Invite to Founder’s Day Concert

Click here to join us at the Founder’s Day Concert

The Chairman and Board of

Ashbourne 2020 Bicentenary CLG

Invite you to

Ashbourne will be 201 years old on Thursday, March 4th, 2021.

To celebrate this, ASH2020 are delighted to announce Ashbourne’s FIRST EVER Online concert to mark the occasion with Rory O Connor of “Rory’s Stories” as our MC on the night.

We have a spectacular array of local talent in store featuring Johnny Logan, Brian Dunphy of the High Kings, Ian Jenkinson, Alan Kavanagh, Giovanna & Ephrem Feeley featuring DIVISI, Niamh Crowther, Siúbhán Ní Ghríofa & Will Palmer, The Treble Melodies, Joanne O’Connor and family.

It will be an evening to remember to bring the community of Ashbourne together in these difficult times and to celebrate 201 years.

Click here to join us online on our Facebook page.

on Thursday March 4th at 7.30pm

Solstice Anthem for Ashbourne


(Note: If you experince intermittent pauses due bandwith or other constraints, you may wish to let the Anthem play through once, and then restart it. Or you may prefer to download it and play it offline. To download it, right-click here: Anthem_for_Ashbourne.mp4, then left-click on 'Save link as....' and save the download at the location of your choice. You can then play it by clicking on your saved file.)


If there was ever a year when the Solstice idea of 'embracing the New Dawn' carried palpable meaning, surely it is this year. As the prospects of defeating the common enemy seem more credible, it is tempting to be optimistic on many fronts, Health, Social, even Economic and Political. But perhaps the principal benefits from the pandemic experience have been around a renewed focus on matters local?

The new rendition of Ashbourne's Anthem is an example of this community solidarity that has emerged as a strengthened force during this testing year. The Anthem had its premiere in September 2019 to mark the visit from Australia of Juanita Carroll, the Great-Great Granddaughter of Frederick Bourne, the Towns Founder. It was composed by Ashborean Siubhan Ní Gríofa, with lyrics by Siubhan, Ian Jenkinson, Giovanna and Ephraim Feeley. The new rendering is the brainchild of Giovanna Feeley and her newly formed Choral group, Ashbourne Singing. In November Giovanna invited the Citizens of Ashbourne, old and young, to submit a video of their vocal or instrumental interpretation of the Anthem. The response was beyond expectations, with submissions from as far away as South Bend, Indiana; more than forty individuals and six classes from Ashourne's schools sent in their videos. The challenge of turning this cornucopia of creativity into a coherent performance then fell to Shane Barriscale, who rose to the task with the facility of the True Master. The result is a joy for all to relish, a new dawn wherein we rediscover local strengths, it’s a veritable beacon of Community Spirit. Well done Giovanna for leading this initiative and to all who helped deliver it.

The initial program for ASH2020 had featured an end-of-year concert, closing off a year of events and celebrations marking the Towns bicentenary, 42 events in all. The old adage 'if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans' springs to mind; in the heel of the hunt, we managed just twelve projects, all excellently delivered and including some that will have a lasting effect on the Town. So, the Solstice Song for Ashbourne, bringing together 42 citizens as well as 160 schoolchildren from six classrooms represents the symbolic concert that must await another year. Giovanna, thanking all who contributed, said 'It was great to have such a good response to the project: a lovely end to the year, and gives great hope for the future.' Liam Mulvihill, Chair of the ASH2020 Board said: 'This proves yet again that great trials prompt, first, endurance, then creativity, and out of that comes new experiences and greater all-round wellbeing'.


ASH2070 – ‘Making predictions is hazardous, especially about the future’

This bit of wisdom has been variously credited to Oscar Wilde, Niels Bohr, and of course Mark Twain. It’s credible that any of these worthies might have said it, albeit with varying depths of meaning, from the light-hearted to the profound. But this did not deter two groups of Transition Year students from Ashbourne Community School who rose to the challenge.On Friday 29 November last, this party of Students, together with some of their Teachers, appropriately distanced, convened in the canteen of Ashbourne Community School to mark the completion of one of ASH2020’s most singular projects – ASH2070.

No, it’s not a typo; the ASH2070 project is ambitious on a grand scale. It seeks to predict what life in Ashbourne will be like in fifty years’ time, no less!!! And the group was gathered to celebrate the completion of the inaugural 2020 chapter of the project, to pay tribute to the teachers and external mentors who guided the teams, but most importantly to register the achievement of the two groups of Transition Year students who saw the projects through to the end, despite the vicissitudes of the Plague Year.

Mostly, ASH2020 was about reflecting on the past. But the past is most valuable as a Teacher when the lessons learned are applied to planning for the future – ‘Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them’ – was it Churchill? Sounds like him! We humans are not very good at long-term thinking, and it shows. Our focus on the short term leads to sub-optimal decisions that damage our lived environment, waste investment due to rework, and in the long-term threaten our very existence. Long-range planning, often using Scenario Modelling, is a competence we need to acquire and apply at all levels in our society, including at the local community level. Ash2070 is intended to introduce some of our younger generation to the concept of thinking long-term; of building through researching today’s knowledge and predicting likely trends that will affect them and future generations; of considering first the likely Big Picture and imagining a ‘landscape’ against which they can evaluate short and medium-term decisions.

At the beginning of 2020 we sought to set up eight research teams drawn from the Transition Year students in our second-level schools. The eight subject-areas (we called them Domains) that we asked them to research were 1) Community 2) Culture 3) Education 4) Environment 5) Health 6) Science and Technology 7) Economics 8) Sport. Each team was assigned a single Domain and also a Mentor, a person with expertise in the domain that had been assigned to them. Their task was to become familiar with the current state of knowledge within their domain, debate how trends would see things developing, and produce a report visualising how life would look in Ashbourne in 50 years’ time in the context of their assigned domain.

The old saying ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans’ – never was this more apt than this year. Our ASH2020 program of 42 events swiftly dwindled to a quarter of that figure. Some of those, notably projects that could be held online, survived, and to the great credit of the students and their mentors, two of the teams completed their assignment and turned in excellent papers, one for the Environmental domain and one for Education. That they produced such excellent work while in the shadow of the pandemic shows a determination and a resilience that is more than commendable and bodes well for the future of our society.

The Environment Team produced a generally optimistic forecast, no doubt determined that, even if previous generations showed scant regard for where the Earth’s environment was heading, their generation would remedy this as soon as they took over the reins of power. The team was mentored by Teacher Irene Hughes and consisted of Niamh Battersby, Kate Beggy, Aoife Byrne, Aibhe Cronin, Rhianna Dolan, Leah Duffy, Aimee Ennis, Neil Finnegan, Lisa Golden, Eimear Monaghan and Diana Tudorache.

The Education Team, mentored by Ciaran Flynn/Caroline Mathews and consisting of Killian O’Brien and Caolan Kearney posed myriad questions along a broad spectrum, many of them requiring immediate attention from our educational planners. The salience of these challenges should be heeded by everyone connected with Education. That, at the end of the day, means just about everyone.

The two papers are quite substantial, and rather than including abridged versions here, they may be viewed on the ASH2020 website at Be assured, neither paper will waste a minute of the readers time.

In attendance (corporeally) on Friday 29 Nov were: the students who participated, Principal Ciaran Stewart, Assistant Principal Niamh Kelly, teacher Caroline Mathews, while the gathering was rendered complete via Zoom by Liam Mulvihill, Chair of ASH2020 together with some of the Project Mentors – Ciaran Flynn (Education), Mary Murphy (Culture), Liam Moggan (Sports), and Jack Holmes (Economics). Mentors and others unable to attend due work commitments were Helen Meyer (Project Management), Fiona Woods (Health) and Sean Mitchell (Science and Technology).

All in all, an experiment that bears repeating, with many ‘lessons learned’ on this outing and once again a huge Thank You to all the Students, Teachers, Mentors and others who took part in this inaugural event.