Kildare Age Friendly Services

At our last Kildare meeting, Mary McCarthy handed out brochures that Laois County had devised about services in that county. I was unaware that a similar brochure is available in Kildare.

Thank you to Leixlip member who passed on a copy to me.

The directory includes information and contact details on Community Support Groups, Clubs and Societies, Gov Departments, Education and Training, Gardaí in Kildare, GP’s in Kildare, HSE Services, Home Care/Housing/Alarms, Kildare County Council, Kildare Libraries and some other information. The copy I received had updated information including Garda Stations that had closed since original publication.

You can access the Kildare Directory online.
Here is page from website about history of the publication

The Kildare Age Friendly Programme was launched in November 2010 by the then Junior Minister Aine Brady TD.  Following on from the launch an extensive consultation process was undertaken, the outcome of which is reflected in the KAFC Strategy, launched in November 2011.

A significant development has been the establishment and development of engAGE Kildare, the Forum representing older people in the county. Their Executive has worked diligently through their Forums to communicate with the membership on issues of critical importance. Kildare has taken a particular interest in working on improving relations across the generations in the county and this focus on intergenerational best practice has yielded great results.

Kildare Age Friendly County has also been a partner in the Age Friendly Communities (AFC) Project, funded under the Ireland Wales Programme 2007-13. This funding facilitated a range of innovative project work, including the “If You Were In My Shoes”  Arts Project, Mens Sheds Marvellous Meals and the Go For Life Games in association with the Kildare Sports Partnership.


The Bluebell Woods of Killinthomas

Sheila, Nora, Susan, Veronica, Jane and Teresa

Special thanks to Jane for photos and account of May trip

Attached a pic of the lovely ladies in Killenthomas Wood near Rathangan.



On 16th May, the Ballycane retirees took off to Killinthomas Woods near Rathangan.

Killinthomas Wood


The day was amazing and as you can see the woods looked like a Monet painting. The forest floor was covered with bluebells and wild garlic. The wild garlic had the most beautiful white flowers and the fragrance of garlic was delicious. All we needed was a piece of steak and a knife and fork


                    Bluebells in Killinthomas



Wild Garlic

Summer Meeting June 2018



Chairperson, Ted Rooney, welcomed us all to the Killashee Hotel on this gloriously sunny day, promising a short meeting so that we could get back out to the sun! Martin Hoban, Vice Chair was invited to  join the “top table”    personnel in prep for promotion at next AGM. Ted also welcomed the “new” retirees. Fidelma read the minutes of the last meeting which were adapted.


Fidelma gave thorough account of our financial  situation, explaining that this is is how our lovely dinner can be subsidised! Well done Fidelma.


No sign of Billy again, but Mary McCarthy ably accounted for the executive discussions and referred us to CONASC for updates on pay and conditions. Mary advised those retirees who are subbing to take out membership with INTO. A show of hands on who has and uses “MEMBERSHIP PLUS” cards revealed that very few do – it is a hugely expensive scheme that must be questioned as to value!!!! I think a survey is to follow shortly!

Mary had a number of copies of “Laois, Age Friendly County”, an information guide to services for older people in Laois. Mary recommended that much of the information was available from Citizens Advice or Citizens Information


Mary also announced the Laois RTA invitation to a Golf Outing/Scramble on September 13th in Abbeyleix Golf Club (a great course, I’m assured!) Ted is also checking out dates in Athy Golf Club for a Kildare outing.

Brian Keyes gave a short account of the Dancing group which although has dwindling numbers is still great craic! they are taking a break for the summer but will resume mid September and hope that some new people will join.

For an account of Trip to Waterford, Ted referred group to WEBSITE where there is an account and photos of  trip.

A presentation to Breda (me) for work on website was gratefully received. I was also delighted to get some pics of the Ballycane retirees’ Picnic in Bluebell woods for the site!


What is GDPR about?

I’m sure you’re all receiving email about the new GDPR – a new act on privacy and data protection. There was some discussion on contact details for the 349 members in the branch – opt-in/opt-out …. more about that at a later date!


We finished up the meeting with the Raffle – once again thanks to Fidelma – before adjourning to the dining room for grub and chat.

Delicious Lunch


Retired Teachers Kildare trip 2018

Day 1: trip to South East

Sas Malumby, driver par excellence for Kildare Retired Teachers’ trips, collected us promptly at designated meeting spots and with luggage stowed on bus, we hit off for the (reportedly) sunny South East!

On the Barrow

The Waterside Restaurant in Graiguenamanagh on the banks of the Barrow was our first port of call for refreshments. The Brennan brothers had worked with the owner some years ago and the positive results were very obvious.

Examining the model of Duiske Abbey

A tour of Duiske Abbey followed. The abbey originated in the 13th century and is probably the finest f the Cistercians monasteries in Ireland. It is now the parish church of Graiguenamanagh.

Clerical Whisper Project



I was particularly fascinated by the Tidy Towns Committee project “Clerical Whispers” to place 12 life-size granite sculptures of cistercian monks in various locations around the town. Each monk characterises a monastic activity – this lad is a weaver!


Peter Cushen demonstrates the working of his mill, Cushendale

Peter Cushen, the current owner of Cushendale Mills which has been in his family for generations presented a very interesting demonstration of the workings of the mill. I decided to give the hill to the mill a miss and retired to the Waterside and wait for lunch.

Group photo on Dunbrody


Next stop – New Ross and the Dunbrody Famine ship. I had been there a number of years ago but there’s been a revamp of the whole exhibition with a renewed emphasis on emigration linked to the present day! Well worth the visit!



Serious Game

The Tower Hotel Waterford was our final destination. Rena had done her homework well as this is a very centrally located hotel, friendly staff and lovely food. A deck of card was produced after dinner by some of the Bridge enthusiasts.

Day 2: Trip around the city

Touring the city

The South East was anything but sunny on Tuesday but undeterred we hit out for our tour of the city after breakfast. As retired teachers, we are acutely aware that acronyms are  everything in education today and we added some to our store as we heard about the OSIP (????), John Roberts who designed both the Catholic and Protestant Cathedrals; we were also told about some historical fallacies-  poor young John Condon who sadly died at 18  but whose records  mistakenly show him as 14, thereby the youngest casualty of WW1 (a somewhat cynical reason for some politicians to junket to his grave in Europe once a year!) Of course Meaghar and the tricolour were talked about, as were Strongbow and Aoife and Edmund Rice.

Tour of Waterford Glass

No trip to Waterford would be complete without a visit to the Glass factory and that’s where we finished our morning.

Longboat at Reginald’s Tower, Waterford

After lunch we had three excellent guides in  Reginald’s Tower, the Bishop’s Palace and the Museum of Treasures. Many of us are planning a return trip to spend more time at these sites – really interesting. Shopping, walking, resting, swimming followed before we sat down to dinner in the Tower. A group then took off to Tramore, a seaside by night visit – what a crazy crowd!!!

Day 3: Greenway trip

All aboard! Deise Greenway

Some of us had our first taste of  the Waterford delicacy, Blaa, with breakfast (think I’ll stick to Dublin coddle!!!!) before checking out and boarding the bus for the short trip to Kilmeadon Station to experience “the magic of rails’ golden age” and view the stunning Deise greenway on a narrow gauge railway.  We were able to look through the fence as we passed Mount Congreve and view the gardens that had been on our initial itinerary. Curraghmore, the historic home of the Marquis of Waterford was substituted at the last minute.

Curraghmore, home of the 9th Marquis of Waterford


AND was that a treat – situated just outside Portlaw, Curraghmore is the largest private demesne in the country and residence to the 9th Marquis. I don’t know what strings Rena pulled to allow us a guided tour of this private house and the shellhouse “folly”. But it was certainly one of the highlights of the trip for me.


A welcome tea and sandwiches break was organised en route to Dungarvan at the workhouse in Kilmacthomas before travelling onto O’Mahony’s pub at Durrow. The Greenway Man, Garvan Cummins, gave us a short history of the Ballyvoyle Viaduct and tunnel before the “walkers” set off to experience them first hand.  A small group remained to further sample the atmosphere in O’Mahony’s – an extended stay due to a puncture.


The adventures of those who walked, especially the magnificent 7 who were stranded for over an hour on the roadside above the Copper Coast might be recounted at a later date. Suffice to say, it was a pretty cold and hungry group that arrived in Dungarvan for the evening meal.


Rena McAllen: Minister for Tourism and Transport Retired Teachers Kildare


However, all’s well that ends well and there was copious praise for Rena as our “Minister for Tourism and Transport” on the way home. This was my second tour with her and she certainly leaves no stone unturned in the organising of trips. My name is down for next year already!!!!!

What Does INTO Mean to You?

INTO Memories


I’m not sure how many of you follow RTAI Site – following article requesting assistance might be of interest to those of you wanting to share memories. You might also want to have a look at History of our own branch (see ABOUT)



“To mark INTO’s 150th anniversary (1868-2018), a short film is being commissioned to capture the essence of INTO including some of the main events of our history.

It is intended to capture in this short film INTO’s commitment to better working lives and conditions for teachers, to equality, to high standards of education, to professionalism in teaching, and to supporting members in difficulty (whether financial or work related) among other features.

We know that a number of retired members have recollections of events, or have knowledge of people involved in INTO previously, which/who recollect examples to illustrate these and other values represented by INTO.

What does INTO stand for/mean to you? What are your earliest and most valued impressions or memories of INTO’s work and/or value?

Because of severe time pressures related to this project, we invite you to email us within the next week with any contribution you would like to make to this project. Please have a think about the issues above and email us – – with any suggestions, ideas or stories.

INTO is due to have a discussion with a film company within the next two weeks and this entire project has to be completed within a short time so we would urge you to assist us to the best of your ability within the coming week.”

Welcome to the new retirees

Most members of Retired Teachers Kildare Branch were formerly members of three INTO branches – Athy (geographically southern Kildare), Craobh Dárach (Kildare north of Naas) and Curragh. Craobh Dárach and Curragh branches were previously Droichead Nua branch until the growth in membership required a division.

Curragh Branch Retirement

On Friday 13th October in Westgrove Hotel, Clane, the Curragh Branch honoured their retirees.

  • from Scoil Mhuire Junior School, Newbridge: Bríd Leddy and Bryan O’Reilly ( special tribute was paid to Bryan for his outstanding work in INTO, particularly in his position as CEC Rep for District 7)
  • from Bunscoil Bhríde, Rathangan: Mary Kehoe
  • from Scoil Mhuire Senior School, Newbridge: Síle Nolan
  • from St. Marks Special School: Lisa Quinn Berger
  • from Gaelscoil Chill Dara: Helen Doyle
  • from St Brigid’s Primary School, Kildare Town: Aidan McKeon

Special guests at the celebration were INTO President, John Boyle and District 7 CEC Rep, Carmel Browne.

Members of Branch Committee and some retirees

Craobh Dárach Retirement

Craobh Dárach branch  honoured their retired members with a function in Kilashee Hotel on Jan 19th to which friends and colleagues were invited. The function was also attended by INTO officials/representatives from Head Office to acknowledge retirees’ commitment to Irish education and to the many pupils taught by them during their careers.

A certificate of congratulations with good wishes for a long, happy and fulfilling retirement was presented usually by Joe Killeen, Vice President INTO. The retirees received a beautiful Newbridge Silver presentation from the local committee.




  • Back: Carmel Browne, District 7 CEC Rep. Máire Ní Loinn, Breda Fay, Bridget Greaney, Maria Fitzgibbon, Lillian Meaghar, Joan Sweeney, Rita Breen, Mary Kilfeather,  Joe Killeen, Vice President INTO and Derry O’Connor, Chairperson Craobh Dárach
  • Front: Anne Fitzgerald Gifney, Bernadette McAuliffe, Margaret Bradman and Shiela Daly. Also in attendance was Dr Deirbhile Nic Craith from INTO Education Committee.

RTAI Chill Dara welcome you now to our community. We hope you will attend our meetings, join in with some of our activities and maybe suggest other ways of maintaining contact with former colleagues.




Chrismas 2017 Meeting


A welcoming Tea/Coffee and Biscuits was provided by the committee before the meeting commenced. Ted made mention of this “BLOGGING” effort and a request for any items/photographs/events that you would like included in future publications!!!!


Please contact Breda Fay: phone 087 2417226 / /

Minutes of last meeting

Minutes of the last meeting were read by Secretary Fidelma and adopted and she also covered items of correspondence from the National Executive.

Chairman Ted Rooney congratulated Fidelma on her hard work during the year and in prep for this meeting. He also reported on the activities of the Branch since the Summer meeting.




There were two very enjoyable GOLF OUTINGS and it is hoped to attract some new players to the next outings. A Golf outing is also proposed by Laois Branch and we will be contacted in 2018.




Dancing classes





Brian continues with Dance Classes. Again it is hoped that there might be bigger attendances after Christmas.




The Committee Officers were nominated as delegates for Annual Congress which will be held in the Shelbourne Hotel on the 6th March. Volunteers, Peadair Cunningham, Brian Keyes and Micheal McCarthy can be called on if there is a need for substitute.




Once again Fidelma reports a healthy balance in the books!




Billy Sheehan is advising all branches that he is unable to attend every meeting around the country (naturally!) but  a member of the National Executive will deputise for him at those he misses. Mary McCarthy from Laois, our rep on Executive Committee, updated us on developments:

  • Treasurers’ Meeting where the change of status of the organisation and the changes/improvements in Pension payments (both items described in Conasc) were discussed.
  • Proposals for branches to cooperate in activities, perhaps a list of events to be made available for anyone interested. Mary’s own branch in Laois had a Golf Outing recently attended by some members from the Dublin branches and this “cross Branch” cooperation is being promoted!
  • A reminder us that application for support for a favourite charity can be made to the Solidarity Fund, usually before December; and that applications for Bursaries both academic and non-academic should be made by 8th
  • Noted that INTO is 150 years old this year and a book to honour the occasion is available: a complimentary copy will probably be available to each branch if you want to have a look!
  • Mary also had a sample of “THE MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE” bottle and info on the scheme.

Message in a Bottle is an emergency information scheme. It simply directs the emergency services to information stored in a plastic bottle which is kept in the fridge of vulnerable people and people who live alone or those with medical conditions or allergies.

The information in the bottles will include a photograph, health details, emergency contact, doctor contact, whether there are pets that need looking after and where their medication is kept in the house and much more.

It is hoped this will assist the emergency services responding to a call at homes that avail of the scheme. Stickers are put on the fridge and on the inside of the front and back door to alert the emergency services that the vital information is available in the fridge.

This scheme is free to the user and should save the Emergency Services valuable time identifying you and your emergency contacts by telling whether you have special medication or allergies or not. It is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families.

One of our Kildare members described his Personal Alarm which has been instrumental in saving his life and suggested that interested members could phone Tunstall Emergency Response Systems, Bunclody 1850 247 999



Great to see Rena back with plans for a trip this year. The Sunny South East in April with Waterford and environs being explored as possible venue!!!! More about this after Christmas.


Once again Fidelma excelled herself with a great number and variety of raffle prizes after which we adjourned to the Dining Room to start to the Christmas festivities with good food and lots of chat.


Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo arís. Nollaig shona!!!






Early morning pick-up at the Cinema in Naas (other stops had been made along the way!) for the trip to Magherafelt. Great to see so many faces from the past both INTO and teaching colleagues. Sas, the driver, seemingly a regular driver of the retired teachers of Kildare kept us amused with odd stories of where we passed through. He had some great stories of trips to Jonesboro in the days of the border (which naturally brought up Brexit discussions! It was strange to be stopping for breakfast at 9.30 but after the early start the Carrickdale Hotel was a pleasant break – tea and gorgeous scones. Back on the bus promptly at 10.15 – promptness I believe is a feature of teacher outings!

Just after noon and right on time we arrived at Laurel Villa, an award winning guesthouse and a reported haven for Seamus Heaney fans owned by the Kielt family.

Eugene’s welcome included halting the traffic for us to cross the road where his wife, Gerardine ushered us into her dining room. There we were treated to home-made soup and wheaten bread (we all came away with the recipe) and tea/coffee with a choice of apple tart or pavlova (the pavlova was a replica of my mother’s in appearance and taste and that’s a true compliment!). To say that this is a centre for Heaney fans does not do justice to the memorabilia that is around the house, not to mention the private collection of books and leaflets and information that Eugene can show and talk about.

Eugene joined us on the bus then for a trip around Heaney country, highlighting many of the people and places that featured in his work, including the poet’s birthplace at Mossbawn and his final resting place in Bellaghy Graveyard.

The Hillhead Road links Knockloughrim and Toomebridge. It is not a speeding dual carriageway, just an ordinary rural link road of no great consequence. It was here, in February 1953, that two of Heaney’s younger brothers, 3½-year-old Christopher and an older sibling, walked from Mossbawn with a letter to post. Something distracted Christopher and he darted into the road. The driver could do nothing.

Eugene tapped on his smartphone and instantly the bus was filled with that familiar voice, rich and mellow, reading his own memory of that awful day when he was called home from boarding school in Derry for the return of Christopher’s body to Mossbawn Farm.

“Next morning I went up into the room.


And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.”

Eugene left us to self-guide our way around an amazing exhibition on Heaney and his work when we arrived at the Seamus Heaney Home Place in Bellaghy. We had plenty of time to view the artifacts, listen to commentaries and view videos (and even have a peek in the shop) before the signal came to return to the bus for the final leg of the journey into Derry. Sas demonstrated his driving skills as he reversed down the narrow Butcher Street in Derry to drop us right outside the Maldron Hotel. Check-in was speedy – an envelope for each of us, up to the room for a quick tidy up and down for dinner at 7.30. Lovely food, friendly service and lots of chatting about past and present, and of course the odd glass of vino!


Hands across the Walls; Sculpture celebrating peace in Derry!

What an excellent choice of hotels with views of the walls and Bogside from many of the rooms.

Leisurely breakfast before meeting with guide to walk the walls. He looked quite energetic (and later reports confirmed that he was indeed and fast mover with little patience for dawdling!) However even those less abled could take the walls at their own pace.

Plenty of information plaques along the way

People chose where to get their own lunches, some took time for retail therapy before hitting off on bus tour of Derry with Martin McCrossan.




And boy! did Martin know and love “his” Derry. Some of the crowd had asked about Martin McGuinness’s grave and so even though it was not on the agenda, that was our first port of call. Flowers still fresh, it was hard to comprehend that had we travelled a week earlier the funeral may nor have allowed a tour of Derry at all. The Bloody Sunday grave was adjacent.



Sas’ skills at manoeuvring the narrow street were award winning – although we had an encounter with police and ambulance services all worked out.

The “Walking Tour of the Bogside” was so interesting and oftentimes touching!

Like the story of the old guy who used to sit opposite this corner day after day, in all weathers – he was the father of this girl, one of the first children to be killed during The Troubles.

Many of the Murals represents marches, the hunger strikers, etc. There are modern murals also that celebrate PEACE and people who stand for Peace. The FREE DERRY CORNER is repainted regularly to celebrate even the different seasons, so it may not always be white!


After breakfast we had a free morning to catch up on some missed sights or to shop before boarding the bus for Monaghan and home.
Sas had returned to Tipperary the night before to pick up a crowd going to Wales and our new driver was a quieter guy. However there were many on the bus who knew the countryside and so the journey was peppered with tales of their childhoods and happening at various locations.
We were ready for eating when we pulled into the Shirley Arms in Carrickmacross for Lunch accompanied by the usual vino! Isn’t it great to be driven around????



Back to the bus for the drive to Monaghan and the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. The Centre is located in Inniskeen and was set up to commemorate the poet Patrick Kavanagh who is regarded as one of the foremost Irish poets of the 20th century.



He was born in Mucker townland Inniskeen. (You can imagine some of the rhyming slang his friend Brendan Behan attached to that!!!!) We listened to some lovely stories from the guide about the exhibition – not only did she know her stuff, she knew how to entertain. Two of our own gave a rendition of “Raglan Road” before we went out to see the grave.




The guide was excellent – after all our travels and info gathering, he was still able to hold our interest as we drove through the narrow roads of Kavanagh country.




“The bicycles went by in twos and threes,

There’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight.”

(from Inishkeen Road by P Kavanagh)

(photo of Billy Brennan’s Barn!!)


Lots of sleeping as we headed back to Naas (and Newbridge). What a great tour, due entirely to the excellence of Rena McAllen, the organiser – she had accounted for everything – I’m a definite for next trip!!!