Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ballymore Eustace Tidy Town 3 Year Plan
Your Suggestions, Please!

The Ballymore Eustace Tidy Town Committee must draw up a new 3 year plan for inclusion in the 2010 National Tidy Towns Competition. So far, our request for suggestions from the greater Ballymore Eustace public as to how we can improve our appearance and environment has not yielded even one suggestion. We wish the Tidy Town’s Adjudicators also felt that there was no need for improvements but alas, that’s not the case!

Residents’ Association and Organisations – Have Your Say
As the plan must be completed shortly we are again appealing for you to let your voice be heard on what improvements you would like to see in our village and approach roads. Also, we would welcome the plans that the various residents’ associations have for their estates, so that these can also be included in the overall plan for the village. This includes the various clubs/organisations/associations with premises in the village. Without a co-ordinated and co-operative approach, we cannot progress further in the Tidy Towns Competition. (Ballymore Eustace has improved a massive 35 points in the last three years.)

Local Shops & Business Premises
Some items appear regularly as black spots in the Adjudicator’s Reports such as overhead lines, cluttered shop signage, goods and street furniture blocking footpaths, weeds, black bollards and street lights etc. The Tidy Town Committee cannot rectify these problems without the help of the various Departments in Kildare County Council and local business people. We have highlighted the problems and asked Kildare County Council’s, Environment, Water Services, Roads, Heritage Departments etc for their plans for Ballymore Eustace and we have asked the Garda Siochana Superintendent if some maintenance could be carried out to the Garda Barracks (particularly the windows).

Derelict Sites
We have also requested the ESB to tidy up around Golden Falls Power Station. We would particularly like to hear what plans the owners of derelict sites have for their property in the village, while being acutely aware that many of their plans are being held up by the lack of any semblance of sewage treatment in the village.

A Clean Welcome!
The Tidy Town Committee would dearly like to revive an old Ballymore custom, where everyone in the village and surrounds gives their property a tidy up and perhaps a touch up of paint for the Punchestown Racing Festival at the end of April each year i.e. a bit like putting on our Sunday best for the feel-good factor it creates, before greeting all our visitors. (Were we not all proud and delighted to see how well Weaver’s Row looked on telly last autumn in the Vodafone advertisement?)

Street Signs still ‘Ladies In Waiting’
We wish to thank all the property owners who early last year gave us permission to erect Street Name signage. Also, our native Irish speakers who helped us with the Irish names and SD Signs who made the Street Name signs free of charge. The signs have been ready for erecting for many months, but due to Planning Permission requirements, the Tidy Town Committee is awaiting Kildare County Council to erect the signs.

The Tidy Town Committee wishes to thank all our supporters including moral, material and financial. We especially want to thank all the foot soldiers who carry out the not-so-pleasant work of cleaning up after others. We cannot survive without your continued help and support and hereby extend New Year greetings to you and your families.

We hope to keep you up to date regarding outstanding necessary repairs to the Liffey Bridge Wall and River Liffey Walk. Meanwhile, why not take a minute to write down your suggestion(s) for the Ballymore Eustace Tidy Town 3 Year Plan and give them to any member of the Committee: Tommy Deegan, Mary and Eric Firth, Jimmy Pearse, Gary Deegan, Maeve Cummins and Mary Deegan.


I read two completely different novels over the holidays and both left a lasting impression. I was given Ernest Hemingway’s “A farewell to arms” ( Paperback : Vintage: 9.99) as a gift last summer and decided to settle in to it over Christmas- it was over 20 years since I had read any Hemingway. Based on the author’s own experiences as a volunteer in the last months of World War One, the novel is set in a war torn but still beautiful Italy, as they battle it out in the mountains against the Austrians. I enjoy the fiction of this era, but Hemingway’s account was different to other books I have read by Pat Barker, Sebastian Faulks and Sebastian Barry, as they had not actually been there, in the seat of the action. Hemingway is a gritty writer and tells the story from a very sensory viewpoint. His central character, ambulance driver Frederic Henry narrates his experiences with an almost visceral reality. In places the story reads more like a journalistic report, it is factual and preoccupied with a lot of the small details of Henry’s daily life and conversations. We do not see a lot of his inner thoughts and reflections, although the interactions he has with his fellow soldiers and the priest are revealing.

Henry embarks upon a relationship with Catherine Barkley, a British nurse at the military hospital and as the novel unfolds the story of their love runs alongside the victories and defeats of the war effort. Historically it is a very engaging and convincing book – it gives an authentic feel for the twin monotonies and white- knuckle drama of what military life was like in that era. In terms of the love story, I found Hemingway’s economic style a little two dimensional in places- I wasn’t sure what was going on for either of the characters in their inner world. It was as though they were just clinging together for sanity’s sake amidst a seemingly endless time of chaos. And maybe that’s perfectly legitimate, because that’s probably what a lot of relationships were like back then? There is a continuously fine balance between hope and despair, which Hemingway delineates with great precision. So, it was a great war book and a moving and tragic love story- I enjoyed it and loved that I was given it as a gift- books are always the best presents as far as I am concerned…..

My second book was more of a long short story really, but an extremely powerful one. I first read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Paperback: Virago Modern Classics: 5.99) over twenty years ago, and by chance just happened to pull it out again for another look. Written by a countrywoman and contemporary of Hemingway’s Gilman’s perspective as one of the leading American intellectuals and feminists of her day is probably antithetical to his very masculine voice. The novella tells the story of a well educated middle class woman who as she suffers a bout of post natal depression, begins to withdraw more and more into herself.

Incarcerated in an upstairs bedroom, the narrator becomes fascinated by the ugly yellow wallpaper in the room. Based on Gilman’s own experience, the story is brilliantly told and has an increasingly claustrophobic feel to it, which is gothic in its intensity. The irony of the story is that the narrator’s husband is a doctor who has failed to understand the nature of her illness. It poignantly depicts how stigmatised mental illness was at that point in history, particularly in women. Its feminist tone reminded me of some of the Bronte’s work, and had resonances of Mrs Rochester, shut up in her own attic, hated and feared by all, and above all not discussed. Gilman’s style is understated yet tremendously powerful. Interestingly the voice of the narrator also had a strangely contemporary ring for me, in a time when women’s mental health problems still seem to carry a host of social stigmas. A fascinating and psychological read.


A+ for Customer Service

Has everybody forgotten to say “Happy New Year!” or “Happy Christmas!”? Is it the recession, do you think? Have we cut back on seasonal greetings too? Good Lord, it was abysmal even up to Christmas Eve – I went around, as always, smiling cheerily and extending greetings to everybody with little or no response. Even in local stores, I’m afraid, there seemed to be no instruction or inclination to smile and give a cheery wish.

I was in Jervis Street Shopping Centre two weeks before Christmas – I don’t know why they bothered with seasonal décor and lights because, apart from the queues, staff in general were just adapting an attitude of survival. I wish TV cameras would ‘sneak’ in and film staff in operation. Worse still, many of them wear silly headgear – reindeer horns or Santa hats but that’s where the Christmas cheer ends.

With the exception of Boots in Naas and Langan’s here in Ballymore. I received a Gift Voucher for Boots of €100 and when I was in Jervis Street SC, I selected my favourite fragrance and a few items to use the full value of the voucher. When I returned home, I noticed there was an item missing from the charged goods. I tried ringing the telephone number listed on the receipt to no avail and again, the following morning with no success. I dropped into Boots of Naas and asked the manager to log or pass on my complaint.

I wasn’t prepared to drive to Jervis Street for an item which cost under €12 and as it wasn’t I who packed the goods into the bag, I felt entitled to the goods or value thereof on my next visit to the Dublin shop. The manager in Naas came back and instructed the girl dealing with my complaint to give me the product there, free of charge, and they would be reimbursed by their sister store in Dublin.

So, Boots of Naas, for extending me a little Christmas cheer – thank you!

Langan’s on Christmas Eve was a treat; the whole family were busy out – Brendan, as always, threw in a few insults and jokes, free of charge; Ciaran was busy drawing turkeys and hams with young Patrick now learning the process; Mary Kate and Ciara handed out calenders, sweets and pens. Now in recessionary times, those little extra gifts are usually cut but fair play to the Langan Team, they were full of Christmas cheer and I’ve no doubt, exhausted by the end of the day.

Happy Birthday to young Ciara who celebrated her birthday last week.

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