Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ballymore Eustace Community Dev. Assoc. A.G.M.

A more miserable, windy night you couldn’t have planned for – gale force winds, biting cold and that was the night of our AGM. No surprise then that about 25 people in total turned out for the meeting – the same concerned residents, many of them former members of the committee and sub committees. On the positive side, there were at least three new faces amongst the attendance – but sadly, we missed the late Dr Malachy Dignan who loyally attended the A.G.M. for many years. But an attendance of 25 people is pathetic, totally disheartening for members of the CDA. During the course of the AGM, Steve asked that people who would be willing to help out now and again with any of the sub-committees might give their mobile number to the committee and they could then be informed of say, a Tidy Towns clean-up or planting night – you wouldn’t have to become a full committee member but might make yourself available for occasional help?

Steve Deegan presided as chairman in the absence of Jimmy Pearse who has retired from the committee and unfortunately, Steve himself is resigning as and from the January meeting. As always, Steve had prepared an excellent presentation for us with photographic coverage of local events displayed via an overhead projector.

Twelve meetings were held in 2006 with some members involved in or more of the sub committees. Steve stressed the urgent need of new members and how badly the sub committees needed more help.

The Community Playschool rep keeps the committee informed of all their events and the playschool continues to provide an essential service to the village.

The Resource Centre was painted and new speakers installed in 2006. Hall workers, Monica and Nicola were praised for their commitment and flexibility.

Weekly Bingo continues to flourish with this being a main source of income to the running costs of the hall. Praise was given to Gus Kavanagh, Seamus Hayden and to all the women who run the event weekly.

The Annual Punchestown Festival Week was addressed by committee pro, Rose.
“With Jimmy Pearse having stepped down as festival chairman, we have lost half our workforce – his imput was incredible and we will need four men to replace him.
Patricia, Kay and possibly Julie Ann are stepping down so that leaves only Margaret McDonald and myself. Basically, if volunteers or representatives from the local vintners and restaurants don’t come forward next Spring, there won’t be a festival.”

I did point out that parents of young children should get involved and help out during festival week; vintners may make a profit during raceweek but undoubtably, its children who are the real winners with nightly treats and open air entertainment free of charge. The ‘glory years’ for pubs is over, what with drink-driving laws, the smoking ban and competition from late bars in Naas. So Readers, if you want a festival this year – you will have to come on board and ‘gizza hand’.

Finances are healthy enough although only 3 pubs last year made a financial contribution to the festival. The Festival Queen was the main fundraiser – practically every prize and gift presented to the girls on the night were donated by businesses in Blessington, Ballymore Eustace and Naas. From this event, we donated €1,000 each to Angel Eyes Foundation; Renovation Fund for the Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Carman Fair. About €1,500 remains in the festival account.

The Ballymore Bugle prints 650-700 copies per month with consistently high sales.
As co-editors, I thanked all our advertisers, our contributors, those who helped to fold the Bugle every month and to the public for buying it whilst Tim gave a brief on the healthy financial state of our monthly magazine and thanked Frances Clare, our printer for her help and co-operation. (Annual Expenditure is just under €12,00 with revenue raised in excess of €13,300. €500 was donated to the Carman Fair; €500 to be set aside for the Michael Ward Short Story Competition and donations given to other local fundraising events, The People of the Year Awards etc). Christy Dennison was mentioned for special praise and Dick Jeffers whose book “Harvest of Memories” was launching the following week.

The Friendship Club on Tuesdays has a steady number of members who enjoy card playing, art and exercises classes. Fiona Breslin applied for a grant last year for Social Inclusion and this covered the cost of flower arranging, art and exercise classes with local trainers being used for all demonstrations. It is positive to know that only do our senior citizens enjoy Tuesday meetings but skilled local trainers also benefited.

Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver 10-12 meals per day, 3 days per week. Steve praised all involved for their commitment and continued service.

Tidy Towns - Eric Firth gave a comprehensive update; married to local girl, Mary Edgeworth, Eric was a very busy chairman during the past year but sadly has stepped down as he finds the lack of interest (from local residents and businesses, Kildare County Council with the exception of Mary Foley in the grants dept, local county councillors etc) disheartening to say the least.

Tree planting continues to be a top priority of the committee with flower beds added to various spots around the village. The committee had 2 sessions with children from Scoil Mhuire in the fight against litter and Eric praised the youngsters for their enthusiasm and added it was great to see them become environmentally aware at such an early age. Our local school was awarded a Green Flag as a litter free zone. The Brownies too helped with litter management so well done, young people of Ballymore!

Eric was high in his praise of the FAS workers, adding it was great to have Martin Deegan’s advice and local knowledge on the suitability of which species of tree/shrub to plant.

Eric spoke about the committee’s five year plan and their disappointment at only gaining 1 point in the national tidy town awards. Eric cited the following as areas in which Ballymore lost valuable points:
Litter; derelict unsightly buildings; rough surfaced roads and overhead wires; vandalism and grafitti.

Future priorities of the committee will be: tackling eyesores; litter management; to get the local authority more involved; more wild flowere gardens; information boards on local fauna, wildlife, birds and fish – preferably vandal free…. Eric remarked what a beautiful village we have and that his resignation “presents a great motivation opportunity to someone to apply leadership skills” and fill the breach……. Don’t all shout together… Thankfully Eric will continue to be active on the committee – he praised his fellow committee members – Maeve Cummins, Mary Firth and Ann Langan , the Fas workers and complimented Jimmy Pearse for the mammoth workload he carried during his involvement.
Again, Eric pointed out that if volunteers don’t come forward to help with the Tidy Towns, then the sub-committee is in danger of disbanding.

CDA Projects
Next we addressed the following projects which the current committee hope to spearhead over the coming year: The replacement of a community facility on the site of the old library; Street signage and naming;
Atrocious state of the local roads; Local Area Plan etc.

The Library – Fiona Breslin has taken this project to heart and gave a brief history on the project;
“About 10 years ago, the old library closed and fell into dilapidation; in 2005, the CDA pressed Kildare County Council to give ownership of said site and a 21year lease @ €50 per annum was agreed.
KTK kindly disposed of the asbestos and waste thereof, free of charge – much appreciated by the committee. Suggestions were then requested from residents of Ballymore Eustace via the bugle as to what the community felt should replace the library and the following suggestions were made:

1 An office area to incorporate a working parish office, archive storage for the Bugle, Tourist Information Office (infopoint and literature), community notice board and electronic community diary (so the days of local events clashing will be gone forever!)

2 Storage area for the Tidy Towns Committee

Des Kennedy Jnr kindly offered his services as project architect free of charge – thanks Des, much appreciated! We agreed a provisional design to start with (small model on display on the night) but we would like consultation with the local community before applying for planning permission. I know we might be putting “the cart before the horse” here as we then have to apply for the grant raised from KTK community levies – but we are still optimistically going ahead for 2007!”
We hope to have a model on display at The People of The Year Awards

Street Naming and Road Signage. Fiona again is taking charge of this project; simple signage in English and Irish with border trim was chosen in green and white; street corners, local estates and areas to mount the signs will be chosen with permission sought. The work will be tendered locally with possibly up to 45 signs required. Gus Kavanagh suggested that Green and gold might be more appropriate (Ballymore Eustace GAA colours) so samples will be requested in this colouring scheme too to see if they are suitable.

Secretary’s Report. Kay read the minutes from the 2005 AGM and then the Secretary’s Report in which she covered all of the above sub committees and other issues raised in 2005.
One of the issues raised before was the appalling state of our roads with a referral to the deputation organised by Jimmy Pearse and Eric Firth to meet with Willie Purcell, Roads Department, KCC but, despite having submitted a comprehensive report on the dreadful condition of our roads with an appointment confirmed, Mr Purcell failed to show.

At this stage, local resident, Kay Kavanagh reported having had 2 burst tyres at the Naas Rd/Dowdenstown Junction and when she phoned Willie Purcell in KCC to complain, she was informed the council is not responsible… So who is??? (Coincidentally, the Council put a traffic cone on the spot which was duly flattened and posed an ever greater hazard until its removal).
Tim H Ryan added it was obligatory for KCC to put up signs on temporary surfaces and Maurice Mason urged the committee to raise the issue again with Willie Purcell. Kay then paid tribute to Jimmy Pearse for the huge workload he carried on the various sub committees.

Treasurer’s Report was was presented by Margaret McDonald and what a comprehensive report it was!
Margaret thanked all the sub committees who filed their accounts on time (and made her life easier) and then wished a speedy recovery to Ann Langan.

Drugs Awareness Night. Steve praised the quality of the presentation of gardai for our drugs awareness talk but noted how disappointing it was how few parents turned out on the night.

Officers elected. The nomination and election of officers followed with Jimmy Pearse and Steve Deegan resigning. Rose stepped down and was duly re-elected with Margaret, Kay, Trish and Fiona staying on. Mary Deegan was then nominated and elected – a new face on the committee – halleluia!!

Regarding sub committees, John White volunteered to help with the Tidy Towns whilst Percy Donnelly, John Hubbard and Ian Coonan agreed to revive the lapsed Community Alert Programme.

The Hall Committee. Dora O’Brien aked that the policy, health and safety rules for usage of the hall need to be documented and Tim H Ryan offered to do a health and safety statement.
Fiona asked if the hall was available for private hire such as kiddies birthday party – would insurance cover that but Tim urged that it was imperative to have a hall policy in place first.

Local Area Plan was addressed next; the CDA’s submission was entered on December 8th with over 40 other submissions received. Steve urged locals to get involved at the next stage when the draft plan goes on display. There was general consensus that perhaps interested residents – amongst them concerned residents who have met over the past few months to address recent planning applications, the CDA and members of the ABCD - should meet and form a united front or a joint committee representing all views.
To this end, it was agreed that the CDA would meet for a brief planning discussion with said interested parties on January 11th, 2007 and address a future forum for planning in Ballymore Eustace.

Other issues raised on the night were the confusing matter of how the KTK community levies were to be allocated and distributed. (Details as per last month’s Bugle).
Those in attendance were annoyed that no county councillors were in attendance.

Morgan Doyle and Liam O Neill were singled out for special mention for the mega amount of work and pleasure derived from the CARMAN FAIR.

Steve thanked those who attended and it was generally agreed that next year, our AGM will be held in Spring or Summer but definitely not in Winter – we might just get a few more interested bodies in warmer weather, ‘might’ being the operative word……

Rose B O Donoghue

Ballymore person of the Year Nominees

Never was the competition tougher for People of The Year Awards – 5 nominations, 1 elimination. Take a look at the citations here –

Two nominations were received for Gerry Bell, for his work with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association and a second for Breda and Gerry, as great parents and good neighbours. Last year, Gerry’s work with the Spina Bifida Association saw him nominated for the Co. Kildare Person of The Year Award. Three full tables of family and friends from came to support Gerry whom I would have to say gave the sweetest and briefest of speeches that night.
Gerry was joined by Breda, Julie-Anne, Gareth, Vicky, Linda, Maria and Patrick – the whole family out in force – plus his brother Des, godchild Rosie, friends Mary and John Hartigan, Vicky and Linda’s boyfriends and a clatter of Julie-Anne’s friends.

Gerry was asked in 1982 to run a marathon in aid of the Association for Spina Bifida and coincidentally, their daughter Julie Anne was born with the condition the following March. By November, Gerry himself set up the Kildare Branch of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Since then, he and Breda have worked tirelessly for the group, raising awareness on wheelchair accessibility (or lack of), social, sporting and shopping events plus holiday breaks for members. Breda and Gerry are very supportive support of all their children’s activities – from Community Games to Art, Sport to Drama and Music, anything their children have been involved in, they are there to support 100%. Neighbours too are high in praise of the Bells – always willing to give a hand or oblige. When collecting the Christmas tree over the years, the Bells’ house was a pleasure to visit – all the hand-made cribs were proudly displayed in the kitchen and you’d get a quiet warning from Breda that if you’re going to admire one, you’d better praise them all!
Every community event from Punchestown Festival Queen to a musical or play, the Bells support and seem to enjoy themselves no matter where they go.
Twas fitting that Mick McGinn of Naas Health & Fitness presented Gerry with his award at The Kildare Person of the Year, as they were former schoolmates


There won’t be too many of you that don’t know Mary. To fully list her involvement in Community affairs would probably take the contents of an entire Bugle.
Involved in the local Badminton Club at both Senior and Juvenile level, from its inception to competition levels in the Kildare and Leinster leagues.
Winner of the inaugural Christmas league in 1972 with Anthony. And successful again in the All Ireland representing Laois.
Always to be found on the sidelines in the heyday of Ballymore Soccer, cheering on Anthony and later picnicking with the kids when Mr. Campbell went refereeing.
Mary put in stalwart work during the building of the new ball Alley/ Community Centre acting as Secretary and running the project on a day to day basis for over 10 years. A member of the Eater parade committee during its golden years. Member of the Scoil Mhuire parents Committee. Assisting the late Mary Balfe in her many endeavours. Stalwart of the Cemetery Committee in St.Marys and solid grafter at keeping it tidy and a pleasant spot for all families who visit. Working on the Cemetery in Coughlanstown preparing for the Mass there. Her involvement in the church takes many forms, founder member of the parish Board of Management, assisting Kathleen Lawlor in the day to day running of operations, decorating the church for the harvest Thanksgiving, driving force in may fund raising activities. Whew. And Barrettstown, Fundraising events at local level on a number of occasions, concerts, fairs, and sales of work the list goes on.
Her nomination comes about not for this alone but also for the kindness she shows to all her neighbours and friends within the community. Her willingness to drive people for hospital appointments, for shopping and other expeditions makes her an invaluable friend to many.
I have seen Mary in action at various meetings; she is very quiet all during the discussions but always to the fore when the work is being dished out.
It would be remiss not to mention her husband Anthony, his long golden locks, still intact after thirty five years of marriage, he recently gave up the cigarettes, not for health reasons, but simple because in helping Mary he hasn’t time!
As you know daughter Laura is part of the team in Barrettstown and gives freely of her time to many of Mums enterprises. And lastly to mention Donal, who died some sixteen years ago aged nineteen after a tough and prolonged battle with his illness.

Eamonn Deegan has been nominated his tireless dedication to the Ballymore Eustace Handball Association. As a young fella, Eammonn served as an alter boy and joined the brass & reed band. Whilst he is not serving at Mass now, he is still a supporter of activities at the band hall and travelled with the band in its
marching days from the Annual Field Day at the GAA pitch to the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston.
His interest in music brought him local fame in the sixties as a member of the Sputnik Five and in later years, a member of F Troop. For the younger readers, the Sputnik Five were hot!
Since the sixties Eamonn has been involved in the promotion of handball both at club and county board level. He helped in the development of the 40 x 20 alley in the eighties, a very progressive development which incorporated the first glass alley in Ireland (Croke Park soon followed), a facility with children’s pool table and shop - in fact, for years, the Handball Centre was the prime community hall, prior to the refurbishment of the Resource Centre or the new band hall, the latter in which Eamonn once again was directly involved with fundraising etc.

Eamonn won All-Ireland junior hardball honours in 1969 in partnership with John Browne and has represented his club and county from the sixties to the present time. He was a keen sportsman - a good badminton player in the seventies and eighties, a competitive racquet ball player and in recent years, a dab hand at the pitch and putt and even better on the golf course, having won The Captain’s Prize last August at the golf society’s outing to Heath Golf Club. I’m told he even did a bit of Irish Step Dancing in his time……..
Its not surprising that Eamonn has been involved with so many activities in Ballymore Eustace – his late parents Maisie and Eddie reared a whole bunch of community-minded Deegans.
Like the other three nominees, Grania, Mary and Gerry, Eamonn never ‘hogs’ the limelight or pushes himself forward, simply gets on with it. Now retired from the ESB, I'm sure Eamonn will continue contributing to his local community in whatever way he can.

Grania Glancy nominated by members of St John’s Church for:
Her dedication to her Church
Her outstanding commitment to the sick and elderly in the community visiting them in their homes and nursing homes
Her generous time given to fundraising events.
A second nomination was received for her work with The Ballymore Eustace Dramatic Society, BEDS – a founder member, Grania assists in every aspect of the society from taking part on stage, working backstage, doing make-up, costumes, props and helping in every way she can. Husband Larry does invaluable work in the stage building and design. Grania is noted for her caring personality and everything she does, she carries a smile – especially in her work place where she is always sunny and pleasant. (And her baking is the best!). This nomination had 24 signatures.
To all this, remember Grania was a playgroup leader with the Community Playschool for years; before Hilary and I came on board, she was a Brownie Leader and in the past two years, she was one of founder members of the Ballymore Eustace Art Group which hosted a marvellous art exhibition last year. A lovely lady – and the best lookin’ Granny in Ballymore too.

A photograph in the chronicle of Ballymore 2000 shows a young smiling Rose O’Donoghue receiving the person of the Year award for 1999. Rose still smiling and young has been nominated again this year. However with all the good grace that she displays in everything she does she has asked that her name be withdrawn, as she is a judge of the awards. So it is with some reluctance that I agree to her request. Everyone knows Rose, her activities within the community and unending. She is cheerful and kind natured and a wonderful mother and role model to her children. I am proud to work with her and I regret her withdrawal from the process. Shortly after rose was selected as Ballymore person of the year she had an unfortunate accident, tail ending our favourite Laois man on the Naas Road. It gave rise to one of the quotes of the century as Pat Fitz described the accident as “ I was taken from the rear by the Woman of the Year!” Rose Barrett O’Donoghue, nominated for Ballymore Person of the Year, thanks Eric and Mary for the nomination but she declines in the essence of fairness.

The very best of luck to all our nominees – you are highly thought of in amongst the community. Please note, a nomination this year does not deter anyone from nominated again in future years.

@ The RESOURCE CENTRE, 8pm Saturday 10th February

Harvest of Memories Book Launch


“The book launch is the 14th December” says Dick and then with a heavy intake of breath “The books are arrivin’ on the 13th……” There was a lot of heavy breathin’ in the Jeffers household that week – and we’re not talking passion here! I’d say Dick was like an expectant father pacing the floor “What if something goes wrong?” “What if the books don’t arrive?” “Should I cancel the launch?” “What if I have ordered too many books?” Trudy and Dick were fifty years married last year and I’d say the lead-up to the book launch was the most stressful time ever for both of them.

Well, the books did arrived on time, the day before. Thursday was a ‘bitch of a day’; howling winds, flash floods – a horrible mucky, dirty winter’s day. “What if no-one turns up?” Aieee, the worry of it all. Well, rain and gale winds were no deterrent to good friends and neighbours and Dick had a full house for the launch.

Trudy along with Viv, granddaughter Sarah and pal, Mary Ellen, sons Johnny and Michael were there dishing out tasty nibbles and wine. There was a great atmosphere of goodwill and pride for our Dick. No long faces, no moaners, everyone swept along in a wave of high spirits. And why not, at 80, Dick had produced his first book. His neighbours and friends from the farming community turned out in force; The Clare family representing the Kilcullen Bridge – Frances, Noel and Stephan; The ‘Buglers’ – Michael, Angie and Noel, Matt and Rose were all there.

There was councillors Billy Hillis and Rainsford Hendy; Kilcullen thespian and medical officinado, Bernard Berney and journalist Brian Byrne of Kilcullen Bridge website diary; photographers from the Leinster Leader and Kildare Post and Dick was doing an interview with Noel Shannon of KFM the following day. Had he too many books – no, they were sold out on the night and now poor Dick, who had promised copies to Barker and Jones and local outlets was worrying: “God, have I enough books now to go round…”

That’s the pain of success! Noel Clare opened the proceedings, welcoming Dick’s family, friends and members of the press. As editor of the Kilcullen Bridge, Noel was delighted to be invited to the launch and proud to know an author. In particular, Noel paid tribute to Pastor Dunlop who was recovering from a bout of bad health and unable to attend; Robert Dunlop was mentor to Dick, always pressing him to get his work published – only last year Robert’s tribute to Dick in the Bridge and Bugle again encouraged Dick to get his book printed.

Next I spoke about our ‘acidic political correspondent’; having known Dick only for the past few years, I feel I know him forever what with his lively personality and outspoken opinion. I referred to his outspoken opinion at one point and said that he would ‘never truly offend anyone’ and Readers, the audience burst into laughter……… Dick is not known for his diplomacy! I slagged Dick about being a ‘cute’ so&so - having invited Noel from the Bridge,, myself from the Bugle, the Leader and the Post, making sure he had all bases covered!There was a large Fine Gael presence but then he gets a Fianna Fail woman to launch the book…. All we were short of was Jack Wall to do the gift wrapping……… As for the pressure Trudy was under, waiting on the impending arrival, well, this woman had her Christian name changed by Dick who claims he fell madly in love with her at first sight, I reckon after 50 years with him, she is prepared for anything.

Dick himself then took to the podium; he acknowledged the help of Trudy and the family and three people in particular for always encouraging and pushing him to finally have his works printed – his brother, Dereck in California; Michael Ward of the Ballymore Bugle and Pastor Robert Dunlop, his dear friend. Special mention was given to Ian Scott, who did the excellent illustrations for the book, Trafford Publishers for getting the delivery on time, albeit by a hair’s breath and all who supported him on the night.

He read an excerpts from the book; on a character known as gunner ryan and the other, a very special letter newbridge union of churches

Rose B O Donoghue

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tims Diary for January 2007

First it was Xmas, but now an even bigger abomination in the form of Crimbo has come into general usage. What a horrible chav word. Do we have to adopt the worst examples of our near neighbours? We should get back to the proper use of the term Christmas.

Staying with the festive season, one of the highlights for me was the Children’s Nativity play on the Sunday before Christmas. What a brilliant performance. The Senior Infants of Scoil Mhuire and friends put on a wonderful tableau of the Nativity story. The work put in by ???? Browne, Liam Lawler, Martina Byrne and Tracey O’Connor made sure that all the cues were met and the performance ran smoothly. With a brilliant narrative by Mairead Byrne, the assorted shepherds, angels maji an leading players sang and acted their hearts out. Well doe to everyone involved.

I see that one of Kesh’s predecessors has been appointed as Dean of St. Finbar’s Cathedral in Cork. Rev. Nigel Dunne spent sometime in his native county before moving on to bigger and better things.

Cutting slightly across Angie, I managed to read a few books over the holiday period. The most memorable was Timmy Murphy’s autobiography, “Riding the Storm.” If you have an interest in racing or indeed sport of any code it is well worth the money. To read of the ups and downs of the local jockey put me in mind of Mr. Kipling. No, not the cake maker you heathens. “ If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat these two imposters just the same.” A cautionary tale.

And tying together the twin themes of racing and religion together nicely. Our local tipster Capt Keen was on rare form this year. Reeling off a rake of winners, Nickname, Schindler’s Hunt, and De Valira amongst them. A healthy profit to be had for followers.
Following the laying of the water main some time ago, the condition in which the road was left was appalling. Despite a number of incidents in which various local people suffered damage to their vehicles the solution has been slow to materialize. Therefore it is good to see some action at long last. However, the adherence to basic health and safety and traffic management is so poor that it inspires no confidence in either the contractor, Coffey Construction or the principal, Kildare County Council.

Greetings from Ballymore Eustace

Hello from Ballymore Eustace, Co.Kildare in Ireland.

Over the next few months we will be publishing some articles from our local paper the " Ballymore Bugle." We hope that that this will give you a flavour of life in our small village.
Your feedback would be welcome.