Skerries Volunteer Showcase Event 2016

Tuesday the 23rdFebruary, 2016, Skerries Harps GFC Clubhouse, Skerries
7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

SCA VolunteersThe organisers, Fingal County Council;s Community Development Office, Fingal Volunteer Centre & local partners Mourne Community Centre and ourselves, the Skerries Community Association, hope that some 30 groups will be present on the day.

The groups will set up from 5.30 and have one hour for networking until the event is opened to the public with the official Launch by Mayor of Fingal – Cllr. David O’Connor at 7 p.m.

SCA Logo 2016

Apart from Skerries groups looking to recruit volunteers, there will be seven Countywide / National Organisations as well, such as Foróige, Jigsaw, and Bereaved by Suicide.

All those who think they might have anything between a couple of hours once-off and a few hours every day to spare should come to the Harps Clubhouse on that 23 Feb, from 7 to 8.30!

Any Skerries organisation who are looking for volunteers and are not yet on board should contact Valerie McAllorum-Byrne, Community Officer, Fingal County Council, ASAP. Her contact details are

(01)8905106

Skerries Community Association Annual General Meeting on Fri 11 September 2015

You are invited to attend the Skerries Community Association Annual General Meeting
Little Theatre, Dublin Road on Friday 11 September 2015 at 8pm.

After the official business, our annual Jim Quigley Award will be presented to the Skerries Volunteer of the year 2015.

This year, there will be vacancies on our Board of Directors – if you’d like to help “Make a great town even better,” why not run for election? Nomination forms can be obtained at  the reception desk of our Community Centre and must be with our secretary c/o the Skerries Community Centre by Tuesday 8 September at the latest. You must be a member of the Association to go forward as a director. You can become a member at the Community Centre (Reception Desk) or by signing up online. Membership is free, and open to all over 18s who are living in Skerries.

See above for some of the fun of last year’s AGM!

Present Directors 2015 small

SCA Directors at the annual Strategy Day in Ardgillan in March 2015 – not in the picture: Jane Landy, Ernestine Woelger, Michael McKenna, Nunce McAuley

The Skerries Community Association Ltd. is an umbrella group comprising many committees, made up of several hundred volunteers, devoted to making the quality of life in Skerries even better. Skerries Community Association is also the parent organisation of Skerries Community Centre. In legal terms, the SCA has the structure of a Company Limited by Guarantee. We are, of course, not-for-profit – but we still must comply with all relevant legislation and requirements for companies.

Our board of fifteen directors has the same responsibilities as that of a Board of Directors of any company. In addition to these duties, directors are almost always members of committees as well and form an essential link between the Board and these committees. It is an interesting and very rewarding role.

A key role of the SCA is to support the work of its committees, and to facilitate the emergence of new committees and projects. The committees which are part of Skerries Community Association are (in alphabetical order):

  • Age Friendly Skerries Committee
  • Crann Padraig
  • Skerries CoderDojo
  • Skerries Community Centre Board of Management
  • Skerries Cycling Initiative
  • Skerries Guerrilla Gardeners
  • Skerries Rás End Stage Committee
  • Skerries Reaching Out
  • Skerries Skatepark Committee.
  • Skerries Soundwaves Festival
  • Skerries Tidy Towns
  • Skerries Town Twinning Association
  • Sustainable Skerries

Chair’s Report (Geoff McEvoy)

I write this report in the slightly uncomfortable position of having become Chair only one month ago. I cannot therefore proceed to report on the work of the SCA without giving all due credit to my predecessor Ciara Leonard, who brought such enormous energy and enthusiasm to the role of Chair.

We are an umbrella group for the committees listed above, and their achievements in the past year are detailed elsewhere in this report. We also work alongside a great many of the other organisations and clubs that make Skerries what it is. On behalf of the entire board I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who volunteers their time to enrich the life of our town and make Skerries such a great place to live.

We could not fulfil our role without the support of, and a good working relationship with, Fingal County Council and our elected representatives at local and national level. The Skerries Community Liaison Committee has been a terrific forum for effective and constructive engagement with the County Council. I sit on this committee with my colleague Jane Landy. We meet on a quarterly basis and anybody living in Skerries can submit an item to be discussed. But the work of the SCA is a year-round process and I would like to thank our elected representatives and council officials for being consistently available and supportive.

There are a few highlights of the past year in Skerries I would like to dwell on for a moment.

  • August marked the Centenary of the Old School House. My colleague Mary Conway and her team did great work organising the event to mark this occasion. A huge turnout reflected on the history of our town with readings, songs, photographs and letters from pupils from 1914 to 2014.
  • This year also saw a wonderful addition to the new Floraville Community Garden in the form of the seals sculpted by local artist Paul D’Arcy. Great thanks is again due to the Chamber of Commerce for their work in bringing this amenity to our town, and also for their continued work on the Patrick’s Day Parade and the annual Christmas Lights.

Special congratulations to one of our newest committees, Age Friendly Skerries. Earlier this year they won the Environment award at the Age Friendly Recognition and Achievement Awards ceremony in Cavan, and their information pack launch last month was attended by over 170 people.

I was involved this year in the SCA’s submission in two projects, the Fingal Development Plan and the Town Park Masterplan. Both of these projects are ongoing and both will be the focus of a lot of our work in the year ahead.

  • The Fingal Development Plan is a great opportunity to shape the goals and aspirations that we have, not just for Skerries, but for the whole of Fingal and the role of our town in achieving those goals. This 99-week process allows everyone to have their say in the strategic plan for Fingal and it has only just begun. The SCA is looking forward to being an active part in that process.
  • As part of Age Friendly Action in Skerries, Fingal County Council launched the Masterplan for the Town Park. This was approved by the Council earlier this year and I was delighted to see many of the suggestions in our submission reflected in it. There is plenty of work ahead for the SCA in contributing to and enhancing the proposals it contains.

I thank those colleagues who are stepping down from the Board for all their work: As well as my predecessor Ciara Leonard, they are Zaneta Wright (who did such sterling work as hon-sec), Maxine Watson and Martin Russell. Martin will be well known to many as a former Chair of the SCA and a tireless activist for his community. As a director on the Board it was a pleasure for me to enjoy the benefit of his support, experience and friendship.

It is with great sadness that we remember the passing of our friend and colleague George McCormack this year. George was a long standing member of the Board whose knowledge and dedication to Skerries will be deeply missed.

Finally, I want to repeat that it would not be possible to include in this report a mention of all those who deserve it. So apologies to those left out and, on behalf of the SCA and the Board, I want to thank everyone who gives their time to enriching our town and especially those countless volunteers involved in our association for helping to make a great town even better.

Geoff McEvoy, Chairperson, Skerries Community Association
Contact:
Geoff.McEvoy@skerriesca.com

Stay in touch!

Nearly every day, the SCA Newsflash containing information on local events as well as “small ads”-type content and notifications, is mailed to subscribers. To subscribe, send an email with the subject “Newsflash Subscription” to info@skerriesca.com. You will be added to both the daily Newsflash and the Quarterly SCA Newsletter, which highlights the current work of our committees.

We do our best to keep the Facebook page and the website, www.SkerriesCA.com  up-to-date and relevant. Sabine McKenna is the director with responsibility for our online presence, and you can contact her at web@skerriesca.com or via the Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/SkerriesCommunity

Skerries Community Centre

The last two years have been very busy and rewarding years for Skerries Community Centre-. During this time the Centre and the Old School have gone through a big transition, including replacement of the showers and toilets, the heating in both buildings and the windows in the Old School, improvements to the garden and repainting the Old School. Next steps include a new logo for the Centre and extra toilets in the Old School.

All the painting and gardening improvements are thanks to the staff of the Centre, especially the CE workers, who are taking great pride in how the Centre looks. All staff are now wearing uniforms, which makes them easy to identify.

This year we purchased extra equipment for children’s activities, such as a bouncy castle, an inflatable 40-foot obstacle course, and ten bubble football outfits. These purchases have been very successful for our camps, which have been full all year. Our children’s parties are also getting very popular. (Contact the Centre at 01-849 0888 for information.)

Shay Fanning, Chair, Board of Management, Skerries Community Centre. Contact: info@skerriescommunitycentre.ie

Age Friendly Skerries Committee 

An Age Friendly Skerries Information Pack was launched in August 2015. The Information Pack was developed to address the information needs of older people in the town, in particular our most vulnerable older people. It not only provides vital details on emergency services but also provides information on clubs and leisure activities for older people and will be an asset for all.

Other projects either  supported or initiated by Age Friendly Skerries include the upgrade and enhancement of the Town Park, follow-up on the recent Walkability Study with Fingal County Council (FCC),  the roll-out of OPRAH (Older People Remaining at Home), a HSE  initiative, and of a befriending programme to alleviate social isolation via Crosscare;  the setting up of, and support for, Carers’ Meetings in association with the Carers’ Association, and the “Message in a Bottle” Initiative.

We are doing the above in partnership with FCC (Eithne Mallin) who is coordinating the delivery of other age friendly services in Skerries by a number of organisations. FCC is supporting us by providing information about sources of funding and useful contacts etc.

Mary Conway for Age Friendly Skerries.
Contact:
agefriendly@skerriesca. com 

Skerries Tidy Towns Committee

We are eagerly awaiting the 2015 results of the National Tidy Towns Competition on 28th September.  Watch out for Nationwide on RTE that evening and hopefully you will spot Skerries. In 2014 we won the County Award and a Gold Medal in the competition, and were only 4 points behind the winner Kilkenny. So it really is nail biting time now.

Community involvement is very important.  The bird and bat nesting boxes made by Foróige and placed in appropriate locations by our local BirdWatch Ireland group, together with the multiple green flags obtained by the local schools, and the Adopt-a-Beach scheme, count in a big way.  Well done and many thanks to all.

The fifth year of Adopt-a-Patch was re-launched in March 2015, and there are now 50 patches adopted. We need a few more volunteers so if you think you can help, do contact us.

Our work programme runs from early February until September each year. Our regular work parties meet on Monday mornings at 9.30 am in our store on Quay St – new faces always welcome.

Many thanks to all our volunteers and for all the support the Committee receives from residents and businesses in Skerries.

Maeve McGann, for Skerries Tidy Towns.
Contact:
tidytowns@skerriesca.com

Skerries Reaching Out

Skerries Reaching Out was set up to identify, using reverse genealogy, those who left Skerries, tracing them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to reconnect with their homeland.  We also assist anybody seeking information on any past or present relative living in Skerries. We are a member of the Ireland Reaching Out Community – www.irelandxo.com.

We have been of assistance with several family enquiries during 2014. One such request in is seeking any information on any present McKibben relatives in Ireland or indeed Skerries (originally the McKibbens from Balcunnin, Skerries).  If anybody is interested in joining us to proactively research and assist Skerries’ descendants to trace their ancestors do get in touch.

John Coleman, Skerries Reaching Out.
Contact:
skerries@irelandxo.com

Skerries Guerrilla Gardeners

SGG has been working with other local voluntary groups to engender awareness of sustainability issues in Skerries schoolchildren through practical action. In Skerries Educate Together, a new outdoor learning pavilion and amphitheatre was completed this year.  Landscaping and planting is now well in hand due to super work by parents committee. The Local Agenda 21 Partnership Fund grant from Fingal County Council purchased topsoil, plants and other materials needed to create this wonderful outdoor learning space.

Community Centre entrance and carpark: SGG was delighted to work with the gardening staff and management of the Community Centre, Tidy Towns and Skerries Allotments to secure shrubs and plants to create an attractive, colourful landscape around the Centre.

Michael McKenna for Skerries Guerrilla Gardeners
Contact:
gardeners@skerriesca.com

Crann Pádraig

Crann Pádraig Skerries is an environmental group which promotes and encourages the planting of broad-leaf trees. Happily Skerries is planted as best as possible with such trees. Requests for plants will always be considered from Clubs and Societies. (However Crann Padraig is not a substitute for commercial purchase. Individuals are not catered for.) Please note that permission must be obtained before any planting on either  public or private land is undertaken.

Brendan Sherlock for Crann Pádraig
Contact:
crann@skerriesca.com

Skerries Town Twinning Association

Our big undertaking in 2014 was the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Twinning Ceremony in Skerries in August, when we welcomed 41 visitors from the Canton of Guichen for a four-day visit.  We offered a range of activities for the visitors to highlight our shared Celtic heritage. In Spring 2014 we had organised an exchange of photographers.  This led to a wonderful exhibition entitled ‘Through Each Other’s Eyes’ in Skerries Mills.

We had two projects in July of this year – a return trip of almost 40 participants, including a group of traditional musicians from Rush, to Guichen in July and our participation in an international youth camp in July, for which six students from Skerries Community College travelled to France for a three-week camp, constructing a shelter in the public skateboard playground in Laillé, one of the main towns in the Canton of Guichen.

We’re always ready to welcome new initiatives. We have had approaches from the local badminton club in Laillé with a view to organising a visit to Skerries, so we will start to work on this soon.   If you have any ideas for joint projects with the Canton of Guichen, why not get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can progress them?

Geraldine McQuillan, Secretary, Skerries Town Twinning Association; contact: towntwinning@skerriesca.com

Skerries Rás End Stage Committee

The An Post Rás is Ireland’s number one cycling event. It is an annual, eight-day, stage race around Ireland. In 2006, it finished in Skerries for the first time. In 2015, the committee celebrated 10 years of the Rás finishing in Skerries, and arranged yet another successful street party to welcome in the Riders. The sun shone, and a large crowd awaited them at the picturesque seaside town, bringing 8 tough days in the saddle to a stirring, atmospheric end.

Jonathan Grimes, for the An Post Rás – Skerries Stage End Committee. Contact:  skerriesrasendstage@gmail.com

Skerries Cycling Initiative

Our bike repair and maintenance course, run at the Well Fit gym premises at  Skerries Shopping Centre over six mornings in May, was initiated by Skerries Tidy Towns with funding by Fingal County Council and the Department of the Environment under the Local Agenda 21 programme. Bike mechanic Paul Callan from The Rediscovery Centre, a social enterprise based in Ballymun, conducted the sessions. All 10 participants enjoyed the course and now feel confident about tackling bike repairs.

Our Midsummer Madness Bike Week Fun Cycle on 21 June was a trip around the town and local housing estates exploring lesser known paths and laneways, and it ended with the traditional picnic.

During the last year we made submissions to Fingal County Council on 30 km/h in residential areas, cycling in Town Parks and the draft County Development Plan. We continue to press for the completion of the cycle track from Balbriggan to Skerries, and for greater awareness of the importance of cycling to a number of areas, including the development of tourism in Fingal. To receive our regular cycling newsletter, just send an email to cycling@skerriesca.com.

Ray Ryan, Chairperson, Skerries Cycling Initiative.
Contact:
cycling@skerriesca.com

Skerries Soundwaves Festival

Our 2015 festival kicks off on 17th September and continues until the 27th. We had our Lego Family Fun Day in June, and great fun was had by all at the display area, the Lego build off, the Wheel of Fortune and the Schools Art Display.

Among the events planned for September are an Art Trail with artwork displayed in 10-15 prominent locations around the town; our schools programme with artists and story tellers; the Mills Gig, featuring the Walls, Darling, and The Fontaines; a classical music night in Holmpatrick Church with Fingal Chamber Choir, strings, and more; our fourth Soundwaves Minecraft Project, with a week of online creativity followed by a Minecraft-themed wrap party; a new play from Sunday’s Child; a night of Music and Poetry in the Mills; our largest ever street party, with a bouncy castles, youth orchestra, Mr. Toots the tourist train, Clap Handies, street games, the rock trailer, and more. The Finale will be the annual fireworks display in the harbour. See http://skerriessoundwaves.com  for our full programme.

Gráinne Enright, chair, Skerries Soundwaves Festival
Contact:
skerriessoundwavesfestival@gmail.com

Sustainable Skerries

Sustainable Skerries has had a good year, with the Community Harvest Group membership remaining stable, and also with many people expressing interest in availing of the local, organic produce boxes next year. In community food garden news, a great team has been formed to facilitate the development of a community food garden within the Town Parks area, thanks to all who signed the petition. Plans are underway to host Sustainable Living workshops within the next few months; topics we hope to cover include foraging, mending and up-cycling and also waste.

Zaneta Wright, Chairperson, Sustainable Skerries
Contact:
sustskerries@yahoo.ie

Skerries Skatepark Committee

Over the past year the Skerries Skatepark Committee have been working closely with the community, Fingal Co Co, local councillors and politicians to create a viable proposal for the addition of a skatepark for Skerries.  We are delighted that in July of this year the first major hurdle was crossed with the allocation of a site near Skerries Mills by Fingal Co Co as part of the Town Parks Masterplan. The next phase and new focus now is to investigate all forms of possible funding in order to keep the project moving. The Skerries Skatepark Committee would like to thank everyone involved in the process for the support and help to date.

Mat May, for Skerries Skatepark Committee.
Contact:
skatepark@skerriesca.com

Skerries CoderDojo

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, this committee didn’t even exist! Skerries CoderDojo is a monthly coding club for kids aged 7 to 17 including those with no previous coding experience.

The first “dojo” (club meeting) took place in September 2014. Over 30 helpers, organisers, and mentors ensure that the 70+ “ninjas” can get hands-on experience with coding during our monthly sessions.

Bookings for our monthly sessions (which are free, but participants must bring a laptop and a parent if they are under 12) open about a week before the event on our Eventbrite page. The monthly sessions take place on the second Sunday of each month, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the Little Theatre. As well as being an SCA committee, we are also part of the international CoderDojo movement.

We’re always on the look-out for helpers, especially for mentors who’d like to pass on their coding skills to the next generation!

Sabine McKenna, chair, Skerries CoderDojo
Contact:
coderdojo@skerriesca.com

Lego Family Fun Day for Soundwaves next Sunday!

Image

Soundwaves presents Lego Family Fun Day.

Soundwaves, one of the many parts of Skerries Community Association, is preparing for its 11th festival (September 17 to 27) with a fun fundraiser:

Sunday 21 June 2015.  2pm-5pm. Skerries Community Centre.

Don’t miss out on the chance to win one of our many fantastic Raffle Prizes on Lego day, including

  • A pair of tickets for to see Manu Chao In Royal Hospital Kilmainham on the 27th of June
  • A pair of tickets for Paulo Nutini playing in Marlay Park 4th July.
  • Lir Chocolate basket, Jewellery, Beauty basket, Vouchers, Large Airfix model and many more.

Also on the day…

  • Kids of all ages, bring your original Lego creations, display for all to admire and you could be in with a chance to win a prize for your effort.
    Registration  2pm-3pm cost €2
  • This year we have on display three Lego art projects from three of our local primary schools, namely Réalt na Mara, Skerries Educate Together N.S. , and St. Patricks Junior School. The winning school will win a specially commissioned lLego trophy!!!
  • Wheel of Fortune. Every spin guarantees a prize.
  • Face painting and Arts and crafts area.
    Design your own mini figure and be in with a chance to win a prize.
  • Lego Build Off. Everything is Awesome! Work in a team beat the clock and be in a chance to win a prize for your teams build.
  • Also this year.. Calling all Dads!!!
    Fathers Day special Lego build off!!

This event is a fundraiser for the Skerries Soundwaves Arts Festival.

LegoPoster

Bike Repair and Maintenance Course organised by two of our committees

Fix that bike! Want to learn how to fix punctures and brakes and lots of other practical stuff to keep your bike working safely and efficiently?
Two of the committees of Skerries Community Association have come together to bring you this course:
Sign up now for a free bike repair and maintenance course coming to Skerries in May. The course is open to Skerries residents over sixteen years old and is being organised by Skerries Cycling Initiative and Skerries Tidy Towns.
The course involves six sessions and will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings (9am-12 noon) over a three week period starting on Tuesday 5 May and ending on  Wed 20 May.
Any questions? Contact Michael, Skerries Cycling Initiative, via  cycling@skerriesca.com
Sponsored by Fingal County Council under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Grants scheme
bike in front of harbour

Launch of 2015 Skerries Adopt-A-Patch

Skerries Tidy Towns Committee, in association with Fingal County Council and Supervalu, re-launched “Adopt-a-Patch” at Skerries Mills last Tuesday (24 March 2015).

This successful scheme is now in its fifth season. New and continuing volunteers take charge of an open space, laneway or pedestrian area, and keep it clean and litter free. Fingal County-Council provide bags, and collect full bags from convenient points around the town. Our local Supervalu act as the depot for new bags, gloves etc.

Frances Owens and Breege Madden, the Tidy Towns “Adopt-a-Patch” coordinators, thanked all their volunteers. They added: “With your help, Skerries continues to achieve a high place in the national Tidy Towns competition.”

It was particularly good to see a strong contingent from Skerries Community College, who are ever increasing their involvement in the community. They regularly cooperate with SCA committees – Soundwaves, for instance, hugely benefited from a good number of Transition Year volunteers during their festival last September.  The SCC students have adopted a patch around the Community College.

 

Patch 2015 (1) Patch 2015 (2) Patch 2015 (3) Patch 2015 (4)

If you would like to join those who already have adopted an area, contact y member of Skerries Tidy Towns Committee, in particular Frances Owens (087 241 7017) or Breege Madden (087 770 0449).

  • Big areas can be divided between a number of volunteers.
  • The area can be cleaned at a time that suits you.
  • Gloves, bags and a picker will be provided.
  • Fingal County Council will collect bags from convenient points

Photographs: Brendan Sherlock, SCA.

Skerries CoderDojo in March

The volunteers of Skerries CoderDojo (one of the many committees of Skerries Community Association) made it possible once more – over 70 “ninjas” (young coders) attended the monthly CoderDojo (or computer-coding workshops) in our Old School last Sunday, 8 March 2015.

There are some 30 mentors and helpers involved in this project, all giving their time free of charge. Thanks to their main sponsor, RazorSocial (based in Rush), their venue is paid for for the moment, but there are many other costs to cover, such as mentor training,  child protection training, materials and (some) equipment (they borrow as much as possible).

Normally, sessions take place on the second Sunday of the month. Every month, tickets for this free event can be reserved. It is safest to book them on the Sunday before the event, when they go live at 5 p.m., as there can be waiting lists. An email to coderdojo@skerriesca.com is all it takes to be put on their mailing list & to be alerted in good time before the next session!

 

2015 An Post Rás to finish in Skerries – for the 10th time!

This will be the 10th time that the this exciting bicycle race will finish in our town. Mark your diaries for Sunday May 24!  After nearly 1,200 kilometres, the riders will be able to look forward to a great welcome in Skerries. The An Post Rás Skerries Stage End Committee (a committee of the Skerries Community Association)  are already on the case!

An Post Ras Facebook snippet

 

Here is some detail from An Post Rás HQ:

Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres):

The last stage of the race is the shortest but Race Director Tony Campbell says that a modification has been made to the finale which could bring about a last gasp change in the overall standings.
After the drop of the flag in Drogheda the bunch will race through Donore and Navan prior to an An Post Prime in Kilmessan, 35.1 kilometres in. The first of five third category climbs will rear up at Newtown (km 63.3) followed by the second at Ardgillan Castle (km. 83).
Soon afterwards the peloton will race into Skerries and cross the finish line for the first time, 91.4 kilometres after the start. They will then begin three 13.7 kilometre finishing laps, each bringing them across the Black Hills category three climb and providing opportunity to strong riders who are chasing overall victory or the stage win.
“The last stage is familiar to those who have been at previous editions of the An Post Rás, in that it finishes once again in Skerries” says Campbell. “It’s actually the tenth year that we are doing so and that finale has been absolutely fantastic for the race. There is a fantastic committee putting it together, and each year it is just better and better”
“This time we have put in an extra lap of the finishing circuit. We believe it could be very close in the overall standings and so the third lap could make a difference and decide the race right in the final minutes. It could be a very dramatic finale.”

Some more details

2015 AN POST RÁS ROUTE TO MAKE FOR THRILLING SPECTACLE
Speed and Tactics will be key to success

Unveiling a fast and tactical route which totals almost 1,200 kilometres, the organisers of An Post Rás today launched what could be one of the most suspenseful editions of the race in recent history.
Deliberately omitting some of the tough first category climbs that have featured in recent years, the emphasis this time around is on opening up the possibility of attacks at any point in the race. This change is set to add greatly to the unpredictability An Post Rás has long been known for.
The 2015 edition of the race will begin in Dunboyne, travelling clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Carlow, Tipperary, Bearna, Newport, Ballina, Ballinamore and Drogheda, before the customary finale in Skerries.
Scrapping it out over eight days, the riders will still have 21 categorised climbs to deal with. But with just two of these being second category, surprise attacks, high speeds and strong winds will likely be the biggest factors in shaking up the peloton and deciding the final overall result.
Announcing the route for the May 17th to 24th event in Dublin’s GPO, An Post Rás, Race Director, Tony Campbell anticipates a gripping contest.
“This year’s race is a lot flatter than recent years,” he stated. “However it is very rolling terrain and very exposed and there is very little shelter on a lot of stages.
“The riders are going to have to be careful of winds; if there are any sort of westerly winds, I would say they could be in big trouble. It is going to make for great racing and will also require good bike handling skills.”
As has been the case in recent years, the route was designed by Stephen O’Sullivan. Campbell said that the choice of terrain is intended to strike the right balance between the international and the domestic competitors. The new format will ensure that both groups can influence the outcome.
“Sometimes the flatter editions are the ones with the most attacking, the most action and the most tactics,” he said. “Riders will have to be vigilant every minute of the day.”
Double Olympian and former Rás winner David McCann was on hand to launch this year’s route alongside Irish riders Damien Shaw, Eoin Morton and Sean McKenna. McCann, who lifted the coveted trophy in 2004, believes this year’s route will make for a thrilling spectacle.
“It’s going to allow for typical Rás style racing with plenty of attacking, which is what we love so much about the race. It should be a great one for the neutrals and hopefully this year an Irish rider can take home the trophy.”
Day one of the race covers 154.4 kilometres from Dunboyne to Carlow and has been set up to ensure a fast, aggressive opener. It features four third category climbs at Sherlockstown, Boherboy, Hacketstown and Kilcommon each awarding points towards the King of the Mountains competition. It also includes An Post Hotspot Sprints at Naas, Clonegal and Ballon.
Time bonuses will be on offer at each of these three gallops, but larger bonuses at the finish mean that whoever wins the stage will don the first Yellow Jersey of the race.
At the GPO launch of Ireland’s top-ranked UCI race, An Post CEO, Donal Connell said:
“An Post is Rás sponsor since 2011 and we have seen things change for the positive in this time, with huge growth in cycling as a sport, a form of transport and as part of the leisure and tourism economy. An Post is part of this and we continue with our support for cycling at every level. This helps our business visibility, it allows us to be part of a positive change in the country and we see the huge and longstanding difference our support makes to An Post Rás, as it does with all of our sponsorships.”
Details of the international teams set to join this year’s An Post Rás will be released over the coming months. The An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.

An Post Rás route 2015 (UCI 2.2, May 17th – May 24th):
Stage 1, Sunday May 17: Dunboyne to Carlow (154.4 kilometres)
Stage 2, Monday May 18: Carlow to Tipperary (137.2 kilometres)
Stage 3, Tuesday May 19: Tipperary to Bearna (155.9 kilometres)
Stage 4, Wednesday May 20: Bearna to Newport (155 kilometres)
Stage 5, Thursday May 21: Newport to Ballina (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 6, Friday May 22: Ballina to Ballinamore (160.1 kilometres)
Stage 7, Saturday May 23: Ballinamore to Drogheda (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres)

 

Fingal County Council Launches Green Dog Walker Campaign in Skerries

In September, Fingal County Council came out to Skerries to launch the Green Dog Walker Campaign. The Mayor, a Dog Warden, an Environmental Officer and lots of dogs, as well as Skerries folk and their dogs, and of course our Chairperson all were at the South Strand on the day to help with the launch.

Green Dog Walkers 2014 (7)

Fingal Co Co launches its Green Dog walkers campaign in Skerries. From front left, clockwise: Tiger. Fingal’s Mayor, Mags Murray. Ciara Leonard, Chairperson, Skerries Community Association. Fingal Litter Warden Tony Law, and his dog Roxy. Photo by Kevin Mcfeely

Let’s hope that this initiative will contribute to a safer, doggy-do-accident-free walking environment in Skerries!

Green Dog Walkers is a regional programme. It is a non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling.

Volunteers wear a Green Dog Walkers armband which signifies that they have “taken the pledge” to always:

  • clean up after their dog
  • wear the armband or put the Green Dog Walkers collar on their dog when walking
  • carry extra dog waste bags
  • be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ a dog waste bag to those without
  • be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  And you can still join! All you have to do is sign the  Green Dog Walkers Pledge – either online (follow the link) and return by email to enviraware@fingal.ie or post to the Environment Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Swords, Co. Dublin. A Green Dog Walker armband and a bone dog bag dispenser will then be posted to you.

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Soundwaves Festival Gearing Up!

Skerries Soundwaves Festival Committee is probably our busiest committee right now, with just a week to go to the festival launch in Skerries Mills!

Opening Night Logo 2014

When you read this, and if you are living in Skerries, you may already have received the brochures – if not, they will arrive very soon, and you can also pick them up in many Skerries shops and of course in Skerries Tourist and Town Information Centre, Thomas Hand Street, which is their ticket office this year (open Wed to Sun, 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For the first time in a few years, tickets are also available through the Soundwaves website. However, for many of the events that won’t even be necessary, as they are free – the Opening Night (Fri 19 Sep), the Soundwaves Lego, Minecraft and Cookery Competitions & Exhibitions (Sun 21 Sep), the Céilí, the Street Party, the Classical Oasis and the Night Parade & Fireworks (all Sun 21 Sep) for instance don’t need any booking or entrance fee – just turn up and be part of our festival!

Ticket Office 2014Skerries Soundwaves is a truly amazing phenomenon. Now in its 11th year, it was started by a few members of the Board of Skerries Community Association, who thought that Skerries really should have a music & arts festival, because, as they said: “A community that celebrates together is a stronger community!”

Over the years, a number of events have become firm favourites, such as the classical concert in Holmpatrick Church, the poetry event, the Lego Workshops (as this goes public, there are still some tickets left, but don’t wait too long!), the puppet shows, and of course the biggest event of them all – the Gig at Skerries Mills Courtyard. where impressive impresario Dave Diebold (of Skerries News & Skerries Tourist Office) will present you Jerry Fish & Band, the Booka Brass Band, and The Young Folk. A night not to be missed – and the VIP tickets are all gone already!

Skerries Soundwaves have their own mini-Fringe, too: First off are the competitors in the Skerries Got Talent Auditions who are competing for a place in the Matinee / Final on Sat 20 September. Then it’s the competition for the U2s and Hothouse Flowers of tomorrow (am I betraying my age by selecting those bands as examples?), Battle of the Bands: Little Theatre, Fri 12 Sep. And for the fans of Minecraft, there will be a party on Saturday to celebrate the launch of this year’s Soundwaves Minecraft Project 2014 – unfortunately, word spread fast about this one, and all 50 tickets are now gone. However, the project itself (now in its third year) has many spaces left, so all Skerries Minecrafters are invited to join online to create a virtual Skerries!

And then the festival proper kicks off with the abovementioned opening night and all its other highlights – too many to mention here, so seek out the brochure, visit our website, and look out for your Skerries Community Association Newsflash!

To keep up with what is happening, visit skerriessoundwaves.com and follow the Soundwaves Festival crew on Facebook.

brochures 2014

 

Do you have a couple of hours to spare?

The Soundwaves Festival could not happen without volunteers who join the team for an event or two… here is a list of those where we are currently short of a few “Yellow Shirts.” If you’re interested, please contact our Volunteer Manager, Nathasha – she’ll be delighted to hear from you!

Natasha Isabelle
Email: natasha@isabelle.mu
Mobile: 085 7112366

You’ll be helping the Event Manager with running the event smoothly, checking tickets, helping people with questions, and giving a hand in general.

We’re particularly looking for people who could help out during the Gig at the Mills, the Street Party (including four strong people for setting up the marquee), and the Night Parade.

Fri 12 7pm Battle of the Bands [Yes, that’s tonight!]
Sat 20 3pm Magic Show
Sat 20 6pm SkerriesGotTalent matinee
Sat 20 8pm SkerriesGotTalent finals
Sun 21 8pm The Nualas
Sun 28 11am Puppets – The Merman’s Tale
Sun 28 12:30 Puppets – Tom Thumb
Sun 28 11:45 Street Ceili
Sun 28 2pm-5pm Street party
Sun 28 7pm Night Parade
Sun 28 8pm Fireworks

For any of the above, please contact Natasha 085 7112366

And then there is our fundraiser bag packing:
Can you give us an hour or two of your time on Saturday 20 September? If so, contact us through the Facebook page or send an email to skerriessoundwavesfestival@gmail.co

Be a Green Dog Walker!

Have you noticed? The days are getting shorter. And for those of us with dogs to walk, we’ll increasingly be out and about with Fido in the dark. Joggers, walkers, kids going to school will be out when it’s not 100% bright, either… and these are the times when we are all particularly happy about clean, poo-free sidewalks, roads, and verges!

I guess 99.5% of all dog walkers are well-intentioned and always mean to tidy up after their dog. Sometimes, however, they might be caught without a plastic bag to do so…

Enter the Green Dog Walker!

Green Dog Walkers is a regional programme. It is a non-confrontational, friendly way to change attitudes about dog fouling.

Volunteers wear a Green Dog Walkers armband which signifies that they have “taken the pledge” to always:

  • clean up after their dog
  • wear the armband or put the Green Dog Walkers collar on their dog when walking
  • carry extra dog waste bags
  • be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ a dog waste bag to those without
  • be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  All you have to do is sign the  Green Dog Walkers Pledge – either online (follow the link) and return by email to enviraware@fingal.ie or post to the Environment Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Swords, Co. Dublin. A Green Dog Walker armband and a bone dog bag dispenser will then be posted to you.

Or even better: Come to the South Strand, Skerries, between 10 a.m. and 12 noon this coming Saturday (13 Sep), meet a Fingal dog warden, “take the pledge,” and meet other doggies and their walkers! (Or should that be: walkers and their doggies?)

Do encourage friends with dogs or dog lovers to come down and join in the fun!

You can read more with our  Green Dog Walker Leaflet or Green Dog Walker Leaflet Irish Version .

Skerries Community Association is happy to be cooperating with Fingal County Council in this initiative.

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