Wednesday, August 8, 2007

End a the dream (on baby)

RTE it had them beat, no point in even voting,
Mike and Jeffers did agree, without the sugar coating,
Enda was new Taoiseach, so everybody said,
If you voted Fianna Fail, you’d better stay in bed.

Away I went on Thursday, down to my old school,
A place I’m not too fond of, where I often felt a fool,
The man behind the desk said, “I’m not sure about your face,”
When driving licence was produced, my vote now I could place.

Friday morning it dawned clear, the meeja were exasperated,
Reports of Bertie’s quick demise did seem exaggerated,
The economy was the issue, the country he might carry,
It was a performance worthy of, your man Houdini, Harry.

Settling in from work that day, with Dobbo in full fight,
The transfers would be vital; we could be up for half the night,
It came from Dublin mid- west, scarier than Banquo’s ghost,
It is another miracle, Harney’s past the post.

Surely soothsayers were proved wrong, especially in Kildare,
The two Seans in the south, big smiles did they wear,
Another Kitt, one Aine, went in with Michael Fitz,
FG were decimated, the P.D’s were in bits.

Some goodly folk had vanished, Higgins gone from Dublin West,
Crowe didn’t fly in Tallaght, Parlon country failed the test,
There’s no O’Malleys in the Dail, Lovely Liz she won’t be back,
What will John Gormley do at all, without his Mickey Mac.

You hear talk of the big squeeze, of mandates, quotas too,
It was a reasonable night if your shirt was the colour blue,
Of how to elect candidates of vote management to clash,
But best approval rating came for Bill O’ Dea's moustache.

Brian Cowan too, he got more votes than sand grains in Sahara,
A fitting election swansong for the man that’s just called Mara,
Mary O’Rourke’s back in vogue, that woman sure is canny,
But she just reminds me of someone’s slightly bonkers nanny.

And down Wickla way they had to shut the jacks,
It was just another item that Dick surely did banjax,
But Roche he proved his mettle and showed he was the man,
He beat McManus, Timmins and that new lad with the tan.

So Fianna Fail did drop a few, and Fine Gael did gain,
The Greens and Shinners just stood still; P.D.’s had all the pain,
Labour survived also, but it’s Bertie who did the trick,
They say he’s got no skin at all, just material non-stick.

© T.R. 2007

Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche T.D. recently opened the New Estate Walk at Russborough House. The house is open every day to September from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Combined with the beautiful walks and the maze, not to mention the delicious food available in the coffee shop ,homecooked food, lasagne, shepherds pie or quiche. homemade soup. And delicious desserts,makes for Russborough a different and exciting place to visit. Russborough provides employment with some 15 locals working there during the season.

Tim’s diary
Brought to you in association with The Naas Voice/Kildare Voice
Every Tuesday, Your Voice for Your Views.

I woke up on Friday morning to find a lot of my friends missing. People I had been seeing every day for the last three weeks had vanished. The two Seans, Richard and Alan together with their bosses Enda and Bertie had snuck away in the night. Thankfully we still the three J’s JJ, Jane and Jack to keep us company. It was a fairly quick clean up wasn’t it.

It’s great to hear Robert Dunlop back on radio in the mornings doing the “Living Word” with my favourite morning woman, Maxi. Indeed we are “well minded” before 7.

Elsewhere Michael Wards piece on St. Charles of Mount Argus strikes a chord in my memory as well. Does anyone recall a little Passionist brother who used to collect around the village? Brother Oliver was his name and he seemed to be coming to Ballymore for what seemed like fifty or so years. He had through various stages of his travels, a very large old English motorbike. He also wore very practical work boots as he went about his business collecting funds for Mount Argus. He was a most humble man with a gentle Northern accent and always made sure of not intruding into people’s houses where he would not have been known. He stayed with Nancy Graham when he visited the area and, having so many cups of tea in his travels, he must have been floating leaving the village.

Staying with matters celestial, Rome’s gain is Kilcullen’s loss as father Andrew departs for the Eternal city to further his education. Aside from being a fantastic attribute to Kilcullen he was very helpful to Sean Breen and myself. He always was ready to help us in our endeavors and could always see the funny side of the coin even when things were going wrong. Slan a mhic.

The Dubs and Meath have to have at it again to see who goes through the front door in Leinster. The flags and the jerseys disappeared in work very rapidly following the draw. No doubt they will make an appearance should Coyle’s men prevail in the re-match. My only comment on the match is that Graham Geraghty would have been well suited to the Dail. The wink finished me of any regard that I did hold to his footballing skills.

Community Alert.
A survey to establish there area involved is currently being carried out. We are also checking to see what signs need to be repaired or replaced or if new ones are required.
This issue we bring the second of the joint prize winners in the inaugural Michael Ward Prize competition.
Submitted by Robert Dunlop from Brannockstown. Enjoy!


Early twentieth century Ireland was a highly predictable place. The church dominated every area of life. Citizens where defined not only by loyalty to the institutions of the State but by faithfulness to the ecclesiastical system to which they gave their allegiance. Religious language permeated all the discourses of civil society. Long before clerical scandals had poisoned the church’s life, everything seemed so highly organised and secure. Each parish had its priest, each priest had his housekeeper. They were a breed apart. Almost universally admired, occasionally maligned and often misunderstood. No one knew how much they knew or if they kept what they knew to themselves. Long before C.V’s or modern recruitment processes, their terms of appointment were wrapped in secrecy. Had they taken a vow of confidentiality? Were they bound to silence if pressed for information? There was no way of knowing.

Sociologists still haven’t delivered an adequate portrait of these influential but somewhat elusive people. Back then in Irish parishes, the priest ruled like a monarch. His word was law, few dared to question his actions. The term “housekeeper” rightly described the domestic duties assigned to the lady of the presbytery. But what was not always obvious if he ruled like a monarch she often posed as a Queen. While her duties were clear - cooking, cleaning and welcoming visitors, she also acquired a status in the parochial house which gave her access to a whole mine of information. Sometimes she overheard conversations with parishioners about all sorts of feelings, problems and attitudes.

Callers to the presbytery kept her at a distance and treated her with cautious respect. Even the Bishop often kicked for touch when dealing with the lady of the parochial house. He knew only too well that she knew more about the man he was appointed to shepherd than he did.

It was generally accepted that priests’ housekeepers kept themselves to themselves and did their duties faithfully. It was never anticipated that they would say or write anything about their innermost feelings or their emotional needs.

This story visits the inner spirit of Bridget O’Loughlin and allows her to speak for herself. Her thoughts come to the surface unfiltered, uncensored and speak of the inner emotions of this strange, intriguing and elusive species of Irish womanhood. While retaining all the external appearance of faithfulness to duty, her disclosures also reveal her human frustrations and suggest that she was like her priestly mentor and master - a woman apart. But she was also a human being longing for love and fulfilment in pursuit of her womanly instincts.

Brigid shuffled slowly over the freshly mown grass which marked the site of Father Kavanagh’s last resting place. Slightly bent, her lean body had worn well and she was often told she had kept her youth better than most. She knelt quietly by the grave and prayerfully placed a tiny bunch of roses on top of the fresh soil.

The obsequies for the well liked parish priest had all gone according to plan. The bishop’s homily was well crafted and succeeded in praising the virtues of the deceased priest without either flowery language or excessive eulogising. “Yes”, she whispered in her heart as she sat alone in the second pew “that is the man I knew and respected for nearly thirty years”. She was more than satisfied with the send off. It was nice. In her book it had the ring of truth. He was a good man. Rest in peace, Father.

Somehow it dawned on her that she belonged to a dying breed – priests’ housekeepers. Looking back there were many things she wondered about. Now that her work at the Presbytery was over, her bags were packed and she was off to her tiny apartment just above O’Halloran’s Takeaway. Memories flooded in.

There was the rare day when her revered P.P. lost his cool and roared at her when dinner was a few minutes late. What on earth got into him, she mused at the time. She was shocked that such a quiet spoken, even going kind of man was capable of raising his voice. But she took it all in her stride and later thought to herself that some pressure was pressing on him which she had no right to query.

Most of the time he was courteousness personified.

For someone so close to churchly things and pious people she was surprisingly irreligious. Although she went regularly to Mass she had many misgivings but discreetly kept them all to herself. Almost as much was expected of her as of her mentor and employer. She had read stories of clerical housekeepers who had talked out of school and even spilled the beans about the weaknesses or excesses of the clergy they served. But they came from America or England. It was different here. Ireland demanded closed lips. It was always right to say nothing. Anyhow, she was seldom asked and she felt the parishoners knew the score.

One day she was sitting alone in the kitchen waiting for the potatoes to cook. Father Michael was out on a sick call. She let her mind wander. Who is this man with whom I share a home but little or nothing of my life. Does he ever feel like falling in love? How does he cope with his times of loneliness? At this moment she recalled how the Protestant rector’s wife once left an ICA meeting early saying that her husband had had a heavy day and she wanted to be there to welcome him home. For a Catholic priest no such comforting presence.

The list of questions about Father Kavanagh got longer. Could he possibly doubt his vocation or question his faith? Does he see me as his servant who is always at his beck and call or as a real friend who works for him? Good questions – but the potatoes boiled over before she could even guess at answers. Many years later she got light on the last question.

A sentence in his will said it all. “And to Brigid O’Loughlin, my devoted housekeeper whose integrity and sensitivity I have always admired I bequeath everything I own in appreciation of her kindness, generosity and understanding of my priestly vocation and public responsibilities”.

Although dressed in mild legal jargon she felt chuffed that he felt so well of her. She took it at face value. In all the years he was reserved in praising her but as far as she knew he was never critical either. Around the parish she was known, in his warm words “my trusted housekeeper”.

In the recesses of her mind Brigid wondered if her long years at the Presbytery had spoiled her own chances of marriage and bearing children. She was well past worrying but now that she had time to think it was difficult to put the maternal side of things out of her mind. Without being pious she settled in her spirit for the idea that in her own way she had fulfilled her vocation in caring for a faithful servant of the church. If there were going to be rewards handed out at the end she had no complaints and was prepared to wait and see.

While mulling things over, the celibacy issue raised its head. She had never agreed with the obligatory status attached to it but had always kept her views to herself. Why upset Father Kavanagh by questioning a church rule especially when she knew that only the Pope could allow married priests and there was no chance of that happening. Still, Brigid allowed her imagination to roam into “what if” mode. Ensconced with a cup of coffee in her tiny sitting room she thought out loud…”what if they dropped the stupid celibacy rule and allowed priests to marry if they wanted to. Would she have been in the running as the bride of the man of God?”. No, no, she told herself, ”such daydreaming is a waste of time – the last person a priest would be interested in, if allowed to marry would be his housekeeper”.

She had herself convinced that she belonged to a distinct breed and while thoroughly domesticated would not be in the running if the rule was lifted. She slumped into the easy chair and allowed a tear to trickle down her face. Her womanly instincts refused to confirm whether it was a tear of regret or contentment.

She had no way of knowing.

She never looked upon herself as sexually frustrated and regarded herself almost like a lay nun, married to the church and its ministrations. Once she noticed several books in the priest’s sitting room with titles like “Human Sexuality – fulfilment and frustration” and “The value of the Single state”. Not a doubt entered her head that these books were part of a clergyman’s professional library and were used for marriage preparation courses and counselling married couples. The idea that Father Kavanagh might be a sexual being with unfilled needs never entered her head. He lived by the rules, accepted the limitations and that was that.

Brigid had few plans for herself. Her job went when Father died. But at least she was not forgotten. The legacy would give her a roof over her head and along with the pension, enough to meet her needs. She would glide gently into the sunset and hope that when her turn came to depart there would be someone standing at the exit, even Father Michael’s angel. That would be more than enough.
Ballymore Ladies GFC

Division 4 League
Ballymore Eustace
Balyna 11
Grangenovlan 11

Ballymore Ladies are currently top of the table having played all of the Division 4 teams once. The 2nd round of League games will commence on the 3rd July with the girls aiming to remain unbeaten for the season.

Remaining League Games
3rd July Ballymore vs Nurney\Kildangan
10th July Ballymore vs Castledermot
15th July Ballymore vs Rheban
14th August Milltown vs Ballymore
21st August Balyna II vs Ballymore

**1st named team at Home
**Grangenolvan II have withdrawn from the competition

Junior Championship
Ballymore Ladies will once again take part in the Kildare Junior C Championship.
The 16 teams entered have been divided into 4 groups with the top 2 from each group going into the Quarter Finals.
Ballymore are the only Div. 4 team in their group which consists of neighbours Eadestown II and Kilcullen and Division 3 team Round Towers. The championship is due to start at the end of August.

Summer Cup Competition
Ballymore will host Division 1 team Balyna in this new competition. It is hoped to play the match on Sunday 1st July.

Challenge Matches
Ballymore Ladies have played 2 challenge games at home since the last edition of the Bugle. The first game against Valleymount saw Ballymore lose by a point. It was very disappointing for the girls as they were leading into the last few minutes of the game.
The 2nd match was played in terrible weather against Castlemitchell. The Division 2 side ran out winners in the end with a score of 5-2 to 2-1.

Well done to the girls who participated in the 2007 Flora women’s mini marathon. 13 girls from the Ladies team completed the 10km course raising money for Paws and the Irish Hospice Foundation.

The Ladies team continues to expand with newest member Deirdre Hackett. The girls also welcome Aoife Doyle back to training.

Thank You
With manager Willie Clarke taking a well earned holiday, a number of people took over the Ballymore Ladies training during the 2 week period. Player Dawn Murray continued the fitness training on Friday nights and John Hubbard took the other sessions when he wasn’t on holidays himself.
Thanks also to John Doyle and his ‘fun sprints’ on the Wednesday following the Bank Holiday weekend! Gemma would like to point out that we don’t just ‘natter’. We talk and play football, it’s called multi-tasking!!!
The News:
The Juvenile footballers and hurlers are into a busy time with football league matches and hurling blitz’s. The U11 football team have just finished out their league after making it into the play off stages (see report below). The U12 & U10 football teams are starting their league matches and the U8’s are playing a friendly Go-Games match against Kill. The U8 & U10 hurlers are involved in a West Wicklow Hurling blitz and the U12’s are starting off in a series of South Kildare hurling blitzes. The Oliver Plunketts U14 team have also played out the preliminary stages of their league and are now in the play-off (see report below).
The annual BME GAA Summer Camp is due to take place in the first week of July and final preparations are being made for this. Details of this will be provided to all eligible for this soon.

Congrats to the Oliver Plunketts U14 team they have won all their league games and are now in the semi-final. Players representing Ballymore are Cian O’Neill, Edward Davis, Owen Lyons, Gary Mahon, Stephen Murphy, Ronan Raferty & Simon Ellis. The semi-final will be played on Sun. 10th July. Good luck to all involved, selectors are Tim Gorman and Paul Woods.
The U11 team have been playing in the Division 2 of the South Board league for the last few weeks. The season started off slowly with defeats to Castledermot and Eadestown. Hope was then restored by an impressive victory over neighbours Two Mile House and an away victory over Roberstown. Ballyteague were next up and this game ended in defeat on a very wet night, a minutes silence was observed at the start of this game for the late Anne Langan. The last game of the season was a must win game for the lads, in order to qualify for the semi-final, and the team delivered by beating Monasterevin on their home ground. Apart from the fine performance of the team this game was notable for Paul Murphy’s debut as a referee (he may have found a new vocation!). The semi final was a tough assignment away to Ballyteague. This game turned into a great contest with Ballymore battling back from a slow start to draw level with 3 minutes left. Unfortunately the effort required for the comeback proved too much and Ballyteague scored 2 points to win a very entertaining and skilful game of football by 1-9 to 1-7. The lads have made great improvements this year and must be congratulated on their dedication to training, skill and determination during the games, see lads the more you practice the better you get!
Thanks also to all the parents who have helped with the team by driving / supporting / training / umpiring / washing jerseys.

The U11 Football Team in Ballyteague:
Back Row: Joe Hayden, Robbie Noone, Stephen Doyle, Niall O’Neill, Tom Murphy, Daragh Kelleher, Dylan Waters, Adam Murphy. Tom McQuirk, Kevin McLoughlin.
Front Row: Tony Og Sheridan, Declan Davis, Patrick Murphy, Zak Kinsella, Rossa Doyle, Harry Murphy, Hugo McDermott, Stephen Piggot, Shane Barrett, Tadgh Dooley,
Mentors: Joe Piggot, Paul Murphy, Dermot Waters.
Supporters: Kevin Kelleher, Mark Barrett, Laura Piggot, Korey & Deron Waters, Tadgh Barrett, Ben Noone

U-12 Football Division 3 League Fixtures (all matches have a 7:00 start)
05-Jun No Game 12-Jun Allenwood Home 19-Jun Ellistown Home
26-Jun Suncroft Away 03-Jul Moorefield B Home 10-Jul Grangenovel Away17-Jul Monasterevin Away

U-10 Football Division 3 League Fixtures (all matches have a 7:00 start)
07-Jun Suncroft Away 14-Jun Grangenovel Home 21-Jun No Game
28-Jun Ballykelly Home 05-Jul Milltown Away 12 Jul Nurney Home
19-Jul Allenwood Away

South board U-12 Hurling League 2007
St. Laurence’s




St. Laurence’s

St. Laurence’s



All games at 3.00.p.m. Venue is first team on list.
Semi-finals at 2.30.p.m.and Finals at 4.00. on Sat.14th.July. Venue TBA.
Growing up in Ireland
As submitted by ex-pat Liam Daly

I`m talking about Hide and Seek in the park, the shop down the road, Hopscotch, Donkey, Skipping, Handstands, stuck in the mud, football with an old can, Dandy, Beano, Twinkle and Roly Poly, Hula Hoops, Jumping the stream, building a swing with a tyre and a piece of rope tied to a tree, building a tree-house, climbing onto roofs, tennis on the street, the smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.

Hubba Bubba bubble gum and 2p frogs, macaroon bars and woppas, 3p refreshers and Wham bars, superhero chewing gum, golfball chewing gum and liquorice whips, Desperate Dan and Roy of the Rovers, sherbit dips and Mr. Freezes, Marathon bars and everlasting gobstoppers. An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune, chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe neopoliton.

Wait…there`s more…watching Sunday morning cartoons, short commercials, Battle of the planets, Road Runner, He-man, Swapshop and Why don`t you, Transformers, How do you do , Bosco(Sandy), Forty coats, The littlest hobo and Lassie, Chucklevision, the Muppet Show, MacIvor, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Little house on the prairie, Highway to Heavon or staying up for Knight Rider and Magnum PI.

When around the corner seemed far away and going to town seemed like going somewhere

A million mimidget bites, sticky fingers and mud all over you, knee pads on your jeans, Cops and robbers, Rounders, Tip the can, Queenie-I-O, climbing trees, Spin the bottle, building igloos out of snow banks, walking to school no matter what the weather, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, spinning round, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles, being tired from playing…remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.

Football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.

Don`t forget the Marietta sandwiches we made by buttering a cupla Marietta biscuits and sticking them together and that quare ould mixture made in a tall glass with HB ice cream and Taylor Keith red lemonade.

I`m not finished just yet…

Eating raw jelly, orange squash ice pops.

Remember when… there were only two types of sneakers-girls and boys- and the only time you wore them was at school for “PE”, GOLA football boots and Dunlop Green Flash.

It wasn`t odd to have two or three “best”friends, when nobody owned a pure bred dog, when 25p was decent pocket money, when you`d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny, when nearly everyone`s mum was home when the kids got there, when it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to a real restaurant with your parents.

When any parent could discipline any kid or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought anything of it.

When being sent to the heads office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home, basically we were in fear of our lives but it wasn`t because of muggings, drugs, gangs, etc., our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat, and some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Remember when….

Decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo” Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming “do over”

“Race issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest, money issues were handled by whoever was banker in Monoply, the game of life and connect four, Atari 2600`s and Commadore 64`s. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs, it was unbelievable that red rover wasn`t an Olympic event.

Having a weapon at school meant being caught with a biro barrel pea shooter or an elastic band. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better, taking drugs meant orange flavoured chewable vitamins, ice cream was considered a basic food group

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true, abilities were discovered because of “double dare”, older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest defenders.

If you can remember most or all of this, then you have LIVED!!!! Pass it on to anyone who needs a break from their “grown up”life.

I DOUBLE DARE YA!!! Bagsy it, no returns and no magical changes.
Fate has some unexpected methods of catapulting one into action. Little did I think back in September 2006 that I would find myself riding across the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan in a group of 25 (mostly Irish) riders, in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation, 2-12th March 2007.
Back in early September 2006, a friend of mine found herself in the coronary unit of Naas Hospital. Her doctor claimed she was one of the lucky ones who had been given a warning. Many coronary victims do not get a second chance. Her nursing care time for one week was “second to none,” and the equipment available for the heart monitoring was aided by sponsorship from the Irish Heart Foundation, and the groups who take up challenges and raise sponsorship for such equipment.
Following the shock news of my friend’s dilemma, there appeared an Irish Heart Foundation request for challenge applicants for the Jordan trip, advertised in the Irish Farmers Journal. Having good health and heart, I needed no further incentive to contact Jeremy Perrin from Naas, who set up and organised the tour. The target was to raise €5,7000, of which each participant was required to subscribe €600 up front and then to fundraise for the further amount. One also had to be a reasonable rider capable of riding an Arab Horse across the desert, riding 5-6 hours per day with nightly stops camping under the stars and tethering our horses beside our tents at night.
All the participants used different methods of fundraising. My efforts were by bag-packing in Supervalue in Blessington for 2 days before Christmas – may thanks to Dan Kenny and his staff who facilitated me. Apart from very generous donations from friends and relations, I organised a Pub Quiz in Paddy Murphy’s Pub in Ballymore Eustace on 19th January ’07, which very successfully raised €1,700. Many thanks to Grania Glancy, daughter Easa, Ballymore Eustace and John in the Stationery Store – Naas, who put together the questions and supplied the result sheets and of course Pat Lawlor, quiz master.
Having got to grips with the sponsorship, I then had to concentrate on my riding fitness. Friends allowed me to exercise their horses during the months of January and February, while Carrie Eddison in Hollywood, Co. Wicklow enrolled me for a very beneficial yoga class assuring me my fitness was well in hand and that I would have no problems. Nor did I have – apart from pulling a muscle in my back following a camel race in Petra before we began riding – which I won!! Text messages from friends indicated that a sheik required a jockey for a camel racing in Jordan! The camping also exercised my girl-guide skills of backpacking and tent erection, which I hadn’t used for 56 years, as well as the added responsibility of a horse and its care and feeding on the journey.
The day dawned for our departure from Dublin Airport at 5,30am to Paris Airport where we transferred to a 4 and a half hour flight to Amman in Jordan. On arrival at Amman, we first had to change our Euros for the Jordanian Dinars followed by a Visa Fee of 10 Dinars. Jordanian money is not exchangeable outside Jordan nor can be acquired in Banks outside the state. We were met by 3 large mini-buses for transfer to MADABA and our welcoming dinner in the MADABA Inn Hotel.
The following morning we again transferred by our assigned mini-buses to the lost city of Petra and our hotel Petra Palace”. Having checked us through our hotel the group met up with our guide who took us on a walking tour of Petra. Yerman checked us through the entrance at a cost of 10 Jordanian Dinars (€1.00 = 0.94 Dinars). As we began the tour we saw the Brooke Hospital for horses and donkeys on our left. Some of the party accepted a short ride on a horse. These horses were not as fit or in as good a condition as the ones we were assigned on the challenge the next day. The 3 mile walk through Petra terminated for lunch in a smart restaurant and a 1 hour rest before returning to our hotel “Petra Palace”. Most of the group took the option of a camel ride back to base, which is where we had the camel race. Steering the camel and remaining on top without being sea-sick was not as difficult as I had thought which was how I and my camel won the race back to the treasury. The fastest camel in the EAST!! As for the extraordinary buildings, which were all carved out of the rock and sandstone many centuries ago, are beyond explanation or belief. The buildings dwarfed the people and parts of the city, and the streets are still being discovered, excavated and restored.

On March 4th we again set off early from Petra suitably attired in riding gear for the Wadi Rum Village to meet up with the tour team (Bedouins) to start riding to the first camp in the desert. Back packs were duly transferred to pick-ups travelling with us with tents, food, horse-feed and water.
We rode and camped in the Wadi Rum. WADI means valley in Arabic. Each night the Bedouins set up the black tents made of woven goat and camel hair and the team of 6 Bedouins prepared out evening meals of rice and chicken and lamb stews. Baby goat was presented for dinner on evening having been spied by a member of the group being taken away in one of the pick-ups along with the knife required for the execution! “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and after a day riding in the desert “need must” and one has to eat!! However, the food was healthy and nourishing, then there were no choices and after all we were on challenge ride for charity so we were not expecting five star treatment. Sleeping in a tend or under the stars in a sleeping bag at night was a memorable experience. There were no snakes, creepy crawlies, flies or nasties to worry us, thought it was “Spring” time in Jordan. The days were equivalent to a hot summer in Ireland (if one can remember a hot Irish summer). Average temperatures in March being 20o centigrade (67 farenheight) in Adaba, whereas the climate in Amman further north was averaging 12o centigrade (53o farenheight). Average rainfall in millimeters was around 44mm for March. The nights were cold and could be zero centigrade. November to May are the best times to visit. December to February are pleasant in the daytime but cold at night.
Nightfall in March was around 6 0’ clock so we usually arrived at the campsite around 5pm to give us time to tether and feed horses and set up our tents before dark. Tow carafes of hot water were available for hand showers in the evening. A shower tent was set up for those who required privacy but by the end of the week most of the group abandoned all their inhibitions and a short trip around the back of a rock with a towel, water and toiletries was all that was necessary!
Some of the group slept out on the rocks in their sleeping bags at night following dinner, singing and dancing around the camp fire with the Bedouins. Some members dispensed with their individual tents and slept on their mats in the commercial tent at night.
Watching the rising of the moon above the horizon at about 8.30 at night following the setting of the sun was magic. No need for alarm clocks in the mornings either, as everyone was awakened by the sun a around 6.30am warming up by the time we left camp on horseback at 9am every morning. Lunch time stops in the shade of the rocks, lasted about two hours, riders and horses being fed and watered, and rested, we then set of again to our night time camp sites about 3pm.
Country Information
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as a constitutional monarchy with a developing economy, while many aspects of the Jordanian life are modern and the government is western orientated, Islanic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation for the country’s customs, laws and practices. Tourist facilities are widely available, although quality may vary depending on price and location. The local work week for Jordanian government offices and most businesses is Saturday through Thursday.
Jordan is one of the most welcoming and hospitable countries in the world. It is a rare place where you can leave your belongings on the side of the road and still find them there when you return, or be invited into a complete strangers home to eat with their families in a complete altrinistic gesture. Due to the problems associated with the Middle East, tourists usually steer from Jordan, but this fear has little basis in fact, and we found it a beautiful country that is relatively trouble free.
Jordan is two hours ahead of GMT and used the metric weights and measures systems, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometers in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.
Our sincere thanks to sponsors and those who contributed in other ways than money. Those who contributed by offering deeds in kind – horses to ride, protective clothing for the challenge and saddle pads from Red Mills, Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny.
On the 9th March the group took the return route back to Amman, via transfer, to the Golden Tulip Hotel in Adaba and admission and admission to the Red Sea Resort, to have had the opportunity to swim in the Red Sea, though cold, was one of the bonuses of our trip. We can genuinely say “been there, done that”.
March 10th we again loaded up our back packs and riding gear in the mini-buses, who continued to be at our “beck and call” throughout the jouney – and headed towards the Dead Sea where the promise “surprise” was revealed. Jeremy Perrin had negotiated a very good deal with the five star hotel resort – the Movenpeck Hotel – overlooking ethe Dead Sea and the town of Jericho in Israel. To the right of Jericho, we could see the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem in the distance.
I was honoured by having to share tents and accommodation along the way and a twin bed room with balcony overlooking the Movenpeck Resort pools and gardens with Reverend Janet White – Spunner from Birr Co. Offaly. She and I were the oldest of the group but Janet at least kept me informed and on my metal throughout. A most amazingly forcused, and positive thinking lady. I was “blessed” in more ways that one to have her as my companion on the trip.
Having checked into our luxurious accommodation for the night and had a welcome hot bath and freshening up, the group made a “bee line” to the beach and the Dead Sea for our rejuvenating wallow in Dead Sea Mud administered by hand from an earthenware pot and overseen by life guards patrolling the water line. The mud could be described as “sump oil” in my eyes. However, “nothing ventured nothing gained” and “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. Much fun was had by administrating the Dead Sea mud to each other, drying off for fifteen minutes or so, and then gingerly lowering ourselves into the waters of the Dead Sea backwards. The water being so salty it was very difficult to stand up and also to actually swim. Splashing about was not an option either as the salt water in the eyes was blinding. The life guards were on hand in a flash to throw water in the faces of anyone who got salt water in their eyes. Afterwards one sat or lay out on deckchairs to dry off before using fresh water showers attached to the wall to clean off. All mud miraculously washed off leaving skin and bathing costumes squeaky clean. Much fun was had by photographing each other in various posses of Dead Sea activity. The resort issued lovely yellow and white striped towels to each guest on payment of entrance fee to the pools and bars in the grounds of the Movinpick Hotel. Guests could spend the day sitting around the fresh water pool attended by porters who were at hand for all requirements. Light lunches or snacks, cocktails and drinks were available at a cost and delivered to your deckchair while sunbathing and socializing. A day in the life of the rich and privileged was experienced. Ours was only a day dream but an experienced of a life time. In the evening we dined from a room full of lavishly presented buffets – food of every description both Asian and Western. The evening entertainment was of belly dancers, piano recitals and a jazz pianist performing in different parts of the hotel.
All good things must come to an end and the group left the Dead Sea for Maraca and a final meal together in a local restaurant before our transfer to Queen Aba Airport at 4.30am for our flight home.
I must not conclude this report without mentioning our transport organizer and mini-bus driver, Easham who is one of two Christians drivers and organizers in Jordan and proud of it. He kept us informed and retold the bible stories and good humoured jokes as we passed along the way. Our final journey was taken on a shorter route throughout the Holy Land, on our way back to Aquaba and the Airport. Easham had all the statistics and information on the tip of his tongue making the bible stories come alive. The Jordanians life, and especially the Bedouins, had not changed much from the stories told in the bible. The people of Jordan are highly educated 90% of the population of eight million attend a university, of which there are twenty six in Jordan.
The challenge trek in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation was a resounding success and all credit to Jeremy Perrin who is the Irish agent for the Irish Heart Foundation Tours. Contact No: 086-3806941
The twenty five horses used on the trek were mostly Bedouin Arabians with some pure Arabs (WAHO registered), part breeds and some Anglo Arabs, average size 15hh. They originate from Jordan, Syria and Iraq. They were mainly mares and geldings, and a couple of stallions. They live outside in the desert most of the year, so they are tough, strong spirited and responsive. They are also very sensitive and sensible which makes them easy to handle. They are extremely well cared for and are looked after to the highest standards. Some of the horses wore light covers at night while tethered in the camp. The cold winds at night were an extreme contrast to the heat of the midday.
The tack used was all English general purpose saddles, mainly synthetics made by Thornwood UK. There were saddle pads with big pockets on each side suitable for water bottle, camera and other personal belongings. Some experienced riders brought their own light helmets and suede or leather gel pads to reduce the ware and tear of riders.
There was about 5 to 6 hours riding a day starting with the three and a half hours in the morning, a lunch break for two to three hours, and then two to three hours ride in the afternoon. This covered between 25-35kms per day. All horses were led at a walk out of camp at the start of each ride and again on return to the camp. Depending on the riding abilities of the group, the pace of the ride was moderate but changed according to terrain and the time of day. The trails were generally open and flat with the opportunity of some trotting and the odd fast canter. The terrin of the Wadi Ramm was mostly sandy (red sand), vast and open with amazing views of rock formations on either side of the valleys we rode through.
Blessed Charles Canonised – Holy Well at Ballymore

Fr. Charles (Houben), a Passionist priest of Mount Argus in Dublin who died 1893, was Canonised on Sunday June 3rd 2007, by Pope Benedict X1V in Rome.
What is of local interest is that there is a well in Ballymore Eustace blessed by Fr. Charles, the now St. Charles.

About thirty years ago, as I strolled along the riverbank on a Summer evening I met Paddy Ryan, owner of the old Woollen Mill or factory as it is commonly known, down by the Liffey. He enquired if I was alright. No, I replied, I am not. I was standing in physical confrontation with one of his obstinate Goats, a big white one, standing defiantly in my way.
Whoosh, said Paddy, in goat language, and the creature disappeared into the deep foliage then beginning to envelope the area. It was the same big goat who some time later stood looking in through the doorway of Hugh O’Neill’s shop (now Mace) for full ten minutes, refusing to move, imprisoning those inside the shop and in mute imperviousness to all pleadings from those outside, until that is, it saw the gleeful smile and dress code worn by Kieran Langan, owner of the Butcher’s shop next door. The goat sauntered off in dignified elegance.

“Did you ever hear of Fr. Charles,” Paddy asked. I had a vague recollection of the name. There is a small well over here, famous for its cures after being blessed by Fr. Charles. I’ll show it to you. “He was fierce popular in Dublin for his cures and miracles. I don’t encourage pilgrims for fear they’ll break a leg and sue me.” Could the leg not be fixed again at the holy well? We went to the side of the house and in a small wooded area Paddy lifted a broken branch, exposing a granite slab from under which the well waters flowed. A sheet of lead lay under the upper slab, and to the right, a cup hook was lodged in the stonework. The water was crystal clear and refreshing to drink.

John Andrew Houben was born in the village of Munstergaleen in the Netherlands during December 1821, the fourth child of a family of ten, whose father ran a flour mill. Having served a short time in the army he joined the Passionate fathers in 1845, being received by their provincial, Fr. Barberi, who was also to receive John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church some short time later. Under the religious name of Charles Andrew, he was ordained in 1850. Within two years he was sent on mission to England. In 1857, Fr. Charles was sent to Ireland to assist the sparse clergy of the day in their work at Mount Argus (Harolds Cross) which at that time was farmland country, three miles from the city. Dublin at that period was an unholy den of brothels, prostitution, poverty and pubs. Fr. Charles was no academic but he had a natural gift of communication while maintaining a devout attention to his vocation. People responded to his sincerity and slowly his reputation for goodness drew a fervent and sizeable discipleship.
A further reputation for the cure of physical and emotional illnesses was gradually accorded to him, eventually becoming so widespread that reputations themselves were at stake. The medical profession, recognising the possibility of ungodly confusion between their expertise and financial incomes, against Fr. Charles’ miraculous cures led to a doctor’s dilemma and Cardinal Cullen was exhorted to banish Fr. Charles altogether. He refused.
Under pressure however, Fr. Charles was transferred back to England, though for an entirely different reason – an accusation of Simony, the sale of or traffic in sacred things for money, even though it was not his act. Dublin crooks, realising the value that people placed on water blessed by him, labelled their bottles “Blessed by the Holy Man of Mount Argus”, making a lucrative income for themselves. Fr. Charles was removed from the controversy and sent to England in 1866 and not recalled until 1874 to spend the last nineteen years of his life in Ireland. In the intervening years, his popularity had not waned and belief in his holiness and curative powers grew substantially. Vast crowds assembled prior to his arrival at various venues including Glendalough and Rathdrum, seeking his blessings and intercessions.
Fr. Charles died at Mount Argus on January 5th 1893, his death featuring prominently on the front pages of that morning’s newspapers. His funeral, it is said, drew more mourners than that of Parnell who pre-deceased him by two years.
I am not aware of the date of Fr. Charles’ visit to Ballymore Eustace, but can well understand his interest in the woollen mill here from his own family background.
Last week I went to photograph the well for The Bugle, but was so stung by nettles and ripped by briars that I would make do with the little phial of water I collected from the well years ago.
Paddy Ryan, gentle sentinel of that arbour of tranquillity passed through this life in 1988, the same year Fr. Charles was beatified by Pope John Paul 2nd.
As for that chameleon-like white goat – may its spirit ever stand guard at the closed gates of the old mill until they are re-opened perhaps as a Park with its millrace still running in memory of those who persevered and preserved, as silent tribute to a village, ancient to time itself. Michael Ward.

Photo attached.
Done an’ Dusted.

As the man said, “It’s all over bar the shoutin”. And about time too, we’re all a bit hung over from an overdose of election speak. Only the most dedicated are hanging in awaiting the final outcome. The way it looks at time of writing we’ll get a bit of the Julie Andrews song “ All kinds of everything” in our next government. That mightn’t be a bad thing, though there’ll be a few u-turns taken before agreement is reached. The need for power and the need to hold onto it at any price is a powerful aphrodisiac. It makes for quare bedfellows betimes. The insults you hurled at your fellow man across the Dail chamber before the election is all forgiven and forgotten and sweetness and light prevails now that he or she may now be on your side. That’s politics stupid!
Before I leave the election and it’s outcome, can someone explain one or two things for me. How come someone on the election register for donkeys years and hasn’t moved house is suddenly wiped off the slate. That happened to meself and the missus, also son and daughter-in-law, yet down the road not four miles away a near neighbour and her mother got there’s. Nothing strange about that you say except that the mother in question is dead for nine years! We weren’t the only ones; at the Brannockstown voting station there was a total of forty of us in the same boat, all alive and kickin’ and anxious to register what was our democratic right. Phone calls to higher authority were to no avail. All we got were sniffy answers and certainly no apologies for the cock up. Mindless bureaucracy at it’s very best. It reminded me of that old saying; “Send them for a Herald and they’d come back with the Press”. Still on questions and answers, can someone give me a simple explanation of how proportional representation works? I noted that one fellow in Dublin got 6oo odd votes and got elected. In the same constituency another guy got over a 1000 votes and was knocked out. The transfer of votes got the first guy elected it seems, but my logic tells me that the guy who got knocked out was twice as popular with the voters as the guy who got elected. Riddle me that! And riddle something else: the voter gave the PD’s a hammering at the polls, almost a wipe out, yet with all the manoeuvres going on at present it is quite possible that what’s left of them may be back in power! Hardy the democratic process at it’s best.
And what does the election tell us about ourselves? Well if you want to get a head in politics your voter will like you better if you have a Tribunal chasing you for some misdemeanour, real or imagined, and if you can’t arrange that, fix up your house and put the costs down to some business or other. Failing that, try a bit of financial advice to customers who are looking for foreign fields to put their money to bed. Any of the above mentioned will make you a poll topper. It beats Banagher, but it’s fact!
Another point to ponder on. Do politicians really believe all they say and expect us to take it as gospel? Take two examples; one was the final talks on the peace process, remember that ‘historic occasion’? Listening to Tony and Bertie patting each other on the back one would get the impression that it was all their own work. Correct me it I’m wrong but I never heard either of them give a mention to those who went before them, more or less laying the ground work on our behalf: Albert Reynolds, Garret Fitzgerald, CJH, and last but by no means least John Hume and Shamus Mallon. Eaten bread is soon forgotten we’re told. And recently we had to listen to Brian Cowen, the man who had so much money to play with on his last budget that he missed out on a million or two, presenting us with the myth that all our present wealth was due to careful management by himself and his comrades over the last ten years. Get real Brian. No Irish government, and that includes your party, has any control over our financial affairs. Since we joined Europe Brussels is the paymaster, that, and global economics. We have no say in interest or exchange rates; we handed that over to Brussels years ago, and these are the two big factors that control our welfare. Where would we be Brian if Mother Europe suddenly cut off all the financial largesse that she has handed us over the years? We’d be stagnating, like we were before we latched on to her coat tails. She has left us in control of internal things: roads, health, good schools, space to breath in our new housing estates, and dare I say it, proper control of our electoral registrar, are we proud of the management of these that we have been left to manage?
And finally, back to the election. Some won seats, some lost seats, and some went home with their tail between their legs. I thought it rather ironic, that Jerry with a well paid Westminster salary at his back, should come down here and instruct us how to get our house in order. Just imagine, if you can, that at the next general election in England some of our politicians were to go over there and tell the English people how to put their house in order what would the reaction would be! They’d get short shift. Sorry Jerry, but the nationalist whinge down here, is bottom of the list of things to do. Read the election results if you don’t believe me. Our newfound wealth has adjusted our thinking. The man who ate his dinner at noon is now Mr Breakfast Roll Man and has enough on his plate without getting indigestion thinking about what to do with our fourth green field. A new house, two cars at the hall door, a couple of holidays a year in the sun concentrates his mind on his mortgage and increasing interest rates, and that’s enough to be going on with as far as he’s concerned.
And that’s enough from me to be going on with, here’s to the next five years of ‘duckin’ an’divin’. Yrs Jeffers.
25 Years and going strong

Twenty five years ago four decent Ballymore people got together to carry on the work started by the local St. Vincent De Paul Society in caring for our senior citizens. Mary Queally, Mick Horan, Ossie Hunter and Dermot O’Reilly started the work that we have come to expect year in year out.
Sady both Mary and Mick have gone to their reward but their work is continues today by the Kathleen Jordan, Kathleen Lawlor, John Queally, John McCarville, Dermot, Tommy Dwyer and Tim Grace. Since 1982 they have provided a Christmas Party to rival the best anywhere. Every December over 100 sit down to a delicious dinner with entertainment, Santa and the chance to catch up with friends old and new. Down through the years it has been held in the Auld Triangle, Poulaphouca House Hotel and the Ardenode Hotel. I’m a few years off it yet but I’m looking forward to it already.
Each year when the weather turns fine a group venture off to a town in Ireland for a days outing. Armagh, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Athlone are among the places visited. This year the outing is to Limerick.
Last month as Chris Dennison’s pictures show, the group had a celebration dinner in the Ardenode Country House Hotel. The food was superb, the entertainment, by Country Pride had everyone singing and dancing and Gus Kavanagh did a brilliant job as Master of Ceremonies. It is a tribute to the committee that they were able to entertain some 170 people, amongst their number was a lot of people who had contributed, both financially and in kind to their efforts. As we go through the the 21st Century it is gratifying that there are so many people ready to help out in many ways.
The senior citizens committee were worthy winners of the Person of the Year award in the past. It’s hard to put a price on the work they do. So we won’t. They are priceless.

A date for your diary
Foster & Allen
Ardenode country House Hotel.
Sunday 9th September at 8 p.m.
Tickets €27.50 will be available soon form committee members and local outlets. And you can find more details in The Bell.

A great night for a great cause.
Tim Ryan.
FROM SUNNY SPAIN busy being robbed, blistered and
“Who is that woman!?” with Rose

The photos taken terrify me, Readers – the photos that is, that Don took half an hour to shoot on the ‘brillantly, so handy, so quick(?)’ digital camera, his latest toy…..
Digital cameras should be mashed to a pulp, half of them have to be deleted or dumped anyway as there’s never enough room on the chip… what was wrong with “2 for the Price of 1” throw-away cameras anyway? Don took photos of Yours Truly along the scenic coastline of Spain only when we downloaded the photos, it was someone else I saw – this cross lookin’ one, middle-aged, middleweight, squinting’ at the camera, one eye closed, teeth gritted in a threatening pose, the straw hat tilted a la Norman Wisdom style.

Me – this is me?? When did this happen, holiday snaps are supposed to be glorious photos of tanned and toned bodies, smiling happy faces – ok, that’s pushing it a bit. Lord, I am in shock - this couldn’t be me….Mid-life is upon me and actually, I look like I’m well on the way to ‘the other side’…. I just can’t identify with the stern faced biddy wearing a battered straw hat and she is wearing hideous thick sandals….The freckles are out in force – they don’t bother me, but the face is red, roarin’ red during peak temperatures not to mention the wobbles and the ‘yella’ hair (natural blonde colour starting to yield to sun rays).

With the exception of the ‘yella’ hair, I am Nell McCafferty-cum-Norman Wisdom in brighter clothes… I have even, may God Forgive me, worn white socks whilst the first layer of foot blisters healed…
Orthopaedic mules which cost an arm and a leg proved useless; the runners even with socks cut the heels off me so I went to the market and bought Scholl like footwear for the exorbitant price of €18 but they were robbed in Valencia where we fell prey to the latest tourist scam….

Driving along the main street, a much busier and longer street than O’Connell Street, we heard another driver beep at us and then a young man tapped the window and told us we had a puncture. We pulled in at the next block where amazingly there was the one and only car space on the entire street…. And yes, the back tyre on the pedestrian side was punctured – a brand new super tyre (only 7 miles on the clock when Don collected the car). We set about changing the tyre, taking the bags out of the boot and putting them on the back seat while Don changes the wheel…… you can see it coming….. a ‘nice’ man approaches us and tells us there’s a garage around the corner so I head off to the garage to ask if they can mend the tyre… the garage was closed but I managed to get under the grids and with much gesturing and ‘Pssssssssing’ out of me, the receptionist understands and tells me in vivido Spanish gestures that the mechanico is on lunch and will return, full bellied and ready for repairs in 15 minutes.

I return to Don Juan who had locked the car and was sitting in a café nearby watching the car…. “ Did you put the bags back in the boot of the car?” I asked “ What bags?” he says “They are in the car?” But of course, they weren’t, only the beach bag and towels, my bun bag was gone with a small amount of cash… so too was a carrier bag with a few bits n pieces, nothing major until you start to replace them… Female readers will understand this part - I had a bag with new swimsuit, new footwear, bag of cosmetics for when we went out for a meal that night – you know, favourite foundation compact, blusher brush, lippy and eye pencil. Then there was lip balm and Zovirax, just in case, my hairbrush, purse and the cooler bag of course, which was great for carrying food and drinks etc as it had foil lining…. Don’s sunglasses, my notebook and a set of keys also gone…

The tyre cost €203 as it had to be couriered down from another centre and it was 7.30pm before it arrived; the garage didn’t take laser so we were lucky Don had over €200 on him. But worse of all, the so-and-sos took my brand new Spanish dictionary and Spanish phrasebook – wait for it – entitled “Spanish Conversation – for DUMMIES!” .
Well, they got that right….

The garage owner, Javier explained in deep guttural sounds that the tyre was “STABBEEED, STABBEEED!”. Having spoken about 5,000 Spanish words to us at 90 miles an hours, we understood that young men – likely to be non Nationals – Javier was passionate they were not good Catholic Spanish boys – watch the cars stopped at traffic lights, identifying cars such as ours, with Alicante registration, white people driving with sunglasses and daft clothing…. Easy pickings, they slash the tyres at one junction, a young fella approaches to advise of puncture – it’s a one-way street and miracle of miracles, there’s a parking space free… and the rest you know. From the thieves point of view, they got sweet damn all but to me, losing me cosmetic bag, well, I suppose its like a golfer losing his clubs…. May they roast in Hell…

And the pity of it was, we had driven 3 hours to reach Valencia which is preparing for the America’s Cup, the port area alive with colour and atmosphere but all we saw was the inside of the garage…….. Maybe next year….

But despite a week of illness and being “STABBEEED” in Valencia, there are many beautiful places to see, aside from beaches.

Cartagena, historic town with Roman roots traced back to BC times, this town is a visitor’s paradise as it encompasses many diverse architectural influences from the remains of the Roman amphi-theatre and fortress wall to the Spanish bull-ring and the many different churches varying from Byzantine influences to Hispanic and Moorish styles. Also a busy port town, it is constantly undergoing more archaeological works and restoring finds so it combines old and new rather well. The University is worth seeing for the interior design which takes on the arched stonework typical of the Roman era.

La Mata for market day, a thriving beach town dotted with colourful little tapas bars and restaurants – and yes, the Irish have landed – and an expansive nature reserve and bird sanctuary for those of you who want to escape the tourist route.

We drove to Orihuela on market day also; its located scenically at the foot of the mountains with a beautiful old cathedral and town quarters behind the modern town square and a monastery located on the hill overlooking the town, the monastery still operating as a private college; Elche for magnificent gardens, trees and spectacular flora –they love their trees, they must have thousands of them…..Santa Pola for a lovely beach and promenade but if the truth be told, the coastal walk here from La Zenia to Cabo Roig and then on to Campoamar is just as lovely and only a few mins from the apartment – I can literally see the sea from the balcony…..

I have yet to explore Alicante but driving through it recently by night, we passed through the old quarters, a far cry from the busy modern shopping streets so this is definitely worth a return visit .

Since joining the EU a few years ago, Spain has got more expensive but its still a damn site cheaper to eat in top notch restaurants here than at home – Alicante Paella for two cost under €20 recently – total meal including starters, main course, bottle of wine and large bottle of water with dessert and tea still was way under €60 – and this was the dearest restaurant we ate in!!! And the markets are just brilliant, so colourful, loud and everything from cooked, cured meats, to herbs, fresh fruit, confectionery, lingerie, household, electrical, health products, clothing, giftware, leather goods, musical CDs and DVDs and of course, shoes, shoes, shoes…..Obviously, despite the hot climate, they do not have to meet with the same rigorous health and safety guidelines we do in Ireland – can’t imagine cured and raw meats displayed openly in markets at home, even during frosty weather.

I’m well tuned into current news affairs at home as RTE 1 features amongst the 30 TV station available here (and there is still nothing to view!) so it looks like a Fianna Fail – Green Alliance – now, if Pat wasn’t playing “Run Rabbitte Run”, Tim’s pre election prediction might just have been right…..

Yesterday I bumped into the Cregg contingent and today, Julie and I were chatting to a grand bunch of young ones from Louth – who were they on holidays with - my nephew Vincent O Donoghue from Manor Kilbride… the world is getting smaller….

Ann Daly is only up the road in Quinte de Quesada (not sure of spelling) and Mary Dooley should be out here by the time this Bugle goes to press. See, Ballymore Eustace folk are spreading their wings. If anyone is in visiting Matt Purcell before I get home, will you pass on my regards, please? I missed his articles in the May edition but I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Ward’s tribute to the late Mick Fennan and didn’t Tim get clever analysis of the election candidates?

Adios for now, mes amigos……

The novels I read this month took me to two vastly differing continents- the biting cold of Canada and the searing heat of India. They were both tales of resilience and both extremely good reads.

I was drawn to the first one by the title: “The Tenderness of Wolves” as I had recently been watching a fascinating documentary on two wildlife photographers who set up camp in the middle of a wolf pack and got to know the animals very well. It is a first novel by author Stef Penney, (Paperback: Quercus: 10.99) and she seems to be a confident and accomplished writer, reflected in the fact she has already won one award for this book. It tells the story of a Scots settler family in a remote settlement in 1867, when human beings really were living at the mercy of the wilderness. Narrated partly in the first person of Mrs Ross, we follow her outward journey to find her runaway adoptive son, Francis, as well as tracing an inner journey of her own reflections on her life. Francis has become involved with a local trapper, whose body is discovered in his cabin, and sparks an interesting and complex mystery, realistically grounded in the social; and political history of the Canadian pioneers. The novel has breathtaking descriptions of the landscape and man’s attempts to tame it, as well as fascinating comparisons of the wisdom of the native people versus the technology of the settlers.

I really liked Stef Penney’s characterisations, which are subtle and finely wrought. Her depiction of the central character of Mrs Ross is particularly convincing, I think because she places her up against the thing she most fears- the wilderness. The plot is exciting and not predictable and it was a great page-turner. I would recommend it for a holiday read, as it is likely to keep you engrossed, whilst being thought provoking.

In contrast I cannot honestly say I would recommend that you pack Rohinton Mistry’s “A fine balance” (Paperback: Faber and Faber: 10.99) when you are heading away. This probably sounds unfair, because I would have to agree with the reviewer from the Independent who is quoted on the cover of the book: “ A towering masterpiece by a writer of genius”. Mistry is India’s answer to Dickens, Tolstoy and Dostoievsky; he has produced a chronicle if Indian life in the 1970’s which is breathtaking in its scope and power. Outlining as it does throughout the book, the “fine balance” between hope and despair it paints a picture of four people who come to live together in the “city by the sea”. Mistry never actually names Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in the book, but by sheer coincidence the last national Geographic magazine had a cover feature on the shantytown of Dharawi that had grown up right beside Mumbai-
India’s number one business city. The photos and editorial in the magazine mirrored Mistry’s descriptions perfectly- the tragic thing is his novel was set in the seventies and nothing much seems to have changed.

The main characters, Dina Dalal, a middle aged widow and dressmaker, her lodger Maneck and the two tailors she employs, Ishvar and his nephew Omprakesh are masterfully drawn and most of the novel is taken up with their histories, juxtaposed with their struggles to make ends meet in the turbulent city. There is a ghoulish yet convincing political backdrop to the book, in which all figures of authority are completely corrupt, so that you feel the characters are being tossed around like puppets. Combined with the atrocities of the caste-system, it is bound to make for a hard tale to tell.

I think because Mistry helps the reader to engage with his characters so closely the last part of the book is difficult to read and I found it deeply distressing. That’s not to say I am sorry I read it – it was one of the best books I have read in many years. For anyone interested in India, politics or social justice it is an absolute must- Mistry has a unique gift and I intend to seek out his other work.

Janet Hawkins and the team have these books on offer in the Blessington Book Store, so please try and support your local book seller and pay her a visit- there’ some great summer reading in there- enjoy!

on passing by- again

So the election is over and the wrangling and horse trading is in progress. It was starting to look like a Fianna Fail, PD and Green coalition. The wise old heads of Fianna Fail were doing an absolutely stupendous job of back pedalling, explaining that all their boogie man talk about the Greens was probably a little bit over the top and sure aren’t they getting on just great now. At the time of writing it now appears that neither Fianna Fail or the Greens are able to compromise enough to get an agreement which would stick. Given Fianna Fails historic lust for power it is quite possible a deal could still be hammered out. As the fella said, a week is a long time in politics. I am just hoping that my favourite Ministers, misters Roche and Cullen, won’t be left out in the cold. Such a comeuppance would be a travesty. Well , wouldn’t it?
Voting patterns certainly threw up some strange results. Mr Roche went from having a surplus of over three thousand in the last election to a position where he was unable to claim his seat until the fourth count. In the West, Gerry Crowley was only able to muster five or six dozen votes from the people of the Rossport area, despite all his high profile campaigning on their behalf. The poor Sinn Fein candidate only received four votes, so not even all the Rossport Five could be bothered to vote for him.
Beverly Flynn was re elected but her tenure in Leinster House could be extremely short lived. She owes RTE about two million in legal fees and seems fairly blasé about it. In light of the fact that this is all taxpayers money RTE seem determined to get paid. If she is unable to pay up then the prospect of bankruptcy looms large. If she is declared bankrupt then she is automatically out of the Dail.
The PDs were almost annihilated, from eight seats down to just two, but it seems that Bertie wants them in the next government, perhaps as insurance.

Then again things could all change very quickly if any more strange revelations issue from the tribunals. Recent reports on Berties mattress money throw up more and more questions and the answers become more and more outlandish. Questions also need to be asked about AIBs role in the whole debacle.
In 2005 the Mahon tribunal asked Berties legal representatives about five large lodgements he had made between 1993 and 1995. These lodgements came to IR£116,481 and were way and above what Bertie could have earned in the period. When AIB were asked to provide records of the lodgements they said that they were all I cash and no records were available. The tribunal accepted that if this was the case then the paper trail had fizzled out and no further investigation was possible. In an ironic twist Berties own financial adviser told the tribunal that the lodgements included foreign currency, in particular an 8,000 sterling amount given to Bertie by some Manchester businessmen. The tribunal had already been suspicious of the uneven amounts of some of the lodgements, and suspected further foreign currency deals.
On placing a legal order on AIB, surprise surprise but it seemed there were records after all. This is where the whole thing starts to get both complicated and bizarre.
One of the lodgements, according to Bertie, was for 30,000 sterling which he got off his landlord. But according to AIB they only took in 1900 sterling on that day and anyway the 30,000 could not be equated to the actual IR amount lodged, given the exchange rate at the time. It did however equate exactly to 45,000 dollars at that days rate. Coincidence?.
Another lodgement was supposed to be the 8,000 from Manchester and IR16,500, but again the amount lodged could not be worked out at the exchange rate of the day. it would however have been the exact amount you would have received if you had lodged exactly 25,000 sterling. Coincidence?.
Two further deposits equated to exactly 30,000 sterling . In light of Berties original statement that he had almost no dealings with banks and preferred to deal in cash, and his statement that the only foreign moneys he received was the 8,000 sterling the whole thing is getting curiouser and curiouser. Perhaps there is actually some proper explanation for all this money. If so surely we are entitled to be told about it. If it was all above board then surely an explanation at the very start would have spared both Bertie and us the drip feed of revelations over the past few months.
If and when it is all sorted out I hope the tribunal has some searching questions for AIB, especially why it had to take a legal order for them to admit to records and transactions which they had earlier denied.

Well the weather seems to be picking up again. It looked for a while like we were not going to get our share of the global warming. Unfortunately the grass and the weeds have decided its time to let rip and show us just how fast they can grow. The lawnmower is now reminding us how we forgot to get it serviced last year. The dawn chorus is getting earlier and earlier. The kids are on countdown to the summer break. It’s a great time to be in Ballymore.
All for now. Mike Edmonds.
Dear Sir or Madam,

After reading the Punchestown Article on page 3 of the last issue, concerning the youth on the streets of the village, as local teenagers we felt we had to respond. As there was absolutely no entertainment arranged for any age group during our usual festival week, I'm so sorry if we were such an inconvenience to regular drinkers down in the town on the one night of the year where we like to celebrate the Punchestown festival. Perhaps you'd be happier if we were vandalising cars and generally causing trouble like the youth of other areas? Gathering in the village, one night a year, to have fun is hardly a crime especially since there was nothing arranged by the more "responsible" drinkers for young people during the week. We know that underage drinking can be a problem and there were some drunk people in Ballymore that night but these were all over 18. There was no trouble or no rows when we were present and there were squad cars driving by and the gardai didn't seem too concerned about our behaviour. Perhaps they were waiting to see if any legal drinkers were going to drive home?
As for the parents, I'm sure most of the local parents were in the pub and knew exactly where their kids were - outside having a laugh. Punchestown festival is not all about the "perfecto ladies". It's to be enjoyed by every age group and if the adults don't organise anything for the 15-17 age group what do they expect? To watch the clock and make sure we're in by 10 so we don't get in the way of older drinkers? It's worth remembering that we won't always be teenagers - we are the adults and voters of the future!

If as much effort was put into organising a festival as what seems to be the plan to keep teenagers off the streets next year, "10pm curfew", "leaflet drop offs to all the schools", "PRESS RELEASES on KFM, East Coast Radio and Carlow FM not to mention all the surrounding regional newspapers" I'm sure all ages can look forward to a great festival next year.

After you had "a few drinks" you must remember alcohol can cause double vision so maybe you didn't see as many buses as you thought you did.

from Responsible Local Youths
The Late Anne Langan
the little person with the big heart…

The communities of Kilcullen and Ballymore Eustace were deeply saddened at the recent passing of Anne Langan (nee Kenny). For all who knew her could not help but be infected by the energy and good-humour of this pint-sized family woman and community activist extraordinaire. Married to Kieran, the Langan family home quickly became a parish office as Anne assumed community roles such as treasurer to the Community Playschool, editor of the Ballymore Bugle, treasurer of the Tidy Towns Committee.
Amazingly, Anne carried out the work as Bugle editor without the aid of a computer or laptop, painstakingly re-writing every note submitted and compiling pagination on the kitchen table when her children were infants.

As the children joined various groups, Anne threw in her support for the Ladybirds and Girl Guides, Scoil Mhuire activities and the Langans were avid Gaa and sport supporters.

“Ann Langan was a special friend of all in Scoil Mhuire as she was involved in absolutely everything regarding school; she made a supreme effort to be sure to be in attendance at our recent production of "Oliver" in March to see Ciara performing her solo despite her failing health. Anne's sunny disposition and infectious good humour, combined with her determination to fight her illness to the end, endeared her to all who knew her.” said Mairead O Flynn, principal Scoil Mhuire.
Last year, Anne was nominated for Person of the Year Award by her son Patrick and was declared overall winner by retiring editor Michael Ward, who was thrilled to present his neighbour and ‘fellow Bugler’ with the award. Fittingly, young Patrick presented his mam’s award as one of the Offertory Gifts whilst sister Ciara presented a family photo taken at Disneyworld last year - a surprise treat organized by Anne herself - and Mary Kate presented a piece of her mum’s jewellery. Fr Sean Breen gave a touching homily to Ann, citing her “strong faith, open heart and sense of community” as incredible despite her ongoing battle with cancer. (Fr P McGowan, former parish priest, was also in attendance).

Little Mary Kate and family friend, Elizabeth Deegan read Prayers of the Faithful as did family members, Tom Langan, Caroline and Helen Kenny with brothers Fran and Myles reading the gospels and both families formed an impressive choir for the service. Guards of honour were formed by Scoil Mhuire, editors of the Ballymore Bugle, Blessington AFC and the Community Playgroup.

Whilst battling terminal illness, Anne, along with fellow friends Edel Boland and Anne Conway raised over €20,000 in aid of BreastCheck, national breast screening services and she continued to raise awareness of the service and associative events in local media.

During her final months, Anne spent as much time as possible at the family home on Chapel Street, constantly popping in and out to say hello to friends and customers at the family business premises and spending time with children Andrea, Patrick, Ciara and Mary Kate. Anne’s death at forty two is a dreadful blow to husband Kieran and the family, to her father Frank, sister Angela, brothers Kevin, Fran and Myles (pre-deceased by mother Kathleen). To the community of Ballymore Eustace, Anne Langan will be remembered fondly as the ‘little woman with the big heart’ and will be sorely missed by the many close friends she made during her time in the village.

The Late Anne Langan, Ballymore Eustace Person of the Year 2006, may she rest in peace, amen.

Rose B O Donoghue
Anne Langan lost a long battle with her illness recently. An astounding member of her local community she was fitting awarded with Ballymore Person of the Year award in 2006. Former editor of the Ballymore Bugle, a Girl Guide leader, a solid Church Reader, Chronicler of the story of “Fossabeg Maid," the list is endless. To Kieran and her young family, Andrea, Patrick, Ciara and Mary-Kate our condolences.

Gertrude Murphy from Longhouse who is survived by her husband Louie, and family John, Louie, Noel, Kevin, Trudy, Harry, Joe, Brendan and Paul.

Jim Toomey who died in Blessington. Our condolences to his family and his brothers Gus, Dinny and Gerry.

Patrick (Joe) McPeake from Dowdenstown is missed by a large circle of friends and neighbours.


Congratulations to Annette and Colm Murphy on the birth of their son, Cathal Michael, a brother for Tadhg who is 4.

This is as we got it “ Congratulations to Orla Douglas from Ballymore and Micky King from Kilcullen who tied the knot, at long last on 2nd June.”


We have just finished up our first half-year with the Club and it seems to be going really well so far. We have over 60 members enrolled now, although a typical club night would see between 25 and 45 coming down to our room at he Handball Alley. The gang down at the Alley are great at putting up with us – special thanks to Bridie, Ruth and Phil who have had to tolerate loud music, table tennis balls pelting them and even having to evacuate the shop during our film night! ( Thanks to Peter McShane for his very professional projectionist skills that night…)

The handball has also come into its own lately as Tom O’Rourke has been down several Fridays on the trot to coach the lads and lasses in handball. This has gone down really well and it’s something we would like to continue doing on a monthly basis in September. We also had a beauty night recently where Vera from “Versara” in Blessington kindly arranged for Lesley and Rebecca to come down and give the girls a demonstration in facials and make-overs. I think they also plucked the eyebrows of all the girls attending that night – exhausting!

We are hoping to have an open night sometime in the autumn for parents and locals to come and see what we’re up to. We want to complete our decorations of the room by then (started so well with help from Noel Thompson and Martine Rigney…) We are planning a mural, which Stacey Guing has promised to advise us on, and will put up some more posters to go with the existing photo collage which the members made themselves- it’s very impressive.

The group are off on a tour to Leisure Plex on July 14th……… ( PLEASE NOTE ANY OF YE WHO HAVEN’T YET GOT PARENTAL CONSENT PORMS IN – PLEASE DROP THEM INTO THE SHOP AT THE ALLEY ASAP)……. to play bowls, quasar etc etc then in August we are planning an afternoon Barbie with music from DJ Jimmy…. Date to be confirmed- keep an eye on the Bugle and the notice board upstairs at the Alley…..

We will be enrolling early September – again date TBC, so keep your eyes peeled- we will probably be having the next disco around Halloween. September will be busy for our new leaders who will be doing their train
ing then. Thanks to them for taking an interest and to all the Leaders whose dedication and enthusiasm has made this year a great start to the Youth Club.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tim’s Diary….

The culmination of weeks of work and years of the present government comes to and end next weekend. A lot of us complain about politicians, they are unpopular 85% of the time. I hold an unpopular view that they are a brave bunch. The thoughts of me asking my peers, let alone the general public, to sanction my salary for the next few years would terrify me. So, if you want to complain about them get out and vote. Good luck to ALL the candidates especially the ones from our own backyard.

Brigid & Des Byrne stopped over for a brief visit last week. Travelling with their son, Conor, they had been to Donegal and Galway. Whilst in the West they visited Des’s twin brother, who unfortunately is not enjoying the best of health. The Byrnes are fighting fit and Brigid got a great kick out of the recent piece about her eightieth in the last edition.
Speaking of ex-pats, I’m sure that you will join with me in sending greetings to the Kavanaghs, Peter & co., who have recently joined the ranks of our many readers in far off lands.

There was a good response to the “Famous Five’s” competition. I was wrong; we did have lots of entries. First correct entry pulled from “The Bugle” postbox was from Brid Murphy of Whitleas. The drinks are on you, Brid.

For those of you who frequent the Interweb, here are some interesting links:
Tim’s Punchestown Diary….

Walking Sunday is a great tradition and this year it received a huge boost with extensive sponsorship from Sherry Fitzgerald O’Reilly. Free Health checks, pedometers, fruit and a brilliant little booklet on the history of the event, written by Seamie Moore. Apart from the children, and dogs, in fancy dress, who were fundraising fro Rathmore National School, they were few locals in evidence. Naas Athletic Club ran the Millbrook Cup, an event contested since 1924, but conditions were not conducive to walking, let alone running. The Wolfe Tone Brass and Reed band were notable absentees.

The village looked bereft of colour and atmosphere without the buntings, flags and hurdles. I hope that the break in the Festival is short lived.

Micheal Murphy walked into the races with me on Tuesday. He goes to every race meeting in Punchestown and has been attending the festival for umpteen years and was looking forward to four great days racing. The opening race on day one was sponsored by local man Paul Newman, who also had some of his classic car collection on display. The race stayed local with the Kinirons family taking the spoils. Another family successful on the day were the Heffernans, the big grocers who own Clopf. Clopf® as you know is a blend of three different polypropylene fibres used on tracks and gallops. The best dressed lady was christened “The Dominatrix” by Alan Hughes, and was yet another Newman, Jane Newman. It is an interesting sideshow in Punchestown with a winner’s prize of €30,000. Certainly Brendan McArdle was enjoying it !! I met with Margaret Pearse and Marie Murphy, the latter threatening to demob and go back to €1 patents in Tony Hanlon’s. Speaking of patents, a shoe shop would clean up over the four days as a lot of the ladies were reporting lame at the end of each day. They have everything else; Punchestown is now a very slick organization, with the William Hill blimp. Musical fanfares for the winners, loads of helicopters and even a man on the course to direct jockeys to the start. The unluckiest man on Tuesday, apart from myself, had to be Graham Lee, his mount Four Aces, had the “Ellier” at his mercy when jumping onto the last fence. Happily both man and beast were unharmed in the tumble.
On Wednesday, Chris Dennison, fresh from a sojourn in the Fianna Fail tent on Tuesday was busy snapping away. Fr. Sean Breen was in great form giving winners to anyone who cared to listen. The big race on Wednesday, the Guinness Gold Cup went across the pond when Ruby guided Neptune Collenges to victory. The grey is owned by John Hales, a great supporter of the game, he is also the man behind, Noddy, Thomas the tank engine and Shaun the sheep. Cheeverstown colleague Frances McHugh was one of the finalists in the Best Dressed Lady contest on Wednesday. Frances is always immaculately turned out and always has lovely “Jimmy Choos” After racing I met Margaret McDonald and her sister Anne Tipper. Anne was living up to her name having backed FIVE winners on the day. That night we went down to sample the (lack of) atmosphere in Ballymore. The quiet village, it was.

On Thursday Colette got all dolled up and brother Mick joined us for a day out. We spent more time sitting and shopping and chatting than racing. The highlight of the Thursday for me is always the La Touche. This year it was sponsored by Jimmy Stanley’s Avon Ri resort. Royston, brother of Cyprian, former protégée of Bertie, now there’s a pedigree, was on hand to present the trophy to…..
Enda Bolger of course. Winning the banks race ten times on the trot. We can all remember Sean Connery' Risk of Thunder, who dominated this race from 1995 to 2002 winning seven on the bounce, a feat only surpassed by Leaping Plum who has won the Grasmick Handicap on eight occasions. On Thursday local interest in the BDL competition centered on Marianne Kavanagh from Bishophill.

We had a group from work as well as family together for the last day of the festival on Friday. It was Peter & Patricia’s first time racing and I think that they are converted. I would have to say that I was disappointed in some of the things that I saw on the day. A large proportion of the 32,000 who attended were teenage boys and girls. The drinking and other activities that most of them engaged in have little place at a race meeting. I realize that it is hard to police by the Punchestown management are going to have to take some action in advance of 2008 if they are to keep things right. The multitude of empty naggin vodka bottles would suggest that a lot of planning had gone into the day. Nonetheless the sparkling weather, excellent racing and a curtain call in the last which went the right way for old “Moscow” made it a brilliant experience. I was back out at the track at 9 p.m. and the craic was still going strong. The Coonan’s were represented in this race which was really nice. Micheal Murphy was still standing as I left and already talking about next year.

We ate in the Ballymore Inn that evening. You know that I don’t hold with restaurant reviews, but the atmosphere was enhanced by the company, the wine and a 3-2 victory for the black cats over Burnley.

On Saturday normal service resumed at Punchestown, the meeting closing with two divisions of …………….The Ballymore Festival Bumper.
The State We Are In.

In early April, Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association (CDA) submitted a report – entitled The State We Are In - to Kildare County Council (KCC), our local County Councillors, and our local TD’s. The report, along with a covering letter, was addressed to the following people:

Mr. J. Boland (Director Transportation/Health and Public Safety – KCC)

Mr. William Purcell (Area Engineer - KCC)

Willie Callaghan

Mary Glennon

Billy Hillis

Paddy MacNamara

JJ Power

Mr. Sean O’Fearghail TD

Mr. Sean Power TD

Mr. Jack Wall TD

The report was written in response to the numerous complaints that Ballymore Eustace (BME) Community Development Association (CDA) has received, from inhabitants and visitors to BME, concerning the poor state of the roads, bridges, walkways and environs in and around the village. In the covering letter, we also pointed out that our attempts to improve our score in the annual Tidy Towns competition had been thwarted by many of the problems described in the report, many of which are outside our responsibilities and control. The report highlighted the main problems and described some particular – but not exhaustive - examples in words and pictures. BME CDA requested a meeting to discuss and prioritise the issues identified in the report.

To date – early May - we have received responses from the following people as a result of our submission:

1 Sean Power TD has made representations to Joe Boland (Director Transportation/Health and Public Safety – Kildare County Council) and has promised to monitor developments closely.

2 As a result of Sean Power’s and the CDA’s submissions to KCC, Mr. Pat Whelan (Senior Executive Officer – KCC) has written to both Sean Power and the CDA. His letter advises us that the Area Engineer of KCC is examining the issues raised in the CDA’s report and Pat Whelan has arranged a meeting with him, on 27 April 2007, to discuss the outcome of his assessment. Mr. Whelan will then report to the CDA on the result of this meeting.

3 Jack Wall TD has contacted Joe Boland (Director Transportation/Health and Public Safety – Kildare County Council) on the CDA’s behalf stressing the importance of the issues raised in our report (The State We Are In). He has also contacted Councillor Paddy Mac Namara asking him to arrange for a deputation from the CDA to attend the next KCC Local Area Committee Meeting to present our case.

4 Councillor Paddy Mac Namara has also contacted us direct to advise that he will raise the matters contained within our report and ask the Area engineer to respond.

We encourage the residents of Ballymore Eustace to raise the issues on the doorstep with canvassers in the lead up to general election.

Eric Firth (Committee Member Ballymore Eustace CDA)
1.5.2007 JB/RO’N

Mr. Eric Firth,
Ballymore Eustace C.D.A.
Truce Road,
Ballymore Eustace,

Re: Roads and related issues in Ballymore Eustace.

A Chara,

I refer to your recent submission forwarded by Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association in
the above regard. At the outset might I compliment the local community regarding a range of initiatives which they have undertaken in recent years. Certainly, for its part, the Council are more than anxious to work with the C.D.A. in order to ensure the betterment of Ballymore Eustace and its hinterlands.

In the above regard, I am pleased to advise that the Council propose to allocate an additional sum of €125,000 in 2007, over and above existing maintenance expenditure, in order to address some of the issues highlighted by the C.D.A. In this regard, I am further to advise that the Area Engineer, Mr. Willie Purcell has examined the issues raised on a preliminary basis. It is proposed, at the outset, to prioritize the following aspects.

(a) Truce Road – to examine and address the underlying flooding issue as well as to carry out surface repairs.
(b) Bishophill Road – to carry out further maintenance works.
(c) Barrack Street – to carry out further reinstatements to pavement.
(d) Naas Road – you may be aware that substantial expenditure was incurred in 2006 in order to carry out strengthening improvements to the verges. It is proposed to carry out additional reinstatement works throughout the length of this scheme, the costs to be borne as part of the Water Services contract

I am pleased to advise that the following additional allocations will be made available.

1. Alliganstown Bridge

Reconstruction works are due to commence in a fortnight or so for completion probably in late August/ early September. The total cost of these works will be in the region of €250,000 and this funding has been provided as part of the Council’s capital programme.

2. Dowdenstown Road

In addition to the foregoing a sum of €25,000 will be made available in order to carry out improvements to the Dowdenstown Road.

I am further to confirm that the Area Engineer will examine the Brook of Donode Bridge, as requested. In addition, I have requested the Council’s specialist bridge engineer, Mr. Aidan Farrell, Senior Executive Engineer, to examine the issues raised regarding Ballymore Bridge. Again, I will communicate with you further in this regard.

In relation to other items raised I am to advise as follows:-

· The Council’s Environment Section will examine in detail the issues raised regarding the derelict sites. As you are aware the council does have the statutory remit to take action, where appropriate, in this regard. I do assure you that this particular issue will receive every consideration.

· The position regarding full- time street cleaners in various towns and villages throughout the county is currently being considered. However, realistically, there are unlikely to be any changes in current arrangements in the short term. The matter is, however, due to be reviewed in the context of the 2008 budget which will be considered in September next. Again, I will keep you appraised of any developments in this regard.

· I am further to confirm that the Road Design team have been requested to prepare a traffic calming scheme and to review safety issues generally at the school. I am to advise that detailed plans and proposals should be available in this regard shortly and it may, indeed be possible to progress this as a scheme in 2008. It will, however, be necessary to up- grade the surface of the road at this location in the first instance. I will arrange to forward a copy of these drawings to the Community development association in due course in order that its comments and observations can be fully considered as part of the design process. Traffic calming arrangements, including pedestrian controlled lights and special 30 km/h speed limits (during school hours) are currently being prioritized for a number of schools, particularly in rural areas, throughout the county. The provision of such a facility for Ballymore Eustace will be actively considered in this regard. Regrettably, however, it is unlikely that such a facility can be provided in Chapel Street in the short term.

· Realistically, given the costs involved there is little likelihood of under#grounding the overhead street wires either in the short or medium term. Regrettably, the nature of this work is inherently expensive and, as you will glean from your own submission, there are many other priorities.

· I have requested the area office to liaise with the Gardai regarding the enforcement of the one- way system on Plunkett Road.

· I have also requested the Road Design team to re-examine the designation of parking areas and will correspond further with you in this regard. You will be aware that markings were recently provided at Chapel Street to include a facility for disabled persons. In addition, a double yellow line was provided, as requested, at the entrance to St.Brigid’s Park. I would be pleased to get the feed back of the C.D.A. in this regard that I can, again, be fully taken into account in the design process.

· Regarding footpaths, the Council is anxious to complete a section on Barrack Street (Garda Station side). However, this will be subject to funding being identified. No doubt, its completion will complement other footpath improvement completed in recent years at Chapel Street, Plunkett Road and Main Street. It may well be possible to advance this as a scheme in 2008. It is, however, unlikely to be feasible to carry out improvements on the other side in the short term although the Area Engineer should be in a position to carry out some repair work.

I trust that the foregoing, though perhaps not to the full satisfaction of the C.D.A., at least clarifies most of the issues involved and sets out a programme of work for 2007. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as issues arise and, hopefully, it will be possible to continue this programme in future years.

Yours faithfully,