Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hillcrest Summer Barbecue

It was all fun, food and bouncing today at the annual Hillcrest Summer Barbecue, as these pics by Pat Foley clearly show.

All the pics can be seen by clicking here.

Swans on parade

Happened on Sean and Siobhan Swan this morning as they were taking the peek-a-boo sun near the bridge with their two cygnets (apparently a third is missing since the other day), writes Brian Byrne.

Only had the small camera with me, but grabbed what I could.

Nice to see them out.

There's a bounce in Ray's business

A bit over three years ago, Ray de Courcy of Kilcullen had no idea of the kind of bounce his life was going to take, writes Brian Byrne. Then, working at the time with Kilcullen Community Action on Tidy Towns projects, he took a punt on the offer of three surplus to requirements bouncy castles from a friend in the business down the country.

"I had no idea whether there was a market for them around this area," he recalls. "But I advertised them as being available for family events, such as birthdays, first communions and confirmations."

And, in business fairytale style, the interest 'exceeded all my expectations', he says. Which encouraged him to invest in a few more units for the following summer. "Again, the business exceeded all my expectations, so for this year I had 11 units available, and for next year I'm expecting to have 15 available and I imagine that will satisfy the demand in my community."

That kind of growth will impose a strain on any new small business. In Ray's case, the strain was on the family car, an ageing Volvo pulling a trailer to deliver the bouncy attractions to his growing base of customers. So recently he invested in a not-so-new Ford Transit van, and that has transformed the logistics of the business.

"It's not just making it easier to deliver the castles, it has become a travelling billboard for me," he says. "The very first day I had the signs put on the van, by FX Signs in Naas, I got a phone call from a mother who had seen it parked in Kilcullen. And now I'm regularly getting business on the basis of people seeing it going somewhere."

It's a seasonal attraction, usually beginning around April and going through the autumn. "In fact, if the weather is good, September and October can be the busiest months. Then, through the winter, I've been moving the castles indoors, at Kilcullen Community Centre. That keeps things ticking over."

By nature a gregarious character, Ray likes his new business as much for the opportunity it gives him to meet new people as for its contribution to maintaining his family. And over the three years, he has developed a big number of regular customers, thanks largely to his personal involvement in the booking and supply. He has a Facebook page and a web-site — — and the initial enquiry can be made there. "After that, I'm the contact point throughout the process."

While Kilcullen itself was obviously the initial base, Ray will provide castles to most anywhere in Kildare and West Wicklow. "It's really depending on how far I have to travel, and anywhere within about 45 minutes of Kilcullen will be fine."

On the safety of the whole bouncy castle thing, which did get some adverse publicity some years ago, Ray is confident in the latest generation of the attractions. "They're fully enclosed, much sturdier and there are different styles of them, including slides, obstacle courses and disco domes. There's also the importance of guidelines, which we give to every customer, about how they should manage the use of the castles on their property."

Those guidelines are all basic common sense. Such as keeping the same age groups playing on the units at any time, and never leaving them unsupervised. "It's like having children over for any activity in your garden, you simply don't leave them to their own devices, because you have responsibility for them."

If you want to say hello to Kilcullen's newest bouncing entrepreneur, he'll have his Super Slide at the upcoming Kilcullen River Festival.

This article was first published in The Kildare Nationalist.

Is this cat lost?

Is this your cat? It is friendly and well looked after, but may be lost. It comes by at the back of Armelle and Kenny’s new shop if you think it is yours?

Gigs in Kilcullen

If you’re looking for music in Kilcullen this weekend, writes Brian Byrne, you can try The Spout, where No Limits play live in the bar on Saturday from 8pm, and DJ Maurice (below) will rock the beer garden.

DJ Curly will be doing his inimitable thing in O'Connells Bar from 10pm on the Saturday evening.

Also, looking ahead to Sunday week and the River Festival, Bunoscionn (below) are live in The Spout.

We'll check out what else is on around town, so come back here.

Fun Run at Two Mile House for Adam Burke

A family fun 5K run and 10K run will be held at Two Mile House GAA on 30 September to raise funds for club member Adam Burke's rehabilitation, writes Brian Byrne.

Adam received a devastating injury while playing for the club in July of last year.

After the run, GAA personality Marty Morrissey will host music and a barbecue at the club.

Those who wish to register for the runs can do so at

Donations to support Adam and his family in the rehabilitation programme can also be made via

Temporary speed limits for M7 westbound

Road works speed limits on parts of the westbound M7 will be in force from late on Sunday 27 August until Sunday 17 September, writes Brian Byrne.

The temporary limits will be 60km/h and 80km/h over stretches from the Corbally Road Overbridge to Junction 12 Newbridge.

The total distance is approximately 7km, and motorists are asked to stay within the relevant posted limits.

The full details can be found here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

M7 closure to increase nighttime Kilcullen traffic

The M7 motorway eastbound (towards Dublin) will be closed between Junctions 12 and 11 on evenings and overnight from tonight until Monday morning, writes Brian Byrne. Closures are in place from 10pm each night, reopening at 7am on Saturday, 9am on Sunday and 6am on Monday. The closures will add substantially to traffic through Kilcullen during the times affected

The closures are for pavement repairs and waterproofing of the M9/M7 merge tunnel structure.

Diversions will bring eastbound traffic through Kilcullen from Junction 12 Newbridge (at the Curragh) to the traffic lights in the town, and having it rejoin the motorway system at Junction 2 Kilcullen on the M9, using the northbound slip ramp.

The affected section is very heavily used with between 25,000-50,000 traffic movements per day in both directions. The nighttime closures and the week chosen will limit the level of traffic being diverted.

Local and emergency access will be allowed at all times. Diversionary routes, as agreed with An Garda Síochána, will be clearly signposted.

These works are being carried out under the Transport Infrastructure Ireland Motorway Maintenance and Renewals Contract. TII can be contacted on 0818 715 100 or email

Kildare treasures for Kilcullen talk

A reminder that a talk on '25 intriguing Kildare treasures' will take place in Kilcullen Community Library on Wednesday next 23 August, writes Julie O'Donoghue.

The talk, titled The Book of Kildare and Other Stories, will be presented by Mario Corrigan of the Kildare Library Service. It is part of National Heritage Week.

All are welcome to the event, which is free and begins at 7pm.

Kilcullen family's grandson ordained

Fr Gavin Landers, son of Gerard and Marie and grandson of Tom and Lizzie of Kilcullen, was ordained on 22 July 2017 in Salford Cathedral, Manchester.

Fr Gavin, with his parents and siblings, will visit Kilcullen during the last week in August and Gavin would love you to join him for the celebration of mass in the Parish Church, Kilcullen at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30 August.

(Photo via Salford Diocese Facebook page.

First birthday party to be celebrated in the Teach

The first birthday party held in Teach na nDaoine was Markus Pedersen’s 22nd, writes Jacinta Sully.

Pictured in a break from work on the project, now ready to move on with construction, are Tommy Dillon, Markus, and Albert Keenan.

Here’s to many more celebrations in the Teach once it comes on stream.

Another set of golds for Nolans

Nolans of Kilcullen have added another five gold medals to their collection of awards with recent wins at the Leinster Sausage and Puddings Competition organised the the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland, writes Brian Byrne.

The event was held in the Teagasc food research centre in Ashtown, Dublin, and the Kilcullen business won the medals for their traditional pork sausage, traditional black pudding, traditional white pudding, gluten-free sausage, and reduced fat pork sausage.

There were some 180 competitors in the event and James Nolan says he’s ‘over the moon’ at achieving such a high level of awards, thanks to the ‘amazing and hard-working’ team at Nolans Butchers.

“The credit is also due to both my late father, whose recipes were are still using, and to Fred Mitchell (pictured) who is in every morning early during the week to make the products by hand,” he says. “We’re now looking forward to the All-Ireland finals of the competition in September.