Congratulations are in order for Swords local Szymon Kupiec on the award of his JKS Shodan Diploma recently. He was presented with his Diploma by the head of JKS Ireland Dermot O Keeffe Sensei 6th Dan in front of JKS Ireland Brown & Black Belts at this month’s National training session. Szymon took his Black Belt examination in December 2021 after 10 years of training. He had to complete a series of Kihon (Basics), followed by several Kumite (Fighting) matches with other examinees. He finished the examination by performing his Katas (Forms) Bassai Dai, Junro Nidan and Heian Godan. Szymon is continuing his training and working towards his 2nd Dan Black Belt.

We hosted JKS Ireland National Brown & Black Belt training this month. We covered our grading syllabi for 1st and 2nd Dan Black Belt and then studied the Kata Unsu. This is an ancient kata with a lot of complex and demanding moves. The name Unsu translates from Japanese to English as Cloud Hands and explains some of the stranger hand movements of this Kata.We welcomed Makita Sensei 6th Dan JKS Honbu Dojo Instructor from Japan and Jesper Marksvarden Sensei 7th Dan JKS from Denmark for our Spring/Summer Seminar in mid-May. This is the first time since the pandemic began that we have had visiting Instructors and it promises to be a very exciting Seminar over two days. Full report in the next Club News. Class reports: Tigers and Juniors are on course for the summer grading examinations. Everyone is working hard learning their Kata and practicing their Kihon. Seniors continue to work on the technical aspects of Karate with a focus on exploring how it translates into real world self-defence.We take new members (Children, Young People & Adults) all through the year. Contact Dermot on 087-98073885 for details on how to join. Contact us on Facebook: JKS Swords Karate Club or on Instagram: @jks_swords_karate_club

Fingal County Council has concluded public consultation on proposed protected cycle lane upgrades for St Cronan’s Avenue and Brackenstown Road in Swords. Interested individuals and businesses in the area were invited to respond to plans for cycle lane upgrades, through an online portal or by post, from 25 March to 29 April. The consultation was promoted to those living in the locality through a leaflet drop, letters to local businesses, social media posts and an online information session which took place on 12 April. Fingal County Council also met with key stakeholders including Brackenstown Parish, Dublin Bus, Swords Express, St Cronan’s Junior and Senior National Schools, ESB Networks and local business owners before and during the public consultation period. 31 submissions were received in the course of the 5-week consultation period. All submissions received by Fingal County Council are being read and considered by the Department of Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel and by their design consultants prior to commencement of work on site. The Project Team, in Fingal County Council, are pleased with the local engagement for the plans in the area. We have received a good deal of interest in the plans for St Cronan’s Avenue and Brackenstown Road and the submissions received have helped us best understand the needs of the community. All submissions have been made public and can be read at consult.fingal.ie/en/node/24833/submissions

Swords Tidy Towns has been very busy readying our town for the visit of the judges for this years National Tidy Towns Competition. Judging is done between June and July and hundreds of other Tidy Towns groups across the country will also be doing the same.There is only so much our hard-working volunteers can do to impress the judges, there is also an onus on Swords residents to play their part by supporting us. You can this by always binning your litter, disposing responsibly of your dog poo, encouraging and complimenting young kids when they follow your example. When you see our volunteers out and about honk your horn if driving or express a few kind words if passing. The hard work of our Tidy Towners has been justly rewarded by winning a National Silver Medal four times in a row. With your help we hope to make that five this year, who knows, maybe we could even win the Gold Medal, we can but dream

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The Senior Infants of St Colmcille’s Girls’ National School Swords beat off stiff competition to win Woodie’s Budding Gardener prize of a bespoke gardening workshop with judge Brian Burke Woodie’s DIY, Home and Garden launched their Budding Gardeners competition in January to encourage children and families to celebrate the joy of gardening, cultivating a hobby that will stay with them for life. Woodie’s asked children to flex their green fingers and get planting by working on a garden patch at school or at home for their chance to win some fantastic prizes.Hundreds of children got involved and spent time in their gardens working on the three tasks designed by Judge Brian over three months. The Senior Infants of St Colmcille’s Girls’ National School have been announced as winners of the Snack Box Challenge. The task involved sowing lettuce seeds in planting boxes, nurturing and caring for them until grew into salad leaves, something simple for the children to grow themselves and eat for their lunch. The project integrated both science and SPHE with the class discussing healthy eating whilst enjoying their new hobby. The class have won a gardening workshop with Woodie’s Budding Gardeners Judge Brian Burke, who will be visiting the class in June. Pictured: St. Colmcille’s Girls’ National Catholic School Senior Infants, Swords celebrating their win.

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Last month we welcomed Brown & Black belt members of JKS Ireland from all around the country to a National training session in the dojo.The 2-hour session covered important Kihon (basics) required for Brown & Black Belt grading examinations as well as an in depth study of Unsu Kata. It was great to see all our karate friends from around the country and train together again after such a long time in lockdowns. The next National Brown & Black Belt training session will be in May. Black Belt Award: Conor Kinsella of Swords Karate Club was presented with his Shodan Diploma (Black Belt 1st Dan) by the head of JKS Ireland, Dermot Keeffe Sensei, 6th Dan JKS, at the recent National Brown & Black Belt training session. Conor (18) has been studying karate since he was 9 years old and took his Black Belt examination in December 2021. The tough examination covered Kihon (Basics), Kata (Forms) and Kumite (Fighting). The results were then sent to Japan to be ratified by the JKS Headquarters and his Diploma arrived from Japan last month. The JKS Karate Diploma is recognised worldwide. Online Training Seminar from Japan: Members of the club took part in an online training seminar with JKS World Chief Instructor Masao Kagawa Shihan, 9th Dan JKS recently. These seminars usually take place once or twice a year in person, but the online seminars are being used at the moment because of the Covid19 pandemic.The seminar over 2 days enabled club members train with one of the world’s highest ranking karate experts. Class Report : Juniors, Seniors and Tiger classes were well attended during the month with all students working hard on their techniques needed for the upcoming grading (belt) examination.Tigers and Juniors focused on Kihon (Basics) and Kata, while Seniors worked on more technical aspects of how Karate can be used in real life self-defence situations. We take new members all through the year. Contact us on Facebook: JKS Swords Karate Club or on Instagram: @jks_swords_karate_club.

By Ken Duffy

Swords Tidy Towns pledged fifty percent of their annual St Patricks Day bucket Collection in support of Ukrainian refugees. We presented Lt Annie Carroll (Area Director of Units for Dublin Fingal) and Sgt Claire Dignam of the Swords Red Cross with a cheque for 500 euros to go towards their Ukrainian Refugee fund. Also in the picture are Rose Brennan STT and Darren Breen STT. Our donation was made possible firstly by our hard-working members who volunteered to do the Bucket Collection and by the generosity of the people attending the St Patrick’s Day Parade on the day. Swords Tidy Towns wish to thank each and all for their support and friendly banter towards our volunteers, it made our day, as always you did your town proud.A big congrats must also go to Fingal County Council particularly Paul Barnes and Fiona O’Reilly for their organisational skills in putting on such an enjoyable St Patricks Day Parade. The crowds that thronged the streets were cheering everything, they were in massive form, we were blessed with the weather, it turned out to be, a perfect storm, if you’ll excuse the pun.

The funeral of Frank Lawless in Rolestown Cemetary on April 18,1922 was one of the last occasions at which Michael Collins, Eamonn De Valera, Arthur Griffith and many who later fought on opposite side during the Civil War would stand together. This iconic moment and the life and legacy of Frank Lawless will be commemorated by Fingal County Council as part of their Commemorations Programme with an exhibition and Commemorative film Peace to the Ashes. Frank Lawless was born in October 1870 to Joseph and Mary Anne Lawless in Saucerstown, Swords. He was the driving force of republican activity in Fingal taking part in the 1916 Rising as Quartermaster of the Fingal Volunteers. He spent much of the years between 1916 and 1921 in prison and was elected as MP for Dublin County in the 1918 election while incarcerated, taking his seat in Dáil Éireann when released. He was present for the pivotal Treaty debates and voted in favour of the settlement, before being tragically killed in an accident outside Swords in April 1922. Broadcaster and filmmaker Donal Dineen was struck by a powerful photograph that emerged from the research on the funeral’s significance carried out by our Libraries department which extends not only to Fingal but to Ireland where we see among the mourners Arthur Griffith beneath the large Celtic cross marking the Lawless family plot. He uses this as a starting point to his collaborative commemorative film titled –Peace to the Ashes a work commissioned by Fingal County Council Arts Office. The exhibition and film will be available to view in the Atrium in Fingal County Council Offices Swords from April 25th as well as online on Fingal.ie and on the Council’s Social media channels. The iconic image of the funeral of Frank Lawless reproduced here is Courtesy of RTE Archives.

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The Photo Artist John Byrne who created the Italian Quarter Mural the Last Supper in Dublin City has been commissioned by Fingal County Council to do a mural in Swords. John is looking for six local men aged between 19 and 39 with long hair to partake in his photo shoot at the end of June for his Swords mural, he asked if Swords Tidy Towns would put out feelers for him, hence my post. No monies will change hands just the opportunity to be immortalised within John’s mural. If you are interested or you know of somebody who might be interested, please contact me Ken on 0866008313

By Liam Ó Culbáird

A great day was had at the of Scór na nÓg Dublin County final which was held at Fingallians GAA in Swords on 13th March 2022. It was encouraging to see new clubs from across Dublin participating that had no previous experience of the Scór competitions. Dublin GAA will be well represented as we head towards the Leinster finals. The Scór competitions are talent competitions for GAA members that include areas of Irish culture outside of our national ball games. Bhí na buaiteoirí mar seo a leanas / The winners were as follows: Tráth na gCeisteanna / Table quiz: Cumann Uí Dhuibhir / O’Dwyers, Rince Foirne / Ceilí dance: Fine Ghallainn / Fingallians GAA dancers from Swords, Amhránaíocht Aonair / solo singer: Na Gaeil Óga, Aithriseoireacht /Scéalaíocht Recitation / Storytelling: Gaeil Raghnallach / Ranelagh Gaels, Bailéad Ghrúpa / Ballad group: Gaeil Raghnallach / Ranelagh Gaels, Nuachleas / Novelty act: Na Gaeil Óga and Ceol Uirlise / Instrumental music: Gaeil Raghnallach / Ranelagh Gaels.Bhí an-caighdeán ar taispeáint and well done to all who participated. It is great to see the Scór competitions back running in the capital and we look forward to progressing through the provincials towards the finals.Our Tráth na gCeisteanna winners, Cumann Uí Dhuibhir, now progress to the Leinster final that will be held on Sunday 3rd April at St. Patrick’s GAA Club, Lordship, Dundalk, An Lú.Quiz: 11am. Stage competitions 2pm. Our other winners will compete in the Leinster semi-final on Saturday 26th March at 2.30pm at The Downs GAA, An Iarmhí

In a gesture of solidarity with the people and the country of Ukraine, the Ukrainian national flag was raised recently at County Hall, Swords, by the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Seána O Rodaigh, in the presence of the Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Ms Larysa Gerasko.The ceremony was also attended by members of the Ukrainian community in Fingal who had earlier been hosted by the Mayor at a special reception in The Atrium at County Hall. Fingal councillors and Oireachtas members stood in solidarity with them as the flag of Ukraine was raised and the Ukrainian national anthem was sung by those present.The Mayor expressed her solidarity with the Ukrainian community and spoke of those she met earlier, saying: “Many relationships have been fostered today and many of us listened and we will continue to do so.” Ambassador Gerasko thanked the Mayor for inviting her to the ceremony and added: “Ukrainians are facing a dark and terrible time, parts of country are destroyed including hundreds of schools and hospitals in this unjustified and terrible war. We need your support and we are grateful to the Government of Ireland for their huge support and solidarity and to the Irish nation for the many messages of support and offers of accommodation and humanitarian aid.” There was a discussion on the situation in Ukraine at the March monthly meeting of the Council before motions relating to the Russian invasion were unanimously passed. These motions were:“That this Council unreservedly condemns, in the strongest possible terms, Russia’s totally unprovoked and despicable attack on the free and sovereign nation of Ukraine and call on Russia to immediately withdraw and make reparations.” – proposed by Councillors Darragh Butler, Brigid Manton, Tom Kitt, Tony Murphy, Brian Dennehy, Joe Newman, Robert O’Donoghue, Grainne Maguire, Howard Mahony, Pamela Conroy, Daniel Whooley, JK Onwumereh, Ian Carey and Tania Doyle. “That Fingal County Council calls on the Government to ensure sanctions are imposed to end Russian aggression against the Ukraine and that this Council calls for the expulsion of the Russian Ambassador. The Irish Government needs to play its part in forcing a complete withdrawal of Russian military forces from Ukraine. Fingal County Council stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine” – proposed by Councillor Anne Graves. “That this Council condemns the use of violence to achieve political aims, calls on Russia to withdraw from all Ukrainian territory and make full reparation to Ukraine.” – proposed by Councillors Tom O’Leary, Anthony Lavin, Aoibhinn Tormey, Siobhan Shovlin, Punam Rane and Ted Leddy.The Ukrainian flag was also raised at the Council’s offices in Blanchardstown which were lit up in yellow and blue along with Swords Castle in solidary with Ukraine and its people.