Pulling in the right direction... Protestors make their feelings known at December’s protest at Navan Hospital.

Year in Review.. A-Z Part 2

M - is for Moynalty Steam Threshing

There was a bumper crowd at the Moynalty Steam Threshing Festival - the first since 2019 - on Sunday, 14th August, as the beautiful weather encouraged thousands to make their way to the scenic village of Moynalty.

The crowds who attended the 47th annual festival, enjoyed the displays of vanishing work practices and food production, along-side craft making and vintage displays. There were demonstrations to remind us of how things were for our forefathers: horse and steam power, reaping and binding, threshing and flailing, traditional crafts such as basket weaving, steel forging, hot shoeing, tin craft, wood turning and harness making, while the local ladies gave demonstrations on making butter at the full-size replica cottage. Brown bread, colcannon, boxty and pancakes were all cooked on the open fires

N - is for Navan 2030

Work on the new bus interchange at Kennedy Pace in Navan began in July as the Navan 2030 works continued.

The contract for Kennedy Road, which is still ongoing, will see the provision of a new bus interchange on Kennedy Road, new taxi ranks, and significant public realm upgrade as well as the provision of the bus gate at Trimgate Street/Kennedy Road.

When the work is completed a permanent changeover of the flow of traffic will be introduced. This will include the reversal of flow of traffic on Ludlow Street.

Work also began on the new Park and Ride facility on the N51 at Moatlands and councillors have been told further contracts for the Navan 2030 scheme would include work on Preston Place, Trimgate Street and the various laneways.

O - is for Oberstown

After years of campaigning and many accidents, traffic calming measures at Oberstown Cross in Skyrne were carried out this year.

Eight ramps were installed at the four roads, new public lighting was installed and new road markings were provided. "It has made a significant difference," said local resident Deputy Darren O'Rourke who warned before the work that it was a “minor miracle that there hasn't been a fatality there”.

P - is for Pedestrianisation

Councillors were told in September that Navan's Trimgate Street could be pedestrianised as early as 2024. The emerging preferred option for the future of the town's main shopping street is to pedestrianise it, with access from the Kennedy Road end to a number of private car parks at the Kennedy Road end of the street.

Deliveries would access the street from the Kennedy Road end with no access from Brews Hill or Railway Street.

Special provisions would be made to allow the traditional route for funerals leaving St Mary's Church.

Four options had been considered - no change at all, removing parking spaces to allow for more pedestrian space but allowing traffic as usual, pedestrianisation with access from Brews Hill/Railway Street or pedestrianisation with access from Kennedy Road.

Q - is for Quilt

A group of eight talented Meath artists worked on a tapestry which was part of an inter-county community arts project celebrating the legend of the Táin Bó Culaigne. Five tapestries were created to depict the progress of the Táin Bó Culaigne from Roscommon to Louth. Each county through which the Táin passes was involved: Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath and Louth. In Meath, artist, Ina Olohan was the facilitator for the project while those who created the tapestry were Tracey Owen-Griffiths, Cosette Olohan, Sinéad Leahy Fervy, Jenny Richardson, Margaret Dean, Philomena Barrett and Ann Campion. The groups in each county produced a tapestry 1.5 metres by three metres quilted tapestry, which told its own story, but they were brought together to tell the whole story of the Tain epic. The central image in the work Meath was of Cúchulainn being healed by the god Lú.

The Tapestry went on display at the Dundalk arts centre duyring the summer.

R - is for Reunion

An emotional reunion of four generations of the one family took place in the Healy home in Trim in May, following a 6,000km rescue mission to Ukraine.

Luba Healy travelled to Ukraine to rescue her 70 year old Mam, Nina and 98 year old Granny, Galina and was relieved and happy to have her “precious cargo” safe and comfortable many miles from the war.

Luba had travelled to Ukraine with her husband Eugene, son Francis and family friend Diarmuid Dawson in a camper van and a jeep.

S - is for Schools

In February the Department of Education announced three major school projects for Trim that will be bundled together under ‘Project Lee’. It includes a 1,000 pupil school for Scoil Mhuire with a four-classroom special needs unit which will share a campus with Gaelscoil na Bóinne primary school, which has been sanctioned for a new eight-classroom school with two classes for special education needs. Gaeilscoil na Bóinne currently operates from a former factory unit. Also included is a new 1,200 student school for Boyne Community School with four classrooms for children with special educational needs, which will be built on the existing site.

The projects for all three schools are devolved to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) for delivery as part of a programme of school building projects under the ‘Project Lee’ bundle. The design teams have been appointed for all three schools who are preparing the Stage 1 report (preliminary design).

Meanwhile in September, the sod was finally turned on the long awaited new school for St Mary’s Special School and the second phase of Coláiste na Mí Secondary School on the Johnstown Education Campus.

T - is for Trim

There were great celebrations in Trim in October when the town was named Ireland’s Tidiest Town for the fourth time, exactly 50 years after first winning the title. It is the fourth time the town has won the title having previously received the accolade in 1972, in 1974 and 1984. Trim has had gold medal status for several years and was hovering about the top of the leaderboard in recent years and delighted volunteers were thrilled when Trim was announced as the overall winner in the RDS. Tributes were paid to Trim Tidy Towns Chairman Brian Heffernan and all the volunteers as well as the Council’s outdoor staff. It was the start of a huge weekend for Trim which went on to welcome 35,000 visitors to the town for the Púca Festival over the October Bank Holiday weekend. Hosted together with Athboy and Hill of Ward, the Failte Ireland backed festival celebrated Meath as the birthplace of Halloween and was widely marketed attracting huge crowds to the many events. Following the success of this year’s festival, it looks set to become an annual event on the festival calendar.

U - is for Ulster Bank

The phased withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish Market is continuing with the bank confirming that its local branches in Trim, Kilcock and Ardee will close as Ulster Bank branches at 1pm on 6th January. However, these three branches are due to re-open as Permanent TSB branches in late January/early February. Ulster Bank has not yet announced a date for closing its branches that are not transferring to Permanent TSB, including Navan.

Ulster Bank was the first bank to open in Trim and has been there since 1861 with a landmark premises on High Street. It will re-open early next year with news that the branch would become a Permanent TSB branch welcomed by the bank’s customers who up to this had to travel to Navan for face-to-face banking services. The Trim branch will open in the late January/February following the acquisition of the Ulster Bank branch on High Street as part of its wider acquisition of €7.5 billion in mortgages, SME loans and asset finance business from Ulster Bank.

V - is for Vicky Phelan

The whole country was devastated as news broke on Tuesday, 22nd November, that Cervical Cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan had passed away, with President Michael D Higgins leading tributes to 48-year-old mother-of-two.

An inspirational figure, it was Vicky’s relentless quest to find the truth that lifted the lid on the Cervical Check scandal.

Her campaigning and advocacy for women who suffered as a result of botched testing led to the Scally Independent investigation and 2018 report into the controversy. It also led to the establishment of the 221+ support group and a State apology.

Vicky’s was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, three years after being told her smear test showed no abnormalities. An internal Cervical Check audit found the original smear check result to be wrong with 220 other women later found to have also been misdiagnosed.

X - is for Xavier

Chef Eddie Xavier was among staff members in the Round O Pub in Navan who were hailed as heroes after saving the life of one of their elderly customers when he suffered a heart attack at the bar.

Staff had just learned CPR a month earlier and after the elderly man, a much-loved customer, collapsed, Eddie started compressions straight away while another staff member Sarah McCabe prepared the defibrillator.

Staff continued with the First Aid treatment until the ambulance arrived about 45 minutes later and the paramedics told us that only for their treatment, the man would not have made it. Staff were very emotional bursting into tears when they got the call a few days later to say the man was recovering well in hospital.

Y - is for Youthreach

There was good news for Navan Youthreach when Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris visited Navan in September announcing a major investment of €5m to develop Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) premises on Abbey Road.

A purpose centre will be built for Navan Youthreach which in the past operated out of three sites and is currently in a leased building. The overall project will see the existing educational facility upgraded and will allow LMETB combine several of its existing further education services in the area into one central location.

The outdated prefabricated buildings on the two-acre site will be removed and the existing building will get a much needed refurbishment to bring about better facilities for the staff and for those people who use the services at Abbey Buildings.

Z - is for Zambia

Legendary Jockey Frankie Dettori saddled up at Bellewstown Races in a special race in memory of Barney Curley to raise funds for the Direct Aid for Africa charity set up by Barney in 1996 to help underprivileged people in Zambia. Dettori won the Gannons City Recovery And Recycling Services Ltd Supporting DAFA Handicap race in dramatic fashion on Trueba for his good friend, Bohermeen trainer and former jockey Johnny Murtagh.

The Barney Curley DADA Charity Race Day raised an incredible €104,000 for the charity and included an auction of one of Barney’s trademark hats.

Barney Curley was closely associated with the County Meath track after pulling off one of racing’s greatest betting coups at Bellewstown in June 1975 when Yellow Sam won at 20-1. He set up Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA) in 1996 to support the underprivileged people of Zambia.