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Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking

A day to remember at The Green!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Monday afternoon and out here in Creggs we are recovering from one of the most amazing weekends that our little village has ever seen, with Saturday’s official opening of three new Creggs Rugby pitches, the unveiling of a fantastic new stand, and new electronic scoreboard. Throw in a host of rugby matches involving players of every age, shape and size, which went on all day and which featured more than 400 underage players.

  My good friend, Jack the Lower, told me he had never seen as many people in the village before. Now Jack’s memory goes back to the great days (or nights) of the Creggs Carnivals, and he told every parking place in the area was taken up from early morning right though the whole day!

  I’ve told you before that work is a huge inconvenience in my life, and so, even though I now only have to go in on Fridays and Saturdays, Saturday was a problem, and so I didn’t get to any of the earlier festivities. I did, however, arrive in time for the big local derby, when our first team took on Buccaneers from Athlone. The crowd was absolutely huge, and what made it even better was the fact that the game lived up to the sense of occasion, and Creggs kept up their end by winning on a scoreline of 38-21.

  The funny thing was that at half-time you would nearly think it was all over, with our lads leading 31-7, and, in fact, my brother, the Rasher, was going to head back to Ennis at the interval. However, wise old heads like Billy and me (maybe not that wise) told him to hold fire, as we just knew Buccs would come roaring back into it, and sure enough after only 15 minutes of the second half they had scored two converted tries, and the lead was down to ten.

  The Rasher stayed, and it was nip and tuck until the finish, but towards the end prop forward Tom Fleming careered through the visitors’ defence, produced a mesmeric sidestep (or was it a speed wobble?) to wrong-foot the last defender, and score a wonderful winning try.

  Now there has been many a good try scored in Creggs over the last 45 years, but the five they scored on Saturday were all just incredible and they would have brightened up any game at even the highest level. For the record, they were all scored by mountain men, so in case it never happens again the scorers were Shane Dowd (2), his brother Ronan, Kevin Gavin and the aforementioned twinkle-toes Tom Fleming. Any one of them would be a candidate for the try of any season but, partly because he sometimes plays golf with me and Duff, but more so because of Shane Purcell’s exquisite chip and the speed with which it was gathered and finished, I think Ronan Dowd’s score ranks with the best I’ve ever been fortunate enough to see. It will live long in the memory of all of us lucky enough to witness it.

 

Celebrating 45 years of Creggs RFC

 

 

After the rugby action last Saturday it was a rush home to put on our finery, paint and powder the face (Carol, not me), and head to the Abbey Hotel, where upwards of 250 people attended Creggs’ 45th anniversary. I think it was one of the most enjoyable functions I have ever been at.

  There was the usual number of speeches, including one by one of the most influential figures in women’s world rugby, Trien native Su Carthy, who is Ireland’s representative on the World Women’s Council. I have to admit that her list of achievements is mindboggling, and I, for one, was unaware of the enormity of the position that she holds in World Rugby.

  Since 2009, when she was appointed as the first World Rugby Women’s Development Manager, she has been instrumental in promoting women’s rugby, and over the ten years under her watch women went from comprising 4% of the world’s playing population to now making up a quarter of the total. It was wonderful to have a person of such stature address us.

  Su was followed by another extraordinary speaker, Fergus Farrell, a former Monivea rugby player, who suffered an extremely serious injury less than a year ago when he was lifting heavy machinery in his yard in Athenry.

            I won’t go into the details, but Fergus was told his chances of ever walking again were extremely low, so to see him walk into the ballroom in the Abbey Hotel was remarkably inspiring and he too proved a wonderful speaker.

  When our own club great, Adrian Leddy, had his retirement do in Hannon’s Hotel a few weeks ago, he organised a collection to go to a fund Fergus set up to buy new equipment for the NRH (National Rehabilitation Centre) and the proceeds of that collection (€1,500) was presented to Fergus on the night as well.

  The last of the outside speakers was Johnny Carr from Tuam, representing the Connacht Branch and from Creggs we had Michael Ward, on behalf of sponsors Ward & Burke, Ger Dowd, coach of the 1994 All-Ireland winning women’s team (who were honoured on the night), Club President Aidan Farrell, and yours truly, who represented the 1989 double winning team, who were also honoured on the night. 

  Anyway, after a superb dinner, it was time for the festivities and despite my exceptional dancing skills, I stayed away from the dance floor, met up with loads of past and present club stalwarts, marvelled at the journey our little club has gone on, revelled in the fact that I was one of the five (Jack the Higher and Lower, the Rasher, my brother Dec, and the Gunner, Jim O’Roarke the others) that came up with the idea of forming a rugby club 45 years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful night.

  What the future holds for Creggs RFC no-one knows, but right now it’s in a really good place, and we can only hope it continues onwards and upwards for many years to come. Certainly it looks good, and with the two Brians, Diffley and Coady, captaining the two adult teams, it’s safe to say we are in safe hands.

 

Finally for this week…

Finally for this week, it’s that time of year again, and Mary Kelly tells me the best social occasion of the year, the Senior Citizens’ Party, is coming up on Sunday, December 8th in St. Mary’s Hall, Kilbegnet, and everyone is welcome!

  It all kicks off at 2 pm and there will be loads of music, food, drink and craic, and she wants to see you all there. I have yet to get to it, but I am definitely qualified age-wise, so maybe I might make it this time.

  I will remind you again next week, but put the date in your diary and you can look forward to an outing to remember!

 

 Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s all RALLY to the Cuisle cause this Saturday

 

 

As we all know, a few weeks ago the Irish Wheelchair Association dropped the bombshell that Cuisle in Donamon was going to close by the 29th of November, with just over 40 jobs to go.

  Along with many others, I wondered if the community was going to take the news lying down – and I am delighted to say that they are not.

  Last Thursday night a meeting was held at which it was resolved to try to get the decision reversed. This Saturday, 23rd of November, a major rally will take place in Roscommon town at 1 pm. Everyone is asked to come along and support the organisers and those affected by the heartless announcement.

  As Martin Finan, one of the driving forces behind the rally, pointed out to me, Cuisle is not just a wheelchair holiday resort, it is also a major community hub where all kinds of social events take place. Sports clubs, individuals and local organisations have all held functions there over the years.

  Saturday’s rally will convene at the new County Council offices and proceed by the back of the Church, up Abbey Street, on to Church Street, and into Main Street, where the rally will be addressed by a number of speakers.

  That great Castlerea man, Danny Burke, will be the MC. Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon Co. Council, Keith Swanick, a Belmullet-based Doctor and Senator, as well as a number of our local TDs and Senators will (hopefully) all be in attendance.

  I’m sure they will all be only too glad to address the huge crowd that I expect to be there and throw their support behind the vitally important rescue effort.

  Of course, what’s needed is a positive outcome, but without a show of strength by the people nothing will happen, so please get to Roscommon in your thousands, show the Government that you will not put up with this outrageous closure, and you – the people – will ensure that Cuisle stays open and continues to look after its holiday makers and the local community for many years to come.

 

Prevalance of drugs a major concern

 

A few weeks ago, the Health Research Board (in its annual newsletter) informed us that use of cocaine has now returned to the levels it reached in Celtic Tiger Ireland. The board said that while back in those days the problem was pretty much confined to the bigger cities and urban areas, it is now rampant in rural Ireland and is being used in even the smallest country villages.

  In Co. Donegal, a garda in Letterkenny described the problem in the town as rampant, in Mayo the warning is that cocaine use is threatening to spiral out of control, and nearly all regional towns are seeing an increase in recorded drug crime. Once upon a time the common theory was that coke was the recreational drug for the wealthy yuppies of Dublin 4, but now the Gardai say there is no specific group that uses the drug. As my colleague Seamus Duke noted in his column in this newspaper recently, it is now so universally used that the farmer or the nurse or anyone at all can be a user.

  Back in my day, when I was a young fellow dipping my toes in the recreational ways of the world, there was really only alcohol, and while nobody should underestimate the danger of alcohol addiction, there wasn’t quite the same threat involved. For a start, there was no such thing as shots. It’s a different scenario now.

  All of this came into my head when I read this week that a huge drug seizure (heroin) occurred in the village of Kilmallock in Co. Limerick, and looking back over the last short while I see where there have been seizures in Lanesborough, Longford, Ennis, Enniscorthy, Navan, Drogheda, Mallow, Leixlip, Killaloe, and umpteen ones in Dublin and its environs.

  Obviously these seizures are just the tip of the iceberg, as a lot more makes it to the streets than doesn’t, so I suppose the message is that no matter where you are, don’t be surprised if someone near you is using coke or some other dangerous drug. A worrying thought.

 

Saturday will be a historic day for Creggs RFC

 

45 years ago a few lads met for a few pints in Dowd’s in Glinsk and decided the time was right to start a rugby club in Creggs.

  It turned out to be a rocky road before the young club was up and running, but today it is one of the foremost clubs in Connacht. It has probably the best playing facilities in the province, a huge number of playing and non-playing members, two very successful adult teams, along with loads of underage teams, both boys and girls, and in truth it is almost impossible to believe that the slightly mad dream of all those years ago has turned out so well.

  This Saturday, 23rd of November, the club is holding the official opening of the new pitches at 4.30 pm, with games taking place at every age group all day long from 10 am, including a firsts’ league game at 5 pm against our neighbours from Athlone, Buccaneers. It will all finish up with a Dinner Dance in the Abbey Hotel (at 8 pm) on Saturday night. Tickets for the dance are available from any committee member. It promises to be a wonderful celebration of an amazing local success story, so if you are free, put on the gladrags, get out the dancing shoes, and hit for the Abbey where you are guaranteed wonderful food, great music and even better craic – and please God I’ll see you there.

 

Fundraising success

 

Last night (Wednesday) in Dowd’s of Glinsk, we presented the proceeds of our recent fundraising dance (€5,430) to be divided equally between the Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West.

  Once again the people of the parish surpassed themselves with both their welcome and generosity. On behalf of everyone, a thousand thanks for all your support. Year in, year out you continue to amaze with your kindness, and we cannot thank you enough.

 

And finally…

 

Finally for this week, I would like to welcome our new parish priest, Fr. Donal Morris, to our parish and wish him well in his new role. The reaction so far is very positive, and I have no doubt he will prove to be a great addition to the area.

 

 

 

 

 

A new low as thieves target ‘Share a Dream’ Foundation

 

 

Sometimes we hear about events such as robberies and break-ins against totally defenceless targets that chill us to the bone, but the recent robberies that have taken place at a play centre operated by the Share a Dream Foundation in Limerick seems to me to be a new low.

  The Share a Dream Foundation aims to fulfill dreams for terminally ill children, and relies almost entirely on donations, and – apart from a few paid staff – also relies mostly on volunteers. They also provide Dreamland, a fantasy land which provides play facilities for both disabled and able-bodied children, and I just can’t understand how anyone would be so desperate for money that they would put the dreams of terminally ill children at risk.

  The raiders tunnelled in through a back wall in the early hours of the morning, smashed up the premises with a crowbar and an axe, stole thousands of euro that had been collected over the Bank Holiday weekend, took the new reinforced safe that had been installed after a previous raid in September, and literally broke everything that they came across.

  The founder of the charity, Shay Kinsella, was visibly upset after the robbery as he described how it costs almost €300,000 annually to run the two branches of the Foundation, and admitted it is struggling to survive. However, he said they just had to get on with it, and they had a Halloween camp last weekend which featured a visit by the Garda Commissioner on Thursday last. In his words: “To hell with the robbers, we are going to get on with it”.

  As I said, the mind boggles as to what kind of person(s) would do this, and all I can say is that no level of lowness surprises me any more.

 

Politicians must rally to save Cuisle

 

The local community has been devastated by the news that the Irish Wheelchair Association is to close its flagship holiday resort, Cuisle, in Donamon at the end of the month, with the loss of more than 40 jobs. It’s a loss that will have enormous consequences not only for all the people who used the excellent facilities, but also for the local economy.

  If ever there was a time for our politicians to make a concerted effort to try to save both the facilities and the jobs, this is it. I hope they explore every possibility to come up with a solution. If this number of jobs were lost in any major urban area there would be a massive outcry. So let the people get together, put enormous pressure on our elected representatives, and come up with a positive outcome to, at the moment, a very worrying scenario.

 

No parade for Ireland to rain on!

 

To sporting matters, and I certainly didn’t anticipate the South Africans winning the Rugby World Cup in such an emphatic manner last Saturday, and while I don’t really think that I wanted England to win, I was more than a bit sorry for them to lose the final by such a large margin.

  In a strange way it would have been amazing if the English had won, because it would be some craic for Ireland to welcome them as world champions to the Aviva in the Six Nations in the spring, and to try and spoil their party.

  As long as I live, I will never forget our visit to Twickenham in 2004, when the victorious World Cup champions were having their first game since the final, and it was billed as the homecoming party to top all parties. I can recall being patronised by the home supporters before the game and the poor Irish were objects of pity, such was the trouncing we were going to get.

  After that famous 19-13 Irish victory, with Girvan Dempsey scoring the winning try in what the commentator described as the “shock of the century”, all hell broke loose, and to be an Irish supporter in Twickenham that day was one of the great memories of all time.  

  Even the train journey out of Twickenham with the ashen-faced, shell-shocked English supporters will live forever in my memory and, while I am not unhappy with the Springboks’ victory, I would not have minded another chance at taking the English down a peg or two! Sadly it was not to be, but it turned out to be a fantastic tournament, despite the weather, and we can only look forward to 2023 and another helping in France.

 

Locals honoured for blood donations

 

Three local men were honoured at a big do in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, recently when they all received Gold Pins in recognition of each having given more than 50 pints of blood.

  Micky Lundy, formerly of Glinsk but now of Galway, Larry Donoghue of Moate, and Pat Connolly, formerly of Creggs but now of Four Roads, were all presented with the Gold Pins, and I have to say it is some achievement to have donated so much blood over the years, so heartiest congratulations to them all.

  I only had my blood accepted a couple of times before rejection set in due to the many things that were wrong with me. However, I always thought that if true that Guinness is good for you, then my blood would have been priceless and full of iron! It wasn’t to be for me, but well done to those three local donors who have continued to donate for such a long time.

‘Don’t look ‘Bat’ in anger…’

 

In lighter matters, I see in recent newspapers that poor old Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame bought himself a lovely £9.2 million country mansion in Hampshire, only to find that as well as being home to himself and his wife and family, it is also home to a family of protected bats.

  As a result, the extensive renovations that he had in mind for the property have to be very carefully managed. For example, all lights on the first floor have to be switched off until they are completely replaced because they are “emitting light and high frequency noise into the roof” where the bats are presumably currently residing. No work of any kind can be carried out between November and March, which may prove to be a bit of a nuisance, but I have no doubt Noel will soon build his ‘Wonderwall(s)’ and sort it all out.

  However, you would think if you were going to spend all that money on a house you would at least get it checked out first, but I suppose for Noel Gallagher that kind of money is only a drop in the ocean.

‘The man who built Birmingham’ hits 80!

 

The ‘Man who built Birmingham’, Glinsk legend, Tom Lally, celebrated his 80th birthday in Dowd’s recently with a big bash including music by Jason Travers. Funds raised on the night are going to Cancer Care West. There was also a singing competition on the night, and Bert Curley was the popular winner.

  Anyway, congratulations Tom, well done and here’s to many more to come!

  Speaking of Cancer Care West, and indeed the Lourdes Invalid Fund, we are to present the bank drafts from our recent dance to the representatives of both charities at a soon to be arranged suitable date, so we’ll keep you posted!

 

Baby wailing, sheep racing and flying to the festival

 

It’s Wednesday night of last week…and the Ryanair flight from Murcia (in Spain) back to Dublin is almost an hour behind schedule, but there’s not a word from anyone to tell us why – and I’m thinking to myself that for a company which famously used to play music celebrating when their flights arrived on time, it’s a wonder there was no acknowledgment of or explanation for why this particular one was so late.

  Anyway, we eventually took off, only for a baby who thankfully was seated a bit behind us, to start screaming. For a full hour and a half it bawled and bawled, proving its lungs were in prime order. I couldn’t figure out whom I felt most sorry for. Was it the baby, or its parents, or for the passengers sitting beside the baby?

  Then, as if by magic, the crying stopped completely, peace was totally restored, and the flight continued uneventfully to Dublin. In fairness to Ryanair, we made up 25 minutes on the way, and landed only half an hour later than we should have!

  As you know, my destination was Creggs, where the Harvest Festival was due to take place. As I write this on Monday evening, the curtain is falling on the 39th consecutive event, and there is no doubt that it was one of the most successful ever. The crowds flocked in their hundreds to the village.  The businesses – old and new – were flat out, the fair day on Monday had a great selection of horses and asses on view, and there were the usual number of stalls too, selling everything from clothes to tractor oils to beautiful oil paintings. The atmosphere throughout was just electric.

  Out in the football field the sheep racing attracted a huge audience, but sadly my selection finished well down the field and out of the prize money. She (I presume it was a ewe) was so far behind that I suspect she must have been drugged, something not unheard of in dog or horse racing, but, up to now, never seen in sheep racing.

  However, I didn’t want to cause any controversy, so I took my defeat like a man. I went for a few quiet pints to drown my sorrows, closed my Paddy Power account – and have decided to join Gamblers Anonymous.

Musings on a successful Harvest Festival…

The Dog Show last Sunday at Creggs Harvest Festival was a great success. The revived Clay Pigeon shoot was very well attended, and the Craft Fair (held over two days) was also well supported.

  Meanwhile, I’m told that the American Tea Party on Saturday night, during which the extremely well received Crexit debate was held, was great craic. For some unknown reason I am personally not a fan of the tea party, and have yet to attend any of them, but I think it’s my loss, as everyone I met since told me it was mighty fun. Maybe next year!

  Friday night (I’m going back over the weekend in reverse) saw the launch of the festival, with Larry Donoghue being a well deserved Personality of the Parish, while the Annual Mass was celebrated in the Heritage Centre and was followed by a night of music, poetry and storytelling.

  Talking of poetry, and on Friday night one of our best known and respected parish members, Vincent (Vinnie) Keaveney, launched his first book of poems, The Banks of Lough Ouver, and I can only say it’s a wonderful production and an absolute delight to read.

  20 of his poems, covering many of his life’s interests and experiences, are beautifully presented in the book, and all I can do is tell you to get yourself a copy because it truly is a book worth having. Christmas is coming and it would make a smashing present for anyone, so snap them up before they sell out, as they surely will, and in doing so you will also be helping the Galway Hospice as all the proceeds are going to that worthy organisation.

  On a personal level, I have known Vinnie for many a year. He is a true gentleman, a talented musician and singer, and a lovely fellow, and I heartily congratulate him on this wonderful book. I hope it’s the first of many. (There are many lovely poems in the book but my favourite is Jock the Clown).

What about the penalty points?

This week my heart goes out to the footballers of Oran (our neighbours) who lost the County Intermediate Football Final replay after extra-time in the most bizarre way ever – losing on penalties to Tulsk on a 4-2 scoreline.

  Now I don’t know who decided to go down the penalty route, although it appears to be because of Connacht club fixtures, but it’s an awful way to lose out after a year’s hard work and effort. It seems to me that a midweek replay under lights would have been a fairer option.

  Another question that arose in my mind was – why could only goals count? During the course of any game you can score a point from a penalty, so why not in the shoot-out? Anyway, it’s a very unsatisfactory way to lose (or win) a county final, and while congratulating Tulsk on a famous victory, I really do sympathise with our near-neighbours. Knowing Oran, I expect to see them back in the final again next year – hopefully against Creggs!

And finally…

 

Finally for this week, it looks as if the way to make big money is to be an international rugby player. Despite our horror showing at the World Cup, I see that if you want to get a motivational talk by Johnny Sexton you would need to shell out almost €20,000, with Paul O’Connell commanding the same sort of money, while Brian O’Driscoll or Ronan O’Gara can be got for about €5,000 less.

  It’s handy money if you can get it – and fair play to them – but the mind boggles as to how much they would cost if they had won the World Cup. I wonder if a few Connacht Junior Cups and leagues are worth anything? Probably too late now.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

 

Home thoughts from abroad…

 

 

 

It’s Monday afternoon, warm but slightly cloudy, and I have just come back from the pool a few yards down the road from where we are spending a few days in the October sunshine in the Spanish seaside village of Cabo Roig.

  We have been here since Thursday last, and it is now almost time to be heading back to Creggs, where this weekend the 39th Harvest Festival is taking place. The festival happens in a village where, as I mentioned briefly last week, huge changes are taking place, changes that are greatly welcomed by everyone in the village and surrounding areas.

  Firstly, a few weeks ago one of the newer residents in Creggs itself, Andy Clancy, opened an antique furniture shop in the beautifully restored premises that was Michael Kilby’s. He has a great collection of interesting old pieces on display (and of course for sale), and he tells me that business is already booming.

  As someone who has been involved in the furniture and antique business for many years now, I can tell you that a visit to Andy’s would be well worth your while. He is an expert in the antique field. If you want a bargain, tell him I sent you. It probably won’t get you any reduction, but it’s worth a try!

  Secondly, and a massive boost for all of us who like a quiet pint now and again, the big news is that Gannon’s pub, which was a favourite with us all for too short a time, is reopening this Wednesday evening, under the management of the Dolan brothers, who have already been very successful in their recent acquisition of Dalton’s pub in Fuerty. There is no doubt that the Dolans are committed, innovative publicans, and are sure to be a great addition to the village of Creggs.

  Thirdly, I am reliably informed that the local chipper/takeaway, which has been closed for some months now, is also set to reopen under new management, details of which I have not yet got. I wish its new proprietors, and Andy and the Dolan brothers, the very best in their new ventures. I encourage you all to support them as best as you can.  

  When a village the size of Creggs gets three new businesses almost simultaneously, it has to be a great day. I have mentioned rural deprivation and rural decline several times in this column down through the years. A  development like this proves that rural Ireland is fighting back. As of now, Creggs is very much to the forefront. Here’s wishing the best to all the new ventures. Hopefully it won’t be long before I sample your wares.

  Back to the Harvest Festival, and I’m told there are great plans in place to celebrate its 40th birthday, and details will be available in plenty of time for next year’s offering, but for now, all roads leave to Creggs this weekend where there are a multitude of activities laid on for your entertainment, and where you can have the best of fun and craic.

  I don’t think the chipper will be open (hope I’m wrong), but you will definitely be able to buy a top of the range Chesterfield couch or some other period piece in Andy’s, and, to celebrate your great purchase, slip around the corner and have a pint in Dolan’s.

  Our old reliable, Mikeen’s, has music a few times over the weekend as well, and all the usual attractions like the dog show and the craft fair, as well as other new events, are taking place. All you have to do is get on your bike and get to Creggs any time over the Bank Holiday weekend, and if I run into you and you’re buying, I’ll have a pint of the black stuff.

  Back to Spain, and at this stage we nearly know as many people there as at home, but this time we met new people from around our own area – like Paul and Cathriona – while we also ran into an old friend, Liz, as we socialised in O’Riordan’s Irish bar.

 

I’m grateful for the great days this Irish team gave us

 

Last Saturday morning, along with loads of optimistic Irish supporters, we were in O’Riordan’s Irish bar in Cabo Roig in time for breakfast, to watch Ireland versus the All Blacks. In truth, almost before the rashers and sausages were cool enough to eat, we were already on our way out of the World Cup.

  The 46-14 defeat was a sobering experience, but scarcely a surprise. Thankfully, I haven’t had to read any of the Irish sportswriters, but knowing their habit of turning on their own, I am glad to be away for the few days.

  For me, as a rugby supporter, I thank this team for the great days they have given us over the last few years. A good few of them have probably come to the end of the road as international players, but as a group they did us proud, punched way above their weight, and gave us memories to cherish for as long as we live.

  As for Joe Schmidt, I have heard that some of our prominent rugby writers on national papers have had a go at him. As always, it’s easy to kick a man when he’s down. For me, he delivered some of the best rugby occasions ever, both with Leinster and Ireland, and I believe as a small little country we owe him a massive debt. Of course he would have wished to go out on a better note, he may even have been guilty of some poor selection in his World Cup panel, but all things considered he did an amazing job, and all I can do is thank Joe for the great days and wish him well in the future.

 

And finally…

Finally for this week, as we prepare to head off to the airport for the flight back to the Emerald Isle, I have to say that there is no doubt that the sunshine and excellent value for money still makes Spain a wonderful holiday destination.

  However, the good – or maybe bad – news is that today could be an ‘Irish day’…the rain is lashing down, it’s pretty cold, there’s no-one to be seen, and even the hundreds of cats that are usually to be seen everywhere seem to have gone into hiding. It will be good to be home.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

There’s lots of life in rural Ireland!

 

 

 

 

It’s Monday morning as I write, and as I look out the window at the rain that at the moment seems to be almost constantly falling, I am reflecting on an amazing sporting and social weekend that certainly puts paid to the theory that life in rural Ireland is dull and boring, and indeed to any theory that rural communities are as good as finished.

  It all started on Friday night, when after spending the day at work in our other shop in Mullingar, we headed to Kiltoom where our Creggs footballers were playing the host club, St. Brigid’s, in the semi-final of the Tansey Cup. Despite coming out on the wrong side of the result, I have to say that we witnessed a really good game of football. We have come so far over the years that we take facilities like those at St. Brigid’s for granted, but it is to the credit of so many clubs all over our countryside that wonderful floodlights and good playing surfaces are now nearly the norm. It’s not only GAA clubs, but also soccer and rugby clubs that nowadays lead the way in providing such facilities for their members.

  The big change from days gone by was that after the game it was straight home –  with no ‘pit-stops’ – and favourite watering holes like Coffey’s in Lecarrow and Ned’s Bar in Knockcroghery (owned by Carol’s niece, Anouska, and her husband, Richard) had to be bypassed. Even so, it was still after 11 pm when we made it back to our own picturesque little village.

  I had taken Saturday off in order to watch our massive Rugby World Cup match with Samoa, and while Ireland put in a strong professional performance and comfortably made it through to the quarter-finals, I was sorry for poor old Bundee Aki, who I believe was harshly sent off and whose Rugby World Cup may now be over.

  As for Ireland, they are in a great place now, because nobody gives them a snowball’s chance in hell against the All Blacks, but if any team can use the underdog tag to their advantage, it’s Ireland, and despite all the evidence against them I would not rule out an Irish victory. I admit it’s a long shot and probably just wishful thinking, but sport sometimes throws up unusual and unexpected results, and just maybe we might have another one on Saturday next.

  Anyway, having watched the rugby, I decided to continue my couch day by watching Ireland versus Georgia in the soccer, but you should never watch soccer after watching rugby, hurling or football, because it has now become almost like a game of chess…so boring that most games would put you to sleep.

  Therefore, I headed outdoors to mow the lawn – hopefully for the last time this year –  after about 20 minutes of the soccer. However, it took a good while to get the lawnmower started, and sadly with about three-quarters of the job done, it conked out, and the Lord himself would not get another ‘meg’ out of it, and so there’s still work to be done. It’s too wet today (Monday) and in any event the lawnmower may be going up to join all the other lawnmowers in the sky.

  Saturday evening came, and at 7.30 it was off to Creggs to the rugby pitch where our second team defeated Corinthians in a junior league game that was thoroughly enjoyed by the enthusiastic followers. Our lads, with a mix of elder and younger lemons, were thrilled with a really good win which hopefully sets them up for a good run in the league.

 

Communal approach to going to the pub…

 

We are always being told that country pubs are dying on their feet – and I suppose there is no disputing the facts – but last Saturday night Dowd’s in Glinsk was well full (see separate item), and the people were out enjoying themselves.

  I have always believed that country pubs can survive – with a lot of effort. One of the ways to do so is to provide transport so that the punters can get to and from the pub safely and (obviously) without drinking and driving.

  I recently saw where down in the south of Ireland a group of 20 to 30 locals came together and drew up a roster so that between them they provide transport to their local village pub. As most people are only out over the weekend, I imagine it could and should be done in all our little towns.

  If the project is done properly, a driver would only be ‘on’ every few weeks, and it just might mean an upsurge in fortunes for our rural communities. I’m not sure if publicans are involved in the southern scheme, but I would think they should be. While I am also aware that every new initiative has some challenges, my view is if it works somewhere else, then why not in Creggs? Maybe we could organise our own group.

 

 

Rugby thrills…in Japan and Creggs!

 

I rose quite early on Sunday morning to see the Scotland-Japan Rugby World Cup game, and it proved that maybe we had overreacted to our defeat at the hands of the Japanese. They are a top class rugby team, and their match with South Africa next weekend has me bristling with anticipation. The Japanese are well capable of turning over the Springboks.

  The full Irish was belatedly devoured and then it was time to put on the coat and the woolly hat and head to The Green in Creggs, where our Firsts were doing battle with old foes, Monivea.

  In a game full of scintillating rugby, we won on a 43 to 19 scoreline. What a game, what a setting! For all of us old Creggs folk, what’s happening in our village is just so positive.

  I have all my words used up for this week, but next week I will tell you all about what is coming down the line in the near future. Bet you can’t wait!

 

And finally…fundraiser success

 

Last weekend our annual fundraising dance was held in Dowd’s of Glinsk. It was a fantastic night of fun and craic.

  The dancers amongst us (not me) really kept the floor hopping. As ever, The Lancers were brilliant. We had a raffle with 23 prizes…there were four door prizes, including the Dinner for 2 (with a drop of wine thrown in) courtesy of the Abbey Hotel.

  There was an auction for a few unusual items (which the one and only Tom Connolly conducted) and at the end of it all we have raised over €5,400, our best result so far, funds which will now be divided equally between Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West.

   It was great to see so many people coming out to support the dance. Eileen kept her promise to have the Guinness at its bubble-free best, and the craic was ninety.

  So, on behalf of all who helped to organise it, some thank yous: to all who donated prizes, all who bought and sold tickets, to Tommy and Dolores Dowd, to the ever-popular Lancers, to everyone who made it to the dance, and indeed to anyone that helped in any way. Please God if we are all still here we will do it all again in a year’s time, and we look forward to seeing you all then. 

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

Gold medal goes to greed...as money proving to be a spoilsport!

 

 

It’s hard to believe it now, but once upon a time sport was exactly what it was meant to be, and wasn’t completely taken over by the money men. That dominance of financial factors in the current era means that the highest bidder tends to win the right to host the major tournaments, often with little apparent consideration for either the participants or the supporters.

  At the present moment we have the Rugby World Cup being played in Japan, where the humidity is apparently so bad that Donal Lenihan had to change his shirt after conducting a pitch-side interview, and where the ball is so slippy (with sweat) that even the All Blacks are making several unforced handling errors.

  Throw in the fact that there is also the chance of monsoons, typhoons, and other major weather events, and one can only wonder why the biggest rugby show of all is taking place in Japan at this time of year. As I write this, I’ve just heard that Ireland are in danger of going out of this year’s tournament, not because of their poor performances (which they certainly have been), but because there’s a typhoon coming that could mean that our last game (against Samoa) on Saturday might not go ahead. The powers that be have decreed that if a game can’t take place because of unforeseen circumstances – such as extreme weather – then the result will be declared a nil-all draw (no rescheduling). Such a result would almost certainly see Ireland on their way home and four years of preparation gone by the wayside.

  The lack of foresight shown by the tournament organisers is extraordinary. In my view there has been no consideration whatsoever for either players or supporters. Two close friends of mine are due to fly out this Thursday for their dream holiday, taking in the Samoan match and the first two quarter-finals, which should include Ireland against either the All Blacks or The Springboks, but which we potentially might not now feature in at all.

  I know how much these people sacrificed to enable them to travel to Japan. Now, thanks to a total lack of foresight by whoever runs World Rugby, their trip is in doubt, and even if they travel there is every possibility that the weather will have put paid to whatever chance Ireland had of progressing to the knock-out stages.

  I really hope this typhoon heads off in a different direction, that Ireland get to play Samoa, that they get the bonus point to get us through to the quarter-finals, and that my friends get to see a glorious Irish victory over either the All Blacks or the ‘Boks. Dream on, Frank!

Meanwhile in Doha…

 

As bad as World Rugby is (see main article), there is always someone worse – and in this case the World Athletics Championships are in a league of their own. Conditions in Doha are so hot that the Women’s Marathon had to be run at midnight, in the hope that it might have cooled down a bit. As it happened, even at midnight, the temperature was over 30 degrees, 28 of the 68 starters didn’t finish at all, and several needed hospital treatment after trying to run a race in inhuman conditions.

  These athletes had been preparing for these championships, but nobody (as with the rugby) was prepared for such extreme heat. I have to say that when I was a young boy I was totally in love with the Olympics, and the athletic competitions were the highlight, so much so that we would have our own Milford Olympics. In our minds, we were emulating the wonderful deeds of the top athletes. We may not have been as fast or as agile as our heroes, but we certainly thought we were, and to this day we still reminisce about our athletic feats in our own mini-Olympics.

  Sadly, as with cycling, drug abuse and doping has completely transformed the sport, to the extent that I don’t watch it any more. No matter who achieves what in any event, the suspicion is always there that performance-enhancing drugs may have been involved. Needless to say there are always some athletes who are totally clean, but over the years we have seen so much abuse that it’s hard to see the wood from the trees.

  However, despite all the suspicion, athletes should be able to perform in normal weather conditions, and there can be no doubt that the World Championships are in Doha because they put up enough money. The World Athletic people could not care less if the athletes had to run in a furnace.

  Closer to home we have had the continual mismanagement of the FAI with the John Delaney saga, and here in Galway we have the unusual situation where Supermac’s want to find out where their huge sponsorship monies to the Galway County Board have gone to. It hasn’t always been like that, but nowadays money seems to be the dominant feature in every type of sport. It truly is the root of all evil.

 

And finally…

Finally for this week, we are into the last couple of days’ before the big fundraising dance in Dowd’s (Glinsk) on Saturday night, a social event which is in aid of Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund. Once again this year, the reception by everyone has been fantastic; your generosity never ceases to amaze me.

  This year we may not have got to everyone, due to the poor weather, so we are appealing to you all to try and get to Dowd’s on Saturday night, dance the night away to the super sounds of The Lancers, and contribute to two very worthy charities.

  We will have loads of prizes for the raffle, Tom Connolly has a couple of surprise items for a small auction, we have the wonderful door prize from the Abbey Hotel (for someone who is at the dance), and Tommy Dowd and his great staff are all set to look after you on the night. Eileen promises the best Guinness ever – with not a bubble in sight! So all we need is to see you all and, as Jack Charlton used to say, we’ll “give it a lash”.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

These brave people should be able to live and work without fear

 

 

 

 

It’s Tuesday of last week, and, unusually for me, I find myself watching Clare Byrne Live on RTE 1. In truth, it was an absolutely riveting programme, the highlight being an interview with Newtowngore businessman, John McCartin.

  The definition of a hero in the Collins Dictionary is “someone who gives of himself, often putting his own life at risk, for the greater good of others”, and in my opinion if I ever saw a hero, it was the Leitrim man, whose involvement with Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) has led to every possible kind of intimidation, threat and personal vilification, and whose own safety must now be a matter of major concern to himself, his family, and the Gardai.

  The world and its mother knows of the unprecedented and barbaric assault a few weeks ago on Kevin Lunney, a director of QIH. Since their takeover of the Quinn Group, all five directors have endured threats and intimidation from unidentified individuals who are apparently unhappy with their involvement in the running of part of the former Quinn empire.

  And yet, on the Clare Byrne show, Mr. McCartin reiterated his commitment to saving the hundreds of jobs that QIH currently provide in the Cavan/Monaghan area. He said he will not be bullied into giving up on their ‘project’, and despite wondering as he drove back from Dublin as to what or who might be waiting for him on his arrival home, he has no intention of being forced from his right to carry on in business in his own local area. 

  Sometimes a seismic event occurs – such as the murder of Veronica Guerin in June 1996 – that changes the whole face of police work in the country, and we can only hope that the unbelievable level of violence that was perpetrated on the unfortunate Mr. Lunney is another such moment, and that the full force of the law will be used to apprehend and punish the people who did the horrendous deed.

  All the indications so far are that there is indeed a similar policing reaction. I hope, firstly, that it continues, and secondly, that Mr. McCartin and his family, and all the other directors, can finally live in peace – free from fear – and carry on with normal living. Surely, it’s not too much to ask?

Excellent work on Tidy Towns’ front

Many times over the years I have touched upon the importance of the sense of community in local areas. This week the Tidy Towns awards have once again been given out, with Glaslough in Co. Monaghan taking the top honours, and our neighbours Castlecoote winning a Gold Medal in the Village category.

  To date (as I write) I don’t have the marks for our own village of Creggs, but one thing I know for sure is that the local tidy towns committee have done Trojan work all year to turn Creggs into a place we can all be proud of. It has been transformed by their efforts over the last few years.

  For more than 60 years the Tidy Towns competition has been in existence. It has grown bigger and better every year, and nowadays there are hundreds of entrants, with almost 1000 towns and villages from all over the country taking part. The awards are a welcome recognition for the winners, but in truth all the participating communities are winners in their own right.

 

Great drama in Kilbegnet!

Last weekend, the Kilbegnet Drama Group staged a wonderful version of John B. Keane’s ‘Sive’, with full houses reported on both nights. Now I suppose I would be biased, but in my opinion the production was absolutely top class, and the packed audiences thoroughly enjoyed the performances.

  There were nine actors involved in the play, and each and every one of them was superb. The truth is that they were all brilliant at what they did, and it would be wrong to pick anyone out as the star of the show.

  That said, if only for longevity of service, I have to give special mention to Seamus Keane, a man whose contribution, in every way – from sport to drama and even politics – is legendary in our neck of the woods, and whose wonderful acting skills show no sign of diminishing.

  All I can say is, well done to all involved, and if by any chance you missed the weekend shows, don’t worry…it will be on again somewhere local before the Christmas. I’ll keep readers informed.

 

And finally…

 

Finally for this week, the inclement weather has meant that our ticket selling for the fundraising dance has been slightly curtailed, with the last two Mondays both rained off. However, we are determined to get to as many houses as we possibly can before the 12th of October, so bear with us and we will try to visit you all. There will also be tickets at the door on the night. 

  The good news again this year is that the Grealy family from the renowned Abbey Hotel have given us a door prize of a Dinner for Two in their fabulous hotel. To win this superb prize you must be present at the dance on the night – all we ask you to do is to write your name on the back of your ticket and give it to us on your arrival in Dowd’s.

  Jimmy Kearney and The Lancers are mad to get you dancing, so don’t forget…Saturday, 12th of October in Dowd’s, Glinsk…and the Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West will benefit from your generosity.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

Fond memories of Marcus and an era that has passed

 

 

 

We live in an age of technology which has effectively done away with the need for human input in a lot of jobs. In such an era, it’s hard to believe that once upon a time if you wanted to talk to someone in a bank or an insurance company or any such big national or international company, all you had to do was pick up the phone – or even better, just walk in off the street – and talk to whoever you happened to come across. Nowadays if you ring your local bank, you get through (if you’re lucky) to some call centre in a completely different part of Ireland, and if you want to have a word with one of the ever-decreasing number of staff members, you definitely have to make an appointment. The personal touch that was once so important is now nearly no more.

  I was once a staff member with Bank of Ireland, an institution that I served for more than 12 years way back in my younger days, and all these thoughts came into my head last week when I heard of the death of a true legend, Marcus Keane.

  Years ago, I guested in Quarry House in Roscommon town for a number of weeks, when Dinny Egan, Mickey Kelly and Marcus Keane were the occupants. To this day the dinners that appeared are still talked about. Dinny and Marcus were the cooks, while Mickey did the washing up. I wonder what I did? My good friend Jack the Lower recalled coming in to visit us one evening and wondering how four lads could possibly be thinking of eating all that was on the table.

  Marcus moved on. I became an official part of the Quarry House population, and the towns of Strokestown, Glenamaddy and Roscommon (again) were all to benefit hugely from having Marcus working in their midst. One of the things I was told when I first ventured into banking in rural Ireland way, way back, was that we, the bank staff, were to be active on the social scene, that we were to mix and mingle with our customers wherever and whenever we happened to meet them. Sometimes that might be in the pub, which I took to like a duck to water, but in truth it meant that the local people got to know the bank staff, and many a deal was thrashed out in the back room, or snug, in the local, and all that was left to do was dot the Is and cross the Ts when the arrangement was later formalised in the bank itself.

  Marcus Keane was the epitome of what it was to be a bank man back then. He was always available to talk to, he was known all over, and he was treasured by all the people he dealt with. In the world we live in today, he would probably be regarded as old-style, but as I drove back from the removal on Thursday evening, I felt extremely sad. I was, of course, sad at his passing at quite a young age, but I was also sad that there is little room for the likes of Marcus in the banking world any more – his larger than life personality would be in danger of being swallowed up by the technology that our generation has largely been replaced by.

  Over the period I was in Ballintubber, Mayo (where he lived) on Thursday evening I saw people from Glenamaddy, Ballygar, Creggs, Ballaghaderreen, Glinsk and Roscommon, all of whom had been helped by Marcus at some time in their lives and all of whom just had to go along to say goodbye. Later, I got a message from a friend of mine, and I quote: “In fairness to Marcus, for once it can truly be said…we will not see his likes again”.

  That sums it all up pretty well, and all I can do is express my sincere sympathy to his wife Mary, and all his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Tries…and a fry

It’s early on Sunday morning, and in common with thousands of Irish people all over the world, I am up and ready for the full Irish – and all set to watch our opening match in the Rugby World Cup over there in Japan, where we are about to take on a Scottish team that has been doing a great job of talking themselves up and is certainly not short of confidence.

  The truth is that I have been taken in by all the Scottish hype, and all week I had been predicting that we may well be beaten, so to see an Irish team go out and strangle the life out of our Celtic neighbours was very satisfying. It sets us up nicely for the rest of the tournament.

  Now I won’t go into the actual story of the game – in which we played very well –  but the commentary of Hugh Cahill and Donal Lenihan, with their continual over-confidence regarding the result, really annoyed me, and even though we were ahead all through the game, having seen the Scots come back to draw against England in the Six Nations after being 30 points down I really felt the two lads were a little over-inclined to write them off too early.

  As it happened, I needn’t have worried, and we were worthy winners in the end. Now the secret is to keep our own feet on the ground and treat the Japanese, our next opponents, with proper respect, but like it or not, we are back in the running and have as good a chance as anyone (except maybe one or two) of claiming the Webb Ellis trophy.

  The full Irish meanwhile was just beautiful, and fortified my belief that Kelly’s white pudding is an essential ingredient in any fry-up. I can’t wait to next Saturday morning for the match with Japan…and another helping of Kelly’s white pudding.

 

Dancing and drama!

 

A reminder now not to forget the huge Big Tom Tribute Night which is taking place on this Friday night, 27th of September at 8 pm in the Oaklands Hotel, Glenamaddy.

  Among a large number of top class musical acts that are booked to appear, there will be a special guest appearance by Rex Reeves, nephew of the late and legendary Jim.

  This is a real musical extravaganza, and a credit to Julie Healy for going to great lengths to organise it, so get to the Oakland on Friday night in huge numbers and make it a night to remember.

  If, however, by any small chance you aren’t into country music, don’t panic, because on the same night (27th of September) and the following night (Saturday 28th) the Kilbegnet Drama Group are putting on their production of John B Keane’s ‘Sive’ in Kilbegnet Hall, with doors opening at 8 pm. They never disappoint so if you want a great night’s entertainment go along.

And finally…

Finally for this week, our big dance on October 12th, in Dowd’s of Glinsk – for Cancer Care West, and Lourdes Invalid Fund – is getting ever closer, so put that date in your diary, and we look forward to seeing you all then (or even before) and hope you will dance the night away to the music of the wonderful Lancers.

 

 

Till next week, Bye for now! 

How I went from cheering The Kingdom to toasting the High Kings

 

 

 

From the moment I got up last Saturday morning there was nothing much in my head other than the All-Ireland football final replay.

  If the truth were told, I was hoping that the Kerry lads would halt the Dubs’ five-in-a-row bid. I really had no particular reason to support The Kingdom, but I suppose we all like to see the underdog cause an occasional upset.

  Anyway, at about 12 midday a couple came into the shop, and after a bit of a chat I found out that the lady was a Galwegian and the man was from Kerry. So I put two and two together, getting five, as I wrongly assumed that they were on their way to Croke Park.

  The woman told me they had only got one ticket, and that her sister, also a ‘Galway girl’, had got her hands on that, and had left earlier in the morning to travel by bus on her own to Croke Park, and would be making the return journey later that night after the match was over.

  Now I won’t deny that my first reaction was that she was a very selfish woman and that she should have given the ticket to her Kerry brother-in-law, and I said so to the sister – in no uncertain terms – particularly as she, being a Galway girl, can hardly have had any real interest in the outcome. Her answer took me by surprise when she said her sister was hoping the Dubs would win because she wanted to be present when history was made, when the Dubs would become the first ever team to win the magical five-in-a-row.

  It made me have a re-think about my own position, and later in the evening when history was made I have to admit that I looked at the Dubs in a new light. I realised that they are most certainly the best team ever to have graced the game of football, and while I don’t want their dominance to continue forever, I do acknowledge what a wonderful group of young men they are – wonderful ambassadors for the GAA – and I can only congratulate them on their amazing achievement.

  A year ago, I wrote that not only would they do the five, there was no reason to think that it wouldn’t stretch out to six or seven. Today my sentiments are exactly the same. I cannot see this Dublin team losing their crown for a few years yet.

* The great thing about sport is that there is always something else coming around the corner, and out here in Creggs we have a big Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final against our neighbours, Oran, to look forward to on Saturday evening next.

  Then on Sunday morning at 8 am, our Irish rugby team will start their World Cup campaign against the Scots over in Japan. It makes me wonder what would the likes of me do if there was no such thing as sport!

 

No, I’m not  ‘gone cuckoo’

 

My recent revelation about the presence of the cuckoo in Crosswell (that’s where I live) has caused consternation in Mikeen’s, with several people telling me that it’s me that’s gone cuckoo, and that by the month of September, even if he ever came he would by now be long gone.

  An old ditty which says the cuckoo flies away in July had all the bird watchers in a tizzy, and the amateur ornithologists in our midst were ‘certain sure’ that I had got it wrong.

  Some of them seemed to know what they were talking about, and for a little while I wondered could I possibly have heard a musical pigeon…until the lad who told us there were no crows in Leitrim joined in. He had most of the bird people believing him, and when he convinced them that you would get a few crows around Carrick-on-Shannon, but nowhere else in the county, that was enough for me – and, no matter what evidence they try to dig up, I know what I heard, and I repeat that only a week or so ago, I heard the crystal clear sound of the Crosswell cuckoo.

 

 

A great celebration of life and times of Mary Black

 

A number of my friends and acquaintances can’t stand the longer winter nights, when, at its worst, it’s dark at 5 o’clock. I suppose they have a point, but at the same time the long nights give us the chance to rekindle the wonderful roasting open fires, and also the time to watch more television programmes.

  Now I’m the first to admit that some of the present television offerings leave a lot to be desired. Only last night I had the dubious pleasure of watching an episode of Ear to the Ground, which was a repeat that focused on Christmas of last year, and which featured a load of turkeys that I’m sure were destined for the 2018 Christmas Day oven.

  However, earlier in the week, I happened to tune in to a documentary on the singer, Mary Black, and I can only say it was a brilliant insight into the life and times of one of our top, and longest lasting entertainers. It didn’t try to sugar-coat the struggles she has had with lack of confidence and depression.

  One of the most telling observations that the singer made was the fact that her depression was at its worst when everything, career-wise and family-wise, was at its best. As she said, there was nothing financially, or otherwise, troubling her, and yet the depression was still there.

  She also at times questioned her right to be popular and successful, and it was heartening to see someone who, while acknowledging she had a good voice and was quite talented, never wanted great fame or fortune, but was happy to have her own loyal followers and to make a living doing something she obviously loved.

  I would never claim to have been a fan of either Mary, or her sister, Frances, but I admire the former for allowing the documentary to be so truthful about her insecurities. It is a credit to her that she had such a successful career – playing the Albert Hall in London a number of times in the 1990s, and later joining forces with six other top Irish female artists to record the iconic Woman’s Heart album.

  Two of Mary’s three children – Danny, lead singer with The Coronas, and Roisin O – have followed her into the music industry, and they are both hugely successful in their own right, so the Black musical legacy will live on.

  I was hugely impressed with Mary and her honesty, and, knowing RTE’s great fondness for repeats, this will surely be shown again. If you missed it, make sure you have a look next time. It won’t disappoint.

 

And finally…

 

Finally for this week, we are up and running with our tickets for the big fundraising dance in Dowd’s of Glinsk, on Saturday, October 12th. There will be music by The Lancers, and all funds are going equally to Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund.

  The number of families locally that have suffered from cancer, either directly or indirectly, is frightening, and so many members of our community have benefited from the wonderful facilities in the Inis Aoibhinn Residence in Galway.

  Meanwhile, the Lourdes Invalid Fund assists pilgrims to go to Lourdes at the end of August each year, and it is our privilege to do some little thing each year to help both organisations in even a little way.

  Your generosity over the last 15 years has been humbling, and I have no doubt you will once more come up trumps. We are looking forward to renewing a lot of acquaintances on Saturday, 12th of October, and hopefully before that you will meet us at your door over the next few weeks as we arrive with our very colourful newly-designed tickets.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

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