Kilkenny Observer 19th April 2024

Page 1

Friday 19th April 2024 Observer The Kilkenny EVERY FRIDAY Tel: 056 777 1463 E: W: FREE EDITION Cervical Downturn Kilkenny women among lowest for screening Page 3 Page 18 Humans Still Tops Why AI need a 'body' to become truly intelligent  
2 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

We shun cervical check

Kilkenny among counties with lowest uptake by women

Kilkenny is among the counties with the lowest uptake of cervical screening by women. The figures are also low in Laois, Clare, Dublin and Mayo, according to the first report published by CervicalCheck since the pandemic.

The uptake rates were tracked over five years from 2017 to 2022 and show they are

as low as 60% in Laois, 61% in Kilkenny, 63% in both Clare and Dublin and 64% in Mayo.

Coverage is highest in neighbouring Carlow at 75%, followed by Wicklow at 74% and Westmeath reporting 73%.

It is also 70% or over in Wexford, Waterford, Meath, Louth, Leitrim, and Kildare.

The national uptake dur-

Mikey wins top prize at Texaco

Nine-year old student artist Mikey McCormack, from St Patrick’s School, Kilkenny, has won a top prize in this year’s 70th Texaco Children’s Art Competition.

Mikey won a Special Merit Award for his artwork entitled ‘Cow’, which Final Adjudicator Gary Granville, Professor Emeritus of Education at the National College of Art and Design, said “demonstrated high levels of skill and imagination”.

The Texaco Children’s Art Competition is popularly regarded as the longest-running sponsorship in the history of arts sponsoring in Ireland, with an unbroken history that dates back to the very first competition in 1955. It has been a platform on which young artists from Kilkenny and throughout Ireland have had their talents recognised and their creativity commended.

ing that time was 73%. Uptake for screening is also highest among those aged 25-29 and lowest among the over 60s.

The new report covers April 2020 to March 2022 and highlights the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the delivery of cervical screening, including pausing screening for three months in 2020.

Invitations were resumed in July 2020, first calling women considered to be at higher risk, while the capacity available to deliver follow-up care to women who attended screening also had to be managed. It said: “In the two-year period we focused on delivering our service safely and to as many people as possible. Despite the

challenges, by the end of 2021 we had screened the same number of women in the twoyear period of the pandemic as in any other two-year period.”

There has been a relative increase in the detection of low-grade abnormalities and “this is a positive impact of the change to primary HPV screening”, the report said.

12,000 locals need heart support

A new drive is underway to bolster State funding for services which heart and stroke patients in Co Kilkenny describe as their ‘lifeline. It is estimated that 12,000 people in Kilkenny are living with cardiovascular disease.  Locals are being urged to lobby their TDs and senators to sign a pledge to support Irish Heart Foundation patient support services – with funding that’s vital to their

ability to continue operating. For many of the 12,000, supports provided by the charity are the only help they receive after a life-changing heart event, heart failure, stroke or other cardiac conditions.

The practical, social and emotional support services begin when patients leave hospital and continue for as long as they are needed.

Now local people are being encouraged to ask their local

representatives to sign an online pledge on advocacy to ensure €1.2million in crucial annual funding is made available.

The Irish Heart Foundation currently receives just 8.6% of this to fund patient support services nationwide, which it says is inadequate to help the current volume of patients.

The services reduce costs for the State every year by supporting patients to continue

living in their homes rather than requiring nursing home care or being readmitted to hospital – but only a fraction of this work is State-funded, says the charity’s Director of Advocacy and Patient Support Chris Macey. “Nationally, 80,000 heart and stroke patients are discharged from hospital every year, or one every seven minutes, in many cases to a bleak and uncertain future,” he said.

“One in three of all stroke patients returning home are being referred in to our services.  “People are denied basic services and it is appalling,” said Chris Macey.

*Once they sign the pledge, elected representatives’ names will appear on

And they are also asked to share the pledge on their websites and social media.

Women who are found to have HPV but have no abnormal cells are called back after one year for another HPV test.

Between April 2020 and March 2022 a total of 526,816 women were screened: 88.8% of women screened tested negative for HPV while the prevalence of HPV among the screened population is 11.2%.

A Budget 2025 tax giveaway...

A personal tax package worth around €1,200 a person is now expected to be included in the next Budget. Child benefit will go up by €10 a month and the state pension will increase by at least €12 a week.

Ahead of the general election, the Coalition is going to well and truly open the purse strings. Finance Minister Michael McGrath has already confirmed there will be a hike in tax credits, an increase in the entry point to the standard rate of income tax and changes to the USC. The first €20,000 a worker earns will be exempt from income tax through tax credit increases.

Full story Page 6

More free meals for our schools

Twenty Kilkenny and 10 Carlow schools are among 900 primary schools nation-wide who will now offer hot school meals to pupils from this month, Fine Gael TD, John Paul Phelan has told The Kilkenny Observer.

More than 150,000 children nation-wide will benefit from the expansion, Deputy Phelan confirmed.

“The programme has grown from 30 schools under the first pilot programme to over 2,000 today.

“Remaining schools can now apply to receive hot school meals from September. This commitment was given by Minister Heather Humphreys,” Deputy Phelan said.

Full story Page 6

3 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Observer The Kilkenny EVERY FRIDAY GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE TEAM SALES E: T: 087 382 0109 or 087 342 1958 EDITOR E: SPORTS E:
it like it is.
with no
barred MARIANNE HERON A straight shooter. Considerate and wise words JOHN ELLIS Great advice. Your money in mind GERRY MORAN Quirky take on bright side of life

Prioritising our children’s best interest in sports

Ah, lads, the evenings are stretching, aren’t they? And with the stretch in the evenings comes that unmistakable buzz — the thud of a football, the crack of a hurling ball, the sharp whistle of the coach. Our footpaths suddenly become rivers of wee figures in high-vis, jogging along.

Yep, it will soon that time of year again. Summer sports season is knocking on our door, and for us parents, it’s a bit of a headscratcher, isn’t it? Which sport do we throw our children into this time? It’s like picking a number in the lotto, hoping you’ll land on the one that’s a right fit for your child, isn’t it? Ah, sure look, let’s dive into figuring this puzzle out together, shall we? Why should we send our children to sports is the million-dollar question – why bother sending the wee ones off into the world of sports? Well, let me tell you, it’s not all about chasing a ball around a field or trying to outscore the other team.

Sports are a class way for children to learn the ropes of life, so to speak. It teaches them about working together, being part of a team. They learn to win gracefully, and, sure, they also learn how to take a loss on the chin and not let it get them down. It’s more than just keeping them active and out of mischief; it’s about

building their character, forging friendships, and instilling a bit of discipline. So, the next time you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to ferry them to and from training, just remember, it’s all for their good. It’s like every sports club out there is throwing shapes, trying to outdo the others with a bit of the old ‘us over them’ mentality. You’ve got clubs spinning the yarn that, if you’re not with them, you’re basically giving your child’s sporting future the cold shoulder. It’s all “Join us, we’re the bee’s knees” or throwing

around a bit of guilt with the old “Not with us? You unpatriotic!” Not to mention the classic: “If your child’s not sportin’ our colours, they might as well be sitting at home.” They’re painting a picture where choosing them is not just an option; it’s the only route worth considering for anyone who dreams of giving their childrena leg up in the world of sports. It’s a real tricky one for the parents, trying to navigate through all the bluster and find a sport that truly values their child’s growth over the club’s trophy case. Maybe that’s a bit over the top but you get the message. The solution is to try them all. Make them work for your little ones. They deserve it.

So here’s the craic In the grand world of sports, where everything’s about scoring the next goal or crossing the finishing line first, we often forget about the little fellas and lassies giving it their all. It’s high time we shift our gaze from the shiny trophies and medals to the beaming faces of our children, eager to run around and just have a ball. What they’re really after isn’t just about winning or losing; it’s the joy of playing, the camaraderie, and learning a

thing or two about sportsmanship.

Sure, a bit of competition never hurt anyone, but let’s not get carried away. Their interests, their enthusiasm for the game should be what’s guiding us. From the varies categories of football to hurling and the rest, let’s make sure we’re cheering them on for the love of them sport, not just the scoreboard.

It’s all well and good getting the young ones out on the pitch or the court, but if the person showing them the ropes hasn’t got a notion what they’re doing, are we really doing them any favours? You see, when it comes to coaching our children, the crux of the matter isn’t just about knowing the game inside out – that’s grand and all, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The quality of coaches and staff is paramount for a simple reason: they’re shaping our children not just as athletes but as people.

However, finding coaches that are properly trained and passionate – the kind that can inspire and teach with a bit of craic while ensuring they’re picking up essential life skills and sportsmanship – that’s like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s a tough gig, but honestly, it’s worth its weight in gold for the impact they have.

4 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 News
5 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

30 local schools for free meals

Twenty Kilkenny and 10 Carlow schools are among 900 primary schools nationwide who will now offer hot school meals to pupils from this month, Fine Gael TD, John Paul Phelan has told The Kilkenny Observer.

More than 150,000 children nation-wide will benefit from the expansion, Deputy Phelan confirmed. “The programme has grown from 30 schools under the first pilot programme to over 2,000 today.

by Minister Heather Humphreys.”

“Remaining schools can now apply to receive hot school meals from September and it is this Government’s intention that  a child born in Ireland today will be guaranteed access to a hot meal by the time they start school. This commitment was given

What we can hopefully expect in Budget 2025

Are Kilkenny tax-payers in for a windfall in the next Budget?

Yes, if Finance Minister Michael McGrath has his way. A personal tax package worth around €1,200 a person is now expected to be included in the next Budget.

Child benefit will go up by €10 a month and the State pension will increase by at least €12 a week.

Ahead of the general election, the Coalition is going to well and truly open the purse strings.

Minister McGrath has already confirmed there will be a hike in tax credits, an increase in the entry point to the standard rate of income tax and changes to the USC.

The changes from last year’s Budget were worth about €800 to the average worker, but the Budget 2025 bonanza will do the same and another half on top of that.

The first €20,000 a worker earns will be exempt from income tax through tax credit increases.

The point at which someone pays the top rate of tax will go up from €42,000 to somewhere around €44,000. The USC thresholds will be tweaked too.

All told, government sources say the package will be worth about €1,200 for the average middle-income earner.

This is separate from packages for businesses, farmers and families.

A double set of taxes on building a house will be waived for

the rest of this year to speed up the construction of housing.

An increase in home-building starts is being attributed to developers taking advantage of the scrapping of development levies and water connection charges.

The Government will decide whether to extend the levies waiver and charges rebate, worth about €240m.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will bring the proposal to the first Cabinet sub-committee chaired by Taoiseach Simon Harris.

Mr O’Brien will bring the latest figures on house-build starts, showing building on just over 7,000 new homes started in January and February this year compared to 4,100 the previous year - an increase of 70pc.

In Budget 2025, Tánaiste Micheál Martin wants to see a €10 increase in child benefit as well as a pension increase and another round of winter energy credits. The rate of child benefit is currently €140 per child every month.

Mr Martin denied the potential giveaways were an attempt to throw money at the electorate ahead of a general election.

“I think given how well we manage the public finances and the economy, I think it’s legitimate to signal to people where we intend to go in the next Budget, but also where we tend to go for the next five years,” he told RTÉ’s The Week In Politics.

Speaking during a joint visit to St. Thomas’ Junior National School in Lucan, Taoiseach Simon Harris said: “I am so proud of this programme. It is one of the things that is mentioned to me most as I visit communities across the country.

“We launched Hot School

Meals as a pilot five years ago and it has seen huge demand ever since. Today’s expansion to an additional 150,000 children means that over 316,000 children can now receive a nutritious, hot meal during their school day.

“As Taoiseach I have promised to focus on delivery of our pledges to help families and today’s announcement is just

one of the ways I am planning to do this,” he said.


• St Michaels National School

• The Rower Mixed NS

• Carrigeen NS

• Skeoughvosteen NS

• Bennettsbridge National School

• SN Naomh Padraig

• SN Bhrighde

• SN Naomh Colmáin

• Kilkenny Model School

• SN Baile An Phiull

• SN Moin Ruadh Mixed

• Burnchurch National School

• Scoil Iognáid de Rís

• SN Muire

• Scoil Bhride B7c

• St Joseph’s NS

• Naomh Templeorum N S

• Kilkenny School Project

• Scoil Mhuire

• St Mary’s National School

VHI moves against older patients

Some of its most expensive plans are to be stepped down by the VHI in a move set to force thousands of its older members to find alternative cover.

The plans removed are some of the most popular options taken out by consumers.

Some of the people on these plans, which are variations on the old Plan B schemes, have had them continuously for 30 years.

One of the schemes being halted costs up to €3,400 a year for one adult.

The health insurer’s move to phase out the four leading plans would worry older members who renewed on these to retain full cover

for major orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures, said health expert Dermot Goode of told the Irish Independent. “They will have no option now but to shop around for alternative cover from their next renewal date,” he said. In a surprise move, VHI is ditching Health Plus Extra, which is the old Plan B Options.

Also going is Health Plus Access, formerly Plan B, and Health Plus Excess, which was called Plan B Excess. It also phasing out its Health Access scheme. Health Plus Extra costs €3,400 an adult a year, while Health Plus Access is €2,574 an adult a year.

These two plans are among the Top 10 most popular VHI plans, according to the Health Insurance Authority. Many people are understood to be on these plans through an employer group scheme.

“These plans will no longer be available to new members or renewals from May 1,” Mr Goode said. The scrapping of the plans would affect thousands of VHI members who remained on these plans over the years.

VHI confirmed it was slimming down the number of plans it offers as it has 81 plans on the market.

“Our aim is to deliver a simplified product structure and enhanced offerings to better meet members’

needs,” the health insurer said.

He said there were similar alternatives available from VHI, such as their Advanced Care product range. But members need to be careful that they are not transferred to more expensive options.

Mr Goode said those on Health Plus Extra, which costs €3,400 a year, could consider the VHI Advanced Care Extra scheme at €3,327.

However, the out-patient cover is not as generous.

They would probably be offered the Advanced Care Extra Day-to-Day scheme, but this would increase their cost further to €3,543 an adult.

€800,000 in funding for local monuments

Green Party TD for CarlowKilkenny and Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan has announced €572,000 in funding for 12 local monuments in Kilkenny, with a further €235,000 for five projects in Carlow. The grants are being awarded under the

2024 Community Monuments Fund and account for 17 of the 140 projects receiving funding nationwide under the €7.4 million scheme.

Announcing the grants today, Minister Noonan said: “Since its inception in 2020, the Community Monuments Fund has become a lifeline

for the custodians of Ireland’s unique and irreplaceable archaeological heritage.

Through this fund we have supported hundreds of projects like historic churches and graveyards, castles, round towers, wells and other local landmarks or significant archaeological gems.

“In my four years as Minister for Heritage I’ve grown the fund from a modest €1 million investment to where it stands today – a €7.4 million investment in our local heritage, and one that supports Local Authorities and communities to identify, conserve and protect the built heritage that’s im-

portant to them. Without this fund, communities simply would not have the capacity to restore and promote their built and archaeological heritage,” he said.

“This year I’m delighted to see some incredibly worthwhile projects being supported across both counties - not least the historic Kennywell in Kilkenny City; along with Tubbrid Medieval Church and St Finian’s church in Carlow, plus many more sites that our local communities want to ensure we preserve and maintain for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Minister Noonan.

6 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 News
7 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

The Fact Of The Matter



Lost in social media train of thought

I was on a train in Dublin the other month, on a journey of 35 minutes or so. It was choc-a-bloc with young people, being the Easter school holidays and all; the youngest accompanied by a parent or someone older, the older ones travelling alone or in groups of their contemporaries, all headed for the city for one reason or another.

All the young people, and I mean all – and indeed most of the adults on board – were engaged with their smartphones or tablets, tweeting and texting, oblivious to the world around them. Even those in company were so busy online that they were as solitary creatures in a sea of social media.

They were mother and daughter, 10 year-old Katia. A sweet and engaging child.

The mother was from Latvia, had been in Ireland 14 years, her daughter born here.

The pair had been talking with each other in Latvian (or Lettish. When I put my spoke in, the girl’s English was impeccable.

I complimented her. Her mother proudly told me that her daughter was equally prolific in Russian and Irish, her schooling being as Gaeilge.

The girl told me, her face lighting up again, that the expected baby was going to be a boy, that the doctor had said her brother was coming on June 25. But all of this is not the main

In the seat next to me was a woman, heavily pregnant and with a young girl, sitting opposite to my right. The young woman and child were engaged with each other. As I settled into my seat, the young girl looked up at this intruder, her grey-blue eyes lighting up, her mouth broadening to a wondrous smile. We got talking, as you do, albeit briefly. Pleasantries.

point of this column. The pertinent point is this: before I intruded into the company of Katia and her mother, the two had been engaged with each other, engrossed in a simple exercise that brought back memories of old. They were playing Hangman and Noughts & Crosses with each other, using a small white pad and a pink marker. They were having great fun, and each time the girl outwitted her mother, well you’d swear she had been given all the tea in China. No mobiles. No tablets. No texting or tweeting. Just a simple engagement between mother and daughter that spoke volumes. Hangman? Noughts and Crosses?

When was the last time you saw any one playing such a simple game, a game that requires no expense and no technological gizzmo? Thought so.

It was my momentary alluding to their game, a game I had not seen played in roughly 50 years, that brought me into their conversation.

“Mother and daughter, 10 year-old Katia. A sweet and engaging child....

“So much better that stuck to a mobile phone,” I said, thinking out loud and the mother said, “Oh, she is far too young.”

Katia nodded. “When I am a teenager,” she said. “We’ll see,” her mother said. “We’ll see.”

And all this amid the debate of young people and their phone access to questionable aspects of social media. Minister for Education Norma Foley has been back and forth with Met, Google and their ilk on ways of determining the age of someone going online. A debate at EU level too.

Most, if not all, of us are now dependent on the digital world for work and for leisure, the latter very much the prerogative of the young, as evidenced on my choc-abloc train. Our quest for knowledge may be pursued at higher speeds with smarter tools

today, but wisdom, I would suggest, is found no more readily than it was 3,000 years ago in the court of King Solomon.

Was my train choc-a-bloc with people over-bloated with information and starved of wisdom?

While I embrace the new technology, one of the things that makes it harder and harder to connect with our wisdom is our increasing dependence on it.

Dare I say we seemingly have a pathological relationship with our devices, feeling not just addicted, but trapped, finding it harder and harder to unplug and renew ourselves. Maybe, though, if we switched them off for a day, an hour even, we might be pleasantly surprised. For even if we didn’t exactly start talking to each other, we might, at least end up playing Noughts & Crosses.

Like the girl on the train...

8 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
9 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

Kilkenny should look to €8.7m fund

Community and sports clubs in Kilkenny are being encouraged by Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan to take advantage of the opportunity to secure CLÁR funding.

Deputy Phelan urges all qualifying groups within Kilkenny city and county to apply for the CLÁR 2024 Programme, which is set to

finance numerous ventures aimed at revitalising regions across the country.

Deputy Phelan said: “The CLÁR Programme has earmarked almost €8.7 million for 2024, dedicated to elevating community and sports facilities with a spotlight on rejuvenating demographically challenged areas.

“With a strategic focus on enhancing community facilities and outdoor projects, the programme aims to empower local visions and potentials, making communities in Kilkenny more vibrant places to inhabit and visit," he said.

“Eligible projects in Kilkenny can receive grants up to €50,000, facilitating a wide

Big splash to improve River Slaney water

Tirlán, Ireland’s leading farmer-owned dairy and grain co-operative, has launched the Farming for Water: River Slaney Project, a collaborative initiative designed to enhance water quality across the Slaney River catchment area in counties Wexford, Carlow, and Wicklow.

The River Slaney Project is closely aligned with the Government’s €60 million European Innovation Partnership (EIP) ‘Farming for Water’ project aimed at improving water quality at local, catchment, and national levels.

This is crucial to help make the best possible case for Ireland to successfully retain the Nitrates Derogation from 2026.

The multi-year programme will include a series of combined projects, actions and activities led by Tirlán in collaboration with key stakeholders including  Teagasc, professional services firm ifac, Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO), County Councils and the wider community.

The project will follow a whole of sector and local

Government approach with the aim of enhancing water quality through impactful actions across all farming enterprises, dairy, grain and drystock, and in the wider communities. A team of Tirlán farm advisors will utilise best practice advice and focus on improving farm economic and environmental performance to address water quality challenges, while protecting biodiversity. The advisory service will focus on better nutrient use, improved milk solids and farm infrastructure.

range of developments including community centres, parish halls, GAA clubhouses, youth facilities, playgrounds, sensory gardens, walking paths, and more."

He said that, ince 2016, the CLÁR programme had significantly impacted rural development, supporting more than 2,400 projects with more

than €70 million in funding.

“An exciting update for 2024, introduced by my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys, is the inclusion of funding for Meals on Wheels vehicle purchases, alongside ongoing support for Cancer Care Transport, Community First Responders, and island communities.

“This funding is instrumental in realising high-quality community and sports projects, greatly contributing to the vibrancy of towns and villages across Kilkenny.

" I strongly encourage eligible organisations to explore this funding opportunity at ,” Deputy Phelan said.

A job well done, Adam!

SOS Kilkenny have received funding through both the Workability Programme and the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund to enhance the employment related skills of people with intellectual disabilities and to support them to find, maintain and progress in paid employment.

The Disability Participation and Awareness Fund, awarded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Rethink Ireland, is funding the development of the Access Academy – a bespoke employment skills

training provider for people with an intellectual disability.

In collaboration with eight people with Down Syndrome, the funding will allow SOS to design and develop industry relevant training programmes tailored to people with intellectual disabilities, including barista skills and an introduction to manual handling.

SOS Kilkenny CEO Francis Coughlan said: “Our partnership with Rethink Ireland will be transformational for young adults with Down Syndrome in

Kilkenny. It will allow us to maximise the reach and the social impact of the Access Academy. With the support of Rethink Ireland, The Access Academy will genuinely increase participation and inclusion in the local community for young adults with Down Syndrome.

"We will provide a bespoke, quality driven and personalised pathway to education and employment and we are hugely excited to see the impact of this funding on the overall wellbeing of the young adults involved,” he said.

News 10 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Supersize sir? Adam Doyle, Kilkenny working in McDonalds
11 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

As I See It Marianne Heron

Energy welcome but where’s the political wisdom?

As old makes way for new and experience shuffles off the political stage, energy is a word that keeps coming up. An attribute that’s needed, especially in these challenging times. But  another element I believe is essential among a mix of leaders and decision makers, is that good oldfashioned word wisdom, often found in wise old heads, something easily forgotten in the race for popularity.

Having an enthusiastic young Taoiseach in Simon Harris, our youngest ever at 37, may be great but it’s also good to look around for wisdom – not exclusive to but often linked to age and experience – in the ranks of FG politicians . There’s the sage Paschal O’Donoghue who, as former Minister for Finance, steered our

healthy economy and has made sure to put away rainy day money. Simon Coveney has the gravitas of a wise elder but has withdrawn from the fray; Heather Humphries is reassuring in Social Protection, while former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is back to the fore.

Learning by mistakes is wise: there are plenty of issues recently that have been allowed to fester until they reached crisis point where lessons needed to be learned. Why allow the overcrowding scandal at Limerick University hospital to continue to the point where a patient dies after falling off a trolley and lies undetected for two hours?

How was Garda recruitment allowed to fall to the point where it worsened the law and order challenge?

Tips to de-stress for a better nights’ sleep

If you want an example of inertia how about the failure to give asylum seekers living in tents even the dignity of a portaloo, never mind clearing them away to breezy Crooksling out of sight from the Patrick’s Day Parade when they could have had warm shelter weeks earlier in accommodation vacated by Ukrainians.  Where was the political wisdom in holding referendums which annoyed the majority of voters, from women who were to be gender neutralised to carers and the disabled who were not cared about enough to those who believe that marriage is one of the cornerstones of society?

I like the quote from 18th century novelist Tobian Smollett: “Some folks are wise and some are other-

onto your skin before bed and again during the night if needed. It soaks in immediately and can help if you also suffer from aching or cramping legs and spasms. For those of you that like relaxing baths add a handful of BetterYou Magnesium Sleep Flakes to the water to aid relaxation.

Reducing the effects of stress you are experiencing during the daytime will help you by the time your head hits the pillow. Simple things like Tisserand De-Stress Pulse Point Roller Ball are great for when life is hectic and your brain is worn out with overthinking. Simply roll onto your pulse to help reduce feelings of anxiety and to help you feel calm.

wise.” The case of the Garda and the bicycle is a woeful example of the ‘otherwise’ thinking and sticking too rigidly to the rules. To cut a very long story short a Garda took an unclaimed bike from Garda storage, where it was due for disposal, to an elderly farmer who had been told to take up cycling for his health but Covid struck before he could take delivery of one. The Garda, who had 30 years of exemplary service was suspended, the serious crime squad, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, became involved. The case was brought before the DPP who ruled there should be no prosecution. Yet, despite this the Garda continued to be suspended and was eventually brought before a disciplinary hearing last month on charges includ-

ing discreditable conduct and neglect of duties. At no point did anyone have the wit to intervene and drop the unwarranted charges. We have overcrowded prisons where it costs nearly €80.000 a year a prisoner. We have a shortage of teachers. Is it really in the public interest to keep Enoch Burke banged up in Mountjoy where he has been for more than 300 days over events which began with his refusal to call a transitioning pupil at the school where he taught by the pronoun they, on the grounds that transgenderism is contrary to Burke’s religious beliefs.

In the UK ministerial guidelines for schools advise against social transitioning and the use of alternative pronouns in the classroom. Wee don’t have the same guidelines

here – maybe we should. In Mr Burke’s case matters escalated; he was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing after confronting the principal at a ceremony and then jailed for contempt of court for continuing to turn up at the school.

Recently he refused to engage with the judge Mr Justice Mark Sanfey who intended to release him with the two-week holidays at Easter to reflect and “find a better way”. Maybe  wise reflection should apply in the justice system too.

Then there’s the housing crisis. Maybe it’s not wise to play that unwinnable numbers game, energy is welcome, but we need to ask where’s the wisdom?

In politics it’s a bit like that Kenny Rogers song:” You got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em.”

Is stress holding you back from getting a good nights’ sleep? Lack of sleep can have a dramatic effect on your health. Magnesium is one of the most sought-after supplements to help get you to nod off. Many of you find it brilliant. The main reason that magnesium helps so well is that with busy lives you burn up magnesium stores and this can leave you with tense, sore, and tired muscles. Magnesium can help support relaxation as it contributes to normal muscle function, and the normal functioning of the nervous system, so you can get to sleep more quickly. Magnesium BisGlycinate is the preferred choice of magnesium as it is highly absorbable. You’ll find lots of supplements like One Nutrition Magnesium BisGlycinate capsules that you could try, it’s 100% Pure with no fillers or unnecessary additives.

Ashwagandha may help to ease daytime stress and help you feel more balanced which in turn could lead to you getting a better sleep. One Nutrition Ashwagandha has added Magnesium and Zinc or FMD Stressveda has added B Vitamins. For overthinking thoughts, worry, and panic, L-Theanine is a great option, it may help to slow these thoughts. L-Theanine combines well with magnesium, and relaxing herbs like Lemon Balm and Chamomile, New Nordic Melissa Dream tablets contains all of these.

Or if you prefer you can use BetterYou Magnesium Sleep Spray. This contains magnesium with essential oils added to help calm the mind and relax the body. You simply massage it

Shop online at where you’ll be able to take a look at these brands.

Natural Health Store, Market Cross Shopping Centre

Phone: 056 7764538


12 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Climate Change
are we all playing our part?
WEEK 65 “Why not choose a piece to look after?”
13 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

Critical insights into the evolving landscape of human resource management in Ireland has been disclosed by Adare Human Resource Management in their latest workplace survey, the HR Barometer Series 8.1.

Drawing on more than eight years of research on HR trends; amid global pandemics, increasing legislation, growing geopolitical tensions, economic shifts, and the rapid pace of digital transformation, the HR Barometer stands as a pivotal resource for organisations striving to navigate the complexities of today’s workforce dynamics.

Employee Engagement

And Retention

Employee engagement is a concern for Irish businesses, with 56% of organisations identifying it as their top HR priority. Close behind, 53% of organisations are prioritising retention rates, signalling a continued emphasis on maintaining a stable workforce amidst evolving labour market dynamics.

Performance Management

On The Rise

Marking a significant shift, performance management has climbed to the third spot in HR priorities, with 36% of employers increasingly focussed on enhancing employee productivity and effectiveness.

Turnover Rates

And Forecast

The study reveals an employee turnover rate of 14% for 2023 and an expected turnover rate of 12% for 2024.

Motivations For Leaving

Remuneration remains a leading factor for employee turnover, though its dominance is waning in favour of career progression and geographic flexibility. This indicates a broader trend of employees valuing professional development and work-life balance over financial incentives alone.

Cost Of Turnover

The financial impact of employee turnover is high with an average backfill cost of €9,461 per employee.

New study on workforce trends and challenges

Absenteeism And Health

A notable rise in absenteeism rates to 8.2% in 2023 from 5.6% in 2022. Mental health and work-related stress emerge as the leading causes of short-term absenteeism with 68% of organisations noting increased absence rates due these factors. This highlights the importance of supportive workplace practices; Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) are widely implemented with 84% of respondents having one in place, this is up from just 50% of organisations having an EAP in place just 2 years ago.

Workplace Conflict And Dispute Resolution

Despite a reduction in formal disputes, 74% of organisations experienced workplace conflict, with a one-in-five

invited to attend the WRC or Labour Court. Four is the average number of times those surveyed attended at the WRC or Labour Court.

Salary Trends

The survey indicates 88% of employers plan salary increases in 2024, with an average anticipated raise of 3.6%.

Working Practices.

Additionally, the landscape of working practices is shifting, with 46% of employees engaged in hybrid work arrangements, reflecting the ongoing adaptation to flexible working models.

Kieran Mulvey, Director at Adare Human Resource Management, said: “As we move into 2024, the findings of the HR Barometer Series 8.1 provide invaluable insights for organisations

aiming to future-proof their workforce strategies. Considering the backdrop of economic fluctuations and digital transformation, it is clear that a people-led approach remains at the heart of sustainable growth and innovation.”

Sarah Fagan, Managing Director at Adare said: “In today’s dynamic business environment, growth isn’t just about profits, it’s about harnessing technology and innovative HR strategies to empower your workforce and thrive in a constantly evolving landscape.

The key insights

• Remuneration remains a leading factor for employee turnover

• Mental health and work-related stress emerge as the leading causes of short-term absenteeism

• 88% of employers plan salary increases in 2024

• 46% of employees are engaged in hybrid work arrangements

• Employee engagement is a concern for Irish businesses, with 56% of organisations identifying it as their top HR priority

• The study reveals an employee turnover rate of 14% for 2023 and an expected turnover rate of 12% for 2024

• 74% of organisations experienced workplace conflict

“This year calls for a profound shift towards agile talent management, enhanced Employee experiences, and the strategic integration of technology, ensuring organisations can unleash the potential of their people and thrive in the future of work.”

She said Adare Human Resource Management’s Barometer research reflected their commitment to empowering organisations with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the everchanging complexities of HR. These insights would be instrumental for businesses to develop robust and adaptable HR practices, not only tackling current hurdles but also unlocking future possibilities as they planned for the evolving world of work practices.

Free contraception to extend to women aged 35

Women aged 35 and under will soon be able to get free contraception directly from their local pharmacy.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is planning to expand his free contraception scheme to more women and allow them collect the pill from pharmacies without a prescription from a GP.

Mr Donnelly will expand

the free contraception scheme to all women aged 35 and under during the summer.

Giving the pharmacies the responsibility for prescribing the pill will come at a later date and a doctor’s prescription will still be required until that happens. However, GP visit fees are covered by the State under the scheme. The measure is contained

in a new Women’s Health Action Plan.

The minister introduced his free contraception scheme in September 2022 to women aged 15-25 and has extended eligibility in a number of phases since.

It was extended to women aged 30 and under from September 2023 – and more recently to women aged 31 and under to ensure women did

not age out of the scheme. An overrun in the Department of Health budget last year prevented the minister from expanding the scheme further but he eventually received an additional €90m in supplementary budget which he can use to allow more women receive free contraception.

There has been a significant take-up of the scheme,

with Department of Health figures showing almost 200,000 w omen accessed the programme last year.

Mr Donnelly launched the country’s first women’s health plan two years ago, which included the opening of six specialist menopause clinics, six fertility hubs, as well as two specialist endometriosis centres and a large network (16) of same-day

see-and-treat gynaecology clinics.

The free contraception scheme covers the full cost of GP visits for women as well as the full cost of the contraceptive pill and the fitting and removal of other long-acting, and more expensive, contraceptive devices. It also includes injections, check-ups and emergency contraception.

News 14 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
15 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement


Credit unions: the new world banking order Your Money & You

Last week the Central Bank of Ireland published its 10th edition of the Financial Conditions of Credit Unions report. It provides an update on the financial performance and position of the sector for the financial year ended September 30, 2023. The publication aims to inform credit union boards in carrying out their own strategic analysis and decision-making.

According to the report. loans issued during the year totalled €3 billion, bringing total loans outstanding to €6.3 billion on September 30, 2023 (up from €5.6 billion in 2022) representing an increase of 12% year on year. House loans increased from €317 million in 2022 to €484 million in 2023. This is an increase of 53%, with the average loan size increasing from around €86k to €105k. Business loans increased from €146 million in 2022 to €162 million in 2023, an increase of 11%, with the average loan size increasing from around €20k to €22k.

Investments are up to €13.8 billion from €13.1 billion in 2022 and the required regulatory minimum of 10% of assets in reserve is exceeded and stands at 16.2%.

On the other side members’ savings increased from €17.0 billion to €17.5 billion showing further capacity amounting to €900 million, increasing to €2.1 billion if all eligible credit unions availed of increased concentration limits available.

The Credit Union Regulatory Lending Framework review is ongoing and is due to be published in June. On foot of this review further changes will be implemented which will permit credit unions to increase lending.

Loans in arrears continues to reduce since Covid yet the total amount of loans in arrears, including early-stage arrears, increased over 2023 reminding us of the pressure that the increased cost of living has brought on people. Credit unions are very aware

of this and continue to remain supportive of anyone who is experiencing difficulties. The low increase in arrears is a demonstration of competitive interest rates, available from

credit unions hand-in-hand with the work that they do with customers who may run into difficulties repaying their loans.

Commenting on the report,

Registrar of Credit


Elaine Byrne said: “Given the trends and the economic outlook, this is a time for credit unions to pay particular attention to proactive asset and liability management, arising from the changing maturity profile of their balance sheets, as credit unions seek to diversify their lending. This includes maintaining sufficient liquid assets to meet business requirements and withstand liquidity stress scenarios.”

Now is the time for credit unions to plan to look for new business opportunities within the credit union sector. Through “scale efficiencies, prudent cost management, and greater product standardisation” credit unions can deliver a diverse range of products and services to members in a sustainable manner.

As I wrote recently, the recent legislative reforms enacted in February can be the catalyst for significant

expansion in credit union lending activities. From September of this year credit unions will be permitted to collaborate formally with each other, enabling them to extend services such as home loans to members of other credit unions.

This groundbreaking development promises greater accessibility to fairer mortgages for households and prospective homeowners, as credit unions gain the capacity to refer mortgage applications to partner institutions when unable to provide financing directly.

Once again, it’s you the members, and your confidence in your local unions financial management that underpins and enables credit unions to expand on their services and continue to win more of the mortgage and lending market from the Irish banks and non-banks alike.

16 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
086 8362622

A call to action: addressing air pollution and poor air quality in Kilkenny

Ireland has been facing a growing concern over air pollution and poor air quality.

According to statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the levels of harmful pollutants in the air have been on the rise, posing significant risks to public health and the environment.

Fine particulate matter arising from burning solid fuels, such as coal, peat and wet wood, remains the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Ireland, with “worrying localised issues” in cities, towns and even villages, according to the 2021 report.

The EPA's latest Air Quality in Ireland report reveals alarming findings, showing that multiple pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5), are exceeding the recommended limits in many urban areas across the country. These pollutants are known to cause a range of health issues, including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and even premature death.

Furthermore, the WHO estimates that air pollution is responsible for approximately 1,500 premature deaths in Ireland each year. These figures highlight the urgent need for action to address the root causes of air pollution and improve air quality nationwide.

One of the significant contributors to air pollution in Ireland is the burning of solid fuels for heating purposes.

Solid fuel combustion releases harmful particles and gases into the atmosphere, leading to elevated levels of pollution. Recognizing this issue, the Irish government has implemented new solid fuel regulations in 2022 to curb emissions from domestic heating sources.

Francis Brophy, Executive Engineer for Air, Noise and Water in Environment, Kilkenny County Council commented “The new regulations set stricter standards for the types of solid fuels that can be used for heating, aiming to reduce the emission of harmful pollutants and protect public health. By phasing out the use of highpolluting fuels and promoting cleaner alternatives, the government hopes to make a meaningful impact on air quality and reduce the health risks associated with poor air.

Kilkenny County Council plays a vital role in implementing and enforcing these regulations, as well as taking additional measures to improve air quality within its jurisdictions. Here in Kilkenny, efforts are being made to monitor air quality levels, identify sources of pollution, and develop action plans to reduce emissions and protect public health.”

Mags Whelan, Environmental Awareness Officer in Kilkenny County Council comments, "Air quality is a top priority for our Department and we are committed to working towards cleaner air for our communities in Kilkenny and

its residents. By collaborating with local businesses, educational institutions, and community groups, we aim to raise awareness about air pollution and promote sustainable practices that will benefit both our health and the environment."

In addition to regulatory measures, public awareness and community engagement are crucial in addressing air pollution and improving air quality. Individuals can make a difference by choosing cleaner transportation options, reducing energy consumption, and supporting initiatives that promote environmental sustainability.

The EPA and WHO emphasize the importance of collective action in tackling air pollution, as it is a complex issue that requires comprehensive solutions at local, national, and global levels. By raising awareness, advocating for clean air policies, and adopting sustainable practices, we can protect our health, preserve our environment, and create a healthier future for generations to come.

If you want to make a complaint about poor air quality in your area, visit Kilkenny County Councils Environment website on www.

For more information on air quality initiatives in Kilkenny and across Ireland, please visit the EPA's website at and the WHO's website at

17 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 News

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay but what its repercussions are for jobs and the future of humankind is an unknown, though it is already playing important roles in the world of medicine, communications and travel.

AI that can generate videos, quickly translate languages, or write new computer code could be world changing, but can they ever be truly intelligent?

Not according to the embodiment hypothesis, which argues that human-level intelligence can only emerge if an intelligence is able to sense and navigate a physical environment, the same way babies can.

According to this theory, the only way to get an AI to develop true intelligence is to give it a body and the ability to move around and experience the world. Digital-only AIs, in comparison, may be great for small tasks, but they’ll always hit an intelligence ceiling.

“AI systems that lack a physical embodiment can never be truly intelligent,” Akshara Rai, a research scientist at Meta, told Freethink. “To fully comprehend the world, it is essential to interact with it and observe the outcomes of those interactions.”

Not all AI developers buy into the embodiment hypothesis — it may end up being possible to create a digitalonly super intelligence that never feels the Earth beneath its robotic feet.

Many of those who do, though, are focused on figuring out the safest, most efficient way to let AIs explore the physical world — but simply dropping untrained AI ‘brains’ into robot ‘bodies is not it.

Babies make a lot of mistakes when they’re first learning to do something, and AI is likely to experience plenty of errors during training, too. If it’s controlling a machine when it makes those errors, it could destroy the hardware, damage the world around it, and maybe even hurt people.

Why AI need a ‘body’ to become truly intelligent

An AI might also need to attempt something many times before figuring out how to do it reliably.

Computer simulations that mimic the environments an embodied AI is likely to en-

counter in the real world are a way around both problems.

An in-development AI can be given control of a virtual body and then allowed to train in the computer programme. This gives the AI a fast, low-risk

way to learn what will likely happen when it’s in control of a real robot.

Because simulations don’t have to move at the speed of the real world, an AI can learn far more quickly, too — when

America’s MIT was training an AI-powered cheetah robot, for example, simulations allowed the AI to experience 100 days of running in just three hours.

In 2019, Meta (then Facebook) unveiled AI Habitat,

an open-source simulation platform for training AIs to navigate homes, offices, and other spaces.

AI Habitat trains AIs to open doors, retrieve objects, and much else in a variety of environments. Hopefully, they’ll be smart enough to do those things right out of the box in places they’ve never seen before, which will be key to the deployment of robots in homes and workplaces.

In October 2023, Meta updated the platform — and this version brings human avatars into the simulated world.

The new AI Habitat is key to the development of mainstream embodied AI — for robots to be successfully integrated into our lives, they need to understand how to interact with us — but just how much an AI can learn about coexisting with people from simulations is debatable.

“Different humans have different perspectives, different goals, different capabilities ... As humans, we cannot even write down the rules of the social norms in such a complex world,” Boyuan Chen, head of the General Robotics Lab at Duke University, told Freethink.

Humans aren’t the only ultra-complex variable in simulations, either.

The physics of the real world are also incredibly hard to simulate, which can lead to something robot developers call the “sim-to-real gap” — a phenomenon where an AI performs better in simulations than it does when given control of a physical body.

“Even simple things, like a bouncing ball ... cannot be modelled very well in a simulation, not to mention very complex fluid dynamics, very complex combustion,” said Chen.

To fully comprehend the world, it is essential to interact with it and observe the outcomes of those interactions. It remains to be seen whether future AI development can achieve this...

How walkies and talkies can prolong your dog’s life

Like many social animalsincluding humans, having more social companions can be really important for the dog’s health, according to those who study the relationship between pets and their owners.

So, what makes social interaction so vital for our furry friends? The emotional security, camaraderie, and unconditional love provided by interaction significantly boost a dog’s overall wellbeing. This, in turn, plays a pivotal role in extending their life.

A new study’s findings show that social interaction is identified as being fiv e times more effective in prolonging a dog’s life than other variables, such as an owner’s affluence.

While it’s been an instinc-

tive understanding among p et parents about the numerous advantages of socialising their dogs and

ensuring they engage with their favoured humans and pets.

However, it’s essential

to remember that there are no fixed formulas or guarantees when it comes to a dog’s life expectancy.

Some exceptional dogs

defy the odds.

While the revelation about the power of social interaction is indeed promising, achieving a dog’s optimal health and longevity requires a more holistic approach.

In addition to prioritising social engagement, our fo ur-legged friends also yearn for love, nutritious food, consistent exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups. These factors together ensure that our pets not only survive but thrive, reaching their utmost potential and gifting us w ith their cherished companionship for as many years as possible.

The relationship between a pet and its owner is one of the most profound

bonds. As pet parents, the onus is on us to make every moment count, ensuring our pets lead a fulfilling and lon g life. This revelation about the role of social interaction in prolonging a dog’s lifespan serves as a reminder of the simple joys and essentials of life.

As we continue to learn and adapt, let’s give our pets the best chance at a long, healthy, and happy life by their human’s side.

Among the more surprising results from the US s urvey were:

1) a negative association of the number of children in the household and dog health, and

2) that dogs from higher income households were diagnosed with more. Walkies anybody?

News 18 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Science & Wellbeing

Navigating Europe means dodging a few tourist traps to uncover its real gems. Skip the overcrowded spots and, instead, dive into its authentic beauty. From quaint towns to breathtaking landscapes, Europe’s must-see attractions await to transform your trip into a memorable adventure. These are some great alternatives for the tourist traps in Europe.

1. Fjords of Norway

Thanks to their breathtaking beauty shaped by glaciers over 2.5 million years, Norway’s fjords are a massive draw for travellers. These U-shaped valleys, with their cliffs, offer landscapes so vast they’re hard to grasp fully. While there are over 1000 fjords in Norway, places like Hardangerfjord and Geirangerfjord are among the few that attract crowds, so there’s still plenty of room to find your peaceful spot. Cruising through the fjords is a popular way to take in their towering walls up close, offering a unique perspective from the water. For those who prefer a view from above, hiking the fjords provides a stunning bird’s-eye view of this incredible natural wonder. Either way, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

2. Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum [pictured] takes you back to the peak of the Roman Empire. Built in 72 AD, it’s impressive how it could fit 50,000 people, making it the largest amphitheater of its time. Imagine being in the crowd for everything from wild animal hunts and executions to intense gladiator fights, and they even staged mock sea battles by flooding it! Even though it’s a ruin, the Colosseum still stands out as a big deal in Rome. Walking through its arches and taking a tour lets you almost hear the roar of the ancient crowds and feel the excitement of those epic spectacles. It’s like

The worst airports in the UK for flight delays last year have been ranked.

The average delay for flights across all airports was almost 20 minutes and 42 seconds, down from 23 minutes and 12 seconds in 2022, when the aviation sector struggled to cope with a surge in demand for holidays following the end of coronavirus travel restrictions.

The analysis took into account all scheduled and chartered departures from the 22 commercial UK airports with at least 1,000 outbound flights last year. Cancellations were not included.

Departures from the Gatwick were an average of nearly 27 minutes behind schedule in 2023, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by the PA news agency.

The airport, which is the second-busiest in the UK, was badly affected by air traffic

Five must-see spots in Europe

a time machine when Rome was at its most powerful and extravagant.

3. Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, a picturesque town near Lisbon, Portugal, offers a fantastic day trip opportunity with breathtaking mountains and historic sites. Just 40 minutes by train from Lisbon, it’s a must-visit for those who are short on time but eager to explore. Places to visit include the vibrant Palacio de Pena, the historic Castelo

Dos Mouros with stunning views, and the mysterious Quinta Da Regaleira with its gothic mansion and intriguing Initiation Well. Ideal for a mid-week visit to dodge the crowds, Sintra promises a mix of natural beauty and fascinating architecture, making it a memorable escape.

4. Lofoten Islands, Norway Norway isn’t just about Svalbard; the Lofoten Islands are another gem, offering

breathtaking natural beauty and a plethora of activities. This archipelago consists of seven islands recognised for their commitment to sustainability. It’s a fantastic spot for those interested in Viking history, pristine landscapes, and unique experiences like surfing under the Northern Lights. The Gulf Stream blesses Lofoten with a surprisingly mild climate, allowing for the magical phenomenon of the midnight sun during

Heading for the UK? Watch these airports

summer. Outdoor enthusiasts will find Lofoten irresistible, with its endless hiking, climbing, kayaking, cycling, and skiing opportunities. Whether you’re chasing adventure or simply want to soak in the serene beauty, Lofoten promises an unforgettable experience.

5. Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are a real adventure spot between Scotland, Norway, and Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean.

control (ATC) staff shortages across Europe last year, and repeatedly suffered the same problem in its own control tower.

Gatwick said in a statement it was “working closely with our airline partners to improve on-time performance”.

Luton airport had the second poorest punctuality record last year, with an average delay of almost 23 minutes.

In third place was Manchester airport, at nearly 22 minutes.

Belfast City (George Best) airport had the best performance, with a typical delay of 12-and-a-half minutes.

“This cannot be allowed to become the new normal.”

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director Tim Johnson said it was vital the aviation sector “focuses on resilience” ahead of the summer holiday

Though part of Denmark, they’re pretty independent, with just 18 islands to their name. Getting there takes a bit more effort, with limited hotel stays or B&Bs. It’s a paradise for the bold- hearted, offering wild landscapes, incredible hikes, towering mountains, and unique wildlife like puffins. You can kayak, horseback ride, or chill Faroese- style with homecooked fish and chips in a cozy, old house. A definite must-visit for the nature lover!

period to “keep passenger disruption to a minimum”. He said: “Where people do find themselves facing disruption, we want them to be well-informed about the duty of care that they are entitled to.”

When flights are significantly delayed or cancelled, airlines are required under consumer laws to provide passengers with assistance such as refreshments, a means of communication and overnight accommodation if required.

If the cause of disruption is under an airline’s control, passengers are also due compensation of up to £520 depending on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight.

But air traffic control (ATC) issues are generally considered to be an “extraordinary circumstance”, meaning affected passengers are not entitled to payouts.

19 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
& Leisure


Freud, Pablo Escobar and a touch of glass! Furthermore

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hypochondriac: however, every now and then when I get a bad headache, that I can’t shake pff, I think – brain tumour! And then the Panadol kicks in, the headache subsides and the notion of brain tumour dissipates.

I mention all this because of a book I am reading at the moment titled A Body Made Of Glass, A History of Hypochondria by Caroline Crampton. I am reading this book just to check if, perhaps, I might be a hypochondriac. Well, I can tell you here and now – I am not. At least not compared to some of the hypochondriacs referenced in the book.

Let’s start in ancient Greece where a physician called Galen wrote of a strange condition in which a melancholic person became convinced he was made of pottery and avoided social contact for fear of bumping into people

and being broken! In the 14th century this delusion had assumed a different form when sufferers became convinced that their bodies were made of glass and were liable to shatter! (A new variation, for sure, on the phrase: shattered!)

The French King, Charles V1, became gripped by this

fear after suffering a nervous breakdown in a military campaign in 1392 and, to avoid any shattering, had his clothing reinforced with iron rods! Drainpipes perhaps!

Ms Crampton goes on to describe what may be an exaggerated account by a French royal physician who wrote of a Parisian glassmaker who be-

lieved his buttocks were made of glass and in order to protect his rear end went about with a small cushion affixed to his behind. The glass delusion hadn’t gone away and as late as 1964, a Dutch doctor encountered a patient who, believe it or believe it not, thought his body had become as transparent as a window! And that’s where I’ll park A History Of Hypochondria for the time being, pleased in the knowledge that I’m not made of pottery and don’t have a glass ass!

And so to phobias – not entirely unrelated to hypochondria (an abnormal anxiety about one’s health). A phobia is an irrational, abnormal fear of something or other. For instance we are all familiar with claustrophobia, an abnormal fear of confined spaces; agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces or public places; pyrophobia, a fear of fire; hydrophobia, a fear of water;

and arachnophobia, a fear of spiders (which the female of the species seem to be particularly prone to).

But here for your information and education are some phobias that I have never heard of in my entire life plus a few that we all suffer from but didn’t have the terminology for. Off we go: dendrophobia, a fear of trees; cherophobia, a fear of happiness (really?); batrachophobia (and try saying that with a few pints in – try saying even when sober) a fear of frogs; glossophobia, a fear of speaking in public (and many of us suffer from that one); hodophobia, fear of travel; mychophobia, fear of mushrooms; opthalmophobia, fear of being stared at; nomophobia, fear of being out of mobile phone contact (and we can all relate to that one also); pogonophobia’ fear of beards; spectrophobia, a fear of mirrors; tonitrophobia, a fear of thunder; gamopho-

bia, fear of marriage and this obvious one cyberphobia, fear of computers which yours truly suffers hugely from as the Editor of this paper will testify to. And now I’ll park the phobias as I’m developing a phobia about phobias which I am calling phobiaphobia!

Finally, and staying in the medical zone, sort of, before Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), pictured, turned to psychoanalysis, he did important work on neurology and was the first to employ the use of cocaine as a local anaesthetic. His use of cocaine for minor pains and his high praise for its efficacy led to a wave of cocaine addiction in Europe before it was discovered that it was highly addictive!

Fast forward to 1986 when Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) the Columbian cocaine kingpin, was taking in $420 million a week!

Wonder what Freud would have made of that?

20 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Rebecca Storm joins Kilkenny musical ‘Letters From the Front’ at Carlow

West End Superstar Rebecca Storm takes to the Carlow stage next month in the new Irish musical “Letters from the Front”. Rebecca will reprise her role as Frau Breitner in the poignant drama which has already been presented to great acclaim in both Kilkenny and Dublin. Fresh from yet another much-lauded performance in her recent concert “Goin’ Back – A Lifetime of Song” in the Helix Theatre, Rebecca is one of the most popular leading ladies in musical theatre, having portrayed some of the most demanding roles including Eva Peron in ‘Evita’, Fantine in ‘Les Miserables’, Florence in ‘Chess’, Rose in ‘Aspects of Love’, Edith Piaf in ‘Piaf’, Joan of Arc in ‘Jeanne’, Miss Hannigan in ‘Annie’, and Chris in “Calendar Girls”.. Written and directed by Don O’Connor (Kilkenny) and Ollie Hennessy (Carlow), this original musical drama inspired by real letters written by soldiers and family members from 1914-1918 and featuring a cast of 35, tells the story of three families, caught up in the turmoil of World War One. A story of love, hope, despair and loss, it follows the tale of young Irish couple Willie and Eileen, forced to separate

as Willie enlists to fight on the Western Front. A young German boy Heinrich, falsifies his true age in order to fight under the German flag, while an embittered British officer prepares to lead his troops against the enemy in the trenches of Northern France. The poignant drama pulls no punches in depicting the horrors encountered by both German and British

during the Great War and examines the effects of the war on those left at home as their husbands, fathers and sons marched into battle.

Joining the Carlow/ Kilkenny cast will be

One of the most popular leading ladies, Rebecca storm plays in ‘Letters

renowned Ukranian baritone Maksym Lozovyi. Maksym lived in the Russianoccupied city of Kherson for 6 months where he was lead vocalist with the Kherson Regional Philarmonic from 2014 – 2021. However his life changed dramatically with the invasion of the Russian army in 2022. The Russians tortured and killed all Ukrainians who remained loyal to their Ukrainian country. One of them was his friend and conductor of the Kherson Philharmonic, where Maksym worked, Yuriy Kerpatenko. Russian soldiers came to his home and shot him for refusing to cooperate with the occupiers. Consequently, Maksym decided to leave his home with his family. Maksym will make his Irish dramatic debut portraying the character of German officer Kruger in the new Irish musical drama.

Featuring a Kilkenny cast including Mary O’BrienBuggy, Brendan Corcoran, Peter Madden, Clare Gibbs and Rachel Leydon and Carlow stalwarts Rory Mortan, Richard Duffy, Oisin O’Reilly, Paul Dunne and Larry McNally, “Letters from the Front” runs from 1st – 4th May in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Carlow.

21 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Kilkenny musical
Kilkenny actor Declan Taylor who performs in ‘Letters from the front’ Sé Nicholson and Larry McNally in a scene from the forthcoming Letters from the front’ Maksym Losovyi performing with the musical ‘Letters from the Front’ Brigadier Montague played by Rory Moran Linda Beale from Kilkenny who is taking part in the musical ‘Letters from the front at The Geoorge Bernard Shaw theatre from the front’

So, the saga of Donald J Trump continues, but this time the former US president could be in real trouble.

Although Trump has been charged with dozens of felonies across four cases: two federal, one in New York and another in Georgia, for now, he faces no significant campaign restrictions. Trump faces 88 criminal charges in the four cases.

The first of those cases to go to trial is the sex scandal cover-up in New York, where jury selection has begun. The US is asking what might now happen: a prominent candidate with a felony conviction running for president. And never before has that candidate been someone with a real chance of winning.

As said, for now he faces no significant campaign restrictions, and in polls of Republican voters and the broader electorate, his strength is undiminished. But some of the cases are proceeding at a pace that could bring verdicts before the election — and the Constitution and American law have clear answers for only some of the questions that will arise if he is convicted.

Others would bring the country into truly uncharted territory, with huge decisions resting in the hands of federal judges.

Can Trump run if he is convicted? This is the simplest question of the lot . The answer is yes.

The Constitution sets very few eligibility requirements for presidents. They must be at least 35 years old, be ‘natural born’ citizens and have lived in the US for at least 14 years.

There are no limitations based on character or criminal record. While some states prohibit felons from running for state and local office, these laws do not apply to federal offices.

The Republican and Democratic Parties have guaranteed spots on general-election ballots in every state, and the parties tell election officials whose name to put in their spot. States could, in theory, try to keep Trump off the ballot by passing legislation requiring a clean criminal record, but this would be on legally shaky ground.

“We let states set the time, place and manner” of elec-

If convicted, can Trump still run?

tions,” said Jessica Levinson, a Professor at Loyola Law School who specialises in election law, “but I think the best reading of our Constitution is you don’t let the state add new substantive requirements.”

While that view is not universal among legal experts, it prevailed in court in 2019, after California passed a law requiring candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on primary ballots. A federal district judge blocked the law from taking effect, saying it was most likely un-

constitutional. The California Supreme Court also unanimously blocked it as a violation of the state constitution, and the case never reached the US Supreme Court.

The former president faces several investigations at both the state and the federal levels, into matters related to his business and political careers. Here is a close look at each.

Trump is at the centre of four criminal investigations. Keep track of the developments in each here.

What if Donald Trump is convicted?: Will any of the

proceedings hinder Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign?

So, to the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled in March that states could not keep Trump off their ballots under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies people who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath to support the Constitution.

Numerous lawsuits had argued that Mr. Trump’s actions before and on January 6, 2021, met this bar. In December, the Colorado Supreme Court found him ineligible, and

Maine’s secretary of state did the same. But the Supreme Court — led by a conservative supermajority, with three justices appointed by Mr. Trump himself — concluded that only Congress had the power to enforce Section 3 against candidates for federal office.

Congress is not going to do that with Republicans in control of the House. And the 14th Amendment is separate from criminal cases, meaning convictions would not disqualify Trump either.

Congress can designate either groups of people to

whom Section 3 applies (such as people who fought for the Confederacy) or specific crimes that, upon conviction, would trigger disqualification, said Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University. But none of the crimes Trump is charged with carry that automatic penalty.

“Whether or not Trump is tried, convicted, acquitted, that’s a separate question from whether or not he’s disqualified,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law expert at the University of California.

As the Arab world holds its breath...

For months now, amid the Israeli six-month on slight on Gaza, Arab countries, from the United Arab Emirates and Oman to Jordan and Egypt, have tried to damp down the conflict between Israel and Hamas, especially after it widened to include armed groups backed by Iran and embedded deep within the Arab world. Some of them, like the Houthis, threaten Arab governments as well.

But the Iranian drone and

missile attack on Israel, which put the entire region on alert, made the new reality unavoidable: Unlike past Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and even those involving Israel and Lebanon or Syria, this one keeps expanding.

“Part of why these wars were contained was that they were not a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran,” said Randa Slim, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “But now we are

entering this era where a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran — that could drag the region into the conflict and that could drag the US in — now that prospect of a regional war is going to be on the table all the time.”

For the moment, the only countervailing force is the desire of both the US and its longtime foe Iran to avoid a widening of the conflict, said Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group’s program direc-

tor for the Middle East and North Africa.

“I am heartened by the fact that the only ones who want a war are Israel and Hamas,” he said. “The Iranians are still talking to the Americans,” he said, referring to messages sent in recent days between the two by intermediaries including Switzerland and Oman. The Iranian message, said Mr. Hiltermann, made clear they were looking to demonstrate their power, not expand the

war. “They said, ‘There is going to be an attack, but we are going to keep it limited.’”

Most urged de-escalation in the strongest terms.

The only exceptions in the Arab world were northern Yemen, whose de facto Houthi government is close to Iran, and Lebanon, home to Hezbollah, the armed group backed by the Iranians.

Oman said that it was crucial to reach an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel

and Hamas that has been raging for the past half year in the Gaza Strip. Kuwait “stressed the necessity of addressing root causes” of the region’s conflicts.

And Saudi Arabia, which has tried to cultivate relatively warm ties with Iran since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations last year, said it was “extremely concerned” about the dangerous implications of the military escalation in the region.

The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Global Report
23 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement Advertisement

Carrigeen National School advances to the All-Ireland quarter final in the 2023-24 Concern Primary School Debating Competition

In a notable stride towards intellectual and global consciousness, Kilkenny Education Centre, in proud collaboration with Concern Worldwide, announces the remarkable progress of Carrigeen National School into the All-Ireland quarter-finals of the prestigious 2023-24 Concern and Kilkenny Education Centre Primary School Debating Competition.

This milestone marks another significant achievement in the competition's history, celebrated for over a decade of fostering debate and global awareness among young minds.

Initiated in the 2015-16 academic year, the competition has flourished through a partnership with various Education Centres across Ireland, notably Kilkenny Education Centre. It targets senior primary school classes - Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth - employing a knockout format that has inspired enthusiastic participation and witnessed the crowning of local champions.

This season, over 30 teams from Kilkenny, Carlow, and Tipperary engaged in debates on motions challenging yet engaging, covering a range of

topics from environmental issues to the unifying power of sports. The competition's local segment concluded on 23 February, with Carrigeen National School narrowly clinching victory against Newtown Dunleckney of Carlow.

Carrigeen then went on to represent the 140 primary schools in Kilkenny Education Centre’s catchment area on the national stage.

Carrigeen's debate team, under the leadership of Principal Sinead Murphy and Teacher Ian Duggan, showcased remarkable skill and determination, propelling them to success in the first round of the national competition on 22 March. Their next challenge awaits on 24 April, at the All-Ireland quarterfinals, where they will contest the motion "Young People in Ireland are indifferent to the Global South."

Nestled in the heart of the Suir Valley, Carrigeen National School boasts a unique location with breathtaking views spanning five counties. The school's historical and geographical significance adds a layer of inspiration for its debating team as they prepare to make their mark

on the national stage.

John O’Sullivan, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre, commended the competition, "Now in its eleventh year, the Concern Primary Debating Competition has become a cornerstone in cultivating speaking and critical thinking skills among children. We are deeply grateful to everyone involved – organisers, adjudicators, schools, teachers, students, and our partner Concern Worldwide. Their dedication and enthusiasm have been instrumental in the success of this initiative."

Special recognition was extended to Eilís Costelloe, a retired teacher/principal, for her invaluable coordination of the competition, alongside the contributions of adjudicators, participating schools, teachers, parents/guardians, and students, whose collective efforts have underscored the event's triumph.

As Carrigeen prepares for their upcoming debate, the community and supporters eagerly anticipate their performance, confident in their abilities to articulate compelling arguments and represent their school and region with distinction.

News 24 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Funding announced for Kenny’s Well

A sum of €30,000 has been allocated for the upgrade of Kennys Well under the Governments Protecting Archaeological Monuments fund according to local Councillor Andrew McGuinness.

A number of other projects throughout the county have also been allocated funding including a sum of €30,000 for St Canice’s Cathedral Close and €100k each for 19 and 21 Parliament Street.

The purpose of the allocations is to help restore and protect buildings or areas of archaeological importance and according to Cllr Andrew McGuinness Kenny’s Well is a 'prime example of that'.

Speaking to The Kilkenny Observer, Cllr McGuinness said, "this is very positive news for Kenny’s Well, particularly people like John Hackett and many other local residents who have done their best to maintain the area over decades."

"Many people have expressed concern over the deterioration of the area, particularly a collapsed wall in the River Breagagh, and so this will come as good news for them. There is a fantastic tradition among locals and from people beyond who travel to the well to get water. People swear by this water and it has always

been very popular. However, in recent years many people have stopped as they have expressed their concerns that the well was not in good shape and needed attention. This funding will certainly help that," said Cllr McGuinness.

"The refurbishment of the well and the protection of its histori cal and archaeological signifi cance in Kilkenny has been the subject of much debate at local Council meetings and all of the elected members are on the same page here with a desire to see this happen. I'm delighted to see now that we are very much a step closer to that with the announcement of this funding. I would like to see work carried out here as soon as possible and for Kenny’s Well to be restored and upgraded to its full potential. It's one of Kilkenny’s hidden gems that we should all be proud of," concluded Cllr McGuinness.

In the Name of the Dog is Playwriting Competition winner

Carlow Little Theatre Society were delighted to announce the winners of their fourth annual International One-Act Playwriting Competition recently, which, once again attracted a large number of submissions from Ireland and all around the world.

After an exhaustive shortlisting exercise and another extremely close contest this year, three independent adjudicators reviewed all of the entries into the competition and announced the winning results in the following order.

1st: 'In the Name of the Dog'

Rachael Cullivan Elliott 2nd: 'The One Good Thing, or "Are Ya Patrick Swayze?' by Joe Bravaco 3rd: 'The Birth by Ryan Pollock

The competition also had the distinction of awarding the overall

1st prize and the winner of Best Irish play to Rachael Cullivan Elliott, an Irish based playwright.

‘In the Name of the Dog’ is a tragicomedy about a mother whose role in her male-only family is taken for granted and under-appreciated.

Mary Doyle, a judge in the competition, praised the winning play: “The script lifted off the page with its energy, writing talent and craftsmanship. It's a very welldeserved winner.”

As winner of the International and ‘Best Irish’ Play categories, Rachael will be the happy recipient of a cheque for €500 and €300 respectively for the above awards, plus beautiful bog oak trophies by ‘Celtic Roots’ in Westmeath.

2nd place in the competition, Joe

Bravaco from New Jersey in the USA, is the recipient of €300 prize money, and 3rd place, Ryan Pollock from Wishaw in Scotland, is the recipient of €200.

Winner Rachael Cullivan Elliott expressed her joy after her double win. “I am delighted and honoured to win this award and want to thank Carlow Little Theatre and all those involved in the organisation of this


It is wonderful to see such encouragement to playwrights - both seasoned and those new to the craft.

Also, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate my fellow winners and all those who entered the competition and wish it - and themevery success in the future”.

About ‘In the Name of the Dog’, Rachael commented: "It’s a play

about little things - like jigsaw pieces! The little things that make a life - or can end it - either by themselves or slowly over time. The final result isn't always what you expected from the picture on the box!".

Speaking on behalf of the competition’s sponsors, Maven TM, Managing Director, Mark Cradock commented “Carlow has a strong culture and tradition regarding theatre going back many decades and Maven TM are proud to sponsor these awards, which encourage, support and provide recognition to modern playwriting talent.

Society always needs to listen to the ‘voices’ of its storytellers, who articulate so much about the world we live in.

It is a huge achievement for any writer to be shortlisted or win this competition, because the level of entries is so high, from writers from all over the world”.

Mark concluded his comments by offering “heartiest congratulations to the joint overall and Irish category winner Rachael Cullivan Elliott for her wonderful, entertaining and moving play ‘In The Name of the Dog’, and also to the runners-up, Joe Bravaco and Ryan Pollock for their exceptional entries. I would also like to thank all writers who entered this year’s competition.”

Carlow Little Theatre Society’s PRO, Paul Dunne, speaking on behalf of the organising committee said “We would like to thank all of our entrants, judges, committee members and of course our sponsor Maven TM for making the competition a huge success again this year. We look forward to launching and hosting the competition again in 2025”.

News 25 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
CLTS One Act Competition 2024 Awards

Part four

Ambush on Friary Street

Continuing the story of the infamous Friary Street Ambush: If you missed parts one and two you can read these on the Kilkenny Observer website...

A corporation worker, Tom Dullard, has been shot dead by the British troops after exiting the Capuchin Friary. At the sound of gunfire, the wagon driver whipped his mules into a fast dash out of Friary Street. Meanwhile Ned Gooley and Danny Murphy at Hackett’s corner had been confounded by the absence of a whistle blow signal. The shots alerted them. Kneeling outside the pub and drawing their revolvers, they fired at the fleeing wagon as the mules galloped at great speed past them with the cart almost bouncing off the street. They missed the driver but bullets ripped into one of the galloping mules. The wagon exited Friary Street and the stricken mule collapsed at the Fair Green wall further on. Meanwhile, Dunne and McEvoy had tried to disarm the soldiers who had accompanied the now missing

ration wagon. But these two soldiers had been alerted by the gunfire and quickly sought cover. They fired at Dunne and McEvoy, who luckily escaped injury. The two rebels dashed past them and ran towards St. Mary’s Cathedral where their bikes were parked. They cycled out of the city.

The Kells men in Gargan’s stonecutting yard had stayed put, not having had a chance to confront the soldiers of the main guard. Hearing the shots and seeing the wagon dash past them, they exited the yard casually, posing as civilians out for a stroll, and

joined their colleagues at Hackett’s corner.

Once out of sight of the troops on Friary Street, the two groups made fast tracks for the bottling store yard, grabbed their bikes, and cycled away from the city.

Tom Kearney, waiting patiently on the Callan road for a horse and trap loaded with captured weapons and ammo to arrive, had heard the shots. He and his colleagues, Jack Maher, Tim Gaffney, and Bill Hurley feared that the entire ambush team had been wiped out.

They had little time to ruminate over the rights

and wrongs of the ambush plan: As they stood beside a ditch, talking and fretting, one of them spotted, in the distance, two lorry loads of Black and Tans rumbling towards them along the Callan road. The rebels promptly split up and dispersed.

Less fortunate were Jim Bolger from Callan and John McGrath of Inchbeg. Both were on Tom Nolan’s bus that had departed Kilkenny following the dramatic events in Friary Street. At Knockreagh Hill, near Valentine’s gate, the bus met an army lorry coming towards them from Callan.

The lorry pulled up in front of the bus and within seconds the road was crawling with Black and Tans. An officer called on the bus driver to halt. Tom Nolan obliged, as his passengers wondered what the fuss was about.

The Tans ordered everyone off the bus and began searching them one by one. Though no passenger was armed, the Tans became aggressive towards Jim Bolger and John McGrath when they noticed that both men were wearing bicycle clips. "What’s wrong with bicycle clips?" asked Jim. An officer pointed a revolver at Jim’s forehead and told him to shut up. "The rest of you get back on the bus, these jok-

ers are coming with us" he shouted. The Tans believed the two men were members of the ambush team as they guessed all the rebels had escaped on bikes. Jim Bolger was an assistant driver with Nolan’s Bus Service. He had come to Callan from Castlecomer to drive a threshing engine at the creamery, but the Co-op committee wanted a lorry on the road, so it advised Jim to receive training from Tom Nolan. Though not a keen cyclist, Jim always wore bicycle clips, as did John McGrath, a shop assistant at P.F. Doran’s in High Street who happened to be travelling by bus to Callan that morning to start work in Pollard’s shop. The two of them were driven to the Auxiliary HQ at Woodstock and interrogated for a week about their supposed involvement in the ambush.

To be continued...

My novel, Invaders, tells the story of how a small band of men and women in 17th century Ireland took on one of the most powerful armies in the world. It’s available from Amazon and Kilkenny bookshops

26 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Unveiling of the ambush remembrance plaque in Friary Street The Old Callan Road Kilkenny Republican Stephen Mullally reads the Easter Proclamation in Friary Street
27 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

Kathleen Funchion TD calls on Carlow Kilkenny artists to answer Sinn Féin’s Arts Survey

Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has called on the local artistic and wider community in Carlow Kilkenny to answer an arts survey launched by Sinn Féin as part of a consultation process towards developing a comprehensive national policy for the arts.

The Sinn Féin Arts Survey can be filled out online at https://

They also welcome written submissions by email to Sinn Féin Arts spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD at aengus.os

The deadline for completing the survey or sending a submis sion is Tuesday April 30th.

Teachta Funchion said:

“We are calling on all creators, performers, artists, and people who simply enjoy the arts. We want to hear from you.

“Sinn Féin is developing a more comprehensive policy on the arts covering all aspects of the arts: music;

dance; literature; film; theatre; visual arts; spectacle; crafts; functional arts; and everything beyond and in between.

“Putting an arts policy together must start with listening to artists, arts workers and those who engage with the arts, as well as those who can’t engage with the arts for reasons we can try to fix.

“It’s really important that the local artistic community in Carlow Kilkenny makes its voice heard to ensure Sinn Féin can put our needs at the heart of its new arts policy.

“This is a unique opportunity for the public to shape the art policy of the biggest party in Ireland and with that the future of the arts strategy at all levels across the whole of Ireland, in and out of government, and in a new Ireland e achieve a new Reurvey includes questions on the barriers faced by tists, local arts spaces and facilities, state bodies like the Arts Council, the basic income for the arts, emigration, and what supports are needed.

“This is a listening exercise, and we hope to learn from respondents about the needs of the sector as we embark on this exciting process to bolster Ireland’s worldfamous artistic scene, address the precarity in the sector, and safeguard the livelihoods of those who depend on it.”

Pathfinder Carlow-Kilkenny marks one year

Pathfinder is a collaborative HSE initiative between St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny and the National Ambulance Service. The Pathfinder team recently celebrated one year of providing care in people’s homes across the region.

Sinéad Prendergast, Senior Occupational Therapist with the Pathfinder Service shared the following “We’re delighted to mark this significant milestone and to be part of such a progressive service that supports older people to receive quality assessment and intervention in the comfort of their own home”.

Pathfinder is a home-based service for people aged 65 and over who phone 112/999 with non-life threatening complaints. The aim of the Pathfinder team is to provide assessment and intervention within people’s home, rather than transferring them to a hospital Emergency Department (ED), where safe and appropriate to do so.

Over the last 12 months Pathfinder have seen over 270 people in their own homes, supporting approximately 55% of those to remain at home and following up a further 30% of those who were discharged from ED following acute investigations, such as x-rays. This allows people to recover in their own beds and avoid unnecessary trips to hospital. This is also a huge saving on the hospital and resources across Carlow and Kilkenny. The person is assessed by an Advanced Paramedic and an Occupational Therapist/

Physiotherapist within their own home. Where appropriate, Pathfinder supports the older person to safely remain at home. The team also provide a follow-up service which offers immediate home-based rehabilitation, adaptive equipment and case management where this might be of benefit to the person. The Pathfinder team have developed working relationships with many local GPs, community healthcare workers and voluntary agencies and can link people with relevant services that may be suitable for them.

Pathfinder has successfully supported many older people across counties Carlow and Kilkenny to remain at home over the past year, avoiding unnecessary admissions to the ED. They have provided follow-up Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services to the majority of those who remained at home. Where individuals were advised to attend the Emergency Department for necessary investigations, the Pathfinder team have frequently provided follow-up intervention after the person has returned home from the ED.

Feedback from those who have used the service has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people and their families expressing appreciation for the timely level of care they received within the familiarity and comforts of their own home.

One patient provided the following feedback regarding their experience with Pathfinder, “Brilliant service!


I am 95% back to myself. Made a great recovery and it’s all down to you. Looked after till the last, no complaints”.

Pathfinder has also received encouraging responses and engagement from many local GPs, community healthcare workers and voluntary agencies. One such GP is Dr. Chambers of Ayrfield Medical Practice. According to Dr Chambers, “Pathfinder allows us find a path

for patients in the community and avoid hospital admission. It’s a great service – comprehensive assessments and great plans of action all in the community supported by OT and Physio. We work with them as a team with the ultimate goal of keeping patients out of hospital and the follow up of patients is top class. This has led to reduced admissions and homebased quality care for our over 65s

in the community. Ayrfield looks forward to working with Pathfinder into the future “.

The Pathfinder team would like to thank those who have engaged with the service and assisted us in becoming operational and having a successful first year. We are looking forward to continuing to serve the older people of Carlow and Kilkenny and further developing our service in times to come.

28 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 News
to R Helen Roche, Catherine Wyse Occupational, Declan O'Farrell, Marie Meany, Jennifer Foley, Sinead Prendergast, Rory Dullard, Tom Gahan, Anne Ging and Catriona Neville _web
29 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

Music the common theme as buskers turn out for Focus Ireland

The Kilkenny section of ‘The Big Busk’,a nationwide Today FM fundraiser to help Focus Ireland tackle homelessness through the powerful medium of music, art and performance took place, simultaneously, in Mac Donagh Junction Shopping Centre and Market Cross Shopping Centre on Friday 12th April.

A wide variety of excellent performers from the South East ensured the Kilkenny event, coordinated by Jessica Murphy was a popular success.

At the conclusion of the day’s activities a tired but buoyant Jessica thanked both shopping centres and her Focus Ireland colleagues for their contributions.

Praising the generosity of the people of Kilkenny she had particular words of commendation for “the socially aware students from Kilkenny College for their enthusiastic involvement.”

There was also praise for the drumming troupe from SOS Kilkenny who entertained with well known musical numbers at Market Cross.

The Kilkenny Observer was on hand to record the event at both centres

30 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 The Big Busk
31 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Ireland is a terrific spot to launch a business, regardless of how long you've lived here or whether you're hoping to relocate for your next big adventure. The nation is a favourite among investors and boasts one of the most rapidly expanding advanced economies in the world.

According to the Global Benchmark Complexity Index, Ireland is one of the easiest places in the world to do business. There aren't many places better than this one if your goal is to become your own boss.

Even with Ireland's allure, not all businesses will be successful. You should ask yourself a number of questions, above all, what sort of enterprise are you planning to start here?

Consider these fantastic small company models:

1. Consulting Consulting, to put it briefly, is the process of assisting people or organisations in raising specific aspects of their performance. This frequently takes the shape of resolving issues, promoting learning, and creating significant, long-lasting gains in client effectiveness.

The $250 billion global industry valuation indicates the level of demand.

One of the many advantages of being a consultant is that you can carry your knowledge with you no matter where you go, as you work on a variety of projects for a diverse clientele. It is applicable to all industries,

giving you access to a wide range of clients and businesses, and gives you a vast network. By offering services, you can keep your company flexible in the face of border limitations, lockdowns, and worldwide changes. This helps you avoid supply chains.

2. Fitness

Fitness business ideas give you the freedom to work for yourself wherever you are in the world. You can take your business and experiences wherever you want to go with the correct technology. The global market for the fitness industry is expected to be worth $96.7 billion USD.

There are a few career paths in this field, like being a personal trainer or an athletic coach. It is made easier if you already have established networks. It's also a very individualised industry, so how you approach fitness and how you represent yourself may have a significant impact. You might think about setting up shop in your own space, scheduling time on the court, or working from a gym. You may do events outside, conduct house visits, or teach classes on YouTube. Certain techniques could save costs and differentiate your offering.

3. Marketing and advertising

The promotion of a good or service is the idea behind marketing, though there are many variations on this. This indicates that demand and

The smalltop business ideas

32 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

opportunity are high. You can carve out an innovative niche with a little know-how and creativity.

You might want to think about what makes you unique. Although you can do this from home, you may eventually need to be in an office. Lastly, are you interested in becoming a freelancer or creating a small agency? Your decision for how to organise the structure of your small business idea will be influenced by these choices.

4. Life sciences

Life sciences are the study of living things and their processes. In this industry, starting your own small business might occasionally be more difficult because many career routes will take you to work for large corporations, educational institutions, or healthcare facilities. However, the Irish market can be very profitable if you have the proper ideas.

In the life sciences, some of the most innovative small company ideas address the needs of well-established companies. For example, a viable career path could involve editing or technical writing. Similarly, pitching yourself as an experienced independent contractor for an advisory or consulting position can provide you the independence you need.

Life sciences is a rapidly expanding field in Ireland, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, and it presents

many opportunities for gifted and knowledgeable people due to a skills need. Given that the industry is worth £63.5 billion globally, it’s not small.

5. Technology

The technology industry is vast and includes everything from TVs to PCs, cameras, IT, app creation, and more. Since technology is continually evolving in this day and age, it's an interesting industry to work in.

The variety of specialisations, subspecialties, and skill sets needed in the sector are almost too many to enumerate. This implies that there are plenty of opportunities, particularly for individuals with specialised or specialty knowledge.

In only the past five years, there has been a nearly 48% increase in the number of IT experts choosing to work for themselves. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from those with more generic skills is to be aware of your skill set and seek out chances that align with it. Think about consulting, specialised jobs, education, app development, or small business service-based work.

Because of its rapid advancement, ongoing need for innovation, and social dependence, technology is a safe investment. Ireland is acknowledged as a global leader in technology and as having one of the fastest-growing economies in this field. This indicates a significant chance.

33 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Hair individuality at Elita Hair Salon

Elita Hair Salon is run and owned by Svetlana Milcheva. She qualified in a Medical Cosmetic college in Sofia, Bulgaria 28 years ago and has been working in Kilkenny for 18 years. She is very well known and recommended throughout Kilkenny. In October 2007, an opportunity arose for her to branch out on her own business and she took it, creating Elita Hair Salon. Since then she has never looked back!

Save your time and get two services done at the same time! Elita Hair Salon offers both hair and nail services. Take your choice of manicure; normal polish, Shellac, or gel finish. Love your nails and toes with our purest natural - or versatile - design. Cosmetic pedicures are provided with the option of normal polish or Shellac, using only the best of products, with a vitamin and fibre enriched base.

Elita Hair Salon focuses on the principles of an exclusive quality of service, only top specialists working one on one with the use of premium

products guaranteed for all services.They have a number of achievements, with years of consistent excellence and standards. A comfortable, relaxed salon atmosphere that offers excellent consultation as well as after care advice. They strive constantly to stay aware of the ever changing industry,

continually training in every aspect of the craft. As your stylist, they want you to get the most of your hair, so take advantage of their knowledge and expertise. Your hair is, after all, the gown you never remove! They offer a wide range of services from children’s hair to bridal hair, hair colouring to hair strengthening, and many more. Gift vouchers and special offers are available as well as late night and Sunday appointments on request. Call outs for events and appointments outside the standard opening hours are accepted upon booking. The salon’s booking policy deposits apply. Due to the high demand and accuracy of bookings, attendance, quality and time of all of our services, a booking deposit is needed for call outs and appointments outside of standard working hours.

Keep up to date with the newest style and trends on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Pay a visit to Elita Hair Salon, or call 085 781 2981/ 056 776 4249.

Supporting your child's growth at Lilliput

Natasha Riley Byrne has over 30 years experience working in childcare and education. She and her staff are dedicated professionals, each holding many recognised qualifications in education and childcare. Natasha has been a qualified Montessori teacher for many years and holds her H.Dip in Early Childhood Education. In addition, she is qualified to teach childcare and Montessori to adult learners. She also holds her Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs.

Natasha opened Lilliput Montessori in 2008 and provides both morning and afternoon sessions for children from the age of two and a half years. Our

highly skilled and qualified early childhood educators have clocked up many years of experience in education and childcare and participate in the free ECCE scheme. Your child will be in competent hands at Lilliput as they are supported to grow into independent, capable young individuals.

Check out Lilliput Montessori on Facebook, Natasha updates this regularly with photos and news of the weekly activities. Please do not hesitate to contact Natasha on 087 620 5515 or to arrange a viewing or for further information.

34 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

A hurling heritage

With summer on the horizon, we at Butlers Handcrafted Hurleys are now taking bookings for small groups in our bespoke hurling museum - pre booking is essential.

When visiting all the great sites Kilkenny has to offer pop us on your list if you have a spare 45 minutes or an hour free. We have plenty of old hurling memorabilia on display which will keep you entertained as you learn about hurling and camogie from the years gone by. We would like to thank everyone who has donated items to us so far such as match programmes, etc. for the museum. We are always on the lookout for hurling items! If you are cleaning out the house or attic and have no use for your old programmes, give us a call.

As the hurling season is now upon us Butlers Handcrafted Hurleys can keep you stocked up for all your hurling and camogie needs for 2024.

We cater for everyone, be it the young aspiring hurler who hopes to be the superstar of the future, or for the individual who might just like to puck around with friends or family. We are official stockists of the brands Lightning Sports, Atak Sporks, Precision Sports & Azzurri Sports. We cover all bases whether it be hurling helmets, hurling gloves, hurling grips - of which we have a large selection of - or training essentials for the team you're training. Let us be your port of call!

Over the years, the style of hurleys have changed. The modern hurler seems to prefer shorter hurleys in length and ones that have a bigger bás. We find a 32" to 34" hurley is the most popular choice with today's adult players. Please note: if you are coming out to pick out a hurley just contact us before you make the journey so you're not disappointed)

We also specialise in old style hurleys, which

are available upon request. Recently, we have made lots of replicas of a person's favourite hurley from the 1960's,1970’s and 1980’s. From this era, most hurleys were longer in length, with 36" to 37" being the order of choice at this time. The bás was also narrower. People who see a hurley from 40 years ago often remark that it looks similar to a hockey stick and is very different to the players choice of today.

If you can't make it out to us we deliver both nationwide & abroad via our website www.

35 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Kilkenny Silver:

Crafting timeless treasures with a rich heritage

In the heart of Ireland, where tradition meets innovation, Kilkenny Silver stands as a beacon of quality craftsmanship and timeless elegance. With a history spanning over four decades, this family-owned jewellery company has evolved under the visionary leadership of its current owners, Dan and Jack Walsh, to become a symbol of Irish heritage and contemporary style.

A Legacy of Excellence:

Founded by their father Martin Walsh four decades ago, Kilkenny Silver began as a modest jewellery venture. However, it was Dan and Jack’s passion for revitalizing the business that transformed it into the thriving enterprise it is today. With a keen eye for design and a dedication to quality, they have upheld the legacy of excellence set forth by their father while infusing the brand with his own creative vision.

Timeless Designs for Every Occasion:

At Kilkenny Silver, the product range encompasses a diverse array of sterling silver classics, fashion-forward pieces, and traditional sterling silver Celtic designs, each meticulously crafted to perfection. From delicate pendants, earrings


and bracelets to statement rings, every piece tells a story of heritage and sophistication. The sterling silver classic designs pay homage to timeless elegance, the kids range Rainbow offers a fun high quality product specifically tailored to the childhood imagination, the Mo Chroí range adds a contemporary twist with meaningful quotes and personalized touches. Meanwhile, the Celtic collection celebrates Ireland's rich cultural heritage through

intricately designed symbols and motifs, each imbued with centuries of history.

A Commitment to Quality and Affordability:

While Kilkenny Silver prides itself on producing high-quality jewellery, it also believes that beauty should be accessible to all. By offering a range of products at affordable price points, the brand ensures that everyone can experience the joy of owning a piece of Irish craftsmanship. Whether it's a gift for a loved one or a treat for oneself, Kilkenny Silver has something to suit every taste and budget.

Experience the Magic of Kilkenny Silver:

Discover the allure of Kilkenny Silver for yourself. Explore our exquisite collections online at and indulge in the beauty of Irish craftsmanship. Whether you're searching for a gift that will be treasured for generations or simply treating yourself to a little luxury, Kilkenny Silver has something special waiting just for you.

In every piece of Kilkenny Silver jewellery, tradition meets innovation, and beauty knows no bounds. Join us on a journey of elegance, heritage, and style.

Have you tried Blásta Pizza?

Bringing the authentic taste of Naples to Kilkenny, Blásta Wood Fired Pizza is the creation of two brothers, Jack and Dan Walsh. Jack, whilst travelling, had met an Italian pizza chef who flew over from Italy to work with us. What started as an idea at the kitchen table, turned into a reality.

Crafted by a Naples-born chef, our pizzas are a symphony of traditional flavours, using only the finest ingredients. With each bite, experience the essence of Italy as we uphold the Neapolitan pizza tradition, ensuring culinary excellence in every slice. Taste the

passion, savour the authenticity – at Blásta Wood Fired Pizza, each bite narrates a tale of genuine Italian craftsmanship. Follow our Instagram for updates on upcoming events and locations. In response to popular demand, we're thrilled to announce our availability for private events, parties, and weddings. For more information or to make a booking, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Instagram: @blastawoodfiredpizza

Email: Tel: 085 865 1112

36 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
and Dan Walsh
37 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

Why shopping local just makes ‘cents’

Shopping locally stimulates the local economy and promotes small Irish businesses. We are fortunate enough to have a flourishing community of small businesses in Ireland that offers a wide range of products, from food to clothing. Additionally, there's a certain quality to purchasing from a small, locally owned compa-

ny. Perhaps it's the personalised touch that larger chains don't offer, or the knowledge that your purchase is helping someone realise their dreams. For whatever reason, a growing number of individuals these days want to purchase locally. It demonstrates that if we act as customers, we can have an impact and make sure

that our neighbourhood businesses continue to thrive. We literally carry the power in our pockets!

Shopping local is significant for numerous reasons, but here are the top 5 reasons why shopping local is so important in our communities;

1. Strengthens the local economy & community

scales in favour of regional manufacturers, merchants, and producers. Therefore, both local employment creation and job sustainability in Ireland are greatly aided by this. There are several ways in which this occurs: locally owned firms hire individuals from the community, support and purchase from other local businesses, and work with other local businesses to help their expansion, including printers, accountants, food producers, wholesalers, solicitors, and so on. Purchasing from locally run companies helps to keep money flowing in the direction of your purchases. A win-win situation!

2. Adds character with diverse products

us all. Local business owners frequently recognise and even know their customers by name, which adds to the feeling of warmth and welcome you get when you buy. They know their customers well and, based on their product knowledge, they modify their inventory to include the goods and services that their clients are interested in purchasing. They frequently go above and beyond to provide guidance and an honest assessment in order to assist you in selecting the best product for your needs.

4. Locally made products

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) estimates that local communities gain more than €40 for every €10 spent on Irish goods. If we made an adjustment of just 10% of our ‘imported shopping’ to be made up of Irish-made goods instead, this would tip the

A small company or boutique gives your town personality. They can contribute to the unique character of your neighbourhood by providing unique storefronts, goods, and services that are uncommon for the bigger worldwide businesses. This may attract more customers as well as tourists. There won't be much use lamenting their demise once it's too late if we don't support the small businesses and stores that give our communities their distinct character.

3. Personalised customer service

The Cheers theme song, "Where everybody knows your name," is a familiar tune to

Local company owners frequently stock unique goods from regional producers, farmers, and artists and base their product selections on what their clients want.

5. More environmentally friendly

Trains, aircraft, and cars involved in international shipping contribute to traffic and air pollution. Local businesses reduce their carbon footprint significantly when they purchase produce from nearby farmers and resell it to nearby consumers.

Shopping locally is more crucial than ever since local businesses play a vital role in Irish communities all throughout the country. Off you go now and give your community some support! Both your wallet and the Irish economy will be grateful for it!

38 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
39 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024

In November of 2023, Clogh Writers group launched ‘Where I am’, a collection of poetry and prose from eleven different writers. As co-ordinator of the writers group Jane Meally said: “Where I am” is a publication where each writer communicates their passion to the reader.”

Having attended the launch in Clogh, The Kilkenny Observer Newspaper was quite taken with not only the publication, but the work ethic of the writers group. Over the last number of weeks we have reproduced work from that publication, and today we conclude with the final two pieces as we feature ‘First Communion’ by Denise Curtin Dunne who was the Project Co-ordinator of the project and ‘Corner Boys’ by Lal Curtin

Corner Boys

Sitting in the garden one day, the sun making me lazy; thoughts that drifted through my head came from nowhere. Don’t ask me why, but the words ‘Corner Boys’ appeared like a newspaper headline and stayed there. Letting the words slowly come out, I said to myself, ‘Corner Boys, where did they go?’ There is no such species now; they are extinct like the dinosaurs. Racking my brains, I tried to remember when they disappeared from our streets, but I couldn’t!

Corner Boys weren’t ‘boys’, but grown men who took up their positions every day, hail, rain or snow on the corners of the main thoroughfares of every town and village in Ireland. I remember Miss Dallon’s cornershop, (it looked like it was part of the Leinster Arms Hotel); it sold cigarettes, sweets and ice-creams. This was a place our Corner Boys liked, because from there they had a full view of The Square. Carolan’s Newsagent’s across the street provided them with the same observational point. These men always took

up their positions facing out towards The Square, and never around the corner at Stanhope Street (where Bradburys had opened their first shop).

The more I thought about Corner Boys, the more amazed I was. They had disappeared without notice; no mention in the papers and not even a remark passed in casual conversation. If it was now, it would be on RTE or SKY News. Even Mr. Trump might have tweeted about it! A friend I mentioned it to, thought that Daytime TV might have something to do with their disappearance. If so, they would have had to change their way of life drastically and might have missed the company of other men and the bit of craic! Some Smart Alec I spoke with said it was the increase of the motor-car and exhaust fumes that shifted them! Someone else said they had all died out and the next generation had more sense. I don’t think it had anything to do with any of this. Opportunities maybe? Could this be the answer to the disappearance of Corner Boys? Jobs and money won out and a whole way of life changed.

Did it happen slowly, or were they gone overnight? I can’t remember to tell the truth; I didn’t notice.

But, I do remember their coughing and spitting. Many’s the time you had to step off the footpath! However it could have been to clear the throat before the next piece of ‘expert opinion’ was expressed on how the country should be run! I could be wrong, but I’d say the price of the pint was well discussed and not only on Budget Day! The miniskirt probably merited more than a few words and who knows this could have gone on for a couple of hours. I do remember the odd elbow and wink when a good looking girl walked by. The cap would be straightened and the fag butt sucked in; gestures that told you all! Oh to have been a fly on the wall!

Well I have no answer to my question and I’m sure there is no reference to their existence in any history book or annals. They were a part of life and I can’t ever remember giving them a second thought. It’s just me being contrary as after all these years I’ve noticed they aren’t there any longer. Now I want to know why?

First Communion

Athy 1963

There we were and there we will always be, A parade of budding happy souls, Perfume in the nuns’ garden, Walking along pathways lined with summer and heaven, Fervent little hearts, dizzy on words of paradise, Songs and hymns and prayers, Newborn angels, First Communicants, May-

light shining in our shiny eyes.

And in our May procession, Something everlasting happened, Dressed in white and youth and wonder, We tasted a new sacrament, The heart and soul of beauty.

40 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Clogh Writers Group
Artwork by Ballyragget based artist John Walsh
41 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement

Crab linguine with chilli and parsley

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 15 mins

Serves: 4

Keep it simple with this restaurantstyle crab linguine with chilli and parsley – it takes a few good-quality ingredients and lets them shine.


• 400g linguine

• 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1 whole cooked crab, picked, or about 100g/4oz brown crabmeat and 200g/7oz fresh white crabmeat

• small splash, about 5 tbsp, white wine

• small squeeze of lemon (optional)

• large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, very finely chopped



Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the linguine. Give it a good stir and boil for 1 min less than the pack says. Stir well occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

Come Dine WithMe Wild garlic and nettle soup

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 35 mins

Serves: 4 - 6

Forage for some fresh spring greens and simmer with finely diced vegetables to make this vibrant, healthy, low-fat green soup.


• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for drizzling

• 25g butter

• 1 onion, finely diced

• 1 leek, finely diced

• 2 celer y sticks, thinly sliced

• 1 carrot, finely diced

• 1 small potato, peeled and diced

• 1.2l good-quality vegetable stock

• 300g young nettle leaves

• 200g wild garlic leaves (keep any flowers if you have them)

• 3 tbsp milk



When the pasta has had its cooking time, taste a strand – it should have

While the pasta cooks, gently heat 3 tbsp of olive oil with the chilli and garlic in a pan large enough to hold all the pasta comfortably. Cook the chilli and garlic very gently until they start to sizzle, then turn up the heat and add the white wine. Simmer everything until the wine and olive oil come together. Then take off the heat and add the brown crabmeat, using a wooden spatula or spoon to mash it into the olive oil to make a thick sauce.

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, leek, celery, carrot, potato and a good pinch of salt, and stir until everything is well coated. Cover and sweat gently for 15-20 mins, stirring every so often to make sure that the vegetables don’t catch on the bottom of the pan.


Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 mins. Add the nettles in several batches, stirring, then add the wild garlic leaves and simmer for 2 mins.


Remove from the heat and blend using a stick blender or tip into a blender. Return to the heat and stir through the milk, then taste for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and drizzle over a little extra oil, then top with a few wild garlic flowers, if you have them.

a very slight bite. When it’s ready, turn off the heat. Place the sauce on a very low heat and use a pair of kitchen tongs to lift the pasta from the water into the sauce.


Off the heat, add the white crabmeat and parsley to the pasta

with a sprinkling of sea salt. Stir everything together really well, adding a drop of pasta water if it’s starting to get claggy. Taste for seasoning and, if it needs a slight lift, add a small squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately twirled into pasta bowls and drizzled with the remaining oil.

42 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Food & Drink

When a sadistic murder case from 1990s resurfaces

In the wintery landscape of the French Alps, police raid the home of a dangerous religious sect and find a house full of dead bodies. Thirty years later, when a man investigating the cult is kidnapped, his web sleuth daughter heads to the mountains determined to find him — and solve the mystery behind the string of ritualistic killings plaguing the town. Created by Fanny Robert (Profilage), Maxime Berthemy (Profilage), and Mehdi Ouahab (Last Light), the alpine thriller Anthracite stars Hatik, Noémie Schmidt, and Camille Lou. Th cast includes Noémie Schmidt (The Student and Mister Henri) as Ida Heilman, a web sleuth searching

for her missing father; Hatik (Validé) as Jaro Gatsi, a man with a mysterious past who’s out on parole; Stefano Cassetti (Young & Beautiful) as Caleb Johansson, the leader of the Écrins cult;

Jean-Marc Barr (The Rebellious) as Solal Heilman, a reporter and Ida’s father;

Nicolas Godart (Les Rascals) as Roméo Deluca, Jaro’s co-worker.

Camille Lou (Women at War) as Giovanna Deluca, a detective

Florence Muller (Natural Born Liar) as Marie Chevallier, whom Jaro lives with In 1994, leader of the Écrins cult, Caleb Johannson (Cassetti), is swarmed by a SWAT team in

front of his own home in the French Alps, which is filled with cult members. As the cops tell him he’s under arrest for the ritualistic killing of 17-year-old Roxane Vail, he starts bleeding profusely from the mouth. Inside, everyone’s dead.

Now it’s 2024, and Ida (Schmidt), the leader of a web-sleuthing forum, is thrown into chaos when her reporter father, Solal (Barr), gets kidnapped. She knows he’s been investigating the Écrins cult — which everyone thinks ceased to exist years ago. Hoping to find clues of his whereabouts, Ida tracks her father’s phone location to Lévionna, where the murders took place. There, in her dad’s

hotel room, she stumbles upon a photo of Jaro (Hatik) in a cult investigation file and tracks him down posthaste. Jaro, who’s had some brushes with the law, works at a ritzy ski resort in the French Alps as part of a work integration program — he’s had some brushes with the law. But Jaro seemingly knows nothing about Solal or his investigation... even though Ida finds out Johannson himself, now in a psychiatric hospital, wants to meet with Jaro — for reasons unknown. So Ida wrangles Jaro into the investigation to find out where her father is — and why so many people have begun to go missing in the cult’s hometown.

One woman and her dog ...

When Megan Leavey joined the US Marines, she was looking for a fresh start. Things at home weren’t going well — she couldn’t keep a job, and her best friend had just died. After joining the Marines, though, she wasn’t faring much better — until she ended up in the K9 unit. There, she met a snarling, growling dog named Rex — and he scared her ... a lot. But over time, and throughout their tours in Iraq, they

became an inseparable, lifesaving duo.

Based on a true story, the 2017 film Megan Leavey is the journey of an unlikely pair and how they managed to stay together against all odds. From director Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish) — with a screenplay by Pamela Gray (Conviction), Annie Mumolo (Bridesmaids), and Tim Lovestedt (Thunder Force) — the military drama stars Kate Mara, Ramón Ro-

dríguez, and Tom Felton.

At K9, Megan meets Rex — an aggressive bomb-sniffing dog with some problems of his own — and becomes Rex’s handler. From their training days to their deployments in Iraq, the two form a lifelong bond and save countless lives along the way. But their destiny together is jeopardised when the pair are injured by an explosive device, and Megan must fight to keep Rex by her


The film tells the true story of Cpl. Megan Leavey and Rex, the dog she bonded with while serving in the Marines. The real Leavey, now a United States Marine Corps veteran, makes a cameo in the film as a drill instructor.

The film takes place on Parris Island, South Carolina, in San Diego County, California, and across Iraq.

Now streaming on Apple+ TV and YouTube.

1. Saltburn Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi play two boys from opposite ends of society at Oxford University. When the privileged Felix (Elordi) invites Oliver (Keoghan) to stay at the titular country house, it seems as though we are in for a heartwarming tale of friendship. That couldn’t be much further from the truth. Saltburn is a twisted film that absolutely should not be near anyone not yet an adult. That sounds like I’m disparaging it but that’s not the case. Saltburn is a pitchblack comedy thriller not for the faint of heart. Amazon Prime.

2. The Big Sick

The true story of how star Kumail Nanjiani met his wife, The Big Sick is far more emotionally fraught than any romcom has the right to be.

It starts pretty by the numbers, Kumail and Emily meet and a fling turns into a brief romance. But it doesn’t work out and the two break up. Emily then falls life-threateningly ill and with no family around. Kumail is her emergency contact and agrees as her boyfriend to put her into a coma, Emily’s parents arrive. Not your typical rom-com. Amazon Prime.

3. The Others

What you’ll find is a story that forgoes cheap jump scares and gore for genuine suspense and unbearable tension. Nicole Kidman plays a distressed mother on the Channel Islands looking after two children and allergic to sunlight. Although her husband has been lost to the war, the arrival of new household help seems to relieve her burden. A traumatic viewing experience, but recommended. Amazon Prime.

4. Frances Ha

A collaboration between Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (now husband and wife) Frances Ha is a wry look at self-discovery. Aspiring dancer Frances is lacking direction in her life, 27 years old and renting in New York city, her housemate decides to move in with her boyfriend. As a result, Frances is forced to move too. With her career, best friend and youth getting further away each day, she looks for meaning in her life. Anyone in or who has been through their 20s will find this film so relatable. Throw in Baumbach’s excellent direction and you have a hidden gem. Amazon Prime.

5. Mudbound

Mudbound (2017) gives you a historical look at class struggle through the lens of a Black veteran and a white veteran who both still have one foot stuck in World War II. Dealing with PTSD and racism in the Mississippi Delta, with a cast that includes Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, Mudbound’s tempest will rivet you to the spot. On Netflix.

43 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement TVAdvertisement & Streaming
worth streaming this week 5

Inflammation – our protector

What is the first thing that you think of when you think of inflammation? You might think of pain, redness, swelling and heat - the cardinal signs of inflammation in our bodies. But do you think about protection, healing and health?

Inflammation, driven by our immune system, plays a key role in keeping us alive and healthy. It is vital for healthy healing and for fending off infection and disease. Yes, it can be associated with health problems, but, like most things in life, a balance is important.

Inflammation the protector

Our immune system, as we know, protects us. One branch of our immune system, called the ‘innate immune system’, is ancient and is seen in a wide variety of living things – even plants have innate immune responses.

If there is something in our body that should not be there (e.g. certain viruses, bacteria, etc.), our innate immune response allows us to spot them and signal to

Why we need to change our view on inflammation

the immune system to send in more cells to deal with the intruder (like the cell in the picture here). Inflammation occurs as part of this immune response – helping us to fight off the potential infection. Anyone with allergies knows what it is like when our immune system becomes overly protective and reacts to

things that would not cause us harm (like pollen or nuts).

Inflammation the healer

Inflammation is the first step in the healing process. When cells are damaged in our body, such as with injury, molecules spill from the damaged cells into the surrounding tissue. Some of these molecules act like signals that attract the attention of the immune system.

An inflammatory response ensues. During this inflammatory response, damaged cells and particles are cleared out and removed by immune cells – tidying and trimming of the injured area. This clears the way for new,

healthy cells and tissue to be laid down. This trimming and clearing process is vital for healthy and robust healing to take place. In fact, it is a bad idea to take anti-inflammatory medication in the first few days following some injuries as their use has been found to disrupt the normal, healthy healing


Inflammation increases the level of pain that we experience – causing us to take strain off the injured area temporarily while it heals and recovers. Enhancing its protective properties.

Inflammation gone wrong

Having a strong inflammatory response is needed to fight off infections and heal following injury. When we are not under threat, ideally, we want the levels of inflammation in our bodies to drop back to normal levels. Issues arise when levels of inflammation in our bodies are elevated above their normal levels on a long-term basis.

If our inflammation is heightened when we are not under threat, this might be called ‘chronic systemic inflammation’ or ‘long-term inflammation’. This can cause trouble in the longrun, seriously increasing the risk of a wide-range of health problems – including dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, osteoarthritis and autoimmune diseases.

The good news is that there is plenty that we can do, individually and as a society, to promote a healthy inflammatory balance, leaving our immune system in good working order to do what it does best – protect us from harm.

We will explore this further in the coming weeks.

The Thomastown based Berkeley Wolves Under 15 Boys basketball team secures spot in top four of South East Boys Basketball League

The Berkeley Wolves Under 15 Basketball Team has clinched a spot in the top four of the very competitive South East Under 15 Basketball League. Having finished up 3rd overall in the league and a recent win over the Waterford Vikings, the Berkeley Wolves have been preparing for their first appearance in the top four playoffs. The team's next challenge will be against the formidable Wexford Basketball Club in the semi-final of the top four. Scheduled for

Sunday the 21st at 12pm in O’Loughlin Gaels in Kilkenny City. With just one point between the teams in their last encounter with Wexford winning the game in the last 5 seconds of the game, this match promises to be an exciting showdown between two of the league's top contenders,. Coach Russ Ryan said, "We are very much looking forward to our first top-four appearance, the lads have shown great improvement in only their second year competing in this league.

The competition in the under-15 league has been very competitive, with very little between the top five teams in the league. The final of the top four will also take place on Sunday the 21st at 3.45pm in St Kieran’s College in Kilkenny City, with Carlow taking on Larrie Birds in the other Semi-Final. Walsh's Centra in Thomastown, has once again stepped up to sponsor the team's new gear. The Berkeley Boys express their heartfelt appreciation for the ongoing support from Walsh's Centra.

44 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement Sport
Chartered Physiotherapist at Nano Physiotherapy, Kilkenny WWW.NANOPHYSIO.IE

Kilkenny Sport Focus

Shane Foley

With the flat season underway, Shane Foley will be very busy in the months ahead as he will be looking to add to the great success he has had over the past 5 years when he became stable jockey to Jessica Harrington in 2019.

The Graiguenamanagh native began his career almost 20 years ago, and his first winner came at Leopardstown in June 2007 when partnering the Liam McAteer trained Snap to victory. Shane had a very promising spell as an apprentice, and he was runner-up in the apprentice championship twice to Gary Carroll in 2009 and Joseph O'Brien in 2010. He was closely associated

with Michael Halford as stable jockey for over 10 years from 2007-2017 as he rode over 200 winners for the Curragh native, with their biggest triumph coming courtesy of Raydara in The Group 2 Debutante Stakes at The Curragh in August 2014.

The duo went their separate ways in September 2017, but he continued to ride for Halford as a freelancer afterwards until he was appointed as stable jockey to Jessica Harrington five years ago.

A year earlier in 2016, Shane enjoyed his greatest feat to date when partnering the Adrian Keatley trained Jet Setting to victory in The Irish 1000 Guineas.

He also won The Irish 2000 Guineas aboard the Ken Condon trained Romanized in 2018, while the following day he rode Platinum Warrior to victory in The Group 3 Killenaule Stakes.

Platinum Warrior defeated the Joseph O'Brien trained Latrobe who would go on to win The Irish Derby, while on the same day Shane's future boss Jessica Harrington would train Alpha Centauri to the first of her 4 conseutive Group 1 wins in The Ir ish 1000 Guineas.

Shane's arrival as stable jockey to Mrs Harrington in early 2019 was perfectly timed, with the two combining for plenty of Group 1 tr iumphs across Europe.

Jessica had enjoyed plenty of National Hunt success over the years with Moscow Flyer, Jezki and Sizing John among others and the acheivements of Alpha Centauri helped greatly to establish her status as a leading flat trainer.

In 2019, the two combined for double two-year-old Group 1 glory in both the UK and in France, with Millisle winning The Cheveley Park Stakes in Newmarket while that was quickly followed by victory in The Prix Marcel Boussac with Albigna. Millisle and Albigna were rated the top two two-yearold European fillies for 2019, and those victories paved the way for further glory to


The 2020 flat season belatedly in June as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, but when the season finally got underway it started with a bang for Shane as he rode a four-timer on the opening day of the flat season.

The Graiguenamanagh native had previously ridden a four-timer at Dundalk in October 2014.

That flying start paved the way for a highly successful season, as he finished the season with a career high of 92 winners in pushing Colin Keane to the wire in the race to become Champion Jockey.

Having missed out on the ride on Alpine Star in The

Coronation Stakes due to Covid restrictions, Shane bounced to win The Group 1 Phoenix Stakes aboard Lucky Vega before following again 12 months later in 2021 to win on the Hugo Palmer trained Ebro River.

Champions weekend 2021 was memorable for Shane as he rode 4 winners, including a treble at Leopardstown along with two Group 1s for good measure.

Foley got the ball rolling aboard 25/1 shot No Speak Alexander in a thrilling finish to the Group 1 Matron Stakes in Leopardstown, before doubling up on 14/1 shot Real Appeal a half-hour later in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile. The hat-trick was completed when Ever Present defied top weight to land the Petingo Handicap.

Meanwhile, the Group 1 double was complete in the Curragh the following day, when Discoveries repelled the efforts of the Joseph O’Brien-trained Agartha to land the Moyglare Stud Stakes and round off a memorable weekend for the Graiguenamanagh man.

The stand out highlight of 2022 was Irish Oaks glory aboard Magical Lagoon who was following up from her Royal Ascot victory in The Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes, while he piloted the Charles Hill trained Galeron to land The €1.2 million Goffs Million at The Curragh. Also in 2022, Shane was top jockey with 5 winners at the week long Galway Festival.

However, last year in 2023 was not without it's challenges. Shane started the season very well, and by The June Bank Holiday weekend he was joint leader in The jockeys championship with Ryan Moore. He had ridden the Jessica Harrington trained Sprewell to a very impressive victory in The Group 3 Derby Trial at Leopardstown, before running with credit to finish 4th in The Epsom Derby.

Unfortunately, disaster struck on The June Bank Holiday Monday last year in Gowran Park when Shane broke his collarbone in a fall that would rule him out of Royal Ascot. However, he would bounce back and recover in time to ride Sprewell in The Irish Derby.

The 2024 flat season has started with Shane riding a double in Leopardstown last week, and with plenty to look forward to in the months ahead he will be hoping to continue the success he has enjoyed in recent years.


Homecoming of 2024 Randox Aintree Grand National Winner

46 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Aintree Grand National Wiinner I AM MAXIMUS I AM MAXIMUS with jockey Paul Townend on board trained by Willie Mullins, won the Randox Grand National in Aintree on Saturday in impressive fashion.

Kilkenny GAA clubs and Community news



Clara played their first league game of the year in Clara on Sunday morning and despite missing a good few players they gave a decent account of themselves under new manager Stephen Lawlor. They had the bare 15 players and Thomastown already had a game under their belt so it was understandable that the visitors looked sharper in the opening minutes. Midfielder Aisling Curtis was first to score but this was to be the only time that Clara would lead in the match. Thomastown responded with an unanswered 1-3 before Aisling added two more points but by halftime Thomastown led 1-4 to 0-3 and the Clara forward line hadn’t scored.

A few halftime changes helped matters but Thomastown grabbed the first point of the second half to lead by five. Then Clara had their best spell of the game and scored three in a row through a Laoise Nolan free and one each from Aisling Curtis and Joanne Comerford. Just after those three scores they had a gilt edged chance of a goal which would have given them the lead. Instead it was Thomastown who stepped up and reeled off 1-3 without reply. To Clara’s credit however they kept pressing and Laoise Nolan added two more frees to leave the final score at 2-8 to 0-8. Team - Aoife Glynn, Aoife Treacy, Katie Ryan, Sarah Dunne. Lucy Cody, Laoise Nolan 0-3f, Grace Barcoe. Aisling Curtis 0-4, Gráinne Glynn. Joanne Comerford 0-1, Aine McDonald, Rebecca Nolan. Margaret Kehoe, Niamh Ward, Siobhán Treacy.


Well done to Clara’s Luke Lawlor who played wing back for Kilkenny as they easily defeated Antrim in Dublin on Saturday. Philip Carrigan is also part of the panel. They next play Tipperary. Good luck to the lads in that.


Lotto results for 9th April. Numbers drawn, 6, 8, 10. No Jackpot winner. €30 each to Billy O’Dwyer, Fiona Delaney, James Tobin, Larry Fitzpatrick, Ann Kirwan.



Well done to Noah Minogue who won the 2024 4-wall Boys Minor Singles Handball All Ireland final last weekend. This is the first Kilkenny 40x20 All Ireland minor singles handball success since 2006. While Noah plays his hurling with James Stephens, he plays his handball with O’Loughlin Gaels. Both clubs are very proud of his success.


With the club constantly growing, so too is the demand on resources, particularly volunteers to help out. New and existing members are invited to get involved and make the most of their membership of O’Loughlin Gaels.


Well done to Aoife Shealy, a member of the Kilkenny Minor Camogie panel for their game against Cork last weekend. Also well done to Jeff Tyrrell who played on the Kilkenny Celtic Challenge team in their win over Antrim on Saturday last.

Everyone in O’Loughlin Gaels will be supporting Manager Niall Bergin and players Cian Byrne, Conor Holohan and Daniel Mc Cormac’s and the Kilkenny minor team as they begin their Leinster Championship campaign against Galway in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday 20th April at 2pm.

On the following day the Kilkenny Senior team begins its Leinster campaign at home to Antrim. All the best to captain Paddy Deegan, Huw Lawlor, Mikey Butler, Conor Heary, Jordan Molloy, Luke Hogan and Owen Wall. All the best to everyone involved.


O’Loughlin Gaels Lotto Results. There was no winner of club lotto dates April 9th. Numbers drawn 12, 14, 17, 27 Bonus 3. Play now at

Promotors draw: 1. Conan Doyle c/o Online. 2. Lillian Holohan c/o Online. 3. Killian Buckley c/o Online. 4. Tanya Cody c/o M Cody. 5. Eugene Deegan. 6. Fran Browne c/o N Loy. 7. Rachael Loy c/o N Loy. 8. Ml Dreeling. 9. M Doran. 10. Katrina Fitzpatrick c/o D O’Connell Thank you for your continued support.



Freshford /Urlingford Boxing Club had three members competing in the All Ireland finals in the National Stadium in Dublin recently.

Willie Delaney competed in the 33kg weight and he won his bout convincingly. This is Willie’s second title and he has now won back to back titles which is a fantastic achievement.

Johnny Delaney who was a winner last year moved up to the 44 kg category and was narrowly defeated in his title bout. Both Johnny and Willie had not been defeated for over two years and this was Johnny’s first loss. Ned Delaney tested the 46 kg weight division and was just

pipped on the last count to lose out in his semi-final.

All three are cousins and come from a proud boxing background and will now focus their attention to the Monkstown International Box Cup in June, a title which Johnny Delaney won in 2023.

Great credit is due to Pat Stokes and local man Sid Martin for their coaching and dedication to these fine young boxers. Also credit goes to Paddy, Tom and Ned Delaney for their continuous support and help bringing the lads to and from training, and to numerous tournament locations. The Club are very proud of the three boxers and we have no doubt more titles will follow. Two more of the Clubs boxers are part of Leinster Squad which is a great reward for the hard work put in by all involved.


Best wishes are extended to local girls Danielle Phelan, Woodview and Siobhan Colclough, Garnamanagh who leave this week for Australia. Danielle’s twin sister Natasha is already out in Australia for past couple of years. They are wished bon voyage and all the best in their travels.


The death occurred last weekend of James (Jim) Cullinan late of Ballycallan and formerly of Kilkenny Street, Freshford. The deceased who was in his mid-80s was a member of a well- known and respected family in the village and although he had been unwell recently nevertheless his passing caused widespread sadness and regret. He was the principal at Galmoy National School for many years and was widely known in that area also. Funeral mass took place in St.Brigid’s Church, Ballycallan, followed by burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ballykeeffe. He is deeply mourned by his wife Teresa, sons, daughters, grandchildren, sons in law, daughters in law, brothers, sister, nephews, nieces, sisters in law, brothers in law, and extended family to whom deepest sympathy is extended.


The U11 boys was the only game of the weekend with the local boys drawing with Stoneyford on a 3-3 scoreline. Scorers for Freshford Town were Jack Costelloe, Tom Dalton and Jake Kavanagh.


St St.Lachtains Church Museum and Arts Centre is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11.30 am to 4.30pm. There will be an illustrated lecture on Beekeeping and Honey in Ancient Ireland at the Church on Saturday next 20th April at 2.30pm given by Archaeologist, Historian Folklorist and Beekeeper Shane Lenane. The event is free and all are welcome.


Cllr. Michael McCarthy continually emphasises the importance of drainage works prior to resurfacing on the road network across North Kilkenny. Thankfully all who use the road at Ballyroe, Freshford will see the benefit now that such works have been completed. This week on Thursday and Friday 18th and 19th April a full overlay is scheduled. Once again credit goes to the Area Engineer and his staff. Cooperation gets positive results.” Said Cllr. McCarthy.


St. Lachtains Junior B team lost their opening league game to neighbours Threecastles on Friday evening 0-21 to 0-15.

The U14 footballers lost their championship quarter final to Erins Own on Sunday 3-7 to 3-5, the game was to be played in Pairc Lachtain but had to be moved to Castlecomer as the field was closed due to heavy rainfall recently. The Junior Fs game against Mooncoin was also postponed due to the field being closed.

The Junior team have their first game of the year next Saturday against Dicksboro in the All County League, throw-in at Pairc Lachtain is 16.00. The Junior Fs will take on Mooncoin in Pairc Lachtain at 18.00.

U15 Feile takes place next Sunday in Castlecomer, the lads take on Thomastown, Cloonen and Castlecomer at 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 respectively.

The Minors will take on the village on Monday evening at 18.30 at Kells Road grounds in the third round of the league.


The Café is a wonderful addition to the village full of character and history and your continued support would be greatly appreciated. Why not go along and meet a friend and try some of their lovely food and support a local community café. It’s a great place to go to to read your free Kilkenny Observer Newspaper and have a coffee or tea. They are also looking for volunteers to help out so if you can give little bit of your time please do so.


Freshford bridge club continues every Monday at 7.30pm in Tulla Hall, Three castles. New members are always very welcome. For further information please contact Olive on 087 9257610.


Foroige held an information evening in the Community Hall recently.They are looking for adult volunteers for a Youth club. For more info contact Aidan n 086 0674485 or Aidan.


Mass is held in the Parish Church each Wednesday morning at 9.30am and each Sunday morning at 11am.wiith

Mass in Tulla church on Saturday evenings at 7.30pm. and 11am Maas in St.Lachtains Church on Sundays. The parish newsletter is available on their website every week and also on the website you are free to pay your dues and make donations or any other contributions and you can find out more about it on the website or feel free to contact in the Parish Office. Please note community notices for the parish newsletter should be left in or emailed to the Parish Office by 11am on Thursdays. Parish office hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 1pm.

Mass Cards

Special printed parish cards are available at the Parish Office or from Annette at Tulla Church signed by Monsignor Kennedy. You can contact the Parish office on 056 8832843 or by email – Contact Mongr Kieron Kennedy on that number or on 087 25235 21


Are you struggling with anxiety or depression or finding life difficult or feeling isolated at this time GROW is there to help you. Their Mental Health support Groups are free and confidential and open to all no referral or booking is needed. For more information on same you can contact Mary on 087 284342 If you can’t cope and need support text HELLO to 50808 SAMARITAN - Whatever you’re going through a Samaritan will face it with you – available 24 hours a day 365 days a year – Freephone 1161Alone is available for older people who need support and you can call them on 0818 222024 (8am to 8pm)

AMBER KILKENNY WOMENS REFUGE – is available for confidential support relating to domestic violence - call them on 1850 424244 (24/7) or on 056 7771404 or email



Congratulations to clubman Noah Manogue who follows in the footsteps of Kilkenny handball and hurling legends, Richie Hogan, D.J. Carey, Ducksie Walsh and Billy Burke when winning the 2024 All-Ireland Minor Handball 40x20 singles title with a straight sets 21-14, 21-10 victory over the Munster champion, Thomas O’Connor in Croke Park on Saturday. Continuing his busy schedule the multi-talented sportsman is also a member of the Kilkenny U-19 hurling panel scheduled to do battle against The Dubs on Thursday evening in UPMC Nowlan Park for the inaugural U-19 Leinster hurling league title. Also included in the panel are clubmates Billy O’Sullivan, Sean Deely, Ed Lauhoff and Oisin Bateman.


Disappointingly, after an impressive 2024 senior football

League campaign which only ended recently in defeat to Thomastown in the league final after extra time, the senior footballer’s championship ambitions came to an abrupt end with a 1-09 to 0-04 defeat to a stronger Dicksboro lineup in their quarter-final fixture on Sunday afternoon in Palmerstown. Starting promisingly, when corner forward Fionn Cody forced a fine save from the ‘Boro goalkeeper in the early minutes, the home side took a strong hold of the game when their roving forward Ed Moylan kicked over four unanswered long range points to take a 0-04 to 0-00 lead by the 9th minute. Briefly taking control the Village responded with quality points from play by James Tyrrell (15th) and Willie Spencer (16th) to narrow the divide at 0-04 to 0-02. With both sides playing a quick interchanging passing game, scores were hard to come by, but Dicksboro added three further points to James O’Keefe’s point in the 27th minute to give the ‘Boro a 0-07 to 0-03 half time lead.

Despite a wholehearted effort and playing with a strong wind advantage, the Village men failed to make inroads against a watertight Dicksboro defence who stretched their lead at 0-08 to 0-03 inside the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Two late points finished the James Stephens scoring before Dicksboro confirmed a deserved 1-09 to 0-05 victory with a goal in the last minute of the game. A disappointing end to the campaign for all concerned, especially manager Diarmuid Berry and his team who put in a major effort with the panel over the last few weeks.


The countdown has started for the purchase of tickets for the “We’re Going To The Dog’s Night” fundraiser tonight 19th April at Kilkenny Greyhound track. Tickets for the fun event cost €10 each with accompanying children free. All admission tickets will be entered in a draw for a Robot Vacuum System to the value of €500. Why not come along, enjoy the craic and who knows, maybe, your four legged friend might cross the winning line to make the evening even more worthwhile. Contact Richie at 087 2573697 or any committee member to secure your ticket. For late comers to the fun evening Richie will be in the clubrooms on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 8.30 to 9.30pm.


Best wishes to the Kilkenny minor hurlers and the seven club players who have been selected on the county panel for the Leinster championship 1st round fixture against Galway at 2pm in UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday next. The team will be captained by Bill McDermott who is joined on the panel by Diarmuid Behan, James Bergin, Conor Heffernan, Padraig Joyce, Larry Phelan and Conor McEvoy.


At Wednesday night’s Management meeting Chairman Aodan O Ruairc noted that it was a sad week for a number of families with long standing associations with the James Stephens club.

Mrs. May Larkin RIP

The sympathies of the membership were extended to the Larkin family on the death of Mrs. May Larkin (nee Walsh). St. Patrick’s Close who passed away on Wednesday last in her home with her family by her bedside. Married to the late Michael “Muggers” Larkin, a member of the 1969 Kilkenny senior championship winning side, May was a lady of quiet disposition and a loyal Village supporter down through the years. On County Final days the famed Red and Green flag of The Village would always be seen fluttering in the breeze from the family home. May will be sadly missed by her son Shane, daughters Michelle, Ann Marie and Claire and the wide extended Larkin and Walsh families. May was laid to rest in Foulkstown cemetery following Requiem Mass in St. Patrick’s Church on Friday afternoon.

Mrs Ann Holland RIP

Expressions of sympathy were also extended to the Holland and Hogan families on the passing of Mrs Annette (Ann) Holland, Dean’s Court on Tuesday last in the company of her family. Ann together with her husband, Jim, were the proprietors of the then Pembroke’s Bar on High Street more, popularly known as “Maggies” for many years before their retirement. A kind and generous person Ann will be sadly missed by her husband Jim, a member of the 1955 James Stephens Junior championship winning team, her son Tony and the extended Holland family. Following Requiem Mass on Friday in St. Patrick’s Church, Ann was laid to rest in Foulkstown Cemetery.

Mrs Mary (May) Byrne RIP

The sympathies of the membership were also extended to the Byrne and Delaney families on the death of Mrs. May Byrne, Cypress Ave, Loughboy on Tuesday last. May passed away peacefully in St. Luke’s Hospital with her family by her bedside. May was predeceased by her husband Tommy. May and was a member of the Delaney family, of Delaney’s Pub in Patrick Street a renowned GAA pub and long associated with the James Stephens club. May’s brothers Seamus and Ned Delaney played with the club, Ned winning a Kilkenny minor championship title with the club in 1966. May will be sadly missed by her daughter Eimear, sons Pat and Seamus and the extended Byrne and Delaney families. Following Requiem Mass on Saturday in St. Fiacre’s Church, May was laid to rest in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Danesfort. Kevin Glynn RIP

47 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Community & GAA Notes
We welcome all GAA Club and Community notes for publication in The Kilkenny Observer email to

Sympathies were extended to Mrs Aine Glynn, The Sycamores, Freshford Road, daughters Marie and Karen, and granddaughter Meabh on the death of her husband Kevin on Sunday of last week. As well as being a long standing supporter of the James Stephens club, along with brothers Ger and Brian, Kevin enjoyed his regular round of golf with his friends in Kilkenny Golf Club. Our sympathies are also extended to his sisters Brenda, Mary, Eithne, Aine and Mairead and their extended families. Following Requiem mass in St. Canice’s Church on Wednesday Kevin was laid to rest in Foulkstown Cemetery

“Air Dheis Laimh Dei go raibh a anamnacha dilis”


There is a unique choir especially for people with Parkinsons Disease and for their friends and family members here in Kilkenny. The choir rehearses in Kilkenny one evening a week from 7 to 9pm. To find out more, contact Ann at 0851631914 or Denise 087-1315947. See attached Cairdeas file for more information.


Last week’s numbers were 3, 9, 18, 25. There was no winning ticket. This week’s jackpot will be €14,000. The €40 consolation winners were Angela Somers, Danielle Dreelan, Jim Dollard, Grainne Dorney and Tom Keane



IF you wish to submit news items, club events, announcements etc., you can do so by e-mailing them to graignotes@ Deadline is Saturday 6pm.


Numbers drawn on 08/04 /24 were 1, 5, 6, 15. There was no winner. The following won €30 each Lisa Ryan, Leanne Farrell, Kathleen Fenlon, Gina Randall, Mary Fleming. Tickets are available from any club member.


Winners for Draw on April 11th 2024. were First Prize €446. Frances Kavanagh, 2nd Prize €50 Marie, Saoirse, and Roisin Foley. 3rd Prize, €25 David Williams. Draw takes place at 4pm on Thursdays.


The Monthly Rambling House Session is on the second Friday of the month in Newtown Hall, where you can enjoy music and song from local artists and also many from the surrounding district’s also join in. The next Session is on Friday May 10th. At 8.00pm.


Cllr Peter “Chap” Cleere has confirmed Coillte have recently doubled the 25 bay car park to 50 bays at their lands at the Raheendonore access point which was done following on from strong representations made and on acknowledgment of the popularity of the route

Direct signage has been added for the Brandon Hill Summit Walk. This route signed from the Coillte barriers at Deerpark on the Graiguenamanagh side and at Raheendonore on the Inistioge side. The signage provides clear directions for visitors wishing to reach the summit along the most direct trail. The signs also provide visitors with the average walking time to reach the summit from each signed location. Additional funding of 10,000 Euro was announced for the installation of a map board and some minor improvement works to the summit



Badminton is held in Paulstown Community Hall at 20.00 each Monday. Entry: €5. New players including beginners are welcome. Contact Tommy for information: 087 2303495



For the weekly Lotto online tickets are available at www.

The Camogie Association’s Introduction to Coaching Gaelic Games Coaching Course schedule for 2024 is now available to view. See learning.gaa.


Congratulations to our new champion the 51kg Champion Annalise O Reilly. Annalise put in two outstanding performances in semis and a final to come away with the Irish title.


Congratulations to the under-10 cup and shield teams who won their quarter final games against Highview and Evergreen. Both teams now progress to the semifinals on 27th April. A home game in the junior team Premier Division took place on Sunday 14th against Evergreen. Bridge scored one goal (Seán Murphy) while Evergreen scored two.

Schoolboys Results: Under-11 shield, Bridge 1-0 Callan (Niall Doyle one Bridge goal), Under-12, Bridge yellow 3-1 Lions white (scores by Ollie Maher, Jayden Halligan and Adam Lannigan), Bridge Blue 1-1 Callan with Bridge score by Daniel Greene, Under-12 plate Evergreen City 2-1 Bridge City with Bridge score by Aaron Cotter.


Sacred Heart Prayer Group meets on Fridays after 10am mass in Paulstown. Legion of Mary Thursdays at 3pm in Paulstown. New members welcome. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Paulstown every Tuesday after morning mass and lasts until 6pm.


Weekly Friday chatting in Irish over a cuppa in the Goodly Barrow today, Friday 19th April at 11am. Whether it is a few words or many, it doesn’t matter. Contact Ann on 085 7529485 for further information. Fáilte roimh chách.


Classes on Tuesday. Contact Stephanie Lennon on ‘Dance Fit’ on Facebook or instagram where you can sign up via Google forms link. Cost is €8 per class.


The death has taken place of Anne Marie Murphy, formerly of Lower Grange, Gowran. Peacefully surrounded by her loving family at Waterford Regional Hospital on 11th April. Predeceased by her parents Sean and Kathleen and brothers Ger and Dan. Sadly missed by her loving son Dylan, brothers Paddy, John, Tom, Willie, Michael and sisters Catherine and Philomena, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.


Will take place from 21.00 on Saturday 27th April in Paulstown Community Hall. The Rise the Dust band will play. Entry €1.


This caters for first to third years. New members are welcome. The Group meets on Wednesdays from 14.3016.00 in the Goresbridge Health Centre, Barrack St. Activities include art, music and summer events. Contact: Ruth Flanagan at 087 3873724


Adult Forest School Session: May 11th at 10am-3pm, €55 (tea/coffee and lunch included).

Spoon Carving Workshop for Adults: August 3rd 10am-4pm, €75 (tea/coffee and lunch included).

Summer Forest Camps for children aged 5-11 yearsTuesday to Thursday 10am-3pm in July and August. Information from Eithne email:


Nature’s way after school service will be available from September 2024. Information from the school office.


The plan may be consulted online or at specific locations. See Kilkenny County Council website. Submissions may be made up to 3rd May.


Yoga is been held every Monday until 29th April from 19.0020.00 (all levels). Contact Caroline O’Hare at 087 9371939.



Sport is playing a big part in the lives of our young people. Our young girls and boys are involved in a wide range of sporting activities. Great credit is due to the people who give of their time to coach and look after them. While many are involved at local level, some are also taking part in sport at county level.

I thought it might be of interest to take a look at some sports where participants have a local Bennrttsbridge connection. In Basketball the Kilkenny Stars u14 have three local girls involved, Kayla Wall, Katie Holden and Amy Hughes. They recently competed in the AICCS in Gormanstown Co Meath. The girls came out on top of the South East league to qualify for AICCS.

Saturday saw the Stars girls up against Glanmire, Galway Titans and Donegal Town. Knowing the Glanmire game was to be the toughest in the group the girls battled fiercely to come out on top with a four point win. They followed this up by beating Titans by 10 points and finishing the first day with a comprehensive win over Donegal town. This set up an epic battle against a top Dublin team in Killester on the Sunday. From the minute the ball was thrown in the girls were focused on victory.

The lead changed numerous times throughout the game with Stars coming out eventual winners by 5 points. This set up a meeting with defending champions Limerick Celtics who were coached by Basketball Hall of Fame star Michelle Aspell. The girls started slow showing Limerick too much respect in first quarter and despite winning the second quarter and drawing the final two, suffered defeat to the eventual tournament winners.

The girls and their coach Anthony Wall achieved club history by becoming the first ever U-14 Kilkenny team to reach the semi finals. Whilst there was great disappointment the girls can take great pride in being ranked in the top three in the country.


The Kilkenny RFC U13 boys were victorious over Wexford in Saturday’s Div 2 Leinster League final. Well done to everyone involved. Two players with parish connections played their part in the victory.

Danny Reade, son of Nina(Wemyss) and Brian Reade was part of the winning team while Jeffrey Cleere, son of Ray and Brigetta Cleere was also on the team.


In hockey circles, Hazel Cleere, daughter of Tony and Karen, played in goal for the Kilkenny hockey seconds

Saturday 20th /Sunday 21st April: Masses in Goresbridge at 19.30, 10.00 and in Paulstown at 11.30am. Weekday masses at 10am in Paulstown on Tuesday and Friday and in Goresbridge on Wednesday.

team which saw off Portrane to win the League and Shield double. Also on the team was Orla Shields, daughter of Michael Shields and Deborah Brownrigg.


Weekday masses. Wednesday and Friday, 10.30am


Results 8th April. No winner of Jackpot. Numbers, 10, 11, 12, 21. Jackpot Now €7,300.00. Consolation Prizes, Olive Dowling, Marian Place, Shangarry Syndicate, Frances Leacy, Bennettsbridge, Ann Ryan, Woodlawn, Shane Bailey, ℅ Crafted.


Members of the Art Group have decided to change their weekly meetings to Tuesdays for the foreseeable future.


Champions!! Massive well done to East End Ladies team, winners of both the League and Bowl Competitions.


Some fantastic soccer played last weekend as the East End U14 girls took on Callan Utd. We came back from being 4-0 down at half time to draw 4-4!! Brilliant game girls well done to all.


Gowran Community Council for the Elderly Association had a very successful opening of their new venture, selling pre-loved beautiful clothes on Friday evening. The shop selling branded clothes will be open each Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Thanks to all who gave in their pre-loved clothes for sale with an agreed percentage going to the Houses for the Elderly Funds.


Leinster Championship

We wish the best of luck to the Blanchfield brothers and the Kilkennny team who play Antrim in Nowlan Park next Sunday.

Club Football Championships

Our junior football team lost out to Graiguenamanagh in the junior football final by two points in Dunmore last Sunday morning. Graig started well against the strong wind and while the ‘Bridge lads came back well to lead by four points at the break Graiguenamanagh made good use of the wind in the second half to score some late points to win the game. Well done to Graig and hard luck to our own lads who tried hard on the day.

Our under 14 team produced a great second half performance to defeat Thomastown by two points in their championship quarter final. Losing heavily at half time the young ‘Bridge lads showed great heart to come through this game. Well done to all.

Upcoming Club Games

Our junior B team is away to Emeralds this Sunday at 12 while the junior E team play O’ Loughlin’s away on Saturday at 6.30. The under 14 footballers play Erin’s Own in the championship semifinal this Sunday. Our minors played Tullaroan away last Monday evening and are at home to Shamrocks next Monday evening. Best of luck to all ‘Bridge teams over the next week.

Bord na n-Óg Annual Grand National Draw

Thanks to all who bought and sold tickets for this year’s draw. It was a great success and will be a great help to the juvenile club for the season ahead. Congratulations to the winners. Mairead Rohan who won 200 euro, Sheilagh Cody who won 100 euro, Joe Walsh who won 50 euro, Mitchell Houston who won 30 euro and Fr Duggan who won 20 euro for the last horse to finish.

Bennettsbridge Healthy Club

Thanks to all who attended the healthy club know your numbers event at the GAA grounds last Saturday morning. Thanks to Andrea Flynn and her team for organising. Night At The Dogs 2024

Bennettsbridge Gaa, Camogie and Bórd na n-Óg clubs are combining to host a night at the dogs on Friday May 10th at Kilkenny Dog Track. Tickets are available from any committee member of any of the three clubs. Monster raffle and great racing on the night. Tickets cost ten euro with kids going free. Hope to see a great crowd there for what is always a great night.

Presentation Night

We will be having a presentation night for medals won over the past couple of seasons this Friday April 19th in the Pembroke Hotel at 7.30pm. Finger food refreshments will be provided on the night with a door charge of ten euro to attend.

Hurlers Last Man Standing

The senior Hurling team is running a “last man standing” competition for the upcoming Intercounty hurling championship. Please see the club’s Facebook page for details or contact any adult hurler to enter. Prize money of 1000 euro

48 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
We welcome all GAA Club and Community notes for publication in The Kilkenny Observer email to
Community & GAA Notes
East End U 14s played a well deserved draw against Callan United East End Ladies winners of the League and bowls Tom Healy

on offer.

Club Spot

The club has adopted a new app, replacing clubforce for all GAA business going forward. We ask as many people as possible to download this new club spot app. Details are on the club’s Facebook page. This is a great way to communicate club business. Membership, split the pot etc and all club business can be done on this so it is vital for as many as possible to download the app.

Membership 2024

This year’s membership can now be paid to registrar Samantha McGarry or to any club committee member. Membership fees are the same as last year. Forty euro for non-playing members, eighty euro for student players and 120 euro for adult players. Early payment would be most appreciated. Membership can also be paid on the new club spot app. Please see the clubs Facebook and twitter pages for details.

Split the Pot

The next draw takes place this Friday in the clubhouse. Thanks to all for the continued support.

Club Shop

Some new items of club gear have been added to the on-line O’Neill’s shop. Simply put Bennettsbridge in the search box on the website to see all the gear.



Dicksboro GAA Club LOTTO Results 11th April 2024. Nos: 2 8 18 23. Jackpot: €16,400 Not Won

Draw Prize €50: Mary Deegan c/o Pat Cody. €25 each Gina Gaule c/o Tommy Hackett

€25 each James Kerwick c/o Anne Kerwick. €25 each Mary Gaffney c/o Online

Hurlers Co Op Mark and Drew c/o Patsy Phelan. Promotors prize Deirdre O’Reilly

We encourage all Dicksboro Families to sign up and play weekly for €2 per draw and we thank everyone who is currently doing so.


The new Hurling, Camogie and Gaelic Football season is fast approaching and from March our Hurling and Camogie Nursey and underage teams will be back in the thick of it in Palmerstown and James Park. For more information contact any member of our Committee or See our ClubZap for more details.


Well done to our Senior Footballers who had a fine win over James Stephens on Sunday afternoon with a scoreline of 1-9 to 0-5 they now progress to the Co Semi Final. TBD. Well done to the players and Management Team.



The following courses are on offer at Urlingford Library. Flower Arranging with Eva Holmes for Bealtaine Wednesday May 1st 2.30 to 4.30pm. Chair Yoga on Weddnesday. May 8th from 2 to 3pm. Spring into Storytime for children U8 on Friday April 26th at 11am. Chess classes continuing each Tuesday for children 7plus at 4.30 to 5.30pm and followed by Chess Club from 5.30 to 6 30pm. Enquiries to 0567794182.


A gentle introduction to mindfulness every Wednesday began last Wednesday April 17th from 10 to 11.30am in the Urlingford Community Childcare Centre E41 T6 Y7. The course will involve a short meditation and relaxation followed by a creative workshop. Contact Sarah Bowden on 0860843446 or email


Sympathy is extended to Noreen Ryan, Eddie and John Joe Cullinane and families on the death of their sister in law Mary Cullinane, Moate Co. Westmeath, Sympathy also extended to the family of Jimmy Cullinane who died recently. Jimmy was principal of Galmoy N.S. for many years.


Weekend results Junior League Division 2A Thomastown B 0 Spa 5 (Mark Webster2 , Ciaran Beehan and Kieran Grehan2). Youths League Division 1A Stoneyford 3 Spa 0, U14 boys league Division 1A Spa 5 Bridge Utd 0, U14 boys league division 2 Spa 1 Lions 1, U14 girls league division 1 Spa 2 Evergreen 1, U13 boys league division 1 Spa 0 Evergreen 0, U12 boys league division 1A Paulstown 0 Spa 5, U11 girls cup Evergreen 1 Spa 5, U10 boys quarter final cup Spa 1 Thomastown 0, U10 boys shield quarter final Spa 0 Stoneyford 1. The U8s were in action and showed great skill in their games against Callan Utd.


Winning numbers 12,18,19,26 one match three Noreen Henderson.



Glengoole Wednesday 10am to 2pm, Gortnahoe Thursday 10am to 1pm


Please return your Trocaire box/envelope as soon as possible to the Church or Parochial House so that all monies received can be passed on. Many thanks for your generous contributions to date.


The annual pilgrimage to Lourdes will take place from June 14th to 20th. Any enquiries please contact Fr Walton or any member of the Parish pastoral group.


Will take place in Ballynonty Community House for 6 Tuesdays from 16th April to 21st May, 10.30am - 12am. Classes given by Eileen Bowden. For further information please contact Rena O’Connor on 086 8490843.


Bridge is being played each Tuesday night in Gortnahoe Hall at 7.30pm. If you would like to join or find out more information please contact this number 089 4349106


Bingo continues this Saturday evening at the earlier time of 4.00pm with doors opening from 3.00pm and will continue each Saturday evening at the same time. Over €2,660 in prize money on offer including a special €500 game


Congratulations to the last weekends winner of Split the Pot draw, Stephanie Webster and Dave Russell, who won €383. Envelopes are available at the usual outlets, you can also Revolut to 0876777220. For the month of April Split the Pot will be in support of the Grange Badminton Club. The draw takes place each Sunday at 12pm in Gortnahoe Hall. Your support would be appreciated.



Cllr. Michael McCarthy appreciates the patience of the residents of Haven Court Housing Estate. “At long last there is light at the end of the tunnel, with a full overlay scheduled for Wednesday next April 17th. I have no doubt the works will be of huge benefit to both residents and the community at large. Great credit is due to the Area Engineer and his outdoor staff.” Said Cllr. McCarthy.


Cllr. Michael McCarty is concerned about certain elements of the new Plan for Ballyragget carried out by Turley Consultants for Kilkenny County Council. “The provision of a Plan for Ballyragget is a step towards a destination. However, as the Plan is classed non-statutory funding is always going to be a challenge. Ballyragget Development Association is to be commended for their work and engagement with Kilkenny County Council over many years. I have a cautious welcome for the plan and am concerned with some of the aspirations. For example, take the proposed car park with a location some 500 metres from the town square. Who in their right mind would park a car that distance from the town centre, certainly no one doing business or shopping. It is also proposed to remove some of the on-street parking in the town and replace it with raised planters, benches, and seated areas. That’s fine in theory provided there is proper consultation with the businesses affected and everybody is singing from the one hymn sheet. There is no mention of a pedestrian crossing to serve primary school children on the N77. This has to be a priority. Heather Court Hotel Despite its central location on the Square, this property and site is unoccupied. Therefore, it is a key opportunity site within the town. A feasibility study should be carried out to explore the potential for a hotel or hostel accommodation, which would support the active tourism initiatives, proposed for the town and would contribute to the existing active street frontages.”

Concluded Cllr. McCarthy.


Joe Cass and Louis 12 games. Mick and Ethel Dunphy 12 games. Mick and Patsy Moran 12 games. Thanks to our generous sponsors Julie Dorgan, B+R Electrical, and The Wheel Inn for Raffle prizes. Our next game is the

Annual Charity game for the Missions on Friday 26th April @8pm. Look forward to seeing you all.


Congratulations again to Fiona Mooney winner of the jackpot from last week’s draw. Best of luck Fiona.



The junior E hurlers began their league campaign on Sunday evening last with a narrow defeat away to Dunnamaggin. Conahy started brightly and led by six points at half-time but the home side came flying back into the game to take the lead in the second half. Conahy looked to have snatched a draw with a goal from a Paul Buggy free, but Dunnamaggin found time to score a late goal of their own to eventually win out by 3-14 to 2-14.

TEAM: Brian Gallagher, Padraig Conway, Michael Bergin, Conor Hennessy, Damien Cuddihy, Paddy Mullan, Kieran Brennan, Oisín O’Connor, Martin Fitzpatrick, Billy Mulhall, Declan Buggy, Sean Brennan, Kieran Delaney, Paul Buggy, Jake Dooley.


The numbers drawn in the most recent GAA Club Lotto were 12, 15 and 37. There was no winner of the €2,500 jackpot, so the consolation prize winners were Tara Keogh, Seamus Hally, Hilda Butler, Joe Crennan and Mary Tierney. The promoter prize winners were Julie Jackman, Shay Healy and Margaret Buggy.


A table quiz fundraiser in aid of Conahy Shamrocks Camogie Club will take place on Sunday, April 26th at 5.00 p.m. in the GAA Clubhouse. Tables of four cost €20, and a raffle will also be held on the night. All support is welcome.


Best wishes to the 5th and 6th class pupils in Clinstown N.S, Conahy N.S and Lisnafunchion N.S., who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on this Sunday, April 21st in St. Colman’s Church, Conahy.



Hugginstown: Monday, Wednesday and Friday only; at 9.30a.m. Vigil – Saturday 20th. at 8.00p.m. Sunday 21st. at 10.00a.m. Stoneyford, No Mass Wednesday, Vigil - Saturday 20th. at 6.30p.m.


Anniversary Masses

Bridget and Betty McCarthy, Knockdrinna, Mass in Stoneyford Church on Saturday 20th. April at 6.30.00p.m.

Kitty McBride, Monroe. Mass in Hugginstown Church on Saturday 20th. April at 8.00p.m.


Rota for next week-end, 20th. and 21st. April 2024 . (Fourth Sunday of Easter)

Readers, Stoneyford. Saturday 6.30p.m. Rita O’Farrell. Hugginstown: Saturday 8.00p.m. Pat Power, Sunday 10.00a.m.

Mary Foran. Eucharistic Ministers. Stoneyford, Saturday 6.30p.m. Pat Kenny. Hugginstown, Saturday 8.00p.m. Teresa Broderick; Sunday 10.00a.m Ruth Crowley


The first National Pilgrimage for Life, organised by the Council for Life of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, will be celebrated on Saturday 4th. May in Knock Shrine. The pilgrimage begins with Anointing of the Sick in the Basilica at 2.30p.m, followed by Mass at 3.00p.m. and Rosary Procession after Mass, weather permitting. Main celebrant and homilist will be Archbishop Francis Duffy. We invite you to join us in Knock to celebrate the gift of life and to pray for

the protection of all human life.


First Holy Communion

For Stoneyford School on Sunday 12th. May at 11.00a.m. in Stoneyford Church.

For Monroe/Newmarket Schools on Sunday 19th. May at 11.00a.m. in Hugginstown Church.


We ask that all Trócaire Contributions be returned as soon as possible please.


I.P.T. Local Group 174 Trip to Lourdes - bringing young people with additional needs to Lourdes. To help raise funds an 80’s/90’s Disco will take place on Friday, 19th April from 9.00p.m. in Langtons, Kilkenny – Fancy Dress optional. Tickets available in St John’s and St Patrick’s Parish Offices. Your support appreciated.


A Lecture on “Kilkenny’s Titanic Survivor” will be given by MaryAnn Vaughan on Friday, 26th. April at 8.00p.m, in Mullinavat Hall (opposite St. Beacon’s Church)


The Big Push taking place in Kilmoganny GAA Grounds on Saturday 20th. April from 2.00 to 5.00p.m. All proceeds in aid of Carlow Kilkenny Home Care Team.


Diocesan Designated Liaison Person, Ms. Ailish Higgins Tel: 087 100 0232.

Aghaviller Parish Representatives are: Deirdre Rohan and Catherina Roche.


Pilgrimage will be held from Wednesday 1st. to 8th May. The hotel will be based near to the Church and the group will be travelling with Marian Pilgrimages. The cost includes Insurance. Contact Ann on: 086 199 1620 or 086 882 5622.


Envelopes for the Easter Offering Collection are available at the Church Porch. Please take one and return it with your offering during the Easter Season. This offering is for the support of the priests of the Parish and the Diocese. LOTTO

Lotto: - Aghaviller Parish and Carrickshock G. A. A. Draw: Monday 8th. April Numbers: 10; 21; 32; 07. One Winner First 3 Numbers Drawn. No Jackpot Winner: €500.00. Winner, Willie Dwyer, Sheepstown. €25.00. Seller of Match 3 Numbers: Pat Dwyer 3 x €15.00 (Sellers): Trish Power, John Power, Eamon Irish; STONEYFORD 5K AND 10K:

The very successful 5k and 10k event returns to Stoneyford on Sunday May 19th. just in 4 weeks’ time. Runners and walkers come from far and wide to take part in this longstanding event in aid of Scoil Náisiúnta Chiaráin Naofa each year. Numbers have continued to grow year on year, in spite of the 2 Year Covid hiatus. If you would like to take part, or want more information on the event, or on training for either distance, check out Stoneyford 10k Challenge on Facebook, or Stoney10k on Instagram.



Applications are invited for the Vacant Tenancy of a onebedroom house at St Kieran’s Place, Urlingford. To be eligible to apply you must be on the Kilkenny County Council Housing list. Applications are available from the Centre.


Names been taken for L.T.I. Q.Q.I. Levels 4 due to start soon.


Our low cost Counselling Services, includes One-to-One, Adult & Teens.

General Counselling: Bereavement, Stress, Anxiety & Depression.

Other Counselling Services available: Drug, Substance & Gambling Addictions.

Play therapy is now also available. Age 5+.

Please contact Sue for more information or to make an appointment.


If you need to apply for a Personal Alarm, please contact Sue or Josephine.


Please note that there is a defibrillator located in the Mill Family Resource Centre if and when it may be required.


Any clothes donations would be greatly appreciated in aid of our counselling/play therapy services. Donations can be left into the Centre, please call before dropping off.


We have a Jobs Board here at the Centre, feel free to call in and take a look, we also offer help and support with CV’s and cover letters if required.

For further information please contact us here at the Centre on 056-8838466

49 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Community & GAA Notes
We welcome all GAA Club and Community notes for publication in The Kilkenny Observer email to
Fiona Mooney receives her cheque from Pat Gannon Martin McGrath and Jimmy Ruth of the Lotto

Hurlng matters

Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship

Round 1

Kilkenny vs Antrim

UPMC Nowlan Park, Sunday, 2:30pm

The penultimate Sunday in April can only mean one thing – Championship hurling! The debates over the ‘split season’ will undoubtably rage on, but for now any thoughts on the future structure of the GAA calendar are on the back burner. Fresh from their Allianz League Final defeat at the hands of Clare, Kilkenny welcome Ulster’s finest, Antrim to UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday as the 2024 Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship gets underway (Throw-in 2:30pm). Derek Lyng and his backroom team will have been working hard over the last two weeks, rehabbing bodies and focusing minds with this season’s provincial opener on the horizon. Given Antrim’s difficult league campaign, confidence won’t be that high in the Saffron’s camp, but I’d imagine Darren Gleeson will instill some fire in the bellies of his troops, ahead of what is sure to be a testing opening fixture for the Tipperary natives side.

Antrim lost all five of their league games and finished bottom in their group, and as a result will play their league hurling in Division 1B next season. Several experienced players opted out of the early season action, and this was always going to make it an uphill struggle for the team from the North. The good news for Gleeson and his management team is that many of these players have since rejoined the panel and will be keen to show their worth on Noreside this weekend.

Dunloy clubmen, Keelan Molloy, Daire McMullan, Aodhan McGarry along with a trio of Elliott’s in Nigel, Seaan and Ryan will certainly bring quality to the Saffrons, while Conal Cunning, James McNaughton and Michael Bradley have all returned to full training in the last few weeks. Two standout names in this list are Keelan Molloy and Conal Cunning. Both these talented hurlers pose a big threat to defenders, Cunning is an accurate exponent of the placed ball, while Molloy’s pace and trickery are vital assets in his armory. The Antrim supporters are a proud bunch and will make the journey to Kilkenny more in hope than in expectation but will demand that their players leave all on the UPMC Nowlan Park pitch and do themselves justice. The addition of some of those listed above will certainly create a little belief, or perhaps less dread as they travel

Cats seek Saffron’s scalp in Leinster opener

Bob O’Keefe defence begins with Antrim visit

south on Sunday. The first of five league defeats saw the Ulstermen take a road trip to Semple Stadium and face-off against John Kiely’s Limerick. Gleeson’s charges suffered a huge 27-point defeat in the Allianz opener, and this loss was clearly difficult to shake-

off as the next four games highlighted.

Next up for the Saffron’s was a home tie with Dublin, at the compact Corrigan Park. You’d imagine that the Antrim management might have earmarked this encounter as one to gain points from, but the Fibrus sponsored side came out on the wrong side of a 1-point defeat.

With a fortnight to lick their wounds and try and prepare for the visit of the Tribesmen, this probably wasn’t the match that Darren Gleeson would have wanted for his beleaguered panel. Henry’s men

couldn’t quite match the 27-point gap that Limerick managed, they fell two points short, but the likes of Evan Niland, Jason Flynn, Tom Monaghan and Conor Cooney ensured that there was to be no home comforts for Antrim.

A trip to Mullingar followed, as did another defeat, but this time the deficit was just six points, again an opponent in Westmeath, that Antrim might have fancied putting to the sword, but a thoroughly testing winless campaign continued. The final match of the league saw Tipperary roll into West Belfast and skip out of it with a 15-point victory.

A forgettable 2024 Allianz league now put to bed for the Northerners, and just over a month to try and turn things round ahead of Sunday’s trip to the Marble City.

It’s probably no surprise that Antrim were the lowest scorers and conceded the most in their league group, but the return of many players, including a large Dunloy contingent will give some reasons for optimism, or less fear as they seek to lay a glove on their illustrious hosts this weekend.

For Derek Lyng, he will have taken many positives from his side’s league campaign. In particular, it will have

50 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Adrian Mullenin fine form

been pleasing for the management team to see how some new faces adapted to the pressure of wearing the black and amber. Jordan Molloy for one, has looked right at home and brings a lovely blend of skill and menace to this Cats side. One of Molloy’s club mates, Mikey Butler, has been nursing an injury, along with Mikey Carey and Walter Walsh, the latter not expected to return before mid-May.

TJ Reid was a late withdrawal from the league final decider defeat to the Banner, having suffered a little knock in training and I can’t see Derek Lyng taking any chances with his talisman.

Hurling matters

Ballyhale contingent, Adrian Mullen has been in great form also, and will be hoping his manager isn’t tempted to suggest a rest this weekend. Billy Drennan is another player, like Mossy, that will be hoping to get some championship minutes against the Saffrons. The Galmoy man has been an able deputy on placed ball duty when TJ has been absent. There’s more to Drennan than the dead ball stuff, and I would like to see him given the chance to ply his trade this weekend.

The midfield area has seen a few variations to date this season. In the semi-final win over Limerick in the league, Cian Kenny and Jordan Molloy performed brilliantly, getting through serious work and ensuring a decent platform for those ahead of them. Will Derek Lyng want this duo to build on their chemistry against the Ulstermen? We will know soon!

Captain Paddy Deegan and David Blanchfield have cemented half-back roles while former captain Richie Reid could probably do with more minutes on Sunday. Shane Murphy has been one of the revelations to force his way into this Kilkenny side and has the right mix of everything to succeed on the intercounty scene. Tommy Walsh, I would say, is getting better each season and if we can get a full-back line of Huw Lawlor, flanked by Butler and Walsh on the pitch during this provincial campaign, we will be heading in the right direction.

The management team will hope that the chosen XV can start brightly and build a comfortable lead by the interval, which will allow plenty of subs to get minutes in their legs, ahead of round two – another meeting with Henry. A good performance and running up a big score will be the perfect way to prepare for heading west. The battle to retain Bob O’Keefe starts now. Let the games begin!

There is enough quality in the squad to get over the obstacle that is Antrim on Sunday. Reid’s absence could pave the way for Martin Keoghan to make the starting line-up against the Saffrons. Mossy was in great form having been sprung from the bench before halftime and finished with 0-4 to his name, having replaced Luke Hogan.

Eoin Cody who struck a lovely goal in the Clare game, has had a few battles with Antrim’s main marker, Paddy Burke, and may find himself being tracked around Nowlan Park by the tenacious Ruairí Óg’s man.

Another of Kilkenny’s Shamrocks

51 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024
Eoin Cody will hope to trouble the Antrim defence Shane Murphy has settled in the stripes Jordan Molloy puts in a serious shift

Planning notices

Planning notices



Applicant: Liam Mullen

Planning Register Reference No P24/60050

Planning permission is sought by Liam Mullen under Planning Register Reference No P24/60050 for the construction of single storey extensions to front and rear of existing derelict cottage, all associated demolition works, and alterations to existing cottage to facilitate re-instatement works and ancillary related site works at Knock, Danesfort, Co. Kilkenny.

Significant Further Information/Revised Plans has/have been furnished to the Planning Authority in respect of this proposed development to include Site Lines, Land Purchase, Surface Water collection, Entrance Gates and Water Supply, and is/are available for inspection or purchase at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy, at the Offices of the Planning Authority during its public opening hours of 9:00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

A submission or observation in relation to further information or revised plans may be made in writing to the Planning Authority within a period of 2 weeks from the date of receipt of the revised public notices. A submission or observation must be accompanied by the prescribed fee of €20, except in the case of a person or body who has already made a submission or observation and such submission or observation will be considered by the Planning Authority in making a decision on the application. The Planning Authority may grant permission subject to or without conditions or may refuse to grant permission.


I, Rana Tanweer Ahmad intend to apply to Kilkenny County Council for the change of use from existing therapy clinic to a walk in clinic and all associated site development works at Unit 7, John’s Gate, Barrack Street, Kilkenny. The planning application may be inspected, or purchased at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy, at the offices of the Planning Department, Kilkenny County Council, County Hall, John Street, Kilkenny, during its public opening hours 9 a.m.- 1.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and a submission or observation in relation to the application may be made to the Planning Authority in writing on payment of the prescribed fee (€20.00) within the period of 5 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the Authority of the planning application, and such submissions or observations will be considered by the Planning Authority in making a decision on the application. The Planning Authority may grant permission subject to or without conditions, or may refuse to grant permission.

52 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024


In loving memory of David, late of 37 Beechlawn, Kilkenny, whose anniversary occurs 22nd April.

Another year has passed

No one knows how much we miss you

No one knows the bitter pain

We have suffered since we lost you

Life has not been the same

In our hearts your memory lives on Sweetly, tender fond and true

There is not a day dear David

That we do not think of you.

Sadly missed by your loving family.

Anniversary Mass on Sunday, 21st April at 10.30am in the Church of the Assumption, Thomastown, Co.Kilkenny.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours. This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen. Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted. Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. M.B.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours.

This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen.

Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted. Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. P.T.M.

A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin

(never known to fail).

O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, Fruitful vine, Splendour of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, O Star of the sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother. O Holy Mary Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to grant my request. (Pleasestaterequest).Therearenonethatcanwithstand your power. O show me herein you are my Mother. I place this cause in your hands (three times). Thank you for your mercy towards me and mine. Amen. This prayer must be said for three days and after this the request will be granted. This prayer must be published immediately. B.L.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours.

This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen.

Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted. Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. H.D.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours.

This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen.

Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted.

Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. M.B.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours.

This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen.

Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted. Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. B.L.

The Miracle Prayer

Dear heart of Jesus, in the past I have asked many favours.

This time I ask you this special one (mention favour).

Take it dear heart of Jesus and place it within your heart where your father sees it. Then in his merciful eyes it will become your own favour not mine. Amen.

Say this prayer three times for three days and your favour will be granted. Never been known to fail.

Must promise publication of prayer. M.M.

53 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Memoriams / Miracle Prayers
54 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Motors Classifieds Classified section To advertise your business in our classified section call in or telephone: 056 777 1463, or email: accounts 087 2587745
55 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Motors Classifieds
56 The Kilkenny Observer Friday 19th April 2024 Advertisement
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.