Latest Laois News: Out and about in Durrow

Latest Laois News: Out and about in Durrow

Your latest news from Ballinakill, Cullohill, Durrow & Spink


Beavers: Beavers welcomed nine new members to the group this year. To date we have been busy getting to know each other. We learned knots,  creating Christmas decorations for the Scouts garden and did a trail around Durrow.

Cubs: Cubs welcomed six new members this year. The cubs have been busy over the last few weeks. They’ve been discovering planets in our solar system as well as learning how day and night happens. They even got to see Jupiter with their own eyes as well as learning how to find the north star.Scouts and Ventures: The section has been very busy with hiking, Backwoods, hammock nights, canoeing and meeting the Chief Scout. The year was rounded off with the Christmas Dinner last week and Plans are already under way for the new year and more adventures ahead.All the Sections enjoyed the Carol singing on the green for the Christmas market and working on the New Scout garden. Unfortunately the group didn’t get to celebrate the 40th anniversary night, but that will come when restrictions ease and the weather improves in the new year. We would like to wish Everyone a Happy and Safe Christmas and New year. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Scouts through our Newsletter and regular fundraising.Join the Scouts! If your child is interested in joining scouting at any age, please contact Leanne our group leader at by email. We’re also looking for adults to join as leaders –  the time commitment you give can be flexible and since we’re a voluntary organisation we rely on our fantastic leaders, without whom the group simply couldn’t exist. And who knows, you might even enjoy yourselves! And if being a leader isn’t your thing but you’d like to help in other ways then you could always join our parents and friends committee who help with fundraisers and general logistics throughout the year or become an associate member and offer help that way. 

BOOK BOX: A Book Box is now operational in the Scout Garden. Please feel free to take a book or leave a book. Please ensure that the lid is replaced properly after each use. Enjoy!


Tuesday December 21st – 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm; Wednesday December 22nd – Closed; Thursday December 23rd – 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm; Friday December 24th to Tuesday December 28th inclusive – Closed; Wednesday December 29th – Closed; Thursday December 30th – 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm; Friday 31st December – 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm. Normal hours resume on Tuesday 4th of January. Our online service is an easy and convenient way to access your account when your local branch is closed. See our website for details.

All the latest news from Durrow, Ballinakill, Spink and Cullohill


For more information on Alzheimer’s contact Ann Munnelly on (057) 8663398 or (086) 8372168 Homecare Co-ordinator, Portlaoise or by email to online.

GATHABAWN CHALLENGE – ST STEPHEN’S MORNING 2021: Gathabawn Rural Development Group are delighted to welcome all walkers back after the years of COVID        restrictions this year on their Annual St Stephen’s Day Sponsored Walk, The walk will follow strict COVID guidelines and participating walkers should follow all COVID guidelines. Once again, the Annual St Stephen’s Day charity walk will take place on the Gathabawn Loop. Many people like to walk off the turkey and ham while meeting old and new friends at this annual event. The route is of moderate grade with good footwear required. Dogs are not allowed on the walks, and we ask walkers to respect this as we rely on our local landowners for access to this stunning landscape. Walkers have three options: Walk One is the 12km long with a 270m ascent Gathabawn Loop up the Cullahill Road. Time 3 to 4 hours across country roads wood and farmland (Dogs not   allowed). Walk Two is the 7km long Gathabawn Short Loop route is similar and approximately 1.5 hours. The first 2.5km is on country roads after which the main cross-country Loop is      re-joined (Dogs not allowed). Walk Three is an all road loop is from Gathabawn Village, up the Cullahill Road, through Coolcashin, Ballygooney, around to Foyle Bridge and back to  Gathabawn. The 6km route is family/buggy friendly and approximately 1.5 Hours (Dogs not allowed). The walk starts from Gathabawn Village between 11am and 12 noon with registration beforehand outside Mackey’s Bar. Hot soup will once again be available, free of charge to      returning walkers by kind donation of Glanbia, Ballyragget. The walks follow a varied route overthe scenic Cullahill Mountain, Dogs not allowed. Good footwear is required and Walkers should follow all COVID guidelines. The Group would like to thank all their landowners, sponsors, supporters and walkers over the years and wish everyone a Happy and Safe    Christmas with an enjoyable walk to follow. 2021 Funds raised will be donated to local charities including the Good Shepard Centre Kilkenny See our Facebook page for further details: Search: Gathabawn Rural Development Group or visit online.

CHURCH NEWS: Public Health Guidelines: With Covid19 numbers very high once more, everyone who goes to Church Masses are asked to observe Social Distancing guidelines, Use hand sanitizers; Wear a face covering and Stay Safe. It is in all of our interests that we continue to observe these guidelines and recommendations.Christmas Mass Schedule 2021: Christmas Eve: 5pm Durrow (Fr. Martin), 7.30pm Cullohill (Fr. Tom), 8pm Durrow (Canon O’Doherty). Christmas Day: 9am Durrow (Canon O Doherty), 10.30am Cullohill   (Fr. Martin), 11am Durrow. Sunday St. Stephens Day: 10am Cullohill (Fr. Tom), 12 noon Durrow (Canon O’Doherty).Parish Office: The new Parish Office is now open at the Presentation Centre beside the Church or call (085) 2625033. Opening hours for this office will be from 10am to 2pm Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The booking of Masses, Christenings of babies, sale of Mass Cards, Booking of weddings and funeral arrangements will go through this office. All matters relating to church business in the parish must also go through this office.Readers: Readers for Sunday Mass until January 30th 2022: December 19th – Michael Conroy; December 26th – Martin Lawlor; January 2nd – Fergal Hassett; January 9th – Mary Lawlor; January 16th – Stephanie Phelan; January 23rd – Martin Lawlor; January 30th – Kevin Kelly. If you are unavailable to read please contact some person on the list. For any queries, please contact Martin Lawlor on (087) 2185839. Readers for Saturday night Mass until January 29th 2022: December 18th – Bernie Murphy; January 1st – Seosamh Murphy; January 8th – Oliver Lawlor; January 15th – Kay Sheppard; January 22nd – Noreen Joyce; January 29th – Ann Marie Lawlor.Cullohill Adoration: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrement is held every Thursday morning in St Tiernach’s Church Cullohill from 8.50am to 9.50am in the kitchen area, followed by Mass. Everyone is most welcome.

Ballinakill, Cullohill, Durrow and Spink news courtesy of The Castle Arms Hotel
Ballinakill, Cullohill, Durrow and Spink news courtesy of The Castle Arms Hotel


With the long winter nights now here people are asked to keep an eye on their elderly neighbours daily. Check that they have enough fuel to keep warm, enough food to last a number of days, that they are healthy and not in need of medical attention. Check visitors and report strange movement of people and cars to your local community alert and to the Gardaí.

LIVE LOCAL WEATHER: Visit for live local weather data from Durrow.

DURROW FIRE AND RESCUE: Do you need a smoke alarm? Or do you know of someone who does, in the Durrow, Cullohill or Ballacolla area? Every home should have a minimum of two of the life saving   devices! Durrow Fire & Rescue will provide and install smoke alarms for anyone that needs them, and there is no charge for this service. Simply email if you are interested, or if you know of a friend or neighbour that needs to have the devices installed. Please leave a contact number too.

NUMBER FOR ST. VINCENT DE PAUL – UPDATED JULY 2021: Our new contact phone  number for confidential assistance is (087) 6974792.


We currently have four vacancies on our Community Employment Scheme. Position: 4 x Environmental Workers; Location: Durrow and Ballacolla; No Experienced Required; Work 19.5 hours per week. Eligibility to participate on CE is generally linked to those who are 21 years or over and in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for 1 year or more or 18 years and over for certain disadvantaged groups. Your eligibility will have to be verified by the Department of Social Protection. Please contact Astrid Andersson on (057) 8736870 or by email. Durrow Community Services CLG would like to thank the community of Durrow, the local businesses, clubs and associations for all their support during the year and wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas.

Durrow, Spink, Ballinakill & Cullohill news
Ballinakill, Cullohill, Durrow and Spink news Credit Laois Tourism


A fine attendance assembled in Newtown Mill on Sunday evening 12th December for the AGM of the Woodenbridge Community Alert.The gathering were given an update on the Community CCTV project and prospect of now having a possible launch date in January 2022. On the text alert all were praised for their    continued reporting of suspicious activity in the area. Disappointment was aired at the lack of progress on The Erkina Blueway Project. A suggestion to launch the “Save The Woodenbridge Campaign” met with huge enthusiasm. This has come about following an inspection of the bridge by an outside agency which suggests that the Woodenbridge be replaced by a concrete structure. The “Save The Woodenbridge Campaign” will be launched in the near future. The meeting concluded with Christmas refreshments for all. The following officers were elected: Chairman – Michael G Phelan; Vice Chairman – Kevin Galvin; Secretary – Liam Geoghegan;    Assistant  Secretary – Pat Dollard; Joint Treasurer – Ann Marie Browne and Michael Broderick. 


Join us for the New Years Day 2022 Ballacolla “Off the beaten track” which takes place on New Years Day 2022 in Ballacolla and will see the resumption of the annual Walk and Tractor Run.Traversing the usual route the event will start at 2pm in the Village with registration from 1pm. Refreshments and raffle will be held afterwards at the Hawthorn Community Centre. The event will support the Local National School and the Hawthorn Community Building.  All Covid 19 Government Guidelines will be adhered to.


To maximise the potential of the River Nore as a recreational, environmental and business resource, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has funded a River Nore Amenity Training Programme that will be delivered over five sessions between late January and April 2022 in County Laois. This programme is for individuals, clubs, businesses and community groups along the River Nore corridor who wish to develop or who currently operate a River Nore related resource. This course is relevant to you if you are a business, community group, club or an individual who wishes to improve the River Nore’s  recreational value, enhance its environmental resources or improve its role as a tourism resource. To get more details on this FREE training course and we very much hope it might be of interest to you – please email humphrey@ilc.iefor an Expression of Interest form (EOI) and return it via email on or before Wednesday 29th December 2021. Please do not hesitate to email or call (086) 2659276 if you would like enquire about the training programme further.

All the latest news from Durrow, Ballinakill, Spink and Cullohill Credit: Laois Tourism


Speech, Drama & Elocution Classes begin in January and are suitable for all ages from 6 to 15 years. The opportunity to take the Irish Board of Speech & Drama exams is available for all age groups, in all the grades and public speaking. If interested contact Mairead at Star Blossom Communications, Speech & Drama School on (087) 6473414. A few of the many benefits of Speech & Drama: – Great fun! – Develops the voice and personal awareness; – Improves clarity and fluency of speech;  – increases confidence and improves communication skills.


The Lions AFC would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and thank all for their continued support throughout the year. We finish the year as usual with our Annual  Christmas Draw. This year marks our 48 th Annual Christmas Draw and we would like to thank Daybreak for doing up the hamper for us this year and as always, we have some other great prizes for you (see below). We would also like to thank anyone who sponsored a prize for the draw, it is greatly appreciated. Tickets are available from club members, players and coaches and we will have our stall set-up on Thursday 23rd (Outside Lawlors) and Friday 24 th (Outside Daybreak and Lawlors) and the draw taking place on the Green at 5pm on Christmas Eve. If you are not around on these days or just don’t fancy stepping out into the cold to call, you can also acquire tickets by donating on our Go Fund Me Page. Access to this can be acquired through our Facebook page and for every €5 donated you will receive an entry into the draw. Prizes: First Prize – Monster Hamper; Second Prize – One night B&B plus Dinner at The Heritage Hotel Killenard; Third Prize – Designer DNKY Handbag and Bottle of Champagne; Fourth Prize – Four VIP Tickets to Abbaesque Event in 2022; Fifth Prize – Phelan’s Hardware Voucher; Sixth Prize – Ashbrook House; Plus spot prizes galore!

photo of walkers in the distance on a country road
All the news from Cullohill , Durrow and environs Credit Laois Tourism


Durrow-Cullohill Parish Anglers held a Pike Fishing competition for The Brendan Sheeran Memorial Cup on Sunday December 12th last. The numbers were up on previous competitions and hopefully next year many more members will fish in all competitions. Fishing conditions were difficult but there were eight fish were caught on the day. Shane Donohue was the star of the day landing two great fish. The best fish weighed in at 16lb-14oz.This was a super fish and very well done to Shane. The Results on the day were: First – Shane Donohue; Second – Fred Townsend; Third – David Walsh.


Our Split the Bucket Christmas Special Double Draw! The 22nd and the 29th draws, will be combined and held on Wednesday the 22nd of December 2021 where €1200 in prizes will be won! 2 x €500 and 4 x €50 prizes guaranteed to be won on the night. Get your enteries in before 7pm on Wednesday the 22nd at any of our usual outlets across Durrow, Cullohill and Urlingford. Best of luck to every one and many thanks for your support of the Split the Bucket throughout 2021! We look forward to doing it all again in 2022.


Durrow Community Market continues on Saturdays from 9am to 12 noon on the Kilkenny Road beside the church. Social Distancing will be in practice and please adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines!

St. Brigids hold out after great rally from The Harps
All your sports news from from Ballinakill, Cullohill, Durrow and Spink


Santa Letters and Colouring Competition Sheets are now available in the Post Office. Also, check out our special mail box for all your completed Santa Letters with a guaranteed speedy delivery in time for Christmas!
PILATES CLASSES: Pilates Classes continue in Cullohill Community Centre and will continue every  Tuesday from 1.30pm to 2.30pm. All welcome, do come along and enjoy yourself!


After almost two years suspended, the Durrow Parish Lotto is restarting in January 2022! It will start with a large €2,000 Jackpot! Tickets costing €2 each are available in retailers and pubs across the Durrow and surrounding districts. When you play the Durrow Parish Lotto you support many Groups and Clubs in the Parish including Our Lady’s Meadow NS, Gun Club, Harps GAA, Fishing Club, Scouts. For these groups it is a great way to fundraise every week and every player is in for winning the Jackpot!


Scoil Rince Katrina practises Traditional Irish Dancing for all ages in a fun-filled environment. Benefits are numerous as it helps children to engage in their coordination, improves posture, helps them learn about timing and rhythm and encourages teamwork. Our main focus is to try to bring out the best in every individual and improve their confidence. There are regular competitions if dancers choose to take part. Book now to secure your place. Contact Katrina on (085) 7606866. Classes take place in Durrow Community Hall on Monday evenings.

The Portlaoise Gospel Choir at A Christmas Experience in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Durrow in aid of Children of the Philippines (a Presentation Sisters Project) in 2007. Picture: Alf Harvey.


It’s been approx fifteen plus years since we had our fundraiser to sponsor a bag of bulbs for planting the beautiful daffodils on the approach roads into Durrow. You may have noticed that the burst of spring yellow has not been as bright lately and in particular on the Abbeyleix road. We are reaching out to the community both at home and abroad to sponsor a bag of bulbs and if you’d like to do so, this is the link to sponsor online or if you’d like to sponsor any amount towards the bulbs you can do so by dropping an envelope marked Durrow Tidy Towns to Lawlors Gala in the square or to our treasurer Rita Casey. This would also make a great Christmas gift for family and friends.  Thank-you as always for keeping Durrow looking beautiful. Visit… for details on purchasing.

SINGING LESSONS: Whether you want to learn how to sing or develop your existing skills – Amy offers one-to-one tuition or group tuition for families for everyone aged 9 or over. Learn vocal techniques, breathing exercises, control, performance and delivery. For more information please contact Amy (083) 8253665 by phone or to by email. You can also reach Amy’s Social Media page by visiting


Durrow Library is currently open for browsing, borrowing, printing and photocopying. We have received an excellent selection of new books which you are welcome to borrow. We are currently running a small treasure hunt event. To take part, families collect a Durrow Discovery Map at the Library, answer the associated questions and when   complete return the Map to Durrow Library to receive a small prize.  To celebrate our participation in the ‘Leave a Light On’ project we have been given a number of craft packs so you can make your own window display from crepe paper and black card. These are available to collect from the Library and details of the online instructional video will be included. You are also invited to help decorate the Library for Christmas with paper snowflakes. Paper, scissors and instructions  will be available in the Library over the coming weeks and all snowflakes will be proudly displayed. Opening hours are Tuesday 11am -7.30pm and Wednesday 10am -5.30pm (closed for lunch 1.30-2pm) (Christmas closing 28th and 29th December). Phone: 057 8736090 or type to by email!

photo of 2011 Durrow St. Patrick's Day Parade
Hugh Sheppard with another of his topical themes at the 2011 Durrow St. Patrick’s day parade. Picture: Alf Harvey.


St. Canice’s Credit Union is located on Mary Street in Durrow. It provides a range of services including Current Accounts, globally accepted Debit Cards, Loans including Mortgages and Agri, Online Banking Services and a Mobile App. Contact Mary, Catherine or Breda. Opening Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm also Fridays from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm. Visit our popular website at online. Phone: (056) 7722042 (available six days – Monday to Saturday) or (057) 8736522. Email: available six days – Monday to Saturday).

photo of face in Durrow St. Patrick's day parade
Mollie O’Rourke at the 2011 Durrow St. Patrick’s day parade. Picture: Alf Harvey.

LIONS AFC LADIES SOCCER: Women’s social soccer on every Monday from 7pm until 8pm at the Lions AFC all weather pitch. All abilities welcome. Contact Sinead at (087) 9510587 for further details.


The next newsletter will be out on the weekend of January 8th and 9th 2022. All adverts must be booked with Angela Drennan (087) 1928522 or (057) 8736419. Advertisements cost €2 per issue of Durrow Parish Newsletter and must be paid for in advance. Clubs and Organisations are encouraged to email with their ongoing news and notices which will be printed in the upcoming newsletter and also be posted on the website.