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A Christmas message from KNN-KildareNet News

KILCULLEN & NAAS, DECEMBER 25, 1998: Our regular visitors will have noticed that we've been winding down things over Christmas week ... which is because we're taking Christmas off too! But it is an apt occasion to say a few things. First, thank you to all the many hundreds of visitors who have come each week to the KNN site in the last two months, visitors who are among the several key reasons we undertook this experiment in the first place. We would also like to say 'thank you' to those who spoke kindly of and in support of our concept, to our sponsors, and to Action South Kildare who took us onboard to their site. To the growing band of people in the community who let us know their upcoming news events, it is also a time to express our appreciation. For 1999 we will be adding significantly to the content of KNN, in both news and feature format, and we're very excited about this. But in the meantime, as our Christmas treat for you, we will each day be providing a seasonal song from the performance by Newbridge tenor Owen Lynch and his colleague Liz Ryan, at the inaugural lunchtime concert held in the Council Chamber at County Hall, Naas during Christmas week. This is for those of you who have downloaded RealPlayer so that you can hear the broadcast side of KNN. Happy listening, and a peaceful Christmas to you all. Brian Byrne and Trish Whelan.

RealAudio : Owen Lynch sings 'Jerusalem'.


Newbridge tenor aims for concert circuit success

NEWBRIDGE, DECEMBER 24, 1998: by Brian Byrne. A young Newbridge tenor says he has changed his view of where he wants to make his career, given the lack of opera opportunity in this country. Owen Lynch now intends to make his name and his living on the concert circuit, though he does admit that he will probably have to travel abroad fiirst to gain experience and establish an international profile. "It is still the old story - I remember Colm Wilkinson singing in Keadeen in Newbridge to an audience of just 12 people, and now look at him," he says. Indeed, with colleague Liz Ryan, Owen performed this week to not many more than that number at a moving and most enjoyable lunchtime concert of seasonal music in the Council Chamber at St Mary's in Naas, opening the first of what county manager Niall Bradley hopes will be the first of many such events. "We have bought the piano," the manager quipped, "so we have to do it now." Owen Lynch, as part of the Drawing Room Opera Company with Liz Ryan, Linda Glenn, Lillian Blennerhasset and accompanist Jenny Reddin, have been establishing their own opera 'niche' over the past two years, playing to small and intimate audiences around the country. "It gives us a chance to develop a distinctive style and character," Owen says. "It is quite different from the relative anonymity of working from a stage, where the voice is all you have to think about ... with a 'drawing room' audience, you have to show much more about the character you're singing."

RealAudio : Brian Byrne talks to Owen Lynch and Liz Ryan.


Fabucci wins Christmas shop window contest

NAAS, DECEMBER 24, 1998: by Trish Whelan. Fabucci shoe shop in in Moat Mall in Naas has been awarded first prize in the Christmas shop window competition organised by the town's Chamber of Commerce. The shop is run by three sisters from Kildare town, Fionnuala Doyle, Deirdre Millot and Yvonne O'Hara. (Finnoula and Deirdre are pictured here being presented with their award by Mary Bhogal, executive director of Naas CoC.) The idea for the winning display - 'Waiting for Santa at Christmas Eve' - came from a children's story book, according to Fionnuala, and it was enhanced with suitable props and animated figures. It has received much attention from local children and next year the sisters hope the idea will be taken up by other shops in the mall, to provide a continuous Christmas story. Their display continues until January 5. The second prize winner in the competition was Joan Prout's drapery store, while Catriona's fashion shop took third place. Mary Bhogal says she would like to see everybody 'make an exceptional effort' next year so that Naas windows would be on a par with any seen in Dublin. She also hopes that Santa will have a special grotto in the town next Christmas.


New Millennium Garden on target for 1 March opening

KILDARE, DECEMBER 22, 1998: A new £5 million Millennium Garden being created in the grounds of the National Stud at Kildare is well on target to be open at the end of February. The project is being developed under the supervision of Professor Martin Hallinan and incorporates a monastic theme based on the famous 'beehive' structures found on the Skelligs islands off the south-west coast of Ireland. "We were trying to come up with something that showed the spirit of St Fiacre, a 7th-century monk who settled in France and who is the patron saint of gardeners," says Professor Hallinan, who also created the award-winning landscaping at City West business park in County Dublin. "So what we have done is retain all the natural elements of woodlands, lakelands, streams and waterfalls, along with walkways, and added the beehive theme which will also include a garden made entirely of Waterford Glass." Entrance to the garden will be through a passage, as was often the case with ancient monastic settlements, and once through this the visitor will be 'in a completely different world'. "It is a 'revealing' of a garden rather than the provision of one," says Professor Hallinan.

RealAudio : Brian Byrne talks to Professor Martin Hallinan.


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Intel donates £120,000 computers

LEIXLIP, DECEMBER 22, 1998: Leixlip-based company Intel Ireland has donated high-powered computing equipment worth more than £120,000 to upgrade the company's previous donation to two Departments in UCD. The equipment included in the upgrade includes 30 400 MHz Pentium II processor PCs donated to the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, a further five higher specification 400 MHz Pentium II processor PCs to the same Department, a further five higher specification 400 MHz Pentium (r) II processor PCs to the Mechanical Engineering Department. Intel previously donated PCs to UCD in 1996.


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South county area 'neglected' in water supply

SOUTH KILDARE, DECEMBER 22, 1998: A regional water scheme for South Kildare is an essential if the area is to get any new industry, according to local councillor Martin Miley. "Unless the proper services are here, we're at nothing," he says. He also says that more than 1,000 houses in the area still draw their water from wells, and new wells being bored are found not to have water up to required EU standards. "But people have to use it because they have nothing else. The area is completely neglected." He has welcomed a promise from the county manager to look into the situation, and wants a grant given for a survey of water requirements to be used specifically for the South Kildare area. Recently Cllr Miley and his colleague from Kildare Cllr Sean O Fearghaill proposed that the council get permission to raise a loan, to be paid for by development levies, so as to provide a proper water scheme for the region.

RealAudio : Martin Miley on need for water scheme.




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National Stud gets first 'Q' Mark for stud or tourist facility

KILDARE, DECEMBER 21, 1998: The National Stud at Kildare has become the first Irish stud farm and the first tourist attraction in the country to receive the 'Q' Mark from Excellence Ireland. The award was presented by Ciaran Doyle of Excellence Ireland to the minister for agriculture, Joe Walsh TD, and Mrs Chryss O'Reilly, chairman of the National Stud board (see picture on left). Mrs O'Reilly said it represented the results of a lot of work by the staff of the stud and gave the enterprise 'an ongoing goal to live up to'. Minister Walsh said everybody had contributed to the achievement by a state body that is 'exemplary and a credit to the country'. The coordinators of the work to achieve the Q Mark were Pat Mullarkey and Eileen Kavanagh (pictured below) - Mr Mullarkey said he was 'shocked' by the amount of work that he realised would be involved when they were first given the guidelines from Excellence Ireland, but there was then 'no turning back' and he commended the way that the staff of the enterprise had come on board the project. He noted that it was five years to the day that the National Stud had laid off 19 people and had seemed to have a difficult future, but now that future is much brighter. Eileen Kavanagh said the award will 'keep us all on our toes'.

RealAudio : Brian Byrne talks to Pat Mullarkey and Eileen Kavanagh.

RealAudio : Trish Whelan talks to Mrs Chryss O'Reilly.



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