Author Archives: jkennedy

Keep a date – for the annual Parish Fête

The Clane Union of Parishes has announced the annual Parish Fête will be held in the grounds of the Hewetson School, Millicent, on Sunday May 13th. The fun (and, for the first time, live music) kicks off at 1pm when special guest 9 year old singer/songwriter Ashley Tubridy will open the event. For more details please see the dedicated Facebook page.

Saving Clane Swifts…

Swift (by Dick Coombes)

A recent study by volunteers of Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland revealed that Clane is at risk of losing a species that has graced our skies since possibly the first buildings were built in Clane. A bird with an amazing story: the swift.

Swifts only spend a few months of the year in Clane, arriving in late April from sub-Saharan Africa, and departing by the end of August. Somewhat similar to swallows, house martins and sand martins, swifts are perhaps twice as large with stiff scythe like wings. They can sometimes be heard frantically chasing and screaming after each other in and around our buildings in the summer evenings.

Swifts are true masters of the air. They eat, drink, mate and even sleep on the wing – in fact swifts typically only stop flying to breed. So, once young swifts leap out of their nest for the first time, they may not stop flying for two or three years, until they are ready to look for a nest site themselves and start a family. Swifts typically nest in gaps under roof tiles of tall buildings, but modern building and roofing techniques are making it more and more difficult for them to find suitable nesting sites. Luckily solutions are not too complex and volunteer groups such as the Northern Ireland Swift Group are working to raise awareness and improve the lot for these birds.

The Abbey, Clane

Last year about 10 swifts were seen flying in and around Clane, but only two swift nests were actually located – both in very old buildings, and one in a building that may be redeveloped shortly. With the possibility of existing nest sites being lost, Clane Community Council and Clane Tidy Towns have made a special effort to preserve this species in Clane by providing dedicated accommodation for swifts in the tower of the Abbey.

A swift colony nest box that includes space for five nests has been specially constructed and installed behind the louvres of the window high up above the main door to the Abbey. The entrances are designed to line up with existing gaps in the louvres, and yet not let starlings in. The rear is designed to allow the nests be checked discreetly, and cleaned. Each nest includes a simple ‘concave’ to keep the eggs from rolling around and possibly even out of the nest box.

The new nest boxes with rear windows and walls removed

The next challenge in this project will be encouraging swifts that have been flying non-stop for two or three years to finally come to a rest and consider a nest site in this particular window. Although one of the current nest sites is nearby, success is not guaranteed. Another factor is food supply. Swifts only eat insects, so the health of our surrounding gardens, fields, rivers and countryside will also be important to ensure that there are enough insects for them to breed successfully. However, fingers are crossed. If the younger swifts simply discover the nest boxes this summer it could be an important step to securing the presence of this amazing bird in Clane for hopefully many years to come.

The nest boxes with their rear wall removed

Temporarily blocking the louvres beneath the nestboxes

The new nest boxes awaiting prospective tenants

Have you seen our missing nest box?

Earlier this year Clane Tidy Towns ran a nest box scheme in association with the Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland. We were delighted with the response: in the end 18 boxes were generously donated by the community, and installed in carefully chosen locations.

Unfortunately however, one of these boxes has been removed by somebody in the last few weeks.

The missing nestbox number 1, with distinctive Clane Tity Towns logo.

Box number 1, with our Abbey and “CTT” Logo painted on the side, was carefully hand-made by a local retired gentleman. This unique box even boasted a torched felt roof. We were really curious to see if it would be occupied: it is very disappointing that this box has been interfered with.

If you come across the box, or have any information on its whereabouts, please let anyone on the Tidy Towns team know. Information can also be sent (in confidence and anonymously if necessary) to

Nestbox 1 after installation

The bare tree today

Clane goes a little bit Batty

Hot on the heels of a successful Nestbox Scheme for our feathered friends, Clane Tidy Towns is not forgetting our other aerial, ahem, acro-bats. Working closely with Kildare Bat Group and Bat Conservation Ireland, two specialised bat boxes have recently been installed.

Clane's new bat boxes

These ‘boxes’ are actually a bit like large concrete mineral bottles. They are made from concrete so that the temperature does not fluctuate as much as in a wooden box, and are painted black and installed facing South so they absorb as much heat as possible. The inside of the box has a rough surface so that bats can climb up inside them.

All Irish bats are insect eaters, and so are very small. Anything from one or two to twenty or thirty bats might move into these boxes. We will monitor the boxes carefully and keep you posted of any developments.

You can see one of these bat boxes for yourself by the Liffey in our Liffeyside Nature Park. Four species of bat (the Leisler, Daubenton, Soprano Pipestrelle and Common Pipestrelle) have been recorded by the Liffey recently. These bats can each hoover up more than 2000 moths and midges every night. We hope they enjoy their new accommodation.

For more information on bats in Ireland check out Bat Conservation Ireland‘s website.

Kildare Bat Group records installation details of bat box 1

Bat box 2 open for business

Community Games 2012 off to a flying start…

Congratulations to the Clane & Rathcoffey Community Games Gaelic Football Under 10’s team who kicked off their campaign in style with a great win away to Monasterevin last Thursday evening (5th April) in Ballykelly. The final score was Monasterevin 1-00,  Clane & Rathcoffey 4-8.

Here’s wishing them and all our Community Games athletes and competitors the best of luck. Information on our ever-popular summer games, to be held May 27th, will be posted here in the coming weeks.

Spring Clean 2012 – thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who turned out today and in previous days to help clean up the countryside around Clane. With the initiative coordinated by Tír na Móna, and with support from An Taisce, AES and Kildare County Council, the local effort was spearheaded by Cllr Pádraig McEvoy. Members of Clane Tidy Towns and Clane Community Council organised teams of volunteers of all ages, and spread out around the local roads. A phenomenal amount of rubbish was removed, some of it with a JCB, and Clane’s Main Street also received a thorough spring clean.

Many residents’ associations took the opportunity to clear up their public spaces, and this waste was removed also.

To help sustain energy levels throughout the day a wonderful cup of tea and lunch were provided by the volunteers in St. Kevin’s GAA, Staplestown.

To minimise landfill, the rubbish collected was segregated, and the various piles of green waste, general waste, electrical appliances, metal, tyres and litter (collected on an ongoing basis) can be seen in the accompanying photos.

All who helped out can sleep easy that this volume of rubbish has been cleared from our environs. If you spot dumping appearing from now on, please inform Clane Tidy Towns or the Kildare Litter Warden hotline at 1800 243 143.

Clane Community Council – Best Themed Float 2012!

Clane Community Council was delighted to be awarded Best Themed Float for the Clane St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2012. Featuring Oisín Aosta, Oisín Óg, Niamh and a team of warriors and volunteers from Clane Tidy Towns, the team dragged the last boulder out of Clane, revealing a beautiful village twinned with Tír na nÓg.

Despite the inclement weather there were smiles all round during the parade itself and it seemed like everyone had a great day.

A big thank you to everyone who helped put our float together, and a very well done to the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee for pulling off a fantastic 8th festival in a row.

Spring ‘Clane-Up’…March 31st

The Spring is upon us and it is time for our annual Spring Clean. In association with Tír na Móna, Clane Tidy Towns will be cleaning up the roads and ditches in and around Clane on Saturday March 31st starting at 10AM.

Why not organise your neighbours or resident’s association to adopt a local ditch or clean up the area outside your estate. Please contact Cllr Pádraig McEvoy on 086 8658262 to organise disposal of the rubbish you collect.

Happy St. Patrick’s Weekend!

This is going to be a packed weekend for Clane Community Council! Proceedings kick off at 3pm with our entry in Clane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade…keep an eye out for Oisín, Niamh and their special announcement in association with Clane Tidy Towns. We also have our Church gate collection this weekend – all support is gratefully appreciated. Finally we are participating in the “Reeling In the Years” exhibition in the Parish Hall on Sunday from 11:00am to 5:30pm. Please drop in and say hello.

Keep up-to-date…

The Community Council is delighted to introduce a new mailing list which everyone is welcome to join to keep up to date with Clane Community Council activities. It will include news from our Community Games, Tidy Towns, Heritage and Clanewatch initiatives.

To subscribe:

  1. Type your email address into the “Join our mailing list” box on the right and click subscribe.
  2. Check your email. You should receive a “confirm your subscription” email. Follow the instruction to complete the subscription.

If you use a calendar on your computer or phone we have another feature that might be of interest – you might be able to add the Community Council calendar to your calendar.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to use these facilities. Complete details on how to keep up-to-date at

Available To Let – 17 new Nest boxes!

Clane Tidy Towns and Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland were delighted with the reponse to the Nest Box Scheme for Clane, 2012. A grand total of 17 boxes were donated to the cause and are now installed in and around the town awaiting prospective tenants. A special thanks to the folks of the Man’s Shed, organised by Clane Project Centre’s and based in Thompson Business Centre, for constructing 4 of the boxes.

The boxes will be monitored over the coming breeding season…keep an eye out here for future updates. If you spot any activity at any of the boxes, please send a note to us at

Liffey Cleanup – thank you

Volunteers from Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers Association and Clane Tidy Towns with some of the rubbish collected along the Liffey

A big thank you to all the members of Clane Trout & Salmon Anglers Association who spent the morning of Feb 19th with volunteers from Clane Tidy Towns cleaning up along the Liffey in Clane. A full trailer load of rubbish was collected, some of it washed down from upstream, but some of it dumped here in Clane.

The Liffey is a beautiful amenity in Clane and is an important wildlife corridor. It has a wonderful wheelchair-accessible Liffey walk which leads into our Liffeyside Nature Park.

Please play your part to keep this amenity clean and safer for our children. Don’t litter, if you have a dog clean up after it (and don’t dump the bag), and if you come across dumping here or anywhere else in Clane please contact the Kildare Litter Warden at 1800 243 143.

Volunteers from Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers Association and Clane Tidy Towns

Wild About Clane – Nest Box Scheme!

In recent months volunteers from the Kildare Branch of BirdWatch Ireland have surveyed public spaces in Clane and identified numerous sites that would be suitable for nestboxes for certain species. Based on this we would like to invite you to root out that jar of screws and spare bit of plywood in the back of the shed and bash a nestbox together for us!

Different species prefer different types of nestboxes, so for this year we are requesting  boxes with holes of diameter 25mm (for Blue Tits and Coal Tits) and 28mm (for Great Tits
and Tree Sparrows) – we can drill the hole if that suits better. For complete plans for the ideal nestbox please see our recommended nest box design.

We will be siting these boxes carefully with the guidance of BirdWatch Ireland, and of course the sooner we install them the better the chances they will be found. If you could drop off your box to The Abbey, opposite the playground, at 5pm on Saturday February 18th, we would be delighted to also take your details and make sure you are
told of the final location of your box.

Please note we won’t be installing nestboxes in housing estates, so why not consider making a box for your local residents association too. You are welcome to contact if you would like a survey of your estate to suggest which locations might suit certain species. Good luck!

Liffey Cleanup at Clane – Sunday Feb 19th

Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers Association are organising a cleanup along the Liffey on Sunday February 19th. Starting at Alexandra Bridge, where the Sallins Road crosses the Liffey, the cleanup will continue downstream, along the Liffey walk. Many hands make light work – if you could spare an hour or two why not come along and lend a hand – kick-off at 10:00AM!

Interesting in teaching English?

Failte Isteach runs English courses for non-English speaking adults who need assistance with their spoken English skills. The classes are held in Clane Parish Centre each Thursday evening from 19:00-21:00. The atmosphere is one of friendly assistance in developing spoken skills in small groups rather than traditional lessons. They need extra tutors to help their growing number of students. Tutors do not need formal teaching skills – only an ability to speak English and a willingness to help those who are struggling to.

For anyone interested in finding out more please contact Peter Thew at or on 086-958-3116.

Congratulations to our Best Kept Estates and Premises

On Monday October 17th the winners of Clane Best Kept Estates and Best Presented Premises were announced to an eager audience. With a record 21 local estates entering the competition, 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes were awarded for large, medium and small estates. The winners are all listed here, and congratulations to all estates that entered this years competition.

The recently inaugurated Best Presented Premises award this year went to Heavenly Shoes and Accessories, on Main Street.

Nick Fitzgerald, Chairman of Clane Community Council, thanked everyone who helped in any way with Clane’s Tidy Towns efforts, and encouraged people to get involved in whatever way they could. Mr. Ted Murray, Chairman of Clane Project Centre, generous sponsers of the awards, congratulated all involved and was delighted to see the competition going from strength to strength.

Your invitation: Clane Heritage Forum – Discussion Day

All are welcome to take part in a forum on Clane’s rich heritage this October. It will take place in The Westgrove Hotel on Saturday 22nd October. Registration is from 2.00pm  with the main events starting at 2.30pm and finishing at 6.00pm.

National and local speakers will make short presentations of value and interest to all. Speakers include Éanna Ní Lamhna broadcaster and author. Your views are important so come along.

This event is organized by Clane Community Council and will be opened by Clane Lord Mayor Dessie Marron.

For more information please see the Clane Heritage Forum Flyer.