Wednesday, January 2, 2008

River Liffey Habitat Enhancement
With the introduction of the ban on drift net fishing at sea for salmon and the prohibiting of angling for salmon on the River Liffey until such time as salmon stocks reach their conservation limit, the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association considered the time was opportune to undertake a major habitat enhancement programme on the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace. The programme of work was drawn up and is being supervised by The Eastern Regional Fisheries Board (Martin Kelly and Fergal Caffrey with advice from Dr. Martin O’Grady Central Fisheries Board) and is taking place during the month of September 2007. The enhancement programme consists of raking the existing gravel bed of the Liffey to rid it of settled out solids and loosen the gravel in order to make it more conducive to salmon spawning (redd/nest making). Because the Liffey is harnessed by the ESB at Poulaphouca and Golden Falls upstream of Ballymore Eustace, gravels that are normally washed downstream from the upper reaches do not make it to Ballymore and so it is necessary to import trailer loads of gravel into the Liffey to replace what was washed away over the years. Boulders are being introduced into the River to act as holding or resting stations for both salmon and trout and holding pools (deep pools) are also being introduced. The boulders will submerge further as flood waters scour the gravel bed around them. (A word of warning to all River users, the bed of the River has changed and is deep in places where this enhancement work took place, so please, as always near water, take care when using the River.) Many dead and fallen trees are being removed from the River and so far the reaction of the public to the enhancement work is very favourable.
The Himac is operated by Roger Smith and the tractor and trailer for transporting the gravel and boulders is driven by Ned Walsh.
The Association wishes to thank the following for allowing the machinery access to the River through their property:- Elizabeth and Peter Pearse (Driver’s Ford), James and Matt Purcell (The Strand and Inch), Ballymore Eustace Handball Club (Car Park), Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association (CDA) (Riverside Walk), Larry Glancy (The Strand), Kildare County Council Water Services (Sewage Plant Yard), Paddy Nolan (Doran’s Park), Gary and Roisin Murphy Mountcashel (Kane’s Ford, Inch na Cailin and Marl Hole Car Ford), Kevin Keenan (Kane’s Ford) and Johnny Murphy Coughlanstown (Ferny Inch). We also wish to thank the ESB for facilitating us with low water in the Liffey during working hours despite the fact that Poulaphouca Reservoir is chock-a-block with water after our wet summer.
The habitat enhancement work will cost €14000 and will be funded by Dublin City Council Engineering Department and Kildare County Council Heritage Department to whom we are very grateful. (The Liffey Valley Meander Belt is designated a Natural Heritage Area)
Hopefully all will be rewarded by the sight of salmon spawning in these areas in the years to come. Presently we have the best spawning area for salmon in the whole Liffey and when this habitat enhancement work is completed perhaps we will add a few more.
The Association also appreciates similar enhancement work undertaken by Sean Mulryan under the supervision of Peter Lynch with advice from the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board where his land borders the Liffey at the Ferny Inch and Ardenode/Coughlanstown.
Photograph shows work taking place at Kelly’s Ford.

Druid Maker

To say that Derek Williams has a great gift would be to somehow understate his capability. To see a raw piece of oak propped up between two benches in his workshop in Ballybought it would be hard to imagine it could be turned into such a work as you see pictured by Chris Dennison.
We all descended on Derek on a rainy Friday night at the beginning of August to see if his “Druid” was as good as everyone said it was. And it is. Lying supine on the trestles it had to be twisted and turned to get any impression of its size and scale. It’s only when we all lent hand and stood him up that the true impression of this giant took form and substance.
It started with a piece of oak that Tim Grace procured from John (Smallie)Lawlor of Broadleas. This oak grew in until it gave in to age and had to be felled. Tim not only is Derek’s neighbour and friend but mentored in various ways during the project. Doing some of the more basic sawing and even providing the scale for the druid’s arms. Work commenced initially back in October 2006 when the log was formed into a basic shape of a top and bottom and not a whole lot else. Over the winter progress was slow and only in April of 2007 when a push was needed on the project that the druid finally started to emerge from the wood.
Derek is no stranger to wood carving. He has used the medium of wood to express himself, carving totems at first. His two best known works are a totem made from 5000 year old bog oak that was a resident of Wolfe Tone Park for nigh on fifteen years. It is currently being readied for a site in Crumin. An eight foot square piece depicting the life and gift of St. Francis, with the saint transported to modern day and reaching out to the outcasts of drug addiction, the homeless and other marginalized groups. This work of two years duration can be seen in Merchants Quay Church.
It’s a long way from the metropolis to Ballybought, but Derek has slotted in just fine. He certainly has an endless supply of his chosen medium, a ready made workshop outside his backdoor and the savvy and mine of local knowledge that is Tim Grace. As well as wood sculpting Derek also holds qualifications in acupuncture and sound therapy which involves the use of aluminium tuning forks.
The Druid when righted stands over eight feet. Standing tall without support is testament to the balance and construction that Derek has imbued into the piece. Broad of shoulder and erect of head, you would expect that it would need huge feet to keep upright but that is not the case. A metal formwork designed and built by Frank Sammon will provide the under soil base for the giant. The druid’s right hands hold a staff which has the totem like qualities that Derek is best known for. This is a private commission for a Celtic garden in Foxrock, Dublin so it will not be seen on public display.
Judging by the size of the next oak trunk currently at rest in his workshop it seems that this winters project is already at the planning stage. Derek can be contacted on 086 0678601.


A big contingent of family and friends turned out for Margaret McDonald’s ‘big birthday’ recently – it wasn’t her fiftieth and it wasn’t her seventieth….. Held at Poulaphouca House, Philip English proved a lively entertainer and guests were spoilt for choice with tasty nibbles and snacks served by Rita and staff on the night. Our community beaver – and she beavers, believe me – was delighted with the celebration and bopped all night, as did her grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The Deegans and McDonalds have some stamina, I’ll tell you but Edwina outdanced them all, with stiff competition from Carman Jack and Fred Astaire on Wheels, John Boylan – great to see John enjoying himself.

Joining Margaret was husband, Collie, daughter Sheryl, sons Leonard, Simon from England, Jason from Australia but Michael, alas, was working at a gig in Marley Park that night (he should be finished probation now); grandchildren, Steven, Des, Maisie and Cormac; Rebecca, Judy, Naomi, Peter and the extended members of the Deegan and McDonald families.

Special mention goes to those who travelled including Tony, Paulina and Naoise from Barcelona; Collie’s nieces Gavina and Savita from Sligo; Eamon, Lisa and Ryan from Galway; Collie’s sister Kathleen from England and Fr Prenderville and staff from St Kevin’s school in Hollywood where Margaret is school secretary.
“I’d like simply to thank everyone who came – don’t be giving out if I don’t mention you all by name. And a special thanks to Rita and staff at Poulaphouca House for the wonderful way they looked after all of us.”

A well deserved night out for Margaret who is currently Treasurer for the C.D.A. (minds the funds as tightly as D. O’B and that’s saying something!); a member of the Bingo Committee; Hall Committee; Festival Committee; Finance Committee; Historical Society; Bugle folding every month and was on the first community council years ago; has fundraised for KARE, Jennifer Landers School of Dance and for various school and church projects over the years – the list is endless….

Happy Birthday, Margaret – you are looking good on it! - Rose
An Ghrianan for a special break
Did you know that there is an oasis of peace and quiet within easy reach of you? An Ghrianan – I have just spent a most wonderful five days there doing Oil Painting with some other ladies from the area. We hired a mini-bus for a very reasonable fee which picked us up, dropped us at the door of An Ghrianan and took us home again afterwards. If you fancy a good holiday with a course thrown in, then go to An Ghrianan in Termonfeckin, Co Louth.

Although it is the ICA centre, it is open to all; you don’t have to be a member and it is open to men also, one of whom joined our course and very good he was too.

Some of the courses available:
Oil Painting
Watercolour Painting
Pitch and Putt
Jewellery Making

You can obtain a little booklet Free of charge (just pay the postage) from An Ghrianan – just phone 041 9822119 or write to An Ghrianan, Termonfeckin, Co Louth. The food is excellent and you will be so well looked after, you won’t want to come home! There’s also a Residents’ Bar open plus nightly entertainment – all free of charge. An Ghrianan for a relaxing but stimulating experience. M Deegan

Sun Shines on Duck Race –
The Annual Duck Race was a great success as always. Organizers Martine Rigney and Denise Kelly would like to thank The Ballymore Inn, The Thatch, Elizabeth’s Hair Salon and Jim Kelly for donating prizes for this year’s event. Monies raised will go to the local Juvenile Hurling Club and to St Brigid’s Hospice Charity Ball on 3rd November at The Ardenode Hotel. Thank you to all who sold ducks and of course, to all who gave so generously. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped on the day, in and out of the water! A quacking good time was had by all……..

Prizewinners: 1st Prize Mobile Phone – Sarah Kelly, Kilcullen; 2nd MP3 Player – Willie O’Toole; 3rd €100 Gift Voucher for Ballymore Inn – Margaret Hudson; 4th Hair Cosmetics – Owen Douglas King; 5th €50 Voucher for Ballymore Inn – Mayah Sammon; 6th Hair Cosmetics – Mary Murphy; 7th €50 Voucher for The Thatch – Paddy Sammon; 8th Hair Cosmetics – Ryston Badminton Club (c/o Hilda Garret); 9th Hair Cosmetics - Mick Connolly c/o Simon Murphy; 10th and final prize, a bottle of wine, to Eve Maguire.
It is seldom that I have to write about anyone buying a car. Not so the national papers during the recent “Silly Season.” Now first off all the O’Rourke’s are hard grafters. From Tom and Rita all the way through the whole family. So if Eamonn decides to spend money on a car it is entirely his own business. The whole business of the car, the cost and the castle amused me greatly.

Not so amusing is anther story that has gottten loads of coverage over the summer months is the search for Madeline McCann. The local dimension to this is that Ballymore was one of the first places to hold a vigil for her safe return, on the eve of First Holy Communion, if I remember rightly. At that stage a picture of the young girl was displayed in the church with the assurance that it would not be removed until after her safe return. It has long since gone. I don’t know what happened. The media certainly don’t know what happened, but it doesn’t stop the incessant “trial by media,” that we have become accustomed to. A lot of people have been upset by events in Praia de Luz. I hope that the outcome, already tragic enough does not shake our faith in human nature even further. I find myself drawn to the news, second only to sport, but at times it is very hard to take.

Speaking of sport, I thought both All-Ireland finals were disappointing. The two K’s Kilkenny and Kerry made short work of what had previously proved decent opposition.
A pity. But what a great thing it was to see Padraig Harrington overcoming the yips to take both the Irish and British Opens. Good Man. What about Irish Rugby and Irish Soccer, both in disarray. The Black cats not doing great either and Kildare County lurching along. Good to see Glenn Ryan featured on a recent team of the Bank of Ireland years best fifteen. And finally a good sports yarn that has been doing the rounds… what’s the difference between a school uniform and a Dub’s jersey? You don’t see many Dub’s jerseys in September.

Old black & white sheep dog answers to the name of “Bill”, one blue eye and one white – missing from Ragusa/Ardenode area. Please phone 087 8141391

A number of people have asked me to bring things to your attention. Mary Campbell asks that you close the gate of St. Mary’s Cemetery after you, or even if you are driving past and see it open, to please close it. Sheep have been destroying some of the family plots. Thank you.
The residents of Barrack Street ask you to use whatever influence you can over people using the road. The traffic speeds are excessive, and it’s not just the young lads. Cars, trucks and tractors all speed up and down the street from early in the morning to well into the night. Remember one person hurt is one too many.

Nice to see Barbara Bolger recognised in Bruce Arnolds Saturday column recently. Ever smiling Barbara guided Bruce, among others, around Russborough recently. He was fulsome in his praise for her knowledge and demeanour and inclusion of everyone on the tour. Buladh Bos Barbara,

Following the success of the Tidy Towns effort this year Tony Hanlon has shortened the odds on Martin Deegan being the Ballymore Person of the Year 2008 from 3/1 to 4/6.
Get your money on now, I say.
Well done to all who took the Leaving and Junior Cert. Exams during the summer. As one who comes from a pre-points era, I hope that you all got what you worked so hard for.


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