October Mona Newsletter

__________October Donadea News__________


Millennium Day in Donadea

Sunday 3rd Sept. Donadea Forest Park. The day started misty, but by 8:30 am the sun was winning through - a fine day was promising.

David Flood pulled in his trailer, which was to be our covered stage for the afternoon. We erected two flagpoles at the stage, which were supplied by Mickey Harris.

Our garden gazebos were erected near the shop area, which added colour and shelter if needed. The Rostrum by the lake was looking very smart with the tri colour and the Kildare County flag in full flight. Willie Kiernan had all the sound system in place.

By 1 o’ clock the guests and crowds arrived and the Kildare County orchestra began to perform beside the shop area. The nine-piece orchestra sounded beautiful in the lovely open area beside the big “Red Woods”. And they entertained the large crowd who queued for their lunch at the shop.

Minister Mc Creevy and his family arrived and we all had lunch in the relaxed setting. When all had eaten we adjourned to the wheelchair assessable walk around the lake.

George Hipwell, Coillte manager Donadea, introduced Fr. Ramsbottom, Rev. David Frazer and Father O’Malley, who jointly conducted an ecumenical blessing of the Forest Park. After the blessing Eilish O’Brien read some extracts of poems from Tim Conway, Alice Taylor and some pieces composed by herself.

Martin Lowery, Coillte, Liam Holton, Tir Na Mona, Donnacha Harrington, “Friends of the Forest” and Kieran Duggan, KELT all made speeches.

Minister Mc Creevy then spoke. He said that he was delighted to be in Donadea Forest again and praised the Tir Na Mona group, Coillte and KELT and Kildare County Council for all the work carried out on Donadea Forest Park. Then the Minister cut the tape to officially launch the new walks.

The Tir Na Mona millennium celebration concert, which Kildare County Council millennium grant sponsored, began at the stage near the castle when the official opening ceremony concluded.

The Kildare County Orchestra were first to entertain us, then the St. Coca’s church junior choir were next and they really went down well with the large crowd. The next to entertain was Noleen Walsh with her composition on Donadea Forest. Lady Aylmer and her rector friend arrived driven by chauffeur Michael Doherty in his beautiful vintage car to a performance of “Macbeth” by the Prosperous Drama Group under the direction of Anne Clarke. The large crowd were spellbound by the three witches and the other characters.

Next we had the musicians from Kilcock Ceoltas group, all friends of Pat Mc Loughlin. The talent of these musicians is very striking and we were very grateful to them for coming to play for us.

Local entertainer Colin Hickson sang some nice easy listening songs.

Thanks to Alan Byrne our M.C. for the day. Well done!

It was 7pm by the time the concert ended, over 2,000 people visited Donadea Forest Park on that wonderful day of 3rd September 2000

Tiermohan Parents Council

The AGM of Tiermohan Parents Council will take place in Newtown Hall at 8.30pm on Tuesday 24th October. All parents are welcome to come and there will be a cheese and wine reception.

Cappagh Football Club

This year has been one of frustration for the footballers of Cappagh. Training started in February with Kieran Brennan in charge. Our league campaign was reasonably successful but a couple of crucial defeats left us agonisingly short of the vital points needed to gain promotion.

A very strong Sarsfields B-side dashed our championship hopes. Our biggest disappointment was probably our defeat at the hands of Sallins in the Keogh Cup Final by a single point. Our problems were further compounded by the unavailability of a number of players for a variety of reasons. Our Junior B-side however, recorded an excellent victory over Ellistown in the first round of the championship. We are hopeful that they will keep our championship interests alive for a while longer at least. On the positive side also is the emergence of underage teams under the banner of St. Coca’s, a lot of talented young players are on these teams and hopefully they will come up the ranks to senior level.

It was great to see Peter Kennedy on the bench for the last few games; hopefully we will see Peter back in competition again soon. Thanks to our main sponsor Joe Mallon and all others who have been supportive in the past. Our weekly lotto takes place every Tuesday night in Connolly’s of Ballagh House. We will be holding our first dinner dance in four years on Friday 17th November in the Spa Hotel, Lucan, hope to see you all there.

Cappagh Camogie Club

The clubs senior team was defeated in the championship by St Lawrences who went on to win the County title and also progressed to the Leinster Championship.

The under 18 and under 21 teams are preparing for the start of their respective competitions. Both teams are hoping to defend the titles they won for the last two years. The season will close with an under 11 blitz in October and will recommence in March next year.

Congratulations to the following girls who lined out for Kildare in the under 18 championship: Debbie Walsh, Eimear Flanagan, Orla Bambury, Aoife Wynne, (Capt.), Clare Doran, Regina Gorman, Linda O’Hora, Aisling Ni Ruairc and Clare Wynne. Congratulations also to Clare Doran o her selection as head girl in Scoil Dara and also to Carol Hopkins, Orla Mullally and Eimear Flanagan on being chosen as sports prefects. Best wishes to Orla Bambury, Ella Houlihan, Linda Grogan and Aoife Wynne who have started third level education this Autumn.

Cappagh GAA club is now on the Kildare web site @ www.gaa.ie Sean Gorman P.R.O.

Young at Heart Group

The Newtown / Donadea Young at Heart Group have resumed their Thursday morning meetings in Newtown Hall from 10.00am. – 2.00pm after the Summer Holidays.

If you have an excess of any of the following items or no longer need them the group could gladly use them: knitting crochet needles, wool and craft materials e.g. Rug plan or rug plan wool. Alternatively if you have a hobby you wish to share e.g. painting, cooking demonstration, mosaics quilting etc. Please contact Marion at 869303 or Brid at 869301 to arrange time and date.

Donadea Art Group

Donadea Art Group will be holding their Annual Art Exhibition in Ballagh House, Donadea on Thursday 26th October at 8.00pm. The group invites artists from outlying areas to exhibit on the night. All mediums are welcome including pottery, stain glass, bog oak, wood turning, etc. There will be a charge of £10.00 per exhibitor. Funds raised from this will go to ORBIS – the Flying Eye Hospital. The staff on this plane travel around the world operating on people who may have been blind for years due to lack of medical attention. On the plane they a teaching hospital to teach local doctors various procedures in eye care.

If you wish to exhibit please contact 045-869138 or 045-869977 (messaging service available) before Tuesday 17th October. A raffle will be held on the night with spot prizes galore.

Berna Hayden

On September 26th a musical celebration to mark the retirement of Berna Hayden from teaching was held in the National Concert Hall Dublin.

Berna’s first teaching appointment was in Staplestown School from 1960-1962, in fact she is related to the Holohan families that live locally.

The concert was a marvellous event bringing together the best musical talents in the country. The Kildare County Orchestra, which she helped found in 1998, gave a stunning performance. Her daughter Alice Blake And her Granddaughter Lucy Blake played a lovely duet. The choir of Social Bride and Herbert Lodge Arts Centre sang some lovely children’s songs. It was fitting that the Concert Hall was filled to capacity to pay tribute to this great lady.

We in Tir an Mona were privileged to have Berna and the Kildare Orchestra play in Donadea Forest Park on 3rd September. In fact it would be Tir na Mona’s intention to have the full Kildare County Orchestra play at Donadea Forest Park in the near future.

Again well done to Berna Hayden from all in Donadea and Staplestown.

Dolores Kennedy, Cooltrim, Donadea, was overwhelmed by the generous support she received from friends and neighbours for her Coffee Day held recently in aid of hospice care. Dolores thanks each and everyone who contributed to the grand total of £735. This sum has been lodged to the account of St. Brigid’s Hospice, The Curragh.

Well done to Marie Claire Walsh from Tiermohan who qualified in the under 12 600m final. Marie Claire who represented Kildare came 10th in the race in this years Community Games. A week later she came 3rd in the All Ireland B final Under 13 800m held in Navan. We wish Marie Claire the best of luck on October 8th in the Under 12 Cross-Country Championship in Naas.

St. Peters Well

Dunmurraghill is a townland situated half a mile south of Donadea and is better known by its more modem name Greenhills. This latter name is more than likely derived from the Irish translation of Dunmurraghill, Druim Uirchaille the ridge of the green wood. The townland was a separate parish in the medieval period but is now in the Catholic parish of Staplestown / Cooleragh and the Church of Ireland Clane union of parishes. There are three ecclesiastical sites in the townland firstly, Dunmurraghill cemetery secondly, the Reliceen where an ancient Church was sited and thirdly St.Peters Holy Well. The earliest mention of the townland comes from the Book of Armagh, which was completed in 807 and relates to St. Patrick’s visit to the area. This describes St. Patrick’s journey through Meath in about the year 455 when he travelled south to Kilglin, situated approximately one mile north of Kilcock which was at that time close to the boundary of Leinster. He then crossed into Leinster at a place identified as Killeighter where a Holy well bears his name. From this point he made his way to Dunmurraghill where he spent the night in the house of a chieftain. The site of this dwelling is almost certainly the ring fort that was situated in the Greenhills sand pit which was demolished in 1912. A partial sloping curve may be all that survives of the ring fort. It is situated on the southern boundary of the sand pit approximately 5 meters from St. Peter’s well. According to recent research, many Holy wells predate the coming of Christianity and may in fact have been sacred sites associated with pre-Christian religious activity. It is well known that St. Patrick and the early Christian missionaries did not destroy the pre-Christian religious sites but incorporated existing practices into Christian ceremonies. So assuming that St. Peters well was an important site at the time of St. Patrick’s visit then it was likely that he would have had a role in transforming the well to Christian use. It is likely the well was dedicated to St. Peter at some time in its early history but the reason for this has not survived. However a number of suggestions may answer this question. One likelihood is that St. Patrick visited the site on the feast day of St. Peter on 29th June and gave it this Christian name, alternatively there may have been a pre-Christian religious activity associated with the well on that day and the early missionaries simply altered the practice to a Christian ceremony and linked it with the feast of St. Peter. From the early Christian period an annual religious ceremony would take place at Holy wells. The ceremony was referred to as a ‘Pattern’ and this name was derived from the word patron. It was held on the feast day of the saint to whom the well was dedicated. This would take the form of pilgrims arriving at the site, drinking its water praying and walking clockwise around the well a number of times. Certain festivities would follow such as eating, drinking, singing and dancing, which were then followed by devotions. Patricia Jackson writing in the Kildare archaeological journal refers to a holy well named St. Patrick’s well at Donadea. The source of this information came from the Department of Folklore in University College Dublin. This well was used by St. Patrick to baptize converts and is almost certainly St. Peters well as it is described as being situated at the bottom of the Green Hill. There was a hawthorn bush hanging over the well and stones surrounded it. There is also an interesting story concerning a woman who lived close to the well. It is said that she prayed at the well continually and voices would answer her.

The second part of this article will appear in the November issue of the MONA..

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