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Leinster Leader 25th February 2010

From Castledermot to Leixlip …follow the KAS for 2010
It’s the time of year when the history community emerges from its winter hibernation and begins to look forward to the series of talks, outings and presentations on facets of local history around the county. Most history groups have a programme of talks during the year; all welcome both the committed and the casually interested. Maintaining an eye on the local notes columns of this paper is a good way of keeping in touch with history group meetings in your locality. A fine starting point is the annual programme of the Kildare Archaeological Society.
The KAS is the longest lived history society in the county and indeed one of the longest established in the country. Its members have been researching and publishing the history of County Kildare and adjoining counties for well over a century. The society will reach back far in time for the topic of its first meeting when on Sunday, 21st March at 3pm Noel Dunne, archaeologist, will give a presentation on ‘Recent archaeological discoveries on the M9 Kilcullen to Carlow motorway’, the venue is the Kilcullen heritage centre.
The following month society volunteers will gather at Rathangan Church of Ireland graveyard to continue a tombstone recording project for burial grounds in the county begun last year. Expert guidance will be provided by Bridget Loughlin, Kildare County Council heritage officer and Mario Corrigan of the County Library local studies section. Assemble at Rathangan church at 2.30pm on Sunday, 25th April for this exercise which is surprisingly enjoyable despite its cemetery setting.
The gorse will be blazing yellow on the Wicklow hills in May when the KAS explores the Glen of Imaal. The Glen is well known as the main field training location for the Defence Forces. That activity has created its own history in Army folklore. Leitrim barracks, one of the chain built through Wicklow by the British, will be visited as will monuments from a much earlier era including the Kilruddery stone circle and the Knickeen ogham stone. Rendezvous is at the Glen Lounge car park at 2pm on Saturday, 22nd May.
 On Sunday 18th July the KAS takes an out-of-county trip to Wexford where destinations include the old Ferns cathedral and the period house known as the The Deeps, currently the residence of Peter Pearson, a well known author on architecture and art history. At the end of summer the Society marks heritage day at a location which is the spiritual home of Kildare historians, St. Brigid’s cathedral at Kildare town. Archaeologist Heather King will give an expert guide to the Cathedral’s medieval monuments while her colleague Con Manning will present some insights on the round tower, one of the great landmarks of the Kildare heartland. And to add to the sensory feast there will be a recital on the cathedral’s newly renovated organ.  September will see the KAS and friends perambulating the Old Norse promontory of Howth, a visit to the church, castle and megalithic tomb as well as some fresh maritime airs from the Irish Sea. The heather will be in its autumn hues on the Wicklow hills on 19th September when the speaker will be Dr. Seamus O’Maitiu who will give a talk on a ‘Historical survey of the King’s river valley’, a river with a melodious name such as that deserves a place on any annual programme.
The sun will be setting early in November 2010 when the KAS programme features a talk by Patrick Guinness, a descendant of the great Arthur and Furness resident, who has taken a scientific approach to tracing his family roots. He will reveal all in a talk entitled ‘Irish history revealed by genetics.’  
The foregoing preview of KAS activities far from exhausts its activities – its biennial journal is a hugely valuable contribution to the history of the county as does its network of members who form a supportive asset to anybody researching aspects of Kildare’s heritage. Leading the KAS in its 109th year is President, Conleth Manning; Vice-President, Hugh Crawford; Immediate Past President, Elizabeth Connelly; Secretary, Mary Glennon; Membership Secretary, Greg Connelly; Treasurer: Catherine Boylan; Librarian, Bernadette Doyle; Editor, Prof. Raymond Gillespie; Assistant Editor, Eamon Kane; Auditor, Nicola Gregory; Programme co-ordinator, Mary Kirby; and council members, Mario Corrigan, Seamus Cullen, Patrick Guinness, Eamon Kane, Niall Meagher, Brian McCabe, Siobhan McNulty, Andrew Ogden, Elizabeth O’Kelly, Dr. Seamus O’Maitiú, Jens Priesler, and Glascott Symes. All are well known in their localities and will be glad to speak with prospective members or anybody with an interest in the heritage of county Kildare and adjoining terrain. Series no: 166.

Liam Kenny, in his regular feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun' in the Leinster Leader looks forward to the annual programme of  the Kildare Archaeological Society for 2010.  Our thanks to Liam...

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