September was a busy month for our athletes as they returned to school and term time routines. It was a busy time for our committee too, although we won’t return to activities until later in the month when everyone has adjusted to back to school, there is plenty of work being done in the background.Our club is hugely popular and well supported; our only “problem” is that we have a waiting list of young athletes eager to join us. Our plans for expansion include the launch of our athletics club in the coming weeks, we also look forward to offering other sports in future. Expansion into other sports will serve several purposes; to allow our young athletes to graduate and move onto a sport which suits them, to make room for the athletes on our waiting list and give our athletes a chance to take part in competitive sports if they wish.T his year we will be introducing our young athletes to Bocce; this is a game closely related to bowls and boule, which originated in Italy. In parts of Italy It is a very inclusive sport which can be played by people of all ages and skill levels, and you can use just about anything as a bocce court.Over the past few months several of our volunteers have competed the Bocce officials course, and our club athletes took part in the virtual Bocce competitions organised by Special Olympics Ireland both rounds of virtual competitions and all thoroughly enjoyed taking part.Finally we are very proud that we have 5 nominees from our club for the Special Olympics Ireland Volunteer Awards 2021. We are lucky to have the most amazing volunteers at virtual and live sessions and others who work quietly behind the scenes; it is wonderful to see that our members took the time to make the nominations and show how much they appreciate their hard work.

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This has been a historic year for us all for a myriad of reasons but a special year for St Pats in that they held 2 Mini All Ireland tournaments. Their rescheduled 2020 one was held in June but the actual 2021 tournament ran from 30 August - 04 September. And like all the best movie promos - this one was bigger and better! With over 400 children taking part in either the GAA or LGFA tournament, it was a tremendous success and allayed the back-to-school woes for a few days at least. The Academy section was for children born 2014 & 2015. The Junior section was for those born 2012 & 2013 while boys and girls born 2010 & 2011 were in the Intermediate Section. The Senior - and most seriously contested section - was for boys and girls born 2007, 2008 & 2009.The winners of the Senior Cup were Armagh in the GAA section: Cian Latham, Colum MacQuaile, Conor Tighe, Dáire Turner, James Casey, James McElhinney, Moses Harley, Sam Kealy & Seamus Moore.The Wexford girls came out on top in the LGFA tournament: Beibhinn Mythen, Ella Higgins, Erin Finn, Lily Hyland, Lily Maher, Lucy Sheridan, Molly McDonald, Sadhbh Finnegan & Tiana Whelan.The tournament is the highlight of the juvenile calendar and this year was no exception. Kudos to all the children who took part - from beginer to experienced, everyone put their heart & soul in to each game. The standard of football on display was impressive.Also impressive was the work of the scores of volunteers whose trojan work made the week run so smoothly. The Club have asked us to thank everyone involved Their social media tagline is #ProudToBePats and seeing how well run their MAI 21 was, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree with that. Maith sibh go leir!

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Donabate Parish Hall reopened for activities about a month ago with full adherence to COVID guidelines - since then e. g. Irish Dancing, Senior Citizens and Flower Arranging have started, to name a few. The Donabate Portrane Dramatic Society is coming soon in mid October with some exciting new productions, taking place during our three week cultural slot. The hall is newly refurbished thanks to Fingal County Council grant aid and The Parish Hall Committee. There are still some spaces available to rent, so if you are interested, please contact Bernie in the Parish Office ASAP

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When Donabate parkrun had to stop due to the pandemic after event number 224 on Saturday 7th March 2020 we assumed it would be for a short break. There were 80 lost Saturdays before we were able to resume on 25th September 2021 for a welcome return. Runners, joggers and walkers of all ages and abilities are welcome to join us each Saturday at 9:30am for the free, timed 5k event. We meet in front of Newbridge House. Remember to register once at https//www.parkrun.ie/register/ (NB: not accessible through here) then print off your barcode and bring it or your parkrun wristband with you to get a result. We would also love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer at any of our events. All roles are easy and full training is given on the morning of events. It’s a great way to meet new people and have fun. Please contact us by sending a message to our Facebook page Donabate parkrun. We would like to wish our new Event Director Patrick Phillips the best of luck in his new role. Patrick has taken over the baton from Sean Greensit who has stepped down six years after helping to bring parkrun to Donabate.

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It is hard to believe that we are back attending classes. We have waited so long and now it is happening. On the 20 September we started back. We have had to meet various requirements to make sure we stay safe while we are together. Masks are worn during classes and the duration has moved from classes of one hour to 45 minutes each class. This allows us to then have time between uses of the studios to sanitise the whole room and any equipment that may have been used. Thanks to all members who have volunteered to do the sanitising between the classes. Some classes have yet to start and these will probably start around the beginning of November. We feel that we need to get up and running with the easier ones (without equipment) before we take on the more complicated logistically.We had to meet the challenge of not using cash if at all possible and we are now equipped to take all credit or debit cards. The photo above shows Alain giving us a lesson on the use of the machine. By the time you are reading this we will all know if we are latent shopkeepers! We still owe money to some… we still have a few members who were with us in 2020 when we had to shut down classes. Remember, you may be carrying a small credit balance with us and we would encourage you to make contact and renew your membership card by just using some of your balance. If you want to do this, please email us on activeageforall@gmail.com or text the AAfA mobile 086 8806808 and let us know. Don’t forget that your new card will give you discounts in the usual suppliers. If you are new to the area or new to retirement – you just need to be 55+ - you can call in to DPCC and collect an AAfA New Member form and fill it out and leave it for us, or email us at the address above and we email a form out to you. We can make contact and will do our best to include you in classes as soon as possible.

We are absolutely delighted to be putting on two one acts ‘Lockdown’ by David Tristram & ‘Melody’ by Deirdre Kinehan from October 22nd-24th at 8.00pm including a matinee performance on Sunday 24th at 3.00pm. We are looking forward to entertaining you all - after such a drought of live events in the last year or two in our newly refurbished Parish Hall. Tickets €10 concessions €8.Keep an eye for updates on our Facebook page. We look forward to welcoming all of our valued patrons back! For tickets contact donabateportrane.drama@gmail.com.

Leithinis Donabate Portrane CCE’s new term of classes for beginner adult and children (aged 7+) in Fiddle, Bodhran, Tin whistle, Accordion, Banjo, Flute and Concertina are starting on Monday the 4th October between 6pm.and 8pm. In addition we will be offering Tin whistle lessons for children aged 5 years and over. Classes for all other levels will commence on Monday 18th October.The lessons will be held over Zoom until January ( subject to review). We will be offering beginner students a face to face lesson with the teacher on the 4th of October. 12 lessons will cost €100 plus €20 annual Comhaltas family membership.Please note that we have a bank of instruments to rent.If you are interested in learning to play a traditional irish instrument please email us at leithinis@comhaltas.net stating name, age( if under 18), level and instrument of choice.

Further information regarding our classes and teachers can be found on our website leithinis.com

Corina Johnston, Labour Party Local Area Representative has welcomed a recent announcement of funding for the removal of an invasive plant from the sand dunes at the Burrow in Portrane. Johnston said; ”grave concerns were expressed to me earlier in the year regarding the deterioration of protected habitats on the sand dunes at the Burrow beach, Portrane, a Special Area of Conservation. These issues were raised with me by John Lovatt a local field ecologist, and Butterfly Conservation Ireland.”Johnston continued; “The threat to these protected habitats is due to the rapid encroachment of a invasive alien species, Sea Buckthorn, which is new to the area. Sea Buckthorn develops into dense shrub,eliminating all ground vegetation where ever it grows. In the case of Butterfly Conservation Ireland, this plant was encroaching on the sole larval food plant for the localised population of the Small Blue Butterfly which is classified as an Endangered Species and which requires an unshaded habitat. This invasive plant is also putting at risk the future of the rare plant, Hairy Violet at Burrow. “ Johnston added; “As a result Duncan Smith TD and I made strong representations to Fingal County Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to have this problem tackled as a matter of urgency. As a result, we are very pleased that Fingal County Council have been awarded funding for the removal of this invasive plant from our sand dunes. “Johnston concluded; “In recent days we have been informed that Fingal County Council will be tendering for these works within the next fortnight with the works expected to be carried out shortly thereafter. Hopefully the treatment will prevent the regrowth of this alien species in the Burrow. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage have also confirmed that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is preparing a tender request for expertise to carry out a review of Sea Buckthorn in Ireland which we warmly welcome.”

Cllr Adrian Henchy has expressed concern about a planning application and said recently. “I support developments in Donabate where they are of merit, well designed and contribute something positively back into the Community. However, there are a lot of major shortfalls in this planning application. The only merit at this stage is the provision of housing but without the critical underpinning of the social and physical infrastructure that would be needed in tandem with a scale of this enormous development upon the rural peninsula of Donabate. The fact the developer acknowledges within their documentation, that this application is a breach of the Donabate Local Area Plan is totally unacceptable for me given the enormous work, time, effort and extensive public consultation that has gone into adopting the Donabate Local Area Plan.I would also contend that this application is also in breach of National Planning Guidelines and I would also lend a lot of weight to the Ministerial Circular Letter: NRUP 02/2021 from April 2021. The Circular clarifies the application of the Sustainable Residential Development Guidelines to ensure that when carrying out their planning functions, An Bord Pleanála and Planning Authorities apply a graduated and responsive, tailored approach to the assessment of residential densities in Peripheral and/or Less Accessible Urban Locations,which would very much apply to Donabate.This high-density development made up of mainly one and two bedroom apartments is entirely unsuited to a rural environment and is not in keeping with the dramatic and critically important local landscape that is at the very heart of this application.On behalf of my local community, I want to acknowledge the work and effort of Donabate Portrane Community Council who have worked tirelessly with the local community in highlighting the biggest planning application that has ever been lodged on the community of Donabate and the second largest strategic housing development (SHD) that has ever gone to An Bord Pleanala.The fact, this application was lodged at the height of the summer season with absolutely no public engagement was very disappointing.I would request that An Bord Pleanala in its deliberations reject this SHD Planning application and instead request that the developer goes back to Fingal County Council and starts again with this development by clearly working within the frame work of the visionary Donabate Local Area Plan and the Fingal County development plan.”

To date, members of Donabate Portrane Men’s Shed have been holding our regular Thursday mornings get-togethers outdoors at the Scouts’ Den on Portrane Road, but we are now preparing for full indoor re-opening later this month when public health restrictions are fully eased. We have all the sanitising equipment we need to make re-opening as safe as possible, thanks to a grant last year from Fingal County Council. We will also re-start our occasional outings to places of interest. The Men’s Shed has been given a weekly slot on Tuesday mornings at the croquet lawn at Newbridge House. Contrary to its reputation as a “genteel” pastime, we’re discovering that croquet can be a cut-throat, competitive game. Members are really enjoying it and there is space for more; so, give us a call. Over the past few weeks, members have done a huge amount of work at our plots at the Turvey Allotments. The harvest is in and we’re now preparing for next season using materials funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Fingal LCDC. To upgrade fencing at our allotment plots, we plan to recycle picket fencing from Newbridge House, donated to us by Fingal County Council thanks to Colm Connell and Paul Smyth. We installed a deck and benches, with material costs mostly covered by a grant from Fingal County Council, so members can rest between shifts working on the allotments. As Covid-19 restrictions ease, we are welcoming new members. If you wish to join us, please call Jim on 086-3694316.

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