Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Farm Safety day at Kilcullen Mart

Declan Phelan, IFA regional development officer; and Caroline Farrell, IFA Farm Family Committee.
An important farm and rural area safety demonstration is taking place today at Kilcullen Cattle Mart, writes Brian Byrne.

It involves a number of agencies, including the IFA, the Department of Agriculture, the Irish Red Cross, An Garda, and the County Kildare Fire Service.

With the number of deaths due to farm accidents at 15 to date, it is a worrying increase on last year for the same period, says the IFA's regional development officer Declan Phelan, who is attending today's event.

"In many cases it is machinery and age-related, older farmers using larger equipment," he told the Diary today. "The age profile on small farms is now much older, with few younger people coming in. In many cases, the farmer is working on his own, with a heavier workload. And if an accident happens, with nobody around to help, a relatively smaller one can become more serious very quickly."

In the absence of other staff on farms, farmers are using more sophisticated and heavier machinery, including combines, choppers and hay balers, all of which provide inherent dangers such as catching clothing or limbs in the machinery, too often with fatal consequences.

Caroline Farrell of the IFA Farm Family Committee says this is an important local initiative being held as part of Farm Safety Week. "I helped to organise the one for Kildare to run with the Mart in Kilcullen, as a central focus for farming in the area."

Among the various demonstrations will be a demonstration by Lift Hire on how to work safely at heights. The Garda will talk about issues of weights on trailers on the road among other matters, and the Irish Red Cross will demonstrate what to to and, equally important, what not to do, in an accident situation.

The Diary will be dropping in and out of the event and we'll bring you more on this later.

One-day Kalbarri summer camp

A one-day mini summer camp will be held at Kalbarri Cookery School on Tuesday 8 August.

Suitable for children aged 6-13, it will include cooking and baking tuition. Everything produced will be packed to be brought home by participants.

Lunch is included in the €50 for the day, which operates between 10am-3pm.

Call Siobhan at 087 2932501 for bookings.

Knitting, crochet, yarn bombing tuition

If you want to learn how to crochet or knit, or even the techniques of 'yarn bombing', Athgarvan ICA is offering to help, writes Brian Byrne.

The originators of the colourful yarn-bombing of Newbridge over the last two years, the group is offering lessons in a series of 'how to' events over the next couple of months.

They'll be held at the Linear Park along the Liffey in Newbridge on 30 July and 26 August, and at the new Cottage Market in the former Newbridge Town Hall on 5 and 26 August.

The Linear Park events will take place from 2-5pm, the Cottage Market ones from 10am-2pm.

The events are sponsored by Kildare County Council and for further information you can call Annie on 086 2254213.

All welcome.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Parish Lotto Draw results

The numbers drawn in the Kilcullen & Gormanstown Parish Lotto Draw held on Tuesday 25 July 2017 were 1, 8, 23 and 27.

There was no Jackpot winner and next week's main prize will be €9,400.

The winners of the €50 Open Draws were Stephen McCormack (Promoter Breda McCormack), Eamonn O'Toole (PJ Lydon) and JJ Hillery (Ger Hillery).

The winners of the Promoters Draw were Vivian Clarke and the Wednesday Bridge Club, and the winner of the Draw for those in the Parish Centre on the night was Adrienne Byrne.

The Parish thanks all those who support the Lotto.

Fifty years of working memories

When you have worked for 50 years in the one place, it offers a space for reflection, writes Brian Byrne. For Herbie Sheehan, who got his first pay packet in Brennan’s Hardware in Kilcullen five decades ago last month, it is the opportunity to remember times fond and sad, and the people he both worked with and served, his family, and a community in which he has lived for some 33 years.

“It was more simple back then, I suppose,” he says. “We were living at Martinstown in Ballysax, where my parents were caretakers. I was at school in Kildare, but I didn’t like it and wasn’t doing well.”

His mother decided that work might be a better option. Kilcullen baker and shopkeeper Jim O’Connell used to deliver ‘the messages’ to Mrs Sheehan each week, and she discussed it with him. “He’d come around in a van, we called it the ‘Wanderly Wagon’,” Herbie recalls. “He promised to look around Kilcullen for a place for me. He asked Andy Nolan first, but Andy had just taken on someone, so his next stop was Brennans.”

The long-established hardware store was then being managed by the late Billy Hughes on behalf of Mrs Brennan, whose husband was deceased. Billy agreed to give the young Herbie a trial, and he’s there ever since. “I remember, I was given a brush and a watering can, and told to keep the place clean. Last in always got the dirty jobs, but that’s the way it was. For the first year and a half, I never served a customer, but I was learning all the time.”

It was a time before the B&Qs and the Woodies of today, and there was a much greater reliance on local shops. “People didn’t have transport then, either, to go anywhere else. So they’d be coming in for a bag of coal for the week, or whatever else they needed. It was simple at the counter too, either a cash docket or a credit sale written into the Day Book, later written up by the girls in the office.”

The names trip out. Mary Nugent and Mary Bolger were ‘the girls’ in the office. Others in the shop, higher up the ladder than the young Herbie, included Andy Blayney, Peter Howard, Mick Davis and John Davis, Sean Guidera, and Pat Goulding. “Sometimes I look back and realise that many of them are gone, so I decide I won’t look back for another while. And when I do, there are more gone.”

But back in the time, when he got that first pay packet in 1967, there were decisions to be made at home. “I got £3 a week, and I asked my mother what would the ‘divide’ be? She said, ‘a pound for me, a pound for you, and a pound for the bank’. I thought about it, asked her what if we didn’t do the bank? She said ‘two pounds for me and one pound for you’. I said we’d try the bank, then.”

It was a good lesson, which paid off a year and a half later when Herbie was able to trade in his push-bike for a new Honda 50 from local dealer Sean McDonnell. “It was £150 for the Honda taxed and insured, a helmet and gloves, and I was down the road.”

A confluence things were helping the hardware business at the time, especially the builders providers side. “The rural water schemes were coming in, and in houses the old earthenware sinks were being thrown out in favour of the Maid stainless steel ones. Oil was cheap, and people were putting in heating.”

Other things were coming together too. The Credit Union movement came to Kilcullen, and Herbie became part of the voluntary operation. Kilcullen Development association, founded by Paddy Nugent, was acting ahead of its time by providing houses for purchase at low cost in Bishop Rogan Park. And Herbie met Stephanie Doyle of Logstown, the second-oldest Council estate in Kilcullen. They got married in 1973.

“Along with 76 other families, we had the chance to get on the property ladder. It was a very mixed group, some retired people, others in from the army on the Curragh. It was a great stepping stone for people like ourselves.” Again the names tumble out — Pat and Geraldine Carroll, John Chapman, Johnny Jordan, the Greys. And again there’s a pause as he thinks of those no longer around.

There was the holiday in America in 1980, himself and Stephie visiting his sister in Phoenix, Arizona on a trip of a lifetime that lasted a month. “My father and mother moved in to Bishop Rogan to mind the children. There was a petrol strike on, so we had to take the bus to Dublin for the airport, and I remember looking back and seeing someone pushing their car to the Hideout petrol station, hoping to get a gallon.”

There was no such shortage in Phoenix, and no shortage of heat either. “It was a hundred degrees and I joked that I’d be going home all dark. I went out for ten minutes and had to come back in or I’d be going home in a box.”

Back home, over the years Herbie and Stephie moved houses a number of times, eventually going back to Martinstown when they built a new home near where he had grown up. Life was good, then Stephie died suddenly in 2008. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t see coming, and it inevitably changes life drastically. “It’s as if nothing seems to matter. There’s no good going home to a house that’s … emptiness.”

But he had friends, and family, and the ‘family’ of co-workers and customers at Brennans. It can’t replace loss, but it helps. Today, Herbie is getting closer to full retirement in September. He’s been on a 3-day week for a few years, which in theory might have given him more time for thought. “You think, you have these four days off, and it’s like a week, but before you know it you’re in the kitchen, putting sandwiches into a bag to bring to work.”

Come September, that won’t be necessary. It’s going to be another big change. For everybody who knows him too, customers and staff alike. After 50 years, he’s much loved, and as much a fixture in the place as the counter and the shelves.

This article was first published on the Kilcullen page of The Kildare Nationalist.

Monday, July 24, 2017

More than €10K already in from Crumlin Cycle 2017

The funds raised so far from Saturday's Murphy Surveys Cycle for Crumlin 2017 are €10,269, and the figure is expected to rise as more pledges and sponsor cards come in, writes Brian Byrne.

Murphy Surveys have expressed their thanks to the some 200 cyclists who took part and gave so much to the day itself.

They've also thanked the Kilcullen Cycling Club members for their support and help in organising and managing the event.

The funds from this year will bring the total raised since the inaugural event to more than €40,000.

'Kilcullen could benefit from community CCTV' — Heydon

Kilcullen could benefit from a roll-out of community CCTV systems to combat crime, writes Brian Byrne.

That's the view of Kildare South FG TD Martin Heydon, who recently led a delegation of local Municipal District Mayors for a meeting with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan TD to discuss the matter.

The deputy says Kilcullen and communities such as Rathangan, Ballymore and Castledermot could all benefit from a plan which would offer grant aid of up to 60pc of the cost of such installations.

"Working with An Garda Siochana and local community alert groups, we want to ensure that the technology and resources available are used to the best effect in Kildare South," Deputy Heydon said.

He is pictured with the Minister and Cllr Fintan Brett, outgoing Mayor Naas MD; Cllr Mark Stafford outgoing Mayor Kildare/Newbridge MD; and Cllr Ivan Keatley, incoming Mayor of Athy MD.

Appeal for coding mentors

A coding programme for young people needs new mentors to assist with growing demand, writes Brian Byrne.

According to Deputy Martin Heydon FG, the Coderdojo based in Newbridge, which caters for youngsters and young adults aged between 7-17, wants to expand, but needs more adult mentors in order to be able to do so.

Coderdojo Newbridge is located in the Patrician Primary School and was established two and a half years ago.

Affiliated with the global Coderdojo movement, which is led by volunteers, the programme offers an opportunity to any interested young person to learn to code, build a website, create an app or a game, and explore technology in an informal, creative, and social environment. The Newbridge club is registered with Coder Ireland and meets on Tuesday evenings.

"Mentors must be over 18 and will be subject to Garda vetting and child protection measures operated by Coder Ireland," Deputy Heydon says. "They need only offer two hours a week of their time and expertise. Anyone with an interest in getting involved can contact or any Newbridge Coderdojo committee member."

The Deputy is is pictured above with some members of the Newbridge Coderdojo Committee.

Music video workshop for teens

Following a very successful Film Workshop for young people earlier this month, Kings and Clowns will be offering a similar course from 21-25 August.

The venue will be The Studio in Harristown and the course is limited to ten students, aged between 12-15.

The course will involve making a music video, which will be presented to parents and friends at a showing at the end of the week.

Students collaborate to choose the music and song, in picking the locations for shooting, costume design, rehearsals, and film final editing.

€20 deposit will secure a place with payment €50 on first day of workshop. Contact Rani Grennell 087 7923139 for booking.

Dance Summer Camp

A Dance Summer Camp is being organised by Freestyle Forever Kilcullen from 31 July to 4 August.

It will be held in the Community Centre from 1pm-3pm each day and is for children between the ages of 4-15.

The cost is €50 per child for the week, and styles will include Lyrical, Freestyle, Acro, Slowdance and Hip hop.

There will be a presentation for parents and friends at the end of the week.

To book a place text 0834554609 or check out Freestyle Forever Kilcullen on Facebook.

Regular classes are held every Tuesday night between 6pm-7pm in the Community Centre.

Support Relay for Life by buying candle bags

Kilcullen Group Relay For Life is selling candle bags from Kilcullen Credit Union on every Saturday to the run up to Kildare Relay For Life weekend on 19/20 August in Punchestown Racecourse, writes Sabina Reddy.

The Candle of Hope Ceremony is held on the Saturday evening of the Relay weekend. This is an occasion where we remember people who fought the fight of cancer and may not have survived, but also to honour those who are fighting the battle.

Cancer now touches virtually every family, it's unique if a family has not been affected. Kildare Relay for Life is a weekend of remembering, acknowledging and honouring those who have experienced cancer. It gives the opportunity to talk and share experiences. It can be part of a healing process.

All monies raised go back to Kildare Cancer services -- in fact, by supporting the Relay, we are looking after ourselves and loved ones.

The candle bags are sold for €5.The name of someone that you wish to remember or tribute is put on the bag, it is handed back to the seller and it is then laid out on the track during the Relay weekend. A candle is placed in the bag and then light along with every bag for the Candle of Hope Ceremony on the Saturday night.

We would appreciate if anyone could lend some time to help sell these bags. Please call in to the Credit Union on Saturdays over the next month.