September Mona Newsletter

__________September Donadea News__________



On Friday June 30th., a wonderful event took place in Donadea Forest, but it did not start there - no, the preparations for it began much earlier. The people of Kilcock and Newtown Parish, were busy sifting through a pile of ideas for a Liturgy for the event. With cooperation from the Church of Ireland community in Donadea, and from members of Staplestown - Cooleragh Parish the broad outline of the event was planned.

Donadea Forest Park was booked for the occasion, - and thanks to Mr. George Hipwell (Manager Coillte, Donadea) all the facilities of the Park were made available to us.

The Pilgrimage started from four ancient Christian Places of worship and burial. Clonshambo and Hortland in Kilcock Parish, Staplestown Church and St. Peter’s Well in Cooleragh Parish.

Those of us who started from Hortland arrived at the Cemetery at 6 p.m. Great credit is due to the Cemetery Committee, as they had it beautifully prepared.

Beatrice Mallon and Marie Houlihan welcomed us all, and after a short Prayer our journey began across to Hortland Bridge. Tommy Simms and Josh Rose agreed that we should avoid the "Street of Hortland" as we might get caught up in the evening rush hour traffic! Instead we headed slightly east of it through lovely fields of moor meadows. Now it began to rain, but luckily it soon cleared off. We stopped at various points for Prayers and to check our bearings for Derryvarogue. Eventually we recognised familiar houses, and we crossed the Derry Road at Des O’Leary’s house, and next to Derrycrib, first a pleasant forest scene, and then a beautiful scene of white bog cotton and wild orchids.

We arrived at St. Peter’s Well at 7.30 p.m. (we were walking for over an hour now).

The Staplestown Group was at the Well to greet us. James Reid led us in Prayer at the Well, and after a drink from it, we proceeded to Greenhills Cemetery, where a group of people read Prayers for our Dead, our Sick, and our Troubled. We left the Cemetery in silent Reflection until we reached the "Range" Houses.

We now entered Donadea Forest. When we arrived at the Castle, we were already too late for The Welcoming Prayers, so we hurried up to St. Peter’s Church, which was beautifully prepared, with lots of lit candles, and Phyllis Reid playing the Church Organ.

James Reid welcomed us, and Rt. Rev. Roy Warke led us in Prayer, and read the Scripture relating to The Good Samaritan. After a short homily on neighbourliness, he called on Fr. P. J. Byrne to lead us in Prayer and to say a few words. The entire congregation joined in the two moving Hymns, and the feeling of Christian Fellowship was very evident.

We next adjourned to the castle, where Noleen Walsh read the history of it. The group of over 100 people by now, walked to and around the lake to light their lanterns and candles after a short Prayer and Reflection. Fr. P. J. was next to say a Prayer to symbolise the crossing of bridges in our lives, at the wooden bridge near the lake. Darkness was now descending on us, as the light of our candles and lanterns grew stronger. Eilish O Brien, Kilcock, read a beautiful and very apt poem (by Timmy Conway, Naas) which reflected on nature and our environment.

The final Station of the Pilgrimage had the theme of celebration, and after some Prayers and Reflections, the Newton Children’s Choir sang a Hymn, followed by a beautiful solo piece by Eileen Nolan.

Sean Flannery read a prayer before our meal, and then we opened our picnic baskets, and shared their contents with each other. With the flickering light of the burning torches and the mounted lanterns, we all eat and drank and talked and laughed, and sang and drank...and drank!!...Whew what an event!!...It was Midnight by the time that the last of us left Donadea Forest Park, full of The Holy Spirit, and some full of other good spirit as well !!.

Thank you to all who organised The Jubilee 2000 Pilgrimage to Donadea Forest Park on the 30th June 2000. Good Friends, good Neighbours, all united as a Christian Family, just as it began 2000 years ago.


On Wednesday 28th June, the eve of the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, a small group of people met at St. Peter’s Well, Greenhills, Donadea. Amid bird song Rev. David Frazer read the Gospel and reflections. Well known local historian Seamus Cullen gave a brief talk on the history of the Well and on the immediate locality.

Seamus assured us that there is documented evidence to support the fact that St. Patrick visited this Well,

and that it is likely the visit was on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, hence the name St Peter’s.

Councilor Michael Fitzpatrick said he enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this special place and would like to be involved with the restoration of the Well.

Liam Holton, Chairman, Tir Na Mona, who organised the event thanked all for attending, especially Rev David, Councilor Michael and Seamus. Liam hoped that the well would be restored in a sensitive way and that it would be fully accessible to all.

As we left this sacred place with the faint tinkling of running water, the air perfumed by the many wild herbs, flowers and grasses, we were at one with nature and pondered on all who would have visited this site in times gone by.

(We are unable to bring you Seamus Cullens article on St. Peter’s Well this month due to lack of space but we hope to include it next month., MONA)


Newtown Donadea Young at Heart Group who have been on holiday for the month of august will re-start on Thurs Sept 7th.

The group meet every Thursday from

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Newtown Hall, where they play cards, learn handicrafts or just chat with neighbours.

There are no parish boundaries – ALL ARE WELCOME. Transportation can be arranged. For further information call Marian at 869303 or Brid at 86930


Donadea Art Group will be holding their annual exhibition in the Autumn. All art forms are welcome. The date for the exhibition has yet to be set, but will definitely be late October. So get working and watch this space.


Donadea Development Group will hold it’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday Sept. 12th at 8.30 p.m. in Connolly’s Pub, Ballagh. ALL WELCOME – THE COMMUNITY NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT.

No Room in the Inn (The Stranger May Have Wings)

Many years ago, one stormy night, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small Guest House in Philadelphia. The couple had no baggage. "All the hotels are full up", said the man to the waiter, "can you possibly give us a room here?". The waiter replied that there were three conventions in town that weekend and no accommodation left anywhere. "Every guest- room is taken" he explained "but still I simply can’t send a nice couple like you out in the rain at this late hour. Would. you perhaps be willing to sleep in my little rest room; It’s no great shakes but you are welcome to it.

Next morning the elderly man gave the waiter a generous gift for his, in fact a fistful of dollars. And as he did so he remarked "You are the kind of man who should be boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you!" The waiter laughed. And he laughed again, after two years had passed, he received a letter containing a round—trip ticket to New York and a request that he call upon his guest of that stormy night. In the metropolis the old man led his waiter friend to the corner of Fifth Avenue and pointed to a vast new building there. A palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers like a castle from a fairy land. "That" he declared "is the hotel I have built for you to manage. As if hit by lightning, the waiter from Philadelphia stood speechless and fixed to the ground. His benefactor was William Waldorf Astor - and the hotel the most famous of its day, the original Waldorf Astoria. It pays to treat others well. Under a ragged coat they may hide their wings. Pat Ramsbottom

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