Monday, November 20, 2017

Photography Club meeting

The next meeting of the Kilcullen Photography Club will take place in Fallons on Thursday 7 December.

It begins at 7.30pm, and everyone interested in photography is welcome.

All levels of photographic ability catered for.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lights on at The Hideout

They were probably the most fit-looking bunch of people ever to be in the Hideout since the building was first opened as the Magnolia Hotel in 1855, writes Brian Byrne.

The members of the No1 Fitness club were amongst the first to make use of the new Hideout, celebrating the second anniversary since the gym was established. In keeping with the competitive spirit, a number of awards were presented to individuals for outstanding performance in various fitness areas.

So, a night for celebration all around, as a number of other familiar Kilcullen faces also took a look in last night, and saw a lot of homage to the famous years of the pub.

The owner of the new Hideout, Jonathan Keogh, who has invested much more than money in the project since he bought what was just a shell of a building with a big history, watched the goings-on from the Locker Room bar with a very evident relief that, at last, the pub was open again.

There's still a lot of detail to finish, but it's looking good, and that the Hideout corner is no longer dark can only be good for the town.

Youth Club to cease activities next month

The Kilcullen Youth Club, KiYC, is to close in December after 10 years of operation, writes Brian Byrne.

Inaugurated by Olivia Byrne, and run by her with the help of a corps of volunteer leaders through the decade, the closing will be marked on 14 December by a Christmas Party for all members and past members, and leaders and volunteers.

The event will be in the Tennis Club building which has functioned as a drop-in space for Club members on Thursday and Friday nights since July 2012.

Over that time, KiYC members were involved in a myriad of activities, including youth mental health projects, gaming competitions, CPR training, youth theatre workshops, discos and much more.

The Club's leaders were presented with a Kilcullen Community Award by KCA in 2012.

Last year the Club organised a trip to Krakow in Poland for the World Youth Day celebrations which were attended by Pope Francis. Its fundraising for this included a sponsored walk along the Wicklow Way.

A Youth Leadership Training programme jointly with the Western Education & Library Board's Youth Service in Northern Ireland, under the banner of the Aspirations (North & South) Exchange Project, included reciprocal visits between KiYC and counterparts in Strabane in 2015.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped us out over the years," Olivia Byrne posted on the Club's Facebook page this week. "Also to the leaders who are with us presently. I have been privileged to work with such an amazing group of leaders and youths. I would like to thank my daughter Sarah for volunteering with me from the beginning giving up every Thursday and Friday without complaint and Niamh who helped out when she could. The club was totally voluntary. None of us got paid, we did it because we loved what we do."

Saturday, November 18, 2017

More Nolans awards from Paris

James Nolan is in Paris tonight collecting more recently-won awards for the famous Kilcullen butcher shop, writes Brian Byrne.

"I'm delighted to have represented Kilcullen and Ireland at the European Fins Goustiers Awards," he said in a message to the Diary.

"Congratulations and huge credit to to all the amazing team at Nolans of Kilcullen for making this possible."

The latest trophies (above) will be joining the many others currently on display in the shop's window.

A night of cinematic nostalgia

It was a gathering of cinematic memories as much as anything else, and if last night's presentation of Cinema Paradiso didn't quite fill the theatre with people, it did so with nostalgia, writes Brian Byrne.

The showing organised by Kilcullen Lions drew an audience of cinemagoers who would understand what the smartphone and Netflix generation have probably never experienced — the community of a night at 'the pictures'.

Nessa Dunlea spoke about the early days of the Town Hall, opened in 1933 and rebuilt a number of times since to be the Heritage Centre and classy theatre that it is today. All that time, despite a 'troubled early history', it has been the hub of social activity for the entire community.

Your editor recalled various 'back-room' aspects of showing films when I was a child, access to which I had because my dad and a couple of pals started up a cinema in the premises in the early 1940s — before I was born — and later as a youngster I had the perk of getting in free.

The cinema was later taken over by a community group and operated until the mid-70s when the advent of videos effectively killed the cinemas of rural Ireland. But during that time it became the first cinema in Co Kildare to have Cinemascope wide screen and stereophonic sound, and had the reputation of being the best cinema in Leinster outside of Dublin.

Big movies shown soon after general release included The Sound of Music, The Robe, The Big Country, The Magnificent Seven, The Alamo and many more. As one advertising flyer put it, 'for a little over a shilling, you can see a production costing many millions of pounds'.

The Town Hall has also been the constant venue for the Kilcullen Drama Group productions — today it remains as the home of that group which has been in existence for more than eight decades. There were also live shows, including the famous Community Capers of the 1970s and early 1980s. Boxing tournaments were also presented on the stage.

But last night it was the movies, and the memories, from Nessa, Noel Clare, Bernard Berney, and no doubt others in the evening's conversations. All that was missing was that there was no O'Connells shop across the road to race to for sweets and drinks during the intermission …