Notes by Michael Martin


Letter to BMH with thanks

Ballykealey Manor Hotel
Co Carlow.

Saturday 15th December 2007

Dear Ted & Mandy,

Hospitality provided for our AGM last Wednesday

Many thanks for providing the facilities and refreshments for our AGM. The pastry on the mince pies was the best ever.

Thanks also for the other support you gave the Group during the year with meetings and, of course, Heritage Week.

Your support has been well publicised at all events.


Michael Martin
Chairman to the Group


Report on AGM dated 12/12/07

1.Matters arising from AGM 2006
Most matters had been dealt with over the year. There were some outstanding matters relating to a) Tidy Town Survey, b) A Tree Survey, c) Improved road and and tourist signage and d) Interpretation boards but the person involved was not present.

2. Apologies
Margaret Nolan
Fr. Whelan

3) Chairman/Secretary's Report - Michael Martin
This year, as last, we didn't get a secretary so I'll cover all the events. However, all salient information is on the web site as it happened and is available for all to read.

a) Tidy Towns
This year we didn’t enter the Tidy Towns as the previous year they appeared to make a mistake in the judging and didn’t reply to our query concerning this. I don’t think we achieved anything by NOT going in and I don’t know if we are at a loss either. We can debate this later if you wish.

b) Litter League
We didn’t get through to the knockout stage this year. However, the village is kept pretty well litter free thanks to just a few dedicated workers. Our volunteers seemed to have dropped off as the year continued and we need to rejuvenate some enthusiasm here.
We did retain our ‘litter free status’ and got €200 from the council for our efforts. I did ask for the Sign to be erected and also for the Litter Warning Sign. John McDarby got the litter warden to call to see me about them but neither sign appeared. They did put a notice though at the recycling centre by the Community Hall.

c) Carlow's Pride of Place
We did obtain third prize in CCC’s PoP competition and received a cheque for €300 for our efforts

d)Heritage Week
We held our third heritage talk at Ballykealey Manor Hotel and the guest speakers were John Smyth and John Behan. This was well attended and generously sponsored by the hotel and four local businesses. We had a free draw for the prizes which was organized by Alison Harvey and this was well received.

e) Garda Station.
Dermot Mulligan, Carlow’s Museum curator, did approach the OPW about ambient lighting but there has been no response to date.

f) Tullow Engineer
He continues not to reply to correspondence and is of limited value to the Group. I was advised by a council member to correspond with him through another person and we did get the road repaired outside of Kavanagh’s pub.

g) Bagenalstown Engineer
He also is not a great correspondent but he did help with clearing the entrance to the Lecky/Quaker graveyard through his foreman.
He also sanctioned monetory support for a new flower bed project through the Dept. of Community & Enterprise

h) FAS worker.
We made representation for a FAS worker with no success, but continue to get some help by an existing worker. Special thanks to Maura George for delegating village tasks to Tom Rogers who has been very co-operative.

i) Village Enhancement projects
Apart from maintenance of previous projects we got seven extra improvements made.

• Tree planting at the Carlow side flower bed, four cherry trees and six oak trees.

• Tree planting at Rathoe Cross together with a flower bed recently planted up with daffodils

• An extension to the wild flower garden on the Carlow side of the village.

• A new border/ flower bed outside the Community Centre

• A Heritage plaque for the Lecky/Quaker graveyard with generous sponsorship from The Chronicle and Kevin Doyle

• New planters and shrubs for the graveyard

• Supplied eight trees for The Oaks to replace the damaged ones. This was done through their committee. Two were donated by the Garden Centre and we bought the others in their half price sale.

Web Site -
This continues to attract a wide audience locally and from around the world and an article was written about it in this year’s Chronicle.
With effort we could make better use of this for revenue generation. And any ideas on this are welcome.

Project Abondoned
The planters on the pavement opposite the postoffice have been discontinued because there is no one to water them. This can be reversed with a willing helper.
The Bridge flowers will not continue next year unless the work of watering can be shared.

Treasurer's Report - Eileen Murphy

The treasurer explained that the financial year covered 14 months and the income from the council included some allocated to last year and a special contribution for damage occured to the wild flower beds during road resurfacing. Finances are satisfatory at present.

Possible New Projects
Continue with Heritage Notices through the village starting with the Bull Tree. Others can include The Grotto, the Old Graveyard and the Church etc – any ideas here?
Heart Foundation walkway.
Full time worker for the village

Election of Officers for 2008

Chair person
Web master
Web marketer

With the exception of the Web master none of these positions were filled. The chairman suggesed that his office would benefit from a change of person and the treasurer declined due to other pressures. It was left to consider for a meeting in early Spring.

Any other business

Hanging basket holders at the old graveyard
One member wanted them removed as they were serving no purpose now that there was no one to look after the baskets.
Others said that a further approach should be made to the parish council to allow a water supply close by.
The parochial house indicated they would take two of them.
Regular village clean up
A revival of the weekly clean up should be organised by members and friends inspite of past poor attendance.
Monthly committee meetings for next year
This year's practice of having just one meeting to decide on the year's work was not a good idea as it stalled involvement and continuity of purpose.
Change of venue for meetings
Would a different venue attract better attendance? Mixed reaction here - most people very pleased with the present generous facilities.
Consolidate on what we have achieved to date
For next year it might be better to just care for what we have and start no new projects.

Burial Ground Award
Was the Council cheque for the Burial ground for the old cemetary or the Lecky one?
The chairman said he had asked the council but received no reply - he will try again though.
Fundraising for Estates
It was suggested that estates could raise funds be getting new web sponsors from their contacts and the money collected could be retained for their use.

We are going in the right direction and continue to make progress.
A few more consistent helpers would make a huge difference. If a lot of people reliably contributed a little the village would make much better progress. The danger of leaving the work to a few people is that one day they’ll get fed up and stop.

Anyway, there have been some consistent workers, on and off the committee, who contributed greatly. Off the committee we have:
• Kathleen Percy and Breda Wray – flower beds on Carlow Road Speed Signs
• Tracy Murphy – flower beds on Bunclody Road Speed Signs

On the committee
* John Murphy – grass cutting on the Bunclody Side. This has made a huge difference to the approach   into the village and people forget what it looked like just two years ago.

* Máire George - consistent work with the Millennium bed and many other village projects.
* Mick McGrath - Mr Tidy Town's himself - a model to the village

Lastly, a special thanks to Ballykealey Manor Hotel for providing the facilities and the refreshments (the mince pies were the best ever) and the school for providing the projector.

Vote of thanks
A vote of thanks was made to Eileen Murphy and Michael Martin for their work throughout the year and in preparing for the AGM.

The meeting finished at about 21.30 hr


Notice of AGM and provisional Agenda to comittee members.

This is now arranged for Wednesday 12th December at 8pm expecting to finish at 10 pm at Ballykealey Manor Hotel.

Provisional Agenda

1. Matters arising from AGM 2006 - details are on the web site

2. Chairman’s & Secretary’s report

3. Treasurer’s report

4. Election of Officers for 2008
a) Chairperson
b) Secretary
c) Treasurer
d) Web marketer
e) PRO

5. Frequency of meetings for 2008

6. What to do with the flower basket holders at the old cemetery (Kathleen McGrath)

7. Fundraising idea for new estates

8. Further Heritage boards for Village features

9. Help with flowers at the bridge

10.Any other business

11.Would like to include the provision of some Christmas Lights for the village. (Maire George)

12.Need more workers and what about alocating one night a week for work to be done in the village from April onwards.
(Maire George)

Should you wish to include any other topic please let me know ASAP.

Michael Martin


Confirmation of Payment of Grant from CCC



| | |
| BALLON IMPROVEMENT GROUP, | Cheque No./ Uimhir Seic 26112007|
| BALLYKEALEY, | Supp ID/Uimh. Áitheantais Sol 2756 |
| | Date / Dáta 26/11/07|
| | |
| | Page / Leathanach 1 |

| Our Ref | Inv Date | Your Ref / | AMOUNT/ | Payable / |
|Ár dTagairt| Dáta | Bhur dTagairt | SUIM | Iníochta |
| | Sonraisc | | EUR | EUR |

30116065 19/11/07 ENV GRANT 07........................................... 1,000.00
30116343 20/11/07 PRIDEOFPLACE ............................................300.00
30116516 21/11/07 B/GROUNDCOMM ..........................................200.00

GRAND TOTAL/MÓRIOMLÁN EUR.............................................. 1,500.00


SORT CODE / CÓD SÓRTÁLA ......................................................................906531
ACCOUNT NUMBER / UIMHIR CHUNTAIS...................................................... 27817870


Letter from CCC re Pride of Place


Research on the Bull Tree

Copy of Email sent to Jacky Byrne and other interested parties, namely BIG committee, M. Dawson,
D. Mulligan, J McDarby

But, anyone can have an input.....

We are looking into the possibility of erecting an ‘historical notice’ at the Bull Tree similar to that recently added to the Lecky/Quaker graveyard.

I understand from Michael Dawson that you had done some research in the past and wonder if you will share the results with us.

We have an article on the web site by the late Wish Blanche in 2002 which is quite good and can be accessed through this link tree.htm

I have given a copy of it to the two Maurice O’Neills looking for their input too.

We can extend this concept to other ‘Features’ in the village and if you have any thoughts on this please let me know.

We can, subsequently, have a master board in the village giving a plan lay out of all such boards adding an interest to the village for Residents and visitors.

I’m looking forward to any input from anyone which we can discuss at the next BIG meeting.

Michael Martin


Tonight we sat with bated breath and 400 other hopefuls to see how we got on at the Pride of Place awards (as detailed below). We came third in the category of 500 to 1000 population coming behind Rathvilly and Clonegal - a good achievement considering the opposition. So €300 will be deposited in the Group's account towards next year's expenses. We got no mention for the Lecky Graveyard or the Web Site but the Church's Old Graveyard got a 'highly recommended' which was entered separately by Mick O'Toole, I'm told.

Pictured are Michael Martin, Máire George and Mick McGrath of BIG with
Jim Townsend, Cathaoirleach of CCC

(picture by Elizabeth Martin)


An Invitation - we have entered Floral Pride, Cemetery & Web Site - keep the fingers crossed.



Heritage Week - letter from Dermot Mulligan.

If anyone has ideas on a follow up to this letter please let me know.

Telephone 059 9131759/9131578 Facsimile 059 9142249
Oifig An Chathaoirligh

Mr Michael Martin
Ballon Improvement Group
Co. Carlow

October 12th 2007


Dear Michael,

On behalf of Carlow Local Authorities I would like to sincerely thank you for organising
an event for Heritage Week 2007 and for your cooperation in promoting the event on a
countywide basis. According to the Heritage Council Heritage Week 2008 will run from
Sunday August 24th until Monday September 1st, so please keep these dates in mind for your future event planning.
The Heritage Council are now accepting applications for their annual Heritage Grants
Programme 2008. There are eight grant schemes: 1) Local Heritage; 2) Publications;
3) Museums & Archives; 4) Wildlife; 5) Archaeology; 6) Unpublished Excavations;
7) Architecture Research and 8) Buildings at Risk

The maximum grant available under each fund is as follows:
Local Heritage; Wildlife & Architecture Research: €15,000
Museums & Archives €20,000
Publications €7,000
Biodiversity Fund €50,000
Unpublished Excavations

To obtain a grant application form and information booklet phone, write, email or fax the
Heritage Council. Application forms and information booklet can also be downloaded
from their website, The closing dates for receipt of grant
applications is Friday November 2nd 2007, (March 31st 2008 for the Buildings at Risk).
All projects must be completed by the 30th November 2008.
For further information or for submitting completed grant applications contact:
The Heritage Council.

Yours sincerely,


Dermot Mulligan
Curator, Calow County Museum



Grant Application



Email to BIG people - AGM 2007

It’ll soon be time to have our AGM.

Last year it was in September but it might be better to wait until all the bills and paid for and grants received before we do this.

If you have any payments due please give you receipts to Eileen.

If you have any specific items for the agenda, or you wish to make a motion, please let me know so that I can add it to the agenda.

Should we appoint officers at the AGM? Or wait until we have our first meeting next year?

I won’t be going forward for Chairman for next year, although, when around, I will continue to do my chores and look after insurance, grants, correspondence etc.

The time has come for a new helmsman as this one is getting stale and also wants to do a bit of travelling next year.
Even my garden is going into ‘hold’ next year.


Hard copies given to: Mick & Kathleen McGrath, Billy Nolan, David Brennan, Mary Jordan.

Copy to web site.


Forthcoming Community Art & Craft Exhibition



Thank you letter to Ballykealey Manor Hotel

Ballykealey Manor Hotel
Co Carlow

Dear Ted and Mandy

Heritage Week 2007

Many thanks for your support and sponsorship of Heritage week for the third year running.

There was a good attendance, about 75 people, and the refreshments, layout of the ballroom, sound and screen facilities added a lot to the event.

Thank you too for the meal voucher for the draw. Hope Morris won this and plans to have a family treat.


Michael Martin
Chairman of BIG
Copy to


Letter from Leader


Castle Ard Homes Ltd - Laragh Beg development

The centre of this development has been revised considerably and the plan is as shown below. I'm not sure still that all the trees along the road are to be retained and it looks like only half of them on the plan. The roadside parking has been discarded and an extra access road provided opposite the Credit Union.



Letter from Planning Dept. concerning Ballon Hill


Public meeting for Carlow County Development Plan

Yesterday a public information session was held in the community centre to discuss the plan. It was attended by about ten locals and the council representative was assistant planning officer Maureen Daly. We had attended being under the impression that the meeting was specifically about Ballon and the land use rezoning but it was about the bigger picture. It was about a development plan for 2009 - 2015 for the town and county. There was an excellent four page handout being a guide to having your say and all submissions have to be with the Director of Services by 3rd August, 2007.

NB There was not a lot of respose to this for a pubic meeting by the deadline of the 3/8/07 and a meeting wasn't called

Should we have a public meeting based on the main headings in the Guide and put forward a consensus view to the director? Fill in the poll and let us know. Only one vote per computer allowed.


Although Maureen isn't specifically involved for planning matters in Ballon she did listen to the concerns expressed and said that she would see if she could help with them.

* What is the current status of the land rezoning for Ballon?
* Why are individuals and groups not getting replies to their queries?
* What is the current status with the development opposite Londis?
* What is the difference between a 'local access road' and a 'relief road'?

Maureen said that she would contact the group through me and I'll advise through this web site and local newsletter.


Email to Bagenalstown Engineer - Ray Wickham

Dear Ray

Ballykealey Lane

This lane is very dangerous to traffic and pedestrians due to it being a single carriageway and its many blind bends. Traffic seems oblivious to this, particularly the delivery lorries to the hotel and hotel visitors.
It's surprising that there hasn't been an accident although there have been many near misses.
Please have a look and see if it justifies, speed ramps, speed limit signs, dangerous bend signs etc.
The pictures show the hazards:

Michael Martin - BIG
copy to village web site

Email to Pat Connolly - Tullow Engineer

Dear Pat

Repairs to road surface outside Kavangh's pub at chapel lane

I response to our email dated 22/5/07, thanks for arranging for the road repairs as requested.



Michael Martin - BIG
Copy to village web site


Application to Leader for future funding

How would you like to see the Leader programme assisting you in County Carlow from 2007 – 2013

Ballon Hill – an archaeological survey.
Ballon Hill has a rich heritage value to the county with the potential as a heritage site and tourist attraction. Historians believe that Ballon Hill was the burial place of the King of Ireland, Cathair Mor, in 177AD. It is also believed that the ancient games (see appendix for more information) of mid Leinster were celebrated in the area. The discovery of burial urns in the hill endorses the fact that it was used as a cemetery in ancient times.
In the mid 1800's the peasants discovered large numbers of fictile vessels over the surface of the hill. (A fictile vessel is one made of earth or clay). They called them "pans and crocks". At that time trees were being planted and a quarry was being opened so there was a great disturbance of the area.
As a result of these finds Mr. John Lecky of Ballykealey House, the local gentry, commenced a systematic exploration of the hill through his brother in law Mr. Smyth. This covered a period 1852 to 1854.
Work started at the "Stone of the Dead" or Cloghan-na-Marbhan as the locals always knew it. This is located on the hill side facing Ballykealey House and stands eight feet above the ground and extending three feet below. Further information can be obtained from: Hill.htm

The development plan for Ballon, put forward by C.C.C, has rezoned part of Ballon Hill for mixed development. In our submission to them we have asked that a proper archaeological survey be carried out to determine the potential of the site. There has been no formal reply. But over the last eight years there has been development of parts of the hill with no reference to archaeological work being carried out that we can find.

Can Leader help us to get a survey carried out, maybe as a joint effort with the council and the Heritage Trust?

Ballon Garda Station – a unique building
This is a fine granite building which is being neglected and at risk of further deterioration.
We have written to the Garda Superintendent in Carlow to encourage them to carry out a survey on the condition of the building but received no reply.
We contacted the Office of Public Works to see if they could help but they can only act by instruction from the Garda.
We would like to see the building put into good shape, as well as the grounds, as we know it is a fine asset to the village visible from the main road, which carries a lot of tourist traffic from the ferry boats. We would also like to put an interpretation board in the grounds and have ambient lighting installed to show off the fine granite tower,
A picture and very brief history is available from:

Quaker Graveyard
This disused graveyard is situated adjacent to the Lecky Family graveyard in the grounds adjacent to Ballykealey Manor Hotel. It is in great neglect with most of the boundary wall collapsed allowing cattle to graze there. It has a tourist value because of its history and Ballon Improvement Group has recently erected a fine interpretation board there giving a brief outline of both graveyards. We would like to see the boundary wall restored and pedestrian access made available.

Village Interpretation Board.
We would like to see an interpretation board in the centre of the village giving details of the many interesting sites and buildings in the village and surrounding areas. We have already signaled our intention of this and have invited people to contribute their views on what to put on it.

Thatched Cottage.
In Chapel Lane we have two original cottages, now unoccupied, one of which has the original slate roof and the other with a corrugated roof. We would like to see the latter thatched as a tourist attraction. This particular location with the old houses, the church and the grotto is particularly attractive and as the church is now used for weddings by many outsiders it is seen by many people throughout the year.

Village Web Site
This has grown in popularity with an average of 70 hits per day from many parts of the world. However, it is very time consuming for one person, and I, as web master, would like to see it modified so that individual groups could update their pages directly. There is a package available through and, with training, I could modify the village web site and train others to manage their own pages.


Letter to Director of Services

Director of Services
Planning & Corporate Affairs,
Carlow County Council
Athy Road,
25th June, 2007

Dear Sir,

Archaeological Survey for Ballon Hill

We last wrote to you on this topic on the 16th January, 2007 but have received no comment concerning this survey.

Please let us know if you intend to carry out the survey before giving final approval for future land use.

We know that several councillors and other bodies have also expressed their concerns and they too will be looking for your decision.


Michael Martin
C/E, M.I.Mar.E; M.I.Plant E. (retired)
Chairman of Ballon Improvement Group
Copy to



Heritage Week Registration

Our two speakers are John Behan, Rathoe and John Smyth, Ballon


Litter Free Status

We received a payment into our account today for 200 Euro from CCC for maintaining our litter free status over the last year.

Visit from James Lakes (Environmental Patrol Officer)

James called to find where we wanted to have the anti litter signs (see below) and said he would organise it soon. I asked what might be done about the random dumping at the recycling centre at the Community Centre. He advised that CCC are in the process of erecting special notices for all centres as it is a common problem. We should have ours soon. He also agreed to make the anti-litter presentations at the time of the school fete.


Email to Pat Connolly, Tullow Engineer, CCC

Hi Pat,

We sent you a wish list on the 22/3/07 for three needs in the village that come under your control
One of them is getting worse and last week a pensioner twisted his ankle and took a heavy fall spraining his shoulder because of the bad road surface.
Attached is an updated picture of the road surface.
It tells it all.


Michael Martin BIG

Email to John McDarby, Community & Enterprise,CCC

Hi John

Litter Signs

Is there any chance of getting a few of these for the village?

We’ve seen them in other villages and they might serve as a reminder to our numerous litter bugs.

We have involved the school, 5th & 6th class on a litter campaign through prose, verse or painting.

We are providing three plaques for the best entries. Possibly a certificate for all entrants.

The school are having a fete on Friday the 15th June and we will announce the winners then.

Would someone from the council be available? Say James Lakes, for a photo opportunity.


Michael Martin


Thank you letter to Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle Carpentry & Building
Ballon Hill
Co Carlow
13th May, 2007

Dear Kevin

Graveyard Notice

Many thanks to you and your dad for making such a good job of the notice.

Many more thanks for your offer to sponsor this for the village at no cost to BIG.

It’s this level of support that overrides the down side of voluntary work and gives us the energy to continue with our efforts.


Michael Martin


Notice for the Lecky and Quaker Graveyards - Click here


Change of Insurer through the Irish National Community Voluntary Forum insurance.

Through this forum we have obtained better cover at a reduced rate for our Public Liability, Property & Products liability. The insurer is Royal & Sun Alliance with BHP acting as the agents. The premium is 240 Euro, a saving of over 100 Euro for the year and guaranteed for two years.


Members of BIG can take this first Aid Course for free


Entry form for Carlow's Pride of Place

Email from a Ballon person living in Italy

Lorraine has forwarded some information from the Irish Planning Institute. In brief...

5.4 As a principle, new housing in rural areas should not be situated in close proximity to existing roads and should not front existing roads. They should generally be situated well back from the road and screened by existing and proposed new planting. The new rural housing should be designed to fit within the landscape, similar in form to the more traditional farmstead in the past that was achieved with great success in Ireland.

....but there's lots more. Get the full contents by clicking here.


Some observations about drawing approval

Having spent a lot of my working life giving drawing approval for the construction of pressure vessels I'm puzzled at the procedure adopted for this development. It appears to me that the architect and the builders were not aware of the section relating to the retention of the pavement on the N80.

The weakness lies, in my opinion, in the procedure of granting approval.

The procedure we used was as follows:

1 Check the drawings against all of the relevant standards
2 Advise the designer to change the drawings to correct any design requirements.
3 Review the changed drawings and if OK give approval to commence work.
4 Set a level of on-site inspections at critical stages of construction when construction shall stop if the inspection shows non-compliance.
5 Continue when the problems are corrected up to the final approval.
6 Issue report of compliance.
I'm sure that something similar must be in place for this construction so how did matters take a wrong turn?
If the matter had not been raised would we have lost our trees and pavement by default?


Contact with Architects

Architect, Kevin Duffy, confirmed that our copy of "The Notice" was the same as theirs and the section concerning the retention of the pavement at the N80 still stood.

Contact with Shane Cousins

Shane had no copy of the Notification and suggested contacting the Architects, GMA Architects, to see if they have a copy.

Email to Eamon Brophy

Thanks for seeing Maura and I the other day.

We called to the site office yesterday and they had a different drawing for the site, No C1002 dated the 11/1/06.
This differed in many ways for the one you lent us although the details for the in-line parking and the tree removal are the same.
This now begs the question if the “Notification of Final Draft” you provided is up to date.
Will you please check this for us and let us have a copy if different.

You can send it by email to me at

Many thanks

Michael Martin BIG

Visit to the site office

On the 3rd May Máire and I visited the site office to see what their views were following our visit to the planning office. The drawing they were working to was different to the copy made available to us yesterday. This one, C1001 and dated 11/1/06, showed that the site now had 36 houses/shops instead of 32. One thing remained the same and that was the provision of in-line street parking and removal of the mature trees. There was no "Notification of Final Grant" so we couldn't check the conditions relative to the drawing. We were given the site engineer's phone number, Shane Cousins, but the line was too bad to make a conversation. Will try again later today and try to get a copy of the Notification.

Visit to the planning office

On the 2nd May 2007 Máire George and Michael Martin met with Eamon Brophy of the planning office to gather a few facts about the development 04/762.

Eamon gave a helpful and generous amount of his time to review the files with us.

In essence the current plans do show the replacement of the pavement on the N80 by in-line street parking and the removal of the mature trees up to the start of the public open space.

However, in the notification of Final Grant, Paragraph 3(111) is states that ‘….the footpath along the N80 shall be retained…..’.

We were advised that our next step could be to write to planning office indicating this proposed breach of planning and/or talk to the developers directly.

The developers cannot stray beyond the boundary line of the site either as the other side belongs to the council.

We also enquired about the trees and it appears that any tree over ten years old needs approval before uprooting or cutting down.

Obviously, we will write to the council.


Email to Eamon Brophy, CCC Planning Dept.

Dear Eamon,

You might have seen from the Nationalist or our village web site that there is a lot of concern and consternation about aspects of this development which only came to our attention last week.

We would like to meet you to discuss the areas of concern and see if there is any way of overcoming the problems.

Michael Martin

Ballon Improvement Group


Polling questions

Last night there was a good response to the poll - is this thanks to the articles in The Nationalist? - and there were seven "Yes" replies. So I checked up the location, by using the IP address, of the computers that registered "Yes". Five were from Cork and one each from Dublin and Waterford. This raises some interesting questions. I bet you can think of some interesting answers!! Seven of the Yes votes came from the same IP address 84 203 226 178 located in Waterford. This isn't supposed to be possible. Have any Computer Gurus out there any explanation for this?

There is a free web service for getting this information, try

Web Statistics

Google provide a free service for looking at web statistics - its brilliant - and if you have time take a good look here - you'll be as surprised as I was.

Click here to see the stats

If you haven't got the time this is a mini result for the pages looked at yesterday, Wednesday 25th April

Page Titles Unique Views
index or home page 96
Main Page 86
New items 70
Big committee 2007 35
Updates 2007 26
Carlow Auto Grass 21
Weddings 2007 12
Sponsors to the web site 8
Photographs 7
LInks 6
Groups page 4
Achievers 4
Diary Dates 3
Bed & Breakfast 3
Expatriates 2
Church newsletter 2
History page 1
Total 386



What planning initiative is there in CCC? - what drives it?

Have a close look at this picture taken before the development opposite Londis Top Shop.

It is a lovely rural setting, pleasing to the eye and the senses of tranquility.

The corn field is now a building site with very high density building. A very strong lobby from the village objected to this at the planning consultation stages but apart from a bit of juggling here and there we still have a very high density builing site completely out of character with the village and so unnecessary.

Some months ago word came round that the trees would be removed. I visited the site, spoke to the foreman who showed me the site plans and who confirmed that the trees were not at risk.

Rumours got stronger and I visted the site again and saw that the site map had been altered with coloured inks along the boundary fence seen in the picture above. The site engineer was very open and helpful and took me to where the trees are in the picture. And this is what is planned...... hold your's hard to believe.

The trees and beech hedge are to be removed up to around the third lamp post. The site is to be extended beyond the boundary fence to the main road. Two of the lamp posts are to be removed with the ESB cables put underground (no harm in that) and now for the extra surprise..... take another deep breath......

The pavement as show is to be removed and IN LINE STREET PARKING IS TO BE PROVIDED FOR THE ROW OF HOUSES NEXT TO THE ROAD. It's not the 1st of April - that's gone. This is the N80 and it carries a lot of traffic. There have been several accidents just at this very corner where drivers have left the road at this sharp bend. Would you buy a house here and park your car here? and let the kids out to get into your house?

Who is benefitting from this planning fiasco? The site developers, yes, they must be very content.
The people of Ballon, no, they won't be contented. So what gives? Do we have complete disinterest by the planning department? or worse?

I have spoken to one of the directors in the council to see if we can arrange a meeting with the director of planning. The director concerned is to ask to see the report of the roads dept. relative to this development, to view their comments and get back to me.

In brief we have two serious issues here. The first has to be the big safety issue. The second has to be the total disregard of the aesthetic appearance of the village.


You can only vote once


Litter Action League Awards

Last night the Council hosted the launch of Carlow's Pride of Place to a packed audience of about 180 people from all over the county who take 'Pride in Their Place'. Four of BIG's people were there to learn that our 'Litter Free Status' had been retained for the fourth year in a row and to be rewarded with a cheque for 200 Euro towards village enhancement.
The council, through the Dept. of Community and Enterprise' have to be praised for this initiative and support to all the towns and villages and Carlow is a pleasing county to live in. Let's all help to keep it this way.


Email to Bernie O'Brien

Good afternoon Bernie,
Thanks for arranging the village road sweep yesterday.
The place looks much tidier now.


Invitation to Carlow's Pride of Place


Reply from Bernie O'Brien to the Email below.

Hi Michael,

Drove around Ballon last night and it was a pleasure. The village looks great from one end to the other

Wonderful to read on your website all the good work being carried out by the community – great to see the excellent civic spirit and pride

  • Some good news for you:

    Road sweep through village – Ray suggested to me that I contact Paddy Horan in the Town Council re. possible sweep by the Town Council machine. I subsequently spoke to Paddy and he will arrange for the sweeper to clean the village next week

    Members approved grant of €1,000 at last Monday’s Council meeting for BIG and Brendan Morrissey/Jannette will be in contact with you re. same
    Understand from Brendan /John McDarby that 2 skips have been organized for Ballon for today

Margaret Nolan is not wasting any time and has started work on Slí na Sláinte Route. She has discussed with me this morning and I have advised her Council has some funding provided for new routes in the current year and should be able to assist – Brendan Morrissey is Council’s link. Process is that the community contacts the Irish Heart Foundation and Council give some assistance with funding and signage erection. Obviously we will need to run this by the Elected Members. Margaret is now going to follow up with the Irish Heart Foundation etc.

Hope to meet you all on the 18th

Kind regards


Email to Bernie O'Brien following the meeting.

Hi Bernie,

Last night we had an informal open meeting of BIG and it is summarised here

One of the requests was for Spring Clean road sweep throughout the village.The through traffic creates a lot roadside grit and debris.

Can this be organised through Community and Enterprise?

If not will you tell me who best to contact? The village is divided between Tullow and Bagenalstown.

Michael Martin

Last night's Open Meeting

Last night's informal meeting attracted the following committee members:
Máire George, Mary Jordan, Paul Cutler, Eileen Murphy, Peter Grange, Michael Martin
and the following residents:
Margaret Carlin, Cherie O' Byrne, Liam O' Byrne, John Smyth, Margaret Nolan, Elizabeth Martin

The job list as posted was accepted but there are still areas where there are no volunteers.
Michael is to write to some of the Groups to learn if they are willing to contribute on a regular basis.

Margaret Carlin is to make house to house visits in her estate, as a pilot scheme, to ascertain if direct contact would produce more volunteers.

Peter and Paul are going to complete the tree planting in Forge Meadows and Peter is going to arrange the grass cutting at the roadside.

John and Mary are going to work on producing an information leaflet on the village similar to the Heritage Booklet brought out by the school children last year. As a bye product of this an information board might be sited in the village.

Margaret Nolan is going to find out to what degree the council would support The Irish Heart Foundation's walking routes. And will then work with Mary, Margaret and Máire to finalise this project.

John Smyth will make the Heritage week presentation along with another speaker. Ballykealey Manor Hotel will again provide the room and refreshments as their contribution.

Kilcoole Garden Services have offered to cut the grass from the wild flower bed, north side, to Ballykealey lane for free as their contribution to the village.

Michael will write to the Council to ask if a road sweeper can be provided for a village Spring Clean.

The chairman thanked all in attendance for their interest and contribution and to those that work through the village throughout the year without attending meetings. Also thanks to Máire and Elizabeth for the refreshments.

There will be no collective meetings now until the AGM in September. Smaller meetings will be arranged for specific projects.


Email to Ray Wickham - Bagenalstown Engineer

Thanks for arranging for the fallen trees to be removed Ray.
We are about ready to position the notice.

Cc to


Email to Pat Connolly - Tullow Engineer

I spoke to Pat today and he invited me to send in the work list as attached.


There are just four jobs we would like to see tackled in the village Pat.

• The provision of bollards opposite Nolan’s Garage.
We have tried signage and stakes but to little effect as you can see.

We did discuss this last year and you were to go ahead but precedence was given to laying tarmac at the Community Centre.

• Road repairs at the bottom of Ballon Hill

A section of the road was not resurfaced between Kavanagh’s and McAssey’s.
The rest of the Hill and the main road were done.
The surface is breaking up and looks unsightly.

• Road repairs outside of the Community Centre

The surface here is in a bad way and when the present building work is completed
would you be able to resurface this area. The rest of the road is OK.

• Double yellow lines

Heavy Lorries are driving on the pavement when visiting the shop.
This makes pulling out quite dangerous and starting to break up the pavement.
The local garda are aware of this and agree.


Michael Martin
Ballon Improvement Group.


Letter to The Chronicle Team

The Treasurer
The Chronicle
Co Carlow

Dear Breda

Contribution to the Graveyard Notice

Thank you and the Chronicle Team for your generous donation of €250 towards this notice.

It is currently with Kevin Doyle who is to make a frame and who said that they would start on it this week.

I’ve also showed the Bagenalstown Foreman the trees that need clearing and he has been in touch with the land owner. Penny has approved of the wording and the Council have agreed to displaying the Notice.

Once these two issues have been sorted out then we will be ready to hang it and take a picture of its launch.

It’s a quality product and of benefit to our heritage values in the area.


Michael Martin


Visit to Tullow Engineers Office
I called into his office today but he was too busy to see me. He sent word though that I might telephone him on Monday 19th March to make an appointment.

Contact with Bagenalstown Foreman
He offered to meet me in the village tomorrow to see what we were looking for.

Litter League
We have been knocked out of the League but are still in with a good chance of getting the Litter Free Status - more people are needed to make any real difference.

Kilcoole Garden Services
On Saturday they will stake the trees at the Oaks and retie the trees at Pier Park and the Carlow side wild flower bed.


Email to Ray Wickham - Bagenalstown Senior Engineer

Lecky & Quaker Graveyards

Ray, I’ve sent you a couple of emails concerning jobs in the village but received no replies.

We have a project ready to launch at the old graveyards but need your help in making a safe access due to some fallen tree.

Can I meet with you or your foreman in the village to show what is required?

Michael Martin


Application by BIG for Grant Aid
This gives some idea of what we hope to achieve. However, any grant in the past has generally been just over 1000 euro - all very welcome, of course, but demonstrates the need for our own fundraising.

News Bulletin. from Community & Enterprise, CCC

Environmental Grants.

Each year the Council receive a large number of applications for our environmental grants, which demonstrate the commitment, and enthusiasm of community/tidy town groups, residents associations and schools for the improvement of their environment. Closing date for the return of the environmental grants scheme is Friday 23rd February. Don't miss this opportunity to receive financial assistance for all your projects in your area.

National Tree Week.

National Tree week runs from 4th to ll* March. A number of sapfings are available free to all our schools and community groups. Just contact the Community & Enterprise Department for further details and/or to book your free saplings.

Pride of Place 2007.

Pride of Place offers a challenge to Carlow communities to further enhance and improve the life quality of all it's citizens. The programme now includes Floral Pride, Heritage, Environment and Community Development
The launch of Pride of Place takes place on 18th April 2007. We would love to meet you all on that night and take the opportunity to introduce ourselves here in the Community & Enterprise Department.

National Spring Clean
As in previous years, National Spring Clean takes place for the month of April A number of Skips and bins are available free to all schools and communities. There are a number of ways in which you can help —
Organise a Clean Up in your area
"Adopt a street, road, riverbank, mountain and clean it up.
Identify and tackle litter blackspots.
Make a clean sweep of schoolyards.
Fence off and remove illegal dumps on lands etc.
Please remember to book early.

If you require any further details in relation to any of the above please contact Community & Enterprise, Carlow County Council, Athy Road, Carlow.
Phone: 059-9136203/9136210
E Mail: jobrien or

8th February, 2007

Email to Ray Wickham - Bagenalstown Senior Engineer

Lecky & Quaker Graveyards

Good afternoon Ray,
We have a Heritage Graveyard plaque ready to mount at the entrance to these graveyards.
We have researched this and got approval from a
family survivor and also from Carlow’s Community & Enterprise Dept.
However, during recent storms a couple of small trees blew down and have blocked the entrance.
Will you please arrange to have the entrance made ready for safe access as we wish to mount the plaque and have a photo shoot to commemorate the occasion?


Michael Martin for Ballon Improvement Group
Copy to

22nd January, 2007

Ballon Village Draft Land Reuse

This plan, sent by letter dated 11/1/07, has been extensively revised and copies are available from the council offices. Also available from the Computer Centre at normal photcopy rates. Deadline for submission is 12th February.

8th January, 2007

The litter league starts to-day so encourage yourself and others to get involved.

Just before Christmas we got some extra trees planted.
Nine opposite the Lecky/Quaker graveyard.
Three at Rathoe Cross
Three at Pier Park
One opposite Nolan's Shop & Deli.

We have launched our fundraising DVD Slide Show of a Journey in pictures in Ballon through 2006. It's entertaining and good value. Please encourage sales by recommending it to your friends if you agree.

Separate from BIG, but of general interest to the community, I submitted my views to the council concerning the Local Ara Plan. I got a phone call last week from the council advising that they would not proceed with the inner ring road but would wait and go ahead with the main By Pass. Also, they would look at making extra land available for the National School and the graveyard.