Kildare's Wild Geese

Need Olympics accommodation?

TAHMOOR, NSW, AUSTRALIA, 16 August 2000:

Dear Editor,

Thanks for the great work you do for everyone, especially the far distant runners. Perhaps you could publish this message about accommodation for the Olympics in Sydney. From down under we are working hard, coping with the Olympic Games hype, mayhem and dramatic rushing to have everything coordinated for the largest event in the year for Sydney Australia. The traveller who visits Sydney during the Olympic period will have a huge problem finding accommodation.

I have checked a number of hotels and motels in the Sydney region with poor success for accommodation availability. The prices that have been quoted are from $400 to $1200 per night for a 2-bedroom apartment.

However, one motel that I contacted, in Leumeah, has had a group cancellation from Japan, and cost of accommodation ranges from $239-$269 for 2 people + $40.00 for each extra person. It has a 20-metre pool, gym, steam room, spa and in house movies. Also, a number of restaurants within walking distance. Lomb Railway Station only 3 minutes walk away and trains will depart from Lomb and go straight to the Olympic Park Station. Contact MacArthur Inn: 5 Grange Road, Lomb. Correspondence: PO Box 993 Campbelltown N.S.W 2560. Phone: 61-246281144; Fax: 61-246262409; Email and its website is

I was raised at Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace. I watched Matt Purcell play handball with envy and now have a great email relationship with him, thanks to a publication in the KNN Wild Geese by Rob Mullally. Matt Purcell has created a great web site with a prominent link to KNN -

Should you lose your pet or if you find a lost pet (in Australia!!), please go to

Tim Clarke


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The last walkabout ...

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 3 December 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. We arrived back to Sydney at the perfect time. Just as Summer is starting and right before the weekend. It is a city that does not sleep. So, by coincidence, neither do you.

Sydney is daunting. The skyline as you approach from the north is spectacular. It always takes a few minutes to soak it all up. Then you look to your right as you drive over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House sits in all its glory. It seems to be very hidden from view as if they intended that it would not be the first thing to be seen by the unsuspecting tourist. Even though it is, after all, what we all associate Sydney with.

After my first week in Sydney I remember thinking that there was something I just could not figure out about this huge urban sprawl. There seemed to be something Sydneysiders did not want the outsider to know. On the face of it this is a very clean and prosperous city. Like most throughout the world. Although elsewhere you know that each city has its problems. Here you rarely see police walk on the streets or even patrol cars are few and far between (they look so like the cabs though. I could be wrong). There is an air of calmness about the place. As if nothing bad ever happens.

After taking three months to drive around the country, I have come to one conclusion. Not an answer but a conclusion. Sydney is the cleaned-up Australia. It is where the problems of two cultures never mixing is ignored and forgotten. Western capitalism is at its greatest in city environment like Sydney. A city full of a well educated and confident generation. A city where Aboriginal culture will never fit in. Here in this city the Aboriginal question is put far far in the back of peoples’ minds. Not so much ignored but never thought of.

The Irish are very well liked here. Luckily, as there are hundreds living in every nook and cranny of this city. Most go straight for Coogee or Bondi beaches on the east side of the city. In any of the major bars in this side of the city you are bound to bump into someone who lives up the road from you. Or at least someone who knows someone that knows your sister-in-law’s cousin. Inevitably you will end up talking to John Doe for many many hours and by the time you finish, Ireland is the greatest place on earth, you’re sorted for a place to stay for a while, and neither of you would have ever voted for the peace process if you'd have known it would take so long!

In the end, Sydney is a roller-coaster ride that you can only endure for so long. There is a buzz about the city . Nine out of ten people love living here. All will love to show you around. With pubs staying open until hours you never thought you would be conscious and still be alive at, the full tour takes a while. So my advice is, be prepared.

King’s Cross Car Market is worse the second time around. Of course, this time we are on the other side of the fence. We are now the car dealers. It is our job to convince the very skeptical that our jade green 1983 Ford Falcon is the beast for then. This is made more difficult by the sheer number of Falcons for sale. In all, there are twelve in the market. All no different to our own. All have done at least ten thousand kilometres in the last three or four months. And each and every owner will stand by their vehicle because, lets face it, the old dolls got us there and back and that is good enough for

The weekdays are particularly quiet. A lot of the time is spent rearranging your camping gear to make it look more attractive for a sale. On Thursday, day two for us, we break our a barbecue in true Aussie style. The monotony is broken for a little while. By Saturday we break out the beer. We can take no more. It is, after all, our last weekend in Sydney. We sell the car for a song - $1,500 to a friend from home. That's it. It's over.

As myself and just two of my travelling companions leave the market we know in our hearts that selling that car marks the end of our odyssey. We have done what we came to do. We go for a couple of beers in O'Malley's Irish bar in King’s Cross. It is busy for a sunny Saturday afternoon. All the Irish hiding from the sun. The talk is of our first days in Sydney. The two Galway girls who bought the car are with us. So we share our adventures over the last few months. Telling the do’s and don'ts. All the time knowing that they are only paying attention to be polite. The mistakes that you make are half the trip. We tell nothing really but we do guarantee that the drive around will be everything you think and more. Our advice is like a form of nostalgia.

It is Tuesday the 30th of November and we fly out for Thailand today. We are all over the city taking one last peek. As we all gather our things, buy the koalas and kangaroos, there is feeling that we will be back. The sun is shining on the city as the summer crawls in. It is good time to be here. The streets are busy with tourists and somehow you don't want to leave. All around are the new arrivals- the next flock of Irish and English backpackers have arrived, escaping the winter I am bracing myself for. It was very cold when they left so I am told. Better buy a jumper. It's their turn now. And I hope they have the time of their lives!


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Seeing the red rock symbol ...

AYRES ROCK, AUSTRALIA, 23 November 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. In many ways Ayres Rock was to be the highlight of our trip. Once we actually saw it, stood beside it, got our photo taken in its shadow, we would have seen Australia. It is indeed all they say it is. Huge because it is surrounded by the flat, flat desert. It stands at 363 meters but it looks like 1000 meters. It is truly awesome.

As you drive through central Australia you can feel, see and know that this is a continent with a history that is thousands of years old. The Aboriginal culture is alive and respected here. Ayres Rock is a symbol of the Aboriginal way of life. The Rock itself is very sacred to its people. That the area around the rock is not very commerical says a lot for their culture and the respect they have for it. The fact that more and more people are ignoring their request that no one climb the rock says even more about ours and the respect we have for theirs.

The facilities around the rock are surprisingly good. We chose to camp. A hastily made decision as temperatures at night in the desert plummet after the sun goes down. Speaking of which their is no need for a time piece here as the only time that matters is either sunrise or sunset. Feeling that sunrise is just sunset in reverse we chose the latter. It is important to see Ayers at one or either as at any other time she is brown. As the sun sets or rises the Rock goes a scarlet red before hiding behind the darkness.

After we leave Central Australia we all know that our trip is just about over. Really all that is left is the most dreaded part. We must now return to where we began. The Kings Cross car market in Sydney awaits. With any luck will will mix a bit of business with a lot of pleasure as we finish up our year travelling in the land down under.


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Voting under the scorching sun ...

ALICE SPRINGS, AUSTRALIA, 15 November 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. The sun is scorching the earth as we drive through the desert. Not the most comfortable conditions for driving, but we were warned that the centre of Australia is one of the hottest places on earth. The drive from Katerine to Alice Springs takes nearly two days with an overnight stop in Tennants Creek. As we go south the increase in the Aboriginal population is noticeable. Much of the land is their territory and we need permits to enter. A strange situation, since much of the aboriginal culture is based on sharing. It is even said that when the Europeans first came here they were invited to share the land. This however is not what they had in mind. It is no wonder then that the indigenous people have such distrust.

We reach Alice Springs on the eve of polling day. For the first time Australians are to vote on whether to become a republic. This, coupled with the Rugby World Cup final against France, make it a very important weekend indeed. As I stand outside the polling station in the centre of Alice Springs I get the impression that John Howard, Australia’s Premier, has a disgruntled electorate on his hands. It seems that the majority believe that it is indeed time to break the link with England. Time to stand up and take its place among the nations of the world. However, they have not been given the means to express this. The choice given last Saturday was clocked. If you voted for a republic you would have to accept a President nominated by the government. A point, it seems, that is very sore with Australians. There is a very obvious distrust between Australians and their politicians. Whenever I asked why this was so nobody could answer. There is no particular reason for it.

By six o clock on Saturday it was clear that Australians had voted for the status quo. Speaking to people on the street here it appears that they didn't vote against a republic but against what seems to be a politician’s republic. You have to wonder whether John Howard gave his fellow Australians a real choice or his version of a choice. On Saturday the sixth of November 1999, Australia won the battle but lost the war.

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At the Top End ...

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA, 2 November 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. We have reached the Top End, as Darwin is known around these parts. After our three-day trek from Cairns it is a relief to be stationary for a week or so.

The Northern Territory is the most barren and least populated part of Australia. It seems that maybe this is where the real Australia is. Here the land is left untouched and the wildlife is free to roam its natural habitat. The Northern Territory has a small population and an even more fragile economy. It is not classified as a state and until 1978 was administered by New South Wales and South Australia. The people here are very proud of their territory and take great care of their outback. It seems also that here they try to live side by side with the Aboriginal community. There is a mutual respect between the two I have not seen in many of the other states. For the most part Aboriginals have resigned themselves to a pauper status and ‘European’ Australians seem to think that that is where they belong.

Here in the Northern Territory the Europeans have seemed to realise that Aboriginal cultural is worth preserving. Kakadu National Park is about 153km east of Darwin. It is a natural marvel. It stretches 200km south from the coast and 100km from east to west. Much of Kakadu is Aboriginal is Aboriginal land and is leased to the government for use as a national park. It is jointly run by aboriginals - about one third of the rangers are aboriginal. There is an abundance of wildlife as well as some spectacular views and aboriginal rock paintings.It is advised that you do a guided tour as much of the land here is four-wheel-drive. However all tours are very expensive so we opted to go it alone.

At the moment we are in the pre-rain season. The heat is very uncomfortable. You can almost set your watch by the storms.They say there are up to ninety electrical storms between September and March. I reckon twice that. They make for unbelievable viewing and also cool the temperature - a bit of a relief, let me tell you. Our camping in Kakadu was cut short because of the pain of the heat. Our trip was nonetheless enjoyable. We finally clicked on day three that all activities could be done in the early morning and from about three in the afternoon.Temperatures at these hours are bearable. Walking through the forest along the riverbank we happened to spot several freshwater crocodiles. These are some of the most amazing creatures you can see and in the wild. Luckily for us they were all on the other side of the river. Although through binoculars they were very very close. After a few spotting you learn a few things - the sight of a shoal of fish darting across the river means that, yes, the ‘king of the river’ is passing through ... give way.

We leave Darwin tomorrow to make our way to the very heat of this land. It seems unlikely to me that the east coast and the Northern Territory are part of the same country. They are so different, almost a complete contrast. That however is the appeal of the land. So from the palm trees of the east we dive south to the red, dry dust of central Australia.

Ireland's Daily National News

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Driving the barren distance

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA, 26 October 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. We are now leaving the east coast and are prepared for a road trip that even Eddie Irvine might think twice about. The Cairns to Darwin route is long and barren. It is to be feared for its distance, and respected for what is out there. Only the very harshest of fauna grows there and the most deadly of creatures live there.

With all this in mind, and a large cylinder of water, we set off from Townsville for the first leg of our journey. After a morning skydiving from 10,000 feet we feel invincible. For this trip we are joined by two friends. Their vehicle, like our own is old, - a 1976 Toyota Hi-Ace. This, of course, makes the trip all the more challenging. First impressions of the outback are good. It is vast and empty, unlike anything we have experienced. No man lives here because the land is hard and hungry. No matter how far we drive we appear to be in the same spot. The mind does not wander, it stagnates. Local authorities promote the stop, revive, survive campaign and they are serious.

At times we found ourselves in awe of such a land. Flora is scarce but the very harshest of animals find this land habitable. On our way across we saw the real McCoy. Yes, a kangaroo, lurked along the stretch of never ending road. We stopped. Once the engine of our car was switched off all we could hear was the deadly silence of the real Australia. The whistle of the wind through the scorched grass. The movement of the creatures that inhabit this wilderness. We were in the middle of nowhere and for a moment six people who thought all they had stared death in the face when they decided to jump from the heavens at 10,000 feet earlier that day knew that this was even more terrifying. This so peaceful land was all too terrifying, and in that beautiful.

The journey took us three days in total. Outback Australia is worth the drive if only to say you made it. We did. Against all the odds we reached Darwin. The journey has been made all the more special because one of us, Trish Scanlon, was born here in Darwin in 1974. That year, on Christmas Eve, a cyclone hit this town, flattening it to the ground and killing some 60 people. Soon after this terrifying experience, the Scanlons returned to Ireland. Today the city stands rebuilt and reinforced, but that Christmas Eve is very much in the minds of those who live here.

Wants help with trad music project

NEWBRIDGE, 17 October 1999:

Dear Editor,

We are currently carrying out a research project on the development of traditional music in Co Kildare with a view to publishing the information in book form. If anyone out there has information on various aspects of traditional/folk music; musicians; dancers and so on, relating to County Kildare could they please contact us

Yours Sincerely,

M&A Kelly. Kildare Performing Arts Group.

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Encountering the outback

GAGADU, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, 19 October 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. The east coast of Australia is the most active holiday you will ever have. You can choose from a variety of sports and more. From toad golf to swimming with dolphins to visiting a crocodile farm. There is literally something for everybody, many of which are not for the faint-hearted.

As backpackers we are limited by only two things - money and time. Fortunately, competition is fierce so it is very possible to do most of what is on offer. Never forget this is a country that loves backpackers and caters very well for their needs.

As inexperienced campers we opted for a somewhat supervised bushcamp as our first stop in Queensland. Gagadu is 7km from Noosa Heads, just an hour and a half north of Brisbane. It is very much off the track. The turn-off to the camp is a sand path more suited to a four-wheel-drive. It is all part of a sandy national park on the banks of the Noosa river. The campsite is run by two former backpackers who had nowhere to live so chose to "go bush ". The hostel of sorts is 100% recycled and enviornmentally friendly. There is a common room/tent that will remind you of M.A.S.H. with cooking facliities and warm showers are also available. It is rather like staying at a friend’s house. The atmosphere is very relaxed. So much so you find yourself answering the phone and or cleaning the common tent. They also offer a 3-day canoe trip to an adjacent camping ground, which is most enjoyable even for the very unfit among us.

Feeling like veteran campers, we pushed on up the coast for a pre-booked four-wheel-drive experience. A lot of the outback in Australia is very near impossible to drive without such a vehicle. Our trip took us to the largest sand island in the world (124 kilometers long covering 163,000 hectares). For the trip we grouped up with four Americans and, thank God, one could drive a 4WD. Our intro and training lasted all of an hour. Most of which was news footage of accidents other backpackers had had. The island itself is spectacular. Unfortunately, the weather was not great, but the contrast between the magnificent rainforest and the never-ending stretch of beach shone through the bleak weather.

After all that sand, we were about ready for some water. We had booked ourselves on a 3-day sailing trip around the tropical Whitsunady islands. It is all you can imagine and more. For a mere $265 we spent three days pretending that we were not lowely backpackers living from bags and sleeping in a car but were eccentric millionaires cruising around sundrenched islands and snorkelling on the reef.

Back to reality. We are approaching the very north of Queensland and have only seven weeks or so to to get back to Sydney before flying home. Time is of the essence as the distane to be covered is near nine thousand kilometers. First though, it's to Mission Beach to cure my fear of flying. Yes, the dreaded Sky Dive. Australia will bring out the adventerous side of even the most cowardly amongst us.


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Snake eyes in Byron Bay

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA, 4 October 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. All my life I have been told to stand tall. Walk with your head up, be proud of who you are. We all know the old story. So you can well imagine my surprise when the nice assistant at reception in The Arts Factory Hostel in Byron Bay, north NSW, told us to walk with our heads down.

His reasoning was simple. Snakes. Yes, snakes. Big ones, little ones, harmless ones, venomous ones. It is not a myth. They are out there and one was in the grounds of our hostel. The Arts Factory is a hostel with a difference in a town where the words ‘chill out’ are first on everybody's lips. The accommodation ranges from your average bunk dorms to a tepee right as far as wagons on a lake.

Our unusual guest was passing his time under one of the wagons. He was, we were told, a red belly black snake. Venomous, but not likely to attack. If we should be bitten, he told us to grab the snake by the tail and throw it as far away from the hotel as possible. They would then call us a cab to the local hospital. Relief we thought. No. This person didn't seem to realise that we came from a country where you would have to really taunt an animal
to be attacked. The word snake rarely crops up in a conversation.

In any case we spent nearly two weeks in the weirdly wonderfull town of Byron Bay. This was our last stop before heading into the Sunshine State of Queensland. This is where we are going to spend the greater part of our trip. This is where the rain forest meets the Great Barrier Reef. This is where they serve beer in small measures called pots because any larger quantity would just get too hot in the sun. This is also where the houses have no foundations - instead they stand on stilts and look as if a strong wind would blow them over. Apparently this is because most of the land is composed of sand.

It is a state I know we are going to enjoy.


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BEER for Ballymore Wild Geese

NEW SOUTH WALES & BALLYMORE, 28 September 1999:

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to KNN for a great web site that is most informative to people worldwide.

My name is Tim Clarke. I was raised in Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace a few years ago. I live in the area of Sydney, Australia, where there are hundreds of kangaroos and Irish people I have been keeping a watch on KNN web site for almost a year & I am impressed with the content. I saw the letter on Wild Geese from Rob Mullally (Jamaica) who has now moved to San Diego. I contacted Rob to realise that he was the brother of my schoolmate Michael Mullally.

I have exchanged mail with Matt Purcell, also a Ballymore man who contributes most interesting writings to the Ballymore Bugle newsletter. Through contact with Matt Purcell I elected to form a reunion in Ballymore Eustace in September 2000, starting on Saturday 9th with activities throughout the week and ending on Sunday 17th.

The week-long activities will be a fun way for people worldwide, away from their place of youth and memories, to be rekindled with relatives and friends while at the same time everyone's participation will be directed at raising funds for the youth of Ballymore Eustace.

This is a great opportunity for the local business houses and any person in Ballymore Eustace who can supply goods and service for the reunion. The reunion will be named BEER - Ballymore Eustace Emigrant Reunion

I would like to hear from persons who would like to make the BEER a success by their presence or participation. For further information please contact Tim Clarke, PO Box 14 Tahmoor NSW 2573 Australia, or E-mail

Thank You KNN.

Tim Clarke

Looking for news of Naas relatives

NAAS & AUSTRALIA, 22 September 1999:

Dear Editor,

I saw your pages and would love to hear from any of my deceased Grandmothers family. Her maiden name was Anna May Higgins and she came from Abbey Bridge Naas. If this rings any bells withanyone I can be contacted on the above.

Thank you,

Thomas Percy, Warrnambool, Australia


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Setting out on Australian driveabout

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 17 September 1999: SPECIAL FEATURE SERIES by Susan Cunningham. Australia is covered in kangaroos. Just covered. Wallabies, kangaroos and koalas everywhere. Actually, not really. I've been here close on a year now and apart from a trip to the Zoo I have yet to spot my first real life Australian Skippy. What this country is truly covered in is Backpackers. Australia is, it seems, a port of call for those in their mid-twenties from England to Israel and from Chile to Canada.

Australia is very hospitable to the traveller it must be one of the easier countries in the world to travel through.Their are hostels scattered everywhere camping ground fully equipped with Bar-be and showers. Their hospitality, it seems, sometimes stems from the fact that this country is so far away from everywhere that Australians are just glad to see someone from the outside world.

The entire challenge of being a traveller here lies in the huge distance between each destination. Superimposed on a map of Europe Oz stretches from Madrid to Moscow. So to conquer such a distance we decided to buy a car. Straight forward enough you would think. However as backpackers our budget is limited so going to a garage or finding something in The Sydney Morning Herald was not an option. Instead we made a trip to The Backpackers Car Market in the red (or dead) light district of Kings Cross in Sydney. Yes, an entire market full of some the oldest cars in Australia . These cars are better travelled than Michael Palin. They've done the road from Sydney to Cairns so many times they could get you there themselves. After much deliberation and bargaining, speaking to mechanics looking under bonnets it was decided to make a purchase. Between a group of four we bought a 1983 Ford Falcon station wagon. A beast of a car that is to be our home for the next three months or so.

It is not environmentally friendly, not economical on gas, and now and again you get the feeling that too many people before you have made this car their home. Somehow that's the point. Backpacking is not for everybody. To be honest, none of us know if it's for us. Still, spirits are good, car is all go, and we are off.

ED'S NOTE: Susan Cunningham is from Newbridge and will be reporting regularly to KNN on her travels across the Land of Oz.


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Information requested on Byrnes of Kilcullen, Ballysax

31 August 1999:

Dear Editor

I would be grateful for any information on the family of James Byrne, son of Thomas & Mary Kelly Byrne. He married Ellen Dowling and lived in Kilcullen, where he owned 10 acres of land. This later went to his wife Ellen, then their son Patrick who died in a rest home in Dublin. Most of Thomas and Mary’s children went to San Francisco, except Rose, who was living with her father in 1900, and Sarah Byrne who married James Glynn & lived in Moone Parish.

For some reason, Thomas Byrne was supposedly connected with the Moore Stables in Ballysax - perhaps he worked there? In 1989 we went to the Moore Stables - but everyone was at the races. Anyway - I heard it had just been sold. James and his sons when they first came to San Francisco were listed as coopers (barrel makers) - not sure if they did that in Ireland - then in San Francisco the sons became policemen or worked for the Hibernia Bank. The sponsor for their first son, Maurice Byrne, was Maurice Moore of Ballysax.

Ellen Byrne,


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Calling all Kennas

30 August 1999:

Dear Editor,

My grandfather was Mark Kenna, born in Athy, Kildare, 21.04.1865. His parents were Edward and Elizabeth Owens Kenna. He was one of 4 siblings that came to the US in the late 1800s. There were younger children Michael and Elizabeth, but I have no information on what happened to them.

I know there are numerous Kennas in Kildare and Dublin. I recently heard there are tombstones with the Kenna name at Glendalough. I will appreciate any further information.

Ed Kenna


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Remembers Naas CBS

26 August 1999:

Dear Editor,

I read today about the Leaving Certificate results for Naas CBS and secondary educational institutes across Kildare. This occasion brings back many memories of both anxiety and then relief, as you learn that you have been successful in achieving this level of education. Although the importance of this level of education has lost some of its meaning over the years as more and more emphasis is placed upon third level and post graduate education, it remains a time of celebration, in that this is a significant achievement and should be celebrated.

As a past pupil at Naas CBS I am very proud of this institution, and would welcome the opportunity as a past pupil to respond to Mr Merrick's solicitation of feedback from past pupils. However, I have searched the "WOO WOO WOO" only to find that Naas CBS has no e-mail address, or least one that I could find using web search engine's. So if you have the Naas CBS e-mail address I would appreciate it and welcome the opportunity to communicate with the current teaching and student population.


Niall P Bracken


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Greetings from Buenos Aires

Dear Editor,

I'm originally from Celbridge, my father was a well-known builder (St Conleth's in Newbridge in front of the church on the banks of the Liffey, and the Dominican Church in Athy were his best known jobs in Kildare, if we omit a church in Coill Dubh which in its initial stages was blown down one night during a bad storm and had to be reroofed!) After Daddy the best-known member of our family was Andy Geraghty, who was a trainer on the Curragh, Ballysax. I haven't heard from him for years, so if you know anything about him, where to locate him, I'd appreciate it.

As for me, well, I came to Argentina in 1966 with the Divine Word Missionaries and although I went back to Ireland on many occasions I always returned to Buenos Aires and I haven't been back to Ireland since 1982, the year Daddy died. I make a living selling English Language Services to companies and to schools. I sell homestay programs in Ireland & GB. I am also a writer and a freelance journalist and have been published both in English and Spanish. I am the English-language editor of the The Southern Cross, the 123-year-old Irish-Argentine community newspaper. I have a weekly radio program titled Ireland, Land of Legends and Leprecauns. I am the President of the local James Joyce Society and I have been teaching Gaelic (I was at Colaiste Mhuire, Parnell Square) once a week for 20 years.

Sin a bhfuil. Keep up the good work.

Michael Geraghty


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Greetings to Kilcock from New Hampshire

Dear Editor,

We lived at Courtown Stud farm in Kilcock, that is the one Brendan O'Mahony owns. Then we moved here 13 years ago. I’m married to an airline pilot and I work in management for a huge corporation - we have two plants in Ireland one in Cork and a company called C-Fab in Tallaght - a computer enclosure and telcom company.

I have travelled all over USA but live now about 45 minutes north of Boston in New Hampshire. Very much like home. I have watched that movie ‘Waking Ned Devine’ about 15 times. Just had some people over for a visit and they had not seen it. I get home about once or twice a year - I like it here but you cannot beat Ireland, no matter where in the world you go. The only thing I see now is it is changing, I know for the best, but I hope we never lose what we have and are known for.


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Naas man's sons in US rally drama

NAAS, 9 August 1999: by Brian Byrne. The two rallying sons of Martin Allen, formerly of Naas, escaped without injury when their car rolled five times in the Maine Forest Rally in New England last week. The rally is the biggest in the US and Marty and Stewart Allen were enjoying a good season up to then. They’re currently rebuilding the Mazda car, but the incident 'set them back a few weeks'.

"All the safety systems worked," says Martin, who was born and raised in Pacelli Road where his mother Maidie still lives. His wife is the former Anne Casey from Prosperous. Martin surprised Maidie back in February when he arrived on her doorstep with his brother Colm (US) and daughter Marie (UK) for an unexpected birthday party. The family will be back in Naas in mid-August prior to Marty beginning college in Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Kilcullen man writes from China on reaction to Belgrade bombing

KILCULLEN, 29 June 1999: by Brian Byrne. Kilcullen man Garreth Byrne has sent an interesting report on how foreign teachers were treated in China in the aftermath of the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by NATO. Garreth is just finishing his second tour of duty at the South China University of Technology, where he has been teaching English.

“Students and staff were shocked by the initial news,” he writes in an end-of-year report on his activities at the university, located in the city formerly known as Canton. “My first hint of something wrong was late Saturday afternoon when I saw about 100 students marching with umbrellas in the rain and shouting slogans. I only learned of the actual event when I tuned into the BBC later that evening. I took the early Sunday morning bus into church and saw many people reading the banner headline newspapers, but I did not feel nervous.”

Garreth and other foreign teachers were visited that evening by a member of the university’s foreign affairs office and told that everything was under control but that they should stay around the campus as ‘a general safety precaution’. Later in the week the vice president of the university told them it was a ‘dispute between governments’ and that foreign teachers ‘were still friends’. Garreth gave two classes on the Monday following the bombing but experienced no hostility, though one of the lectures had to be curtailed because students were demonstrating in the afternoon outside some NATO countries’ consulates.

“The campus noticeboards were plastered with anti-NATO posters and slogans,” he recalls. “Some of them were in idiomatically imperfect English, but I resisted the temptation to offer professional corrections. The tension of Monday morning began visibly to evaporate by the end of Tuesday - the students had marched and made their point and normal study concerns manifested themselves a week later.”

Garreth complimented the university staff who had made sincere and swift efforts to reassure the foreign teachers during ‘a moment of crisis’. “The staff and students behaved well towards us during an unprecedented and emotionally charged time.”

Garreth is returning to his home in Dromahair, Co Leitrim, next month. He expects to visit Kilcullen towards the end of July or early August. He has spent most of his working life teaching in foreign countries, mostly in Africa.


Open 7am-10pm for Fuel, Groceries, Toiletries, Flowers, Newspapers, Deli Food, Fresh Coffee and more.

Calling Baldwins and Orfords


Dear Editor,

My name is Margueritte Germaine Orford (formerly Baldwin). I was born at in 10 Woodstock Street, Athy, in 1922. I lived in Athy until 1939 at which time I moved to England. I am looking for any information on the Baldwin family of Cork or Dublin. Or the Orford family of County Kildare who may have lived in Athy or Kilcullen. My father’s name was Joseph Orford and my mother’s name was Mae Baldwin.

Any information however small would be greatly appreciated. I lost all contact with my family due to immigration to the US after WW2. If you have any information please contact me through my daughter at or by post to Maggie Biondo, 78 Alexander Rd, Havelock NC, 28532 USA. I will be happy to compensate your postage.

Thank you, Margueritte.

Deirdre sends word from Australia

SYDNEY, 7 May 1999:

Dear Editor,

Just thought I would write a note to congratulate you on your website. I am from Kilcock, Co Kildare and have been looking for a site like this to keep me up to date on the happenings in Kilcock and surrounding areas. So now that I have found it I will be a regular visitor until I return home next Christmas. Thanks!!!

I have been in Australia since January and will be here until next Christmas. I am presently working in The Department of Public Works and Services in Sydney. Though I am from Kilcock, my fathers family are from and live in Naas and Sallins. I am living in the Bondi area of Sydney where there are so many Irish its ridiculous!!!! I feel like I might as well be at home sometimes!

I came out here with my friend, Sheila, who with another two friends were involved in a bad car accident over here in February. You may have heard about it because an Australian man died and the girls were seriously injured. They spent almost two months in hospital here before retuning to Ireland. So as you can imagine, the first couple of months here were pretty bad but I, along with other friends here, are getting back into things now. The Irish really pull together over here.

So, I am now hopefully going to save some money to travel to different places in Australia, then we will be spending a month in the USA on the way home, going to Virginia, L.A and Chicago. So there you go! There are plenty more Kildare people out here who I will tell about your Web Site and I myself will visit again next week!


Deirdre O'Rourke

Any Lazenbys in Kilmeague?

5 May 1999:

Dear Editor,

What a wonderful web site you have. It is a great way for family and friends to stay connected. I am hoping that someone reading this may be able to help me in my family search.

I am looking for information on any Lazenbys, Lezenbys, or Lizenbys in and around the town of Allenwood, Kildare. My husband's Great Great Grandfather [Able], owned a farm somewhere near Dublin. We had been told that he died when he fell upon a pitch fork sometime around 1870/1871(??). His wife Margaret then took their two children William and Anne and moved to the United States. Her name was changed in the process and that has caused us many problems in our search for any information on Able in Ireland, and in the search for the origin of our name.

We have since learned that our name was originally spelled Lazenby or Lezenby, which is why we could never find Able listed anywhere in Ireland. We know now that his farm was in or near Kilmeage, Allenwood, County Kildare.

We are now hoping to find death records and land records for him with this new information. However we are still at a bit of a dead end on this and are desperately searching for anyone who may have information that could help us. We heard that there were other Lazenbys in the area - their names were John, William and Matthew (to name a few). Were any of these men related to Able? ... and if so, how? What was Able's father's name? Is the land still owned by the Lazenbys? ... and so on. These are just a few of our questions, so If you have any information on our family, PLEASE contact me by E-mail at Lizard@NorthLink.Net

Thank You

Janette [Lazenby]

Lucy suggests anti-litter programme in schools


Dear Editor,

KNN is one of the treats of my week; in fact, I check in on odd days just in case there is an update or change in local events! Unfortunately, not all news is good and that is the reality check we must face these days: case in point, your reporting of the 'Territorial Seizure' of the Newbridge Courthouse benches by the local skateboarders. Being ever deeply concerned about Ireland's regrettable and indiscriminate propensity to litter, usurp or damage public property at will, etc., I am both troubled about the negative image being dealt us as Country and as Irish people.

Prior to reading this disturbing article ('Skateboarders'), I had intended to pass on the following to KNN with the suggestion that a 'Don't Waste Ireland' ball get rolling in Co Kildare to help inculcate our Irish youth with the sense of pride and abhorrent disgust regarding litter and vandalism. Within recent weeks I happened to view a Long Island/NY school program, sponsored by a major TV concern, wherein each LI school district was visited by a Traveling Mobile of interactive programs dedicated to alerting students to community concerns and the value of volunteerism as combatant. Student responses were as simple and as directly profound as 'I will never litter; I will volunteer to pick up litter; I will volunteer to remind people not to litter', etc., etc. etc.

Though living afar, while always in touch with my beloved Ireland (basically via KNN ), I am prone to think that this is a program much needed in every school in Ireland. If the school message is strongly enough enforced so will the home and community respond in kind and work hand in hand with an all-inclusive educational endeavour. Being aware of Intel's heavy investment in County Kildare leads me to suggest that they (Intel) be invited to contribute toward a pilot program of computer interactives for our Kildare (and most assuredly and eventually all Ireland's) schoolchildren in the endeavour to further community awareness, preservation and pride.

My personal Irish farm upbringing taught me that planting a good seed, gives a good harvest ... so I believe that Ireland's growth and pride is in its children and their soil...let's help one to protect the other.

Mise le meas, Lucy Whelan.


Tune in, Athy Kavanaghs ...

NEW YORK, 24 April 1999:

Dear Editor,

Hi there from USA. I just got back from my Irish Club meeting telling them I was so excited. Ii found you by accident - I was looking for St Bridget of Kildare, scrolled down and just seen the name for Kildare and decided to just click on - what a find! ... thank you.

All I remember as a child is talk about a town called Athy? Say hello to all the Kavanaghs there - we are great people!

Theres a pub in NYC east 32nd St named Patrick Kavanagh's ...I believe was a distant relative?

(Ed's Note: our correspondent unfortunately forgot to mention his or her name ... but he/she can be contacted at


Any Quinns from Naas?

SURREY, 18 April 1999:

Dear Editor,

I saw your page and would love to hear from any of my deceased mother’s family. Her maiden name was Quinn and I believe she came from a large family possibly connected to the army.

She was born in Naas and I believe it was called Rose Cottage. She moved to England in late 50s or early 60s. She had a brother called Peter and sisters Mary, Josie and Katie. There are possibly more. She once said her nephew was a jockey.

If this rings any bells please contact me c.schooling@whichnet

C Schooling, Surrey, England.


Jamaica calling Newbridge, Ballymore ...

KINGSTON, JAMAICA, 18 April 1999:

Dear Editor,

Loved your site. I am originally from Newbridge and Ballymore Eustace, and have now lived in Kingston, Jamaica, for the past 17 years, having spent 10 years in England before that. There are 20-30 native-born Irish living here, with a few ex-pats from Guinness who now own the local Red Stripe brewery.

Plenty of Irish place names, including a "Kildare", which was owned by the Fitzgerald family back in the days of slavery. There are still jamaican families with that surname ... along with Murphys, Kellys, O'Briens, O'Connors ... one of my best friends is "Daniel O'Reilly Kelly"!

I have a Scottish friend, Mike Bambrick, who is enquiring about a pub called "the 5 Jocks", or something similar, called after his uncles ... any light, anyone? Also an english friend, Matthew Pragnell, who thinks his family may once have owned the property that is now Hotel Keadeen?

I’d love to hear from shortgrass people at home and abroad at

Rob Mullally.


Not in my backyard?

LONDON, 18 April 1999:

Dear Editor

I see you still have a NIMBY [not in my back yard] problem in Naas. I refer to the pathetic outpourings of the prospective Labour candidate re. housing development in the town.

How does this woman propose the 300 families on the housing list obtain a toe-hold on the housing market if there is a complete halt to house-building.

I am afraid that the rubbish espoused in this person's letter is what turned me off the Labour party in both England and Ireland, although I remain a staunch trade-unionist.

More power to the elected representatives who are attempting to steer the much needed development in the right direction.

I look forward to seeing more of the improvements in my old home when, like many an exile, I return for the Punchestown festival.

John McAllister



Artists' resource, Training, Gallery sales. Phone Margaret Becker 045 868168 or 087 2310114


Cross & Passion sisters want contact with relatives

The sisters of the Cross and Passion Convent in Kilcullen are asking relatives of any religious who died as members of the Kilcullen community, and who are buried in the convent cemetary, to get in touch with them. The sisters have announced that they are leaving Kilcullen in September, and will be handing the convent buildings over to the Cross and Passion College.

Families who have already received a direct communication from the sisters can ignore this notice, otherwise they can get in touch with Caroline O’Farrell at





Fitzpatricks of Kildare info?

Dear Editor,

I would like to know something of the remainder of the Fitzpatrick clan still living in the area. My father was John and my mother was Catherine McGuiness. Both came from Kildare sometime around 1910.

Mary Ostberg (nee Fitzpatrick)


Surprise wedding anniversary for Naas couple

ONTARIO & NAAS, 30 March 1999:

Dear Editor,

Sighle & Noel Holohan celebrated their 25th Anniversary in December '98, at a surprise party given by their children Colm and Aoife, at the Irish Canadian Club in Hamilton, Ontario. A great evening was had by all ...

Family members included her uncle Niall O'Bracken, brother Niall, with his wife Sima and their children Zoe, Liam and Kieran, sisters Niamh Bracken and Maire Bracken with her husband Barry Roche and their children Ciara and Dearbhail, Trasa Bracken with her husband Dave Murphy and their children Eoghan and Ronan.

Fellow members of the Irish Canadian Club, The Emeralds Soccer Team, for whom Noel has kept goal for the past five years, and numerous other friends helped in the celebration, not to mention Jim and Gaye McHugh from Naas, who also live in the Hamilton area.
To celebrate their anniversary the couple took a holiday in Cuba, after Christmas. This picture was taken under the Che Guevara memorial in Santa Clara. It was a welcome break from the cold Canadian winter.

Noel, Sighle, Colm and Aoife would like to wish the Brackens in Naas and Dublin, the Holohans in Naas and London and their family and friends a very "HAPPY EASTER"

Keep up the good work KNN - we in Ontario enjoy the news, views and comments from home and abroad.


Newbridge youngsters a hit in New York

Dear Editor,

My name is Veronica Ryan and I live in Orangeburg, NY (about 20 miles north of NYC) with my husband Aidan and three daughters, Jillian, Lauren and Vivienne. Aidan and I are both former residents of Newbridge and Kildare town. Aidan used to teach PE at the Presentation Convent in Kildare and I worked for the Bank of Ireland in both Newbridge and Kildare.

We now run a Sports bar and restaurant in Orangeburg called The Orangeburg Tavern and we recently had the pleasure of hosting the Newbridge Patrician School Pipe and Brass Band when they visited the US to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The band was an absolute knockout – they played at our local church, St. Catherine's at two masses and received a standing ovation. We only wish they could have stayed an extra day and marched in our area's local parade which is always held the Sunday following St. Patrick's Day and is the second largest parade in the eastern US.

The children were a credit to their band leader and to their parents and teachers. Their good manners, conduct and courtesy left a lasting impression on all of us. We hope they will come and visit us again soon. Well done Gang!

You can email me at

Sallins, anyone?

Dear Editor,

I was wondering if you knew the origins for the name of the town "Sallins"? Also, is there anyone in Kildare Co. w/ a similar name Sallins, Sallens, Sullens, or Sullins. There's a number of us here in the States who are stumpped as to where we originated in the Isles. Only clue is family oral tradition that holds we are "scotch-irish." Would appreciate any help you could give us.

Thanks, Chris Sullins


Hi to home from Germany

Dear Editor,

Hello to all in County Kildare, especially in Naas and Caragh. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this site. It will become part of my daily routine to check in and see the news. I'm over here working for Mercedes-Benz with my sister Rachel and we're having a whale of a time. Hello to all and we'll see you soon.

Sarah Curran

Hopes that lights will soon be on

Dear Editor,

I am a property owner in the Castledermot area to where I make my annual pilgrimage for a couple of months peace and contentment. I am always appalled at the condition of the village green and its surroundings (ancient plastic shopping bags flailing in the trees near Copes, etc). When home (Castledermot) last Autumn I was just delighted to see the traffic lights being installed and looked forward to a safer street crossing for all our 800+ inhabitants and numerous visitors in the future.

Needless to say, I was shocked to read in KNN that as of the present moment there is not a flicker of light yet emanating from these very expensive poles. I hope and pray that by this year's visit, again in the autumn, that the town will be getting its money's worth in lights! The town folk have to endure a lot of traffic hardships and deserve at least this measure of safety.

Lucy Whelan.

PS: Kudos to KNN for such a newsworthy Internet site. I 'hit' it very frequently for all the happenings around Kildare.

Dear Editor,

Greetings from Philadelphia. With the family name of Kilcullen, I've been to that fine town on two occasions (1971 & 1982). Had wonderful stout and conversation with a Mr Joe O'Connell at the White Horse Inn on the first visit. With my wife and mother-in-law visited the Hideout on the second one. I hope to bring my three brothers for my birthday celebration in May of 2000. I'll keep looking in your web site till then. Jack Silver.

John says: Growth equals Good

Dear KNN editor,

Reading your pages over the past few months I am amused by some of the comments about rezoning and house-building. In the UK there is a phrase N.I.M.B.Y. [not in my back yard], used to describe the person who believes in development but always in another location. As I remember it, Ballymore Eustace was a dying village some 30 years ago as was most of the areas now due for rezoning. The greatest growth was emigration, fuelled mainly by lack of opportunity or employment.

Taking the greater Naas area of Kill, Kilcullen, Ballymore, Newbridge, the prospected growth over the next 20 years would be an increase in population of 50,000 which would then lead to its own dynamic to sustain the growth. With the land available in various locations, notably Devoy Barracks, the local councillors have a unique opportunity to make land available for starter homes at affordable prices. I wish them all joy and fun in their deliberations and hope they come up to scratch.

As a frequent visitor since emigrating some 27 years ago I am always happy to see my old home town visibly improving and getting more prosperous on each visit and yet retaining its friendly neighbourly character.

John McAllister

Pat says hello from Ontario

Dear KNN editor,

I would like to say hello to all my relations, namely McGarrs, Raffertys, Cullys, Keoghs, Dalys and Kilduffs in the Naas area. If anyone receives this message I'd love to hear from you.

Lots of luck. Joe McGarr, Hamilton, Ontario. Email

Scouts want help for their Den

Dear KNN editor,

Thank you for the wonderful coverage you gave us on the recent visit of the Chief Scout of Ireland to Naas. As you are aware we are actively seeking funds to renovate our "Den" formally the British Legion Hall. To this end I would be happy if you would mention to "The Wild Geese" and your readers our need. A four-month non-stop draw commencing February is now under way. Tickets for same cost £40. Alternatively any subscription however small would be most welcome. Unit Leader: Jo Coy 16 Lakeside Park Naas; Treasurer: Anthony Mc Allister 9 St Gabriels Place Naas. Email

Thank you also for mentioning my brother John in despatches. He has had a lot of visits to his site following your publicity.

Regards, Anthony Mc Allister.

Martin springs a surprise!

NAAS & BOSTON, 7 February 1999. Martin Allen of Boston, Mass, USA, gave his mother Maidie a big surprise recently when he arrived on her doorstep at Pacelli Road in Naas. Not because he was there - he had told her he was coming and to 'put the kettle on' - but because her other son Colm (US) and daughter Marie (UK) were standing there with him! Martin had arranged the reunion as a late birthday present for their mum. However more was planned, with a surprise party in her honour in Dun na Ri, Kingscourt, County Cavan, where she was born. "It was a great night," said Maidie. "All the extended family was there."

After a brief spell living in Cleevaun in Naas, Martin, his wife Anne (nee Casey from Prosperous) and their two children, moved to Boston in 1986. With them they also took their advertising business 'for bigger and better things.' Full details of Martin and his family's current doings are below in a previous story.


Dick says hello from Nova Scotia

NOVA SCOTIA & KILL, 7 February 1999: Just saw your site a few days ago and must say what a great site it is for any ex-pats from Kildare living overseas. Coming from Kill, it was great to see them winning the Tidy towns once again and I must say that, after leaving the village some 25 years ago, it's always great to come home and see the village looking so well. It really is a lovely place and credit must go to all those people who have worked so hard to make it so ... people like Peter Foley, Andy Birchall, Margaret Birchell, Kathleen Brady and Liam Kelly, a few old names that might remember me from years gone by. Also great to see other names from afar like Martin Allen and Jim Lawlor who have visited your site and with whom I have been in touch. Keep up the good work - Dick Meagher and family in Nova Scotia, Canada.


John is making connections with KNN

LONDON & NAAS, 7 February 1999: Just to let you know that I have now been contacted by people I have'nt seen or heard of for more than 20 years - thanks to my inclusion on the Wild Geese page. Thank you for the service. It's much appreciated, as is the interesting daily news service. This has become a "fix" I turn to before starting work each day. John McAllister.


Naas seniors send greetings to their people abroad

NAAS, JANUARY 23, 1999: At the recent Naas Care of the Aged party a number of those enjoying themselves sent greetings to oved ones living abroad, including Maidie Allen of Pacelli Road (pictured here with Mae Hoolahan) whose son Martin is living in Andover, Mass, USA (and you can see below that Martin hasn't lost his memories of those he left behind).

Mae Hoolahan from Sarto Road has a son Noel living in Ontario, Canada, with his wife Shigle and their children Colm and Aoife; and a daughter Evelyn O'Sullivan living with her husband Paddy and their children Dee, Paul and Conor, who live in Surrey, England. "I love them all and hope they come home soon," she says.

Nancy Cronin of Harbour View says 'hello' to her nephew, Fr Pat O'Shea, a Columban priest in New South Wales in Australia, and to her grandson Liam Broderick, also in Australia, whose parents Geraldine and Liam from Ashgrove in Naas also say 'hi'.



Martin Allen says 'hi' to all at home

BOSTON, MASS USA & NAAS, JANUARY 23, 1999: Hello from snowy Boston. Just recently came across the KNN web pages and was delighted to read all the local news, especially the Wild Geese letters. Recent articles by John McAllister from St. Gabriel's Place and the Bracken family from the Harbour, recalled some great memories for me.

Born and raised on Pacelli Rd. where Mom still lives, I come from a family of Wild Geese. My brother Colm resides here in Boston also and my sister Marie lives with her family in the garden of England, Kent. I moved to Boston in 1986 having lived briefly in Cleevaun, Naas. With "the Missus" and two young'ns in tow, we took our small advertising business to America for bigger and better things. My wife, Anne Casey from Prosperous, God bless her, stuck with me during my mid-life adventure. Thirteen years later, we now travel back and forth regularly between Ireland and the USA. In the years we have spent here, the US has been very good to us. Our company makes giant advertising banners which we pull behind our airplanes as we fly over beaches, baseball and football games etc. Just last year, we began flying banners in Ireland also when we promoted the movies ARMAGEDON & GODZILLA.

My sons Marty and Stewart, now 17 and 18, are still in high-school, Marty looking to go to College in Ireland in September. Right now, their big interest is rallying. We just bought a Mazda 323 AWD Turbo to compete in the North East Divisional Rally Championship, here in the US. Marty got his pilot's licence last year, Stewart's main loves are his guitars.

I mentioned good memories of past years. John McAllister being one. The many good times we had playing music in his house or in the kitchen of our house on Pacelli Rd driving my poor mother and Mrs McAllister mad with the noise. Names like John and Eddie Kent, Smash Noone, Tom Campbell from Osberstown, Paul and Jolly Rogers, Shaunie and the late Dec Ryan from Our Lady`s Place, all come to mind. Mr and Mrs Bracken also remind me of fun times. Do you remember "Councillors Corner" on the Radio station ? The discussions, the arguments and sometimes, the rows...all in good fun, I recall. Enda, a gentleman, would light up his pipe when he needed time to think or to respond to a question!!!!

Sometimes I miss Naas, except when I see the concrete jungle that has sprung up since I left. What became of the fields where we could ramble after school, the Foxes Covert, The Knox, Bradleys Field and Dorans Field where we picked mushrooms (when the Bull wasn't out) or catch rabbits in Punchestown. Is this progress or rape? Either way, I can't honestly say I like what they're doing to my town.

I would like to send greeting to a few friends...mainly Christy Burke in Cleevaun, Yongo Marsh on Pacelli Rd, and especially Donal Corcoran, my ex-teacher from the Vocational School who taught me so much and still remains a friend to this day. We do have a few KIldare people over here. We live about 25 miles North of Boston and only go into the city when there is something special on. Over the years we've had Con Sherry and his, now, wife Cathy from Pacelli Rd over here. I believe Con`s sister Anne is still here. Joe & Mary Curran from Basin St were here for a few years and of course, the Brennan lads from the Kilcullen Rd. have been here since the early '80s. I also recall meeting Mick Enright from Pacelli Rd a few years ago and Gerry Daly, of the chemist fame, was here and may still be. Speaking of chemists......half the O'Reilly clan seem to be out here. Sally-Anne in New York and Mark, I believe, is still up in Maine. So, as you can see, we never really get homesick. We always seem to meet one of our own. Usually in one of the many Irish pubs here.

Speaking of Irish pubs...the afore-mentioned Gerry Brennan from the Kilcullen Rd has a lovely little pub called The Brendan Behan, just outside the city.

Greeting to all who remember us, I`ll be back in Naas on January 29th on business and for the Ma's birthday. "Put on the kettle Ma, the baby son is on his way." Best Wishes.....Martin & Anne Allen and the Boys.


Newbridge man checks in from Kosovo

NEWBRIDGE & KOSOVO, 21 January 1999: We just had an email from Eamonn Smyth of Newbridge, one of five Irish Army members serving with the OSCE mission in Kosovo, topical for tragic reasons at the moment.

He writes: Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. As I live in Newbridge, thanks also for the Kildare (KNN) site. You asked what we are doing here, well there are five Army guys serving with OSCE, in Kosovo, all in different areas. My area is Human Rights and as you can imagine we are currently very busy. I really enjoy reading your mag, which I think is an excellent production ... maybe sometime we'll meet and have a pint. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you but at the moment I am spending most of my time on the ground. Keep up the good work. Regards Eamonn Smyth.

(And, of course, we send Eamonn our best wishes on behalf of all his friends in Newbridge - Editors) You can email him at


Jim Lawlor checks in to Wild Geese

WATERTOWN NY USA, JANUARY 17, 1999: Hi ... my name is Jim Lawlor, originally from Osberstown, Naas, where my mother Vi Lawlor still lives. I have been in the States for about 30 years now. I Retired five years ago from the US Army after 24 years. I am presently working for the Government, as a civilian, at Fort Drum, New York, in the contracting office as a procurement assistant. Ft Drum is about ten miles from Watertown and about 20 miles south of the Canadian boarder. I was pleasantly surprised at all the businesses now located in the Kildare area. I have thought about going back to Ireland to live - now that the work prospects seem real good over there it is something that I will have to think about. I have been real interested in all the changes that have happened in and around Naas in the past decade. If there is anybody from the Naas area in the States please drop me an e-mail at


A 'hi' from Naas to Ontario

NAAS, JANUARY 17, 1999: Jim McGarr of Our Lady's Place in Naas says 'hi' to his brother Joe, who is retired from working on the railrad and is living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Jim is well known in music circles in Kildare, having played for the Gallowglass Ceidhli Band up to 25 years ago, and then with the Kilcullen-based Sean Keogh Group. He's pictured here enjoying himself at the recent party organised by Naas Care of the Aged.


Brackens busy in Canada, too

TORONTO, CANADA, JANUARY 9, 1999: Hi ... my name is Niamh Bracken, originally from Naas, Co Kildare, daughter of Evelyn and Enda Bracken. There are five of us over here in Toronto, Canada. I go into the Irish Times and KNN every day. I would be very interested in being kept up to date on what's happening in and around Naas.

As for my affiliation with any Irish Clubs, I play GAA for The Irish Canadians Women's Team and I was involved in organising an 'International Women's Football Team' representing Canada and participating in the first-ever Women's International GAA Tournament in September of 1998. Along with my sister Maire and my brother-in-law and sister Trasa I was also involved in St Cecilia's Playground Renewal. This was an organisation set up by the local community and it involved the first of its kind ever in Ontario of a playground built by the people for the people. In fact, my sister Maire, who was overall coordinator, has been asked to attend a seminar in Los Angeles later this month to discuss her efforts in the building of a community playground solely based on volunteers and fundraising.

I was the fundraising coordinator, and, towards the end of the project the PR person also, organising the media and various literature for the press. I am quite proud to have made an impact on someone's life over here, especially as I am just eight years in Canada. I feel I owe a lot to my parents, as they always taught me that 'nothing is impossible' and that 'the world is your oyster'. I am currently taking a break from my fundraising efforts, however I know that in the near future I will once again commit myself to helping someone else. Anyhow, please keep me up-to-date on what is happening in Naas, and especially on Volleyball, as both myself and my sister Trasa both previously played with Naas Kelts Volleyball Club.

For now, take care and God bless. Is mise, le meas, Niamh Bracken.

(Pictured above are most of the Bracken family during a recent reunion in Naas.)


Kildare Doyles, report in, please

AUSTRALIA, JANUARY 3, 1999: Michael Doyle has contacted us from down under and he wants any Kildare Doyles to contact him at or go to the Clan Doyle/Clann O DubhGhaill internet site at


Remember Patrick O'Neill?

NEWFOUNDLAND, JANUARY 1, 1999: One Patrick O'Neill emailed us from Newfoundland in Canada, our first overseas email of the New Year. 'I am delighted to see your page on the 'net. I will be accessing it often to see what's new in Kildare! I'm originally from the Curragh and came to Canada in '81'. You can contact Patrick at


Any MacMorrough Kavanaghs in Kildare?

KILDARE GENERAL, DECEMBER 29, 1998: We've had a communication from William Kavanagh in the UK regarding the MacMorrough Kavangh historical family title, which he wants to research further. Though not a Kildare family, if there are any bearing the name in the county they can get in touch with him at and he'll provide further details. 'The McMorrough Kavanagh' is alive and well and is current Chief of the Name, William Butler Kavanagh (we're not sure if this is the same William Kavanagh) and his father's Presents of Arms is pictured here.



Help wanted in Newbridge families tracing

NEWBRIDGE & NORTH CAROLINA, DECEMBER 6, 1998: Mary K Hungerford of Murphy, North Carolina, has contacted KNN looking for information on Gannon and Hyland families in Co Kildare. She says she is descended from John Hyland and Eliza Bambrick, shopkeepers in Newbridge in the late 1880s. John's sister Catherine married a Richard Gannon and they also lived in Newbridge. Their daughter Daisy married one Mr Brophy and they had sons Bill, Edward and Charlie; while another daughter, Ciss, married a Mr Brennan and they had daughters, now Mrs Maureen Powell and Mrs Bernadette Redmond, and sons Liam, Bobby and Denis. If anyone wants further information they can contact KNN, or directly to Mary K Hungerford at


Cultural exchanges can be arranged

KILDARE, DECEMBER 4, 1998: The Institute for International Cultural Exchange (IICE), which is based in Kildare Town, is now in the process of arranging for Irish groups to take part in international festivals and for international groups to take part in Irish festivals in 1999. Groups are accommodated with families or in dormitory type accommodation and can take part in concerts, parades, workshops, classes and seminars. Groups pay their own fares and the organising committee supply accommodation, breakfast, evening meal and transportation during their stay. The minimum stay for a group is normally 5 or 6 days with some preferring to stay for 10 to 12 days, taking in 2 festivals. IICE has established contacts with groups throughout Western Europe, in Central & Eastern Europe and other parts of the world and is now offering its services to festivals and groups in Ireland and abroad. IICE has already arranged for groups from Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, Poland, Finland, Portugal, Belgium and the Celtic Nations - Cornwall, Brittany, Isle Of Man, Wales and Scotland, to take part in Irish festivals. Interested groups or festivals should contact Susan Feery, IICE, Enterprise Centre, Melitta Road, Kildare, Ireland. Phone +353 (0)45 521190. Fax +353 (0)45 521198. Email


Naas man's album reminds of old names

NAAS & ESSEX, DECEMBER 5, 1998: Former Naas man John McAllister's part-time band 'Jordan' has had some some success on radio stations in London and Germany, with an album they put together to help the hospice movement. Compositions of John's on the album includes 'The Balad of John Doyle' which recounts the life of an uncle of John's who was in the RAF. Another song, 'Furry Dice, is an episode involving a Heinkel 75 with five people up - names in the song well remembered around Naas include Jimmy Barry, Rita King, Paul, Jolly, Smash and Yongo. John McAllister is a computer programmer working in London. He came from 9 St Gabriel's Place where his brother Tony still lives. Their sister Catherine is married to local poet and politician Timmy Conway. John emigrated in 1971, after working variously as a clerical officer in Kildare County Council, as a temporary postman, and as a linesman with the ESB. He lives in Essex. You can find out more about 'Jordan' and hear samples from the songs at John's website.


Know anything about Kilcullen doctors?

ADELAIDE, NOVEMBER 28, 1998: An Australian whose forebears lived in Kilcullen has contacted KNN looking for information about them. He's John Barker of Unley (in Adelaide) in South Australia, and he says his great-great-great grandfather, also John Barker, and his son Thomas Barker (born 1804), successively practised medicine in the Kilcullen area until around 1837. The addresses he has are Ratharagad Lodge, Kilcullen Bridge, and Blackhall Castle, Old Kilcullen. Any information on his family can be emailed to John at


Genealogical link

USA, NOVEMBER 28, 1998: Denis Ahern has emailed us to ask us to put a link to The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA), a non-profit organisation for Irish geneaological research and education. Glad to oblige.


Kilcullen man's daughter a model child

WEYMOUTH, 29 OCTOBER 1998: The young daughter of Kilcullen-born Fergus Byrne, Ismay, is becoming well-known throughout the US as the model for a range of cotton-based tissue products. Fergus is the youngest brother of well-known Kilcullen businessman Des Byrne, former owner of The Hide Out pub and now proprietor of the Kilcullen Service Station and XL shop. Fergus lives with his wife Victoria near Weymouth in England.


(Associated links: The Byrne Marketing Group)



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