more in the Town Hall Theatre, and the regular format of music, song, story and dance will be maintained at the usual top level of entertainment.

Tickets available from Berneys Chemists, 045 481497.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Market lookback

Just in case you missed the recent Christmas Market in the market square, local videographer Gareth Landy made up this short set of video clips (click the picture), to the undertrack of a song by the choir. It picks up the atmosphere of the day nicely.

Wonderful evening at Carols by Candlelight

There was a full audience in Kilcullen Parish Church last night for this year's 'Carols by Candlelight', and they were treated to really great performances from a stellar programme of artistes, writes Brian Byrne.

They included the Scoil Bhride Choir, Lorraine and Jade Nolan, the Kilcullen Gospel Choir and their soloists, and Brendan Keeley. It was a truly wonderful night in a very atmospheric setting.

The event was in aid of the Market Square Development Project.

All the pictures from the evening can be accessed here.