Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Rector’s farewell message . . .
Are we there yet!

“Are we nearly there yet!” that dreaded cry that comes from the back seat of the car. We have all either said it or heard it and it fills most parents with dread. We can’t wait to get to where we are going - the park, a funfair, a visit to see relatives; it just seems to take forever to get there. But a journey is not just about reaching your destination - the quickest route from A to B - it is also about the time it takes to get there and the things we learn along the way.
Life is full of so many journeys from the cradle to the grave and for God’s people even death is not the final destination but the start of yet another. During a lifetime we come into contact with so many people, one can only imagine even the briefest moment when we touch someone else’s life - many times without even knowing it - the touch of a hand, a glance across a room - all these people become part of our life’s journey.
Life experiences in turn also shape us and change us - the good times and the hard times. The times we have cried until there are no more tears to cry and the times we have laughed until we thought we were going to burst. These all make up our journey.
One of the most enjoyable parts of our journey in the last 3½ years has been serving you - the community of Ballymore Eustace. What a great laugh we have had together. I was thrilled when Rose telephoned me to ask me if I would like to be a judge for the Ballymore Punchestown Festival Queen (just for the record none of the entrants did bribe me but they were welcome too!!! And none of them went on the weekend away with me neither – but thanks for offering Tom!). Catherine is still waiting for her ‘Hunks in Trunks’ as she was promised???
I was glad to be there for you and walk with you through times of bereavement and rejoice with you at the birth of new children. To hold your hand and pray with you and for you in your darkest moments and to help to raise you to new hope. We have struggled together, we have cried together and we have laughed, played and rejoiced together.
As our time in Ballymore Eustace comes to an end we have been recalling to mind our time here. As a family we have had contact with so many people, we have experienced laughter, tears, birth, and death, friendship and hostility. A rich tapestry of experience in 3½ years. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank those whom we have journeyed with:
Larry and Grania Clancy, two most wonderful people, who always put so much effort into fundraising, not only for the church but also for the community, and our friends at Paddy Murphy’s who accommodated us for our annual quiz nights.
Rose Barrett and Michael Ward who have been so good to me ever since I arrived on the scene and always took the trouble to invite me and make me welcome at all the Ballymore Eustace events.
Fr. Breen, Fr. McGowan and the Church family of Ballymore Chapel who always took the trouble in involving me and making me welcome at events in the village and at church services.
To Tommy and the Ballymore singing group that I had the privilege of singing with at the Ballymore Inn when we fundraised for local causes.
To all the ladies who patiently danced with me at the Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner Parties (I think I danced with everyone of them!)
To Tim and editors of the Ballymore Bugle - I shall miss writing for the Bugle and sharing my humorous life experiences (ramblings!) with you all.
Other things I will miss as I leave Ireland will be ‘Paisean Faiscean’ on TG4. I couldn’t understand a word of it but I was glued to it every week and the lovely Emma who co-stars with ‘Socky’ on RTE2 every weekday morning (just thought I’d share that with you!).
Last but not least the people of Ballymore Eustace it has been my privilege to have been called by God to serve you as Rector these last 3½ years and I leave God’s peace and blessing with you all.
So “are we there yet?” - not likely! As we move on to our new Parish in Rocester Village in Staffordshire we begin a whole new journey with new people to meet and new places to discover.
When we arrived you gave us Cead Maile Failte and in return we leave you with a hundred thousand thank-yous . . .

With love, Kesh, Catherine, Joshua, Amelia and Bethany x

And finally . . .

My wife came home late the other night and looked deep into my eyes and said, “Take my blouse off.”

Then she said, “Take my skirt off.”

Then she said, “Take my tights off.”

Then she said, “Now, I’ve told you before, stop wearing my clothes!!!”

News ‘n Views with Rose
Mary Campbell, Ballymore Eustace Person of the Year, has been shortlisted for the Co Kildare Person of the Year Award and no-one more deserving! The Good Samaritan from Coughlanstown was nominated for the compassion and kindness she has shown to elderly neighbours and friends, for the huge level of community work she has carried out over the years. Best of luck Mary, delighted for you and proud of you.

Competition is tough though, as Mary is up against the likes of Evelyn McKee who works tirelessly with the Little Way Cancer Centre, Clane, giving support to women coping with breast cancer and fundraising constantly to extend the centre’s facilities; Catherine Dunne – church, school, youth and general community activities in Naas and Eadestown; Michael Donohue, Community Games, Gaa and Special Olympics, Newbridge; Marc de Salvo whose dedication and determination led to the foundation of Little Saplings school near Kill which caters for children with autistic needs; Paddy Walsh from Athy (82), founder member of Gael Scoil, Athy and the promotion of the Irish language, fundraising for Guide Dogs to The Blind and work with the elderly in his area; Sr Mary Minehan of Kildare Town, already their Person of The Year 2007, for her devotion to education and the setting up of Feile Bhride and Solas Bhride; Dolly Weller, the Curragh for her work with the hospice and St Conleth’s Cemetary; Susan Keegan from Leixlip for her incredible work with The Arch Club, a social club for people with disability, including trips abroad and weekends away; Catherine Kearney of Newbridge, founder member of Newbridge Parish Centre, Kildare Youth Services and St Conleth’s Pantomime Troupe and finally, our Mary!

Last year, we had Gerry Bell from Broadleas for his work with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Great to see two community beavers living in Ballymore recognised for their endeavours. We wish Mary all the best at the awards night in The Keadeen on Friday 9th November – overall winner or not – everyone is a winner on the night, the atmosphere is wonderful, the excitement even more so.
Rose & Tim

The recent results of the National Tidy Towns Competition have at last seen the endeavours of our local committee acknowledged with a leap of 18 points from last year’s score. Those familiar with the judging procedure will know that’s an incredible feat – in recent year’s, Ballymore Eustace has undergone a facelift by the Tidy Towns crew with additional flower beds and features, litter control and of course, the maintenance of The River Walk Amenity, with little more than a point gained on previous performances. Indeed, some years this led to the local committee scratching their heads and being tempted to chuck the towel in….
Happily, they didn’t! The judges praised the overall look of the village, the feature at the Square, entrance roads to the village and litter control (Personally, I think The Bandhall and KTK’s entrance are visual enhancements). Undoubtably, the painting of neglected buildings was another positive mark for Ballymore. They did, however, mention the poor state of the roads – I’m not even going to bother addressing that issue, seeing as the CDA and The Tidy Towns could paper the Church with letters and reports written regarding same.
Full report in next month’s edition – in the meantime, well done to Eric and Mary Firth, Jimmy Pearse, Maeve Cummins, Mary Deegan, Gary and Tommy Deegan – that is some achievement for seven people. The Tidy Towns Committee would like to acknowledge the imput of FAS workers, Martin, Tommy and Frankie and volunteers, Laura and Jacinta who keep the Truce Road in check.

Despite making numerous efforts to Kildare County Council to have an update on the above levies - all phone calls, emails and voicemails from me have been ignored over the past two weeks.
In a previous edition of the Bugle, we gave two pages to the scheme and application thereof; at the end of June, the committee met and the applications discussed, some passed, others denied.
That’s almost three months ago; several groups who applied have not even had the courtesy of a reply. We mentioned before the total lack of communication from the authorities regarding this scheme which should be a great benefit to the community.
Well, Readers, Kildare County Council are consistent, I will give you that.
No information, no money and no benefit to Ballymore.

And my view on this.
KTK’s principal, Kevin Keenan, is a straight talking man. He is a also a local resident. It serves neither his company or the people of Ballymore Eustace well the way that Kildare County Council has behaved in their handling of the distribution of these levies. As Rose says, it’s five months since the application forms were printed in the Bugle. I had a hand in one submission put forward to the deciding committee. It is at the least discourteous not to have either acknowledged our application, let alone tell us of its success or failure. Surely the Council can get their act together and give us at least a timeline on their decision, considering the Bugle facilitated the initial process. TR

Limited availability remaining – book now

The Gala Ball & Auction in aid of St Brigid’s Hospice and Home Care Services to be held on 3rd November at the Ardenode Country House Hotel will be the event of the year! Tickets are flying and nearly sold out already. The event promises to be a fabulous night out – although its not black tie, it is formal wear so watch out for style on the night.

St Brigid’s Hospice provides an invaluable service to terminally ill patients and their families. In Ireland today, there are over 20,000 new cases of cancer every year, 7,500 deaths sadly occur annually. The hospice team provides in-patient care at the Hospice itself, and also a Home Care Team for patients who wish to stay in their own homes.
The team provide medical and emotional care for the patients and emotional support for the families.

This service is so important to our community and has helped many families in the locality to date. Last year, we raised €8,500 with a Ladies Headshave – this year, we hope to Double that figure At Least!

Limited number of tickets still available and can be purchased from Denise/Martine at the numbers below. Tickets must be paid for as soon as possible in order to secure your table as the demand is huge. Payment no later than the end of September – please do contact us for details as soon as possible.

“We have some fabulous auction and raffle items already, but should anyone like to donate an auction item or prize, we would be very grateful.” said Martine.

Contact Martine or Denise at 087 689 3403/ 765 6645 for further information.

‘Thank you Celine’ from Early Years Baby & Toddler Group
The time has come for Celine Keenaghan to move on. Little Amber has now started playschool and so Celine’s involvement with the Early Years Baby & Toddler Group comes to an end. The groups was set up by Celine and Ellen Treanor of Hollywood in 2000 as the only similar group in existence then was in Blessington. The venue for the group was originally the club rooms in Hollywood, followed by the Band Hall in Ballymore Eustace and then the Resource Centre, which continues to be the venue for the group’s weekly sessions.

Celine was co-founder of the group and went on to become chairperson and in recent years, acted as treasurer also. She was always a very committed committee member and showed great enthusiasm in organising summer events for the children and the annual Christmas party. Celine also helped greatly in fundraising events for the group which started out as a table quiz in Paddy Murphy’s with Celine’s brother Pat as Quizmaster extraordinaire. In more recent years, we have held cookery demonstrations which have been very well supported and have turned out to be a great night altogether.

Since our group tends to focus not only on the needs of the children but also on the needs of the mammies/minders (mostly social needs!!!), it would be fair to say that Celine was always ready to party and so fully contributed to this side of the group too. Our extended ‘mammy lunches’ (ending up more times than not as the ‘liquid variety’) are legendary and would put the ‘sex in the city’ girls to shame!!

It is sad to see the founding members leaving the group but we have new members joining continually who bring new energy to the group so we are confident that the group will continue to thrive in the village. The group is of great benefit to the children, who learn to play together and share, but more importantly they make pals with the other children who will probably attend playschool and school with them so the transition is made easier.

The group is also of huge benefit to the adults. I speak from personal experience when I say that the group is a lifeline for many new mammies. I moved to Ballymore Eustace in December 2000 and had my first baby within two weeks of moving here. Being a first-time mammy can be a struggle even with family support and friends around but I had none of these available to me since I didn’t know anyone in the area. In spring 2001 I first attended the group in Hollywood and have been attending ever since. I, like lots of members, have received support, help and advice from the girls in the group and more importantly friendship and laughs (most needed when you are a mammy of young children!).

So if you are a parent or a minder of a baby (from newborn-remember they might not get a lot out of it at this stage but you will!) or toddler, you are more than welcome to join us – we’d love to meet you and your little ones. The group runs from 10.30 to 12.00 every Tuesday excluding the first Tuesday of the month when we go on a trip to a local play centre. The group subsidises some of the cost of this for each child. We meet in the bottom half of the Resource Centre, enter via the first green door.

Last but not least Celine, you may not be attending weekly but fear not, your number is on the hotline for the mammy nights out and the ‘sex in the village’ lunches. We also look forward to meeting Jack, Isabel and Amber during holiday time when all the older siblings join their younger ones for our outings.

From all the members of the Early Years Baby & Toddler Group - past, present and future; we are indebted to you and Ellen for starting this much needed service - thanks a mil for everything!

Fiona Breslin, Chairperson Early Years Baby and Toddler Group (087-9956085)

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