Thursday, March 22, 2018

'Look to Norway, Denmark, Germany' for square ideas

Though Ireland doesn't have the sunny and warm climate of parts of continental Europe, there are ways of making the most of outside public spaces as is envisaged for Kilcullen's Market Square, writes Brian Byrne.

That was a focus for some discussion at the recent workshop on the proposed development of the square, which covered a wide range of aspects of the project.

Cllr Fintan Brett said the square should be opened down to the river and that there were building technologies available to make it useable by people even in the worst of weather, including retractable canopies. "If you're spending money, make sure that you spend it on the right things," he said. "Spend it on what suits the Irish weather."

Urban designer James Hennessy remarked that in fact people do sit outside in Ireland in bad weather, 'even on a cold December day', and that Kilcullen should look at examples of what they do in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. "Orientation is important, to have places where we can get the best from whatever sunlight there is."

He added that the eventual design should emphasise a nice ambience. "Keep it delicate, keep it beautiful."

EDITOR NB: Don't forget the Easter Market in the square this Saturday, from 9am.

Answering your recycling questions tonight

A reminder that a recycling workshop to be held in Kilcullen Town Hall TONIGHT will update people on current methods and regulations in the area, writes Brian Byrne.

There will also be advice on composting at the event, which starts at 8pm and is open to all. There will also be information on other sustainability initiatives, including electric cars.

The workshop is being organised in association with Voice Ireland, the Irish environmental charity that involves individuals and local communities to take positive action to conserve natural resources.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

'Don't stuff everything into square'

Urban designer James Hennessy makes a point.
The Market Square re-development project committee have been advised not to try and put too much into the square as they work towards a plan to make it a central focus of activity in the town, writes Brian Byrne.

Speaking at the recent workshop on the project held in the Town Hall, urban designer James Hennessy said it isn't a large space and they should 'resist the temptation to stuff the square with everything'. He also said the project is 'as much about economics as it is about architecture' and that a key question is to establish what is the square to be used for? "You are already answering that," he noted, in reference to events such as concerts and festive season street markets. "And what you have done is excellent."

On the 'character and quality' in any redevelopment, he advised the group not to do anything without commiting to the highest quality possible.

He observed that the area could become a focus for the heritage and cultural aspects of Kilcullen. "It should be about the history, and the stories that you have to tell."

That last comment triggered a discussion on just what are the heritage and history characteristics of Kilcullen? Noel Clare noted that in 2019 the town will be celebrating 700 years since the first bridge was built here across the Liffey, beginning the shift away from the monastic site of Old Kilcullen being the principal settlement. "And it is probable that Old Kilcullen was there because of the nearby ancient royal site of Dun Ailinne, a regular gathering place for people long before Christianity came. These are important stories."

Local architect Laura Bowen, who is working with the project committee on the development of a plan, noted that modern Kilcullen is unusual in the number of multi-generational family-owned businesses, and that this should be reflected in any branding that might be developed for the town.

Joe Boland, Director of Services with Kildare County Council, said that other 'stories, myths and legends' should be gathered which could be part of the story of Kilcullen that would be integrated in the physical environment of the square.

Parish Lotto Draw results

The numbers drawn in the Kilcullen & Gormanstown Parish Lotto Draw held on Tuesday 20 March 2018 were 3, 11, 13 and 30. There was no Jackpot winner and next week's Main Prize will be €16,000.

The winners of the €50 open draws were Martina Whiteley (Promoter Vivienne Clifford), Colin Egan (Vanessa Clarke) and Noel Travers (Kilcullen Credit Union).

The winners of the Promoters Draw were Wednesday Bridge Club and Miriam McDonnell and the winner of the Draw for those in the Parish Centre on the night was Fr Niall Mackey.

The Parish thanks all who support the Lotto.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Daffodil Day Coffee Morning, collections

A Daffodil Day Coffee Morning will be held at Ger Dooley's Kildare Bathroom Company on Friday morning next.

The event at the company's showrooms in the Link Park will run from 10.30am-12.30pm.

All are welcome to support the Irish Cancer Society on their annual national collection day.

Local collectors will be outside the usual shops on Main Street on Friday. Last year people donated over €5,100 to the collection.

The passing of Patsy O'Halloran

The Diary has learned with deep personal sadness of the death of Patsy O'Halloran, nee Rankin and formerly of St Brigid's Avenue. She passed away peacefully this morning in the presence of her family.

Predeceased by her husband Vincent (Vinnie) in 2009 and her adored son Eugene in 2016, Patsy is survived by Monica, Aisling, Freda, Mary, Sean and Vincent. She is sadly missed by them and her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and her good friends and neighbours.

Patsy will be reposing in the Kilcullen Parish Church, where she served as Sacristan for 36 years, from 4pm tomorrow, Wednesday 21 March. Prior to that, family and friends will walk from St Brigid's Avenue to the Church, from 3.50pm.

Patsy's funeral mass will be at 11am on Thursday 22 March, following which she will be laid to rest in St Brigid's Cemetery, Kilcullen.

May she rest in peace.

Footfall count suggested for Easter Market

A 'step-through' count of people attending the Easter Market in the Market Square next Saturday would help to determine the commercial value to the town from such events, the recent workshop on redevelopment of the Square heard, writes Brian Byrne.

Sharon Whelan, an urban designer with Kildare County Council, said a similar count on a day when there was nothing on would provide a baseline for the study, which could encourage nearby businesses to support the project.

Saying that the project group had already 'taken ownership of the square' by holding various events on it, she added that there were a lot of 'really interesting lanes and other areas' in the vicinity which could be linkied with the square.

Antoinette Buckley of the project committee noted anecdotal evidence that the Christmas Market had enhanced business in the run-up to the festive season. "It provided a showcase for local small businesses, which brought people back into the town to buy in the following weeks," she said. "We can use the square as a business in itself, to have events which bring in money that goes back into the commercial life of the town."

Urban designer James Hennessy said that it's not only big events that make the project worth while. "It's the small day to day things too, such as people thinking of going there if there was a musician regularly playing on a Saturday."

Leave this place, Winter ...

 'Your time has come, now hasten little snowflakes. To vanish quite away; The spring-tide hours are sounding gentle warnings, forbidding you to stay.' — M E HATHAWAY.

There was a decidedly winterish feel to this morning's Equinox effect at the Dun Ailinne spear sculpture as we officially tipped over into Spring, writes Brian Byrne.

With -3degC not an encouragement to hang around, there was at least some fairly clear sky to get a shot of the effect created by sculptor Noel Scullion ten years ago.

The annual Spring Equinox 'gathering' at the KCA-commissioned monument will be at around 6.15am on Saturday. Weather-wise there's a decent chance of a viewing of the rising sun, but it's 100pc certain that there'll be Nolans sausages, brown bread and tea in Ray and Fiona Kelly's home at 1060 Nicholastown afterwards.

You can go through previous Equinox events here.