Log in
Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking

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!

 

We give out about the weather…but do we realise how lucky we are?

 

 

It’s Monday evening…and here in the west of Ireland, it’s a sunny, bright (though cold) September evening, and even though it’s normal for us to give out about the weather, the truth is that we have very little to complain about, as we hardly ever experience any major weather-related disasters.

  Last week Hurricane Dorian absolutely ravaged The Bahamas, and although, so far, the official death toll is only in the mid-forties, leaders there believe hundreds, if not thousands, remain missing, and they predict that a “staggering” death toll will be the end result. Photographs on national and international media outlets show the total and utter devastation that has followed on from the visit of the hurricane, with homes completely flattened like paper houses, and basic life necessities like food and water in short supply, and a massive humanitarian aid mission is required to try to keep the desperate survivors alive.

  And so it would be easy to believe that these natural disasters tend to only occur in poverty-ridden islands, like The Bahamas, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea, but, as Irish Independent journalist Rachel Farrell, has recently discovered, the most powerful state in the world, the United States of America, has suffered enormous damage from weather-related incidents over the last 10 years or so. Almost 7.3 million Americans have been displaced in those ten years, with many losing their homes altogether, some living in hotels, some relying on strangers to help them, but many of them still have no place to go.

  There is a national emergency fund, FEMA, which set up to try to alleviate the suffering of the millions of displaced residents, but the sheer scale of the numbers, in both actual and monetary terms, means that progress is too slow, and many of those who are already homeless may always remain so. On top of those unfortunates, it is calculated that every year a quarter of a million people in America will have to leave their homes as a result of various disasters. These will be added to the already enormous list, and nobody knows when, or if, they will ever be re-housed.

  As we face into a winter where we may have a bit of frost, or, God forbid, an inch or two of snow, it’s time for us as a nation, to be grateful for the exceptionally kind climate that we are blessed with, and even though we have had some people displaced here due to flooding in recent years, as a rule of thumb we are very lucky with the weather we have, and the very little damage that it does.

 

Camogie was class!

 

On Sunday last I found myself watching, enthralled, as the camogie players of Galway and Kilkenny played out a thrill-a-minute All-Ireland senior camogie final, which the Galway girls won by a flattering six points, but it was the quality, commitment and intensity that both teams brought to the table that amazed me.

  At the risk of being deemed sexist, I would have expected loads of skill, with maybe not as much physicality, but the exchanges were every bit as tough as any man’s game, and a wonderful advertisement for camogie. Why they don’t just call it hurling, I don’t know.

  Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and full credit to the Galway girls. A couple of their players were just fantastic, especially Niamh Kilkenny and captain Sarah Dervin, but in a tiny way my heart went out to the Kilkenny team who were losing their third final in a row.  Mind you, when I thought of all their men have won under Brian Cody, I lost whatever bit of sympathy that I had.

  Staying with the camogie, and Galway were on the receiving end of a terrific comeback in the intermediate final, when Westmeath overturned a seven-point half-time deficit to win their first ever title at that grade (by two points).

  It was however the reaction of their manager, Johnny Greville, that made it so memorable, as his delight and sheer joy at the victory was just magical. I can’t do it justice in a few written words, but I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere in the land of social media, and, if you do find it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Anyway for me it was my first time to watch the camogie finals, but after Sunday, it won’t be the last.

 

Happy to hear the cuckoo!

 

Recently I have watched television programmes which have highlighted the damage being done to our natural habitats, and how birds like the corncrake, curlew and the cuckoo have more or less disappeared from our countryside. And so it was with a large amount of joy that, this morning, at about 7.15 am, I heard the unmistakable sound of the cuckoo.

  I know that sometimes she can sound a bit like a pigeon, but this morning there was no doubt – the sound was perfectly clear, and could not have been anything other than the sound of a bird that we tend to regard as a bit of a parasite. (This is because the cuckoo has the reputation of taking over the nests of other birds). That may or may not be true, but regardless, I definitely heard a cuckoo this morning – and was delighted to do so. A sceptic (or two) wondered if I was dreaming, as 7.15 am is a bit early for me, but I have no doubt…I was wide awake and heard what I heard. Wouldn’t it be great if they were to make a comeback?

And finally…

Finally for this week, we have only four weeks to the big dance in Dowd’s of Glinsk…so from Monday next we will be hitting the highways and the byways, and calling to as many doors as we can get to. Hopefully your generosity will be as good as it has been for so many years now.

  Two great causes, Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund, have benefitted greatly over the years, so please God we can once again dig deep and help people who are less fortunate than we are.

  The Lancers are all set for the night, which, by the way, is October 12th, so put it in your diary…and we look forward to seeing you all over the next week or two.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

Monday Morning Blues? Just watch the news!

 

 

I never suffer from the ‘Monday Morning Blues’, but last Monday I definitely got out of the wrong side of the bed and probably should have actually stayed between the sheets and ignored the alarm when it went off just after 7.30 am! I woke up with a sore throat, a slightly fuzzy head, and a rattling cough. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the shower was cold, the oil boiler wasn’t working and the lad who told me two months ago that he would come and fix both the shower and the boiler won’t answer my calls and seems to have vanished off the face of the earth!

  However, one thing my late mother always taught me was that there is someone, somewhere, always worse off than you and when I went downstairs and turned on the TV last Monday I realised straight away she was right…

  Hurricane Dorian was ripping the Northern Bahamas asunder, with record winds tearing down power lines, whipping roofs off homes and other buildings, turning cars upside down, and generally wreaking unimaginable havoc on the local population. Hundreds of people were left homeless, and were forced to relocate to schools, churches, and other shelters.

  Closer to home and we there was a huge fire in a multi-storey carpark in Cork which destroyed at least sixty cars, and which left hundreds more abandoned in the gutted remains of the building. Many of the cars have to be removed individually by special crane, but obviously nothing can happen until the building is examined and declared safe.

  On top of all that we had news of yet another mass shooting in America, when for the second time in four weeks, the state of Texas was rocked by the brutal murder of seven people with another twenty-two injured, including a toddler who was shot in the face. It all started after police pulled the shooter over for not using his car’s indicator. Whatever was going on, his response was to open fire on the policemen, hijack a postal van, and shoot indiscriminately at passers-by, until he himself was shot dead outside a cinema complex in the town of Odessa.

  Suddenly my sore throat seemed less annoying, my cough and my fuzzy head were much better and even the boiler and cold shower weren’t as big a problem as before. Mind you, I am still trying to contact my plumber who’s still ignoring my calls, so there’s no guarantee that tomorrow I won’t be back to square one.

Church acknowledges Marion’s healing

Changing subjects, I have often told you that one of my favourite places anywhere in the world is Knock Shrine, and in truth, it has nothing to do with religion as such, but more to do with the peace, tranquility and serenity that just seems surround the place.

  However, some years ago, on a visit to the shrine, I bought a book entitled ‘I was cured at Knock’ by Athlone’s Marion Carroll. In her book, Ms. Carroll told of a visit she made to Knock, in September 1989, at a time when she was wheelchair bound, incontinent, blind in one eye, and partially blind in the other, and with her muscles wasted and her speech and throat badly affected. Against medical advice, she attended the Anointing of the Sick in the Basilica, and, after receiving a blessing, walked pain-free from her stretcher!

  Well, yesterday for the first time, the Church acknowledged that the seriously ill woman had been healed in Knock, and while falling short of declaring it a miracle, did say that it ‘defied medical explanation’. As with most church matters it took a while - 30 years to acknowledge that the healing took place – but I think it’s a very welcome development.

  The Anointing of the Sick takes place each day during the pilgrimage season at 12 pm and 3 pm Mass, and many people go there to pray for themselves and sick friends and relations.

  There is obviously no guarantee that anyone will ever again be cured, but the very fact that the Church has acknowledged that Ms. Carroll was will give hope to many more sick people, encouraging them to travel to Knock, and that can only be a good thing.

Castlerea’s golden girl returns from Madrid

What about the performance of Castlerea’s Aoife O’Rourke, who became the first Irish female boxer since world champion Katie Taylor to win an Elite European Championship gold medal when she overcame Poland’s Elzebieta Wojcik in the middleweight final in Madrid last Saturday evening. It is a monumental achievement for the Castlerea Boxing Club member, and please God she will get to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, continue in Katie’s steps and bring home another gold medal!

Minor mishap and major omission!

Speaking of bad Mondays, I would think that the Galway minor footballers, who lost Sunday’s All-Ireland final in extra-time after going a goal ahead with only a couple of seconds left in normal time, endured a pretty bad one! On the other hand, the Galway part of me was wondering if the senior final could go to a replay then why not the minor one?

  Devin Toner, whose omission from the Rugby World Cup squad is bewildering, and Kieran Marmion, whose omission, while not as bewildering but still unexpected, must also have experienced the Monday Morning Blues and rightly so!

  When all things are considered, I, and most of my readers (I hope) really have very little to feel ‘blue’ about!

The ‘ups and downs’ of being Pope!

Sticking with Church matters, and over in Rome on Sunday the Pope was late for his regular Sunday morning audience after he was trapped in a lift. The Pontiff was left there for 25 minutes before firefighters rescued him, allowing him to keep his Sunday appointment.

  One of many people’s biggest fears is getting stuck in a lift, but the 82-year-old Pontiff didn’t let it get him too down, and he asked for a round of applause for the firefighters before carrying on with his duties, albeit a little late.

Finally for this week…

It’s almost time for our annual fundraising dance for the Lourdes Invalid Fund and Cancer Care West. We will be hitting the road very soon and calling door to door with our tickets, looking for your support for the sixteenth year in a row. The dance, with music by the very popular Lancers is on in Dowd’s, Glinsk, on Saturday, October 12th and as usual, we look forward to your ever-generous support.

Till next week, Bye for now!

No battle but plenty of great music in Aughrim!

 

 

It’s Thursday evening of last week, and, after a quick turnaround after work, Carol and myself hit off for the historic village of Aughrim, where on the 12th of July 1691 the bloodiest battle that was ever fought on Irish soil took place, between the Williamites and the Jacobites. There were over 7,000 people killed, and the resounding victory for the forces of William III was the turning point which effectively ended the resistance of those loyal to James II, who had earlier been deposed as king.

  However, it was not for a history lesson that we headed for the Galway village, but rather for a night of music and song in Valerie’s, where, just as in 1691, a large crowd had gathered but thankfully, this time it was all about fun and enjoyment, and I have to say it was just a fabulous night’s entertainment.

  The first big source of joy to me, and other people of my vintage, was that the show was taking place in an old style marquee, and just for a moment I was back in my youth at the local summer carnivals with all the showbands playing.

  However, as soon as the show started with a set by Meath country singer, Matt Leavy, I was right back in the present and even though I had never seen or heard him before, I was very impressed with him and his 25-minute set went down very well with the appreciative audience.

  The main reason that we found ourselves in Aughrim was the fact that Twink’s daughter, Chloe Agnew, (Twink being a longtime friend of Carol’s) was also on the bill. Having been a member of the Irish super group, Celtic Woman for a good few years, she is now on her own, and a highly regarded performer in Los Angeles.

  Personally, I thought she might struggle with an ageing country audience, but I needn’t have worried, she was every inch a star and kept the theme going by doing all country songs, finishing with a fabulous medley of Dolly Parton numbers. In truth, she is a real classy performer.

  Carol and I met up with her for a chat after her set and she was really delighted to be in Aughrim, and thoroughly enjoyed the unusual experience of appearing in a marquee.

  Next up was Foster and Allen and it was the first time that I had ever seen them live (don’t know how I missed them for the 44 years they are performing) and they were just brilliant - great musically, but also great craic. You could see how easy it came to them - they did a number of their best-known songs, and the full house really warmed to them.

  Mick Foster sang a new (to me) song about an accident a lad had had in the middle of the night, involving a mousetrap on a chamber pot (don’t ask), and it brought the house down. I can only say they are some entertainers, and at some stage I will try to see them in a full Foster and Allen show.

  All week I had heard that the one and only Nathan Carter was going to make a guest appearance, and for once the rumour mill was accurate! His full band, his mother, grandfather and grandmother were all there, and seeing him also for the first time live, I wasn’t disappointed. His energy, life, personality and, of course, his singing was indicative of his superstar status, and even though my musical ear is non-existent, Carol couldn’t get over the quality of his band, which brought an end to a wonderful night’s entertainment. As a fellow I met in the loo said to me: ‘Who’d think you would ever see such a show in little Aughrim?’

  As I headed back home, I thought to myself that having been known for hundreds of years as the venue for our bloodiest battle ever, from now on it may well be known for music and craic! Fair play to Valerie and her crew for having the guts to put on such a brilliant show. If my old stents keep doing their job, and if she does it all again next year, I will definitely be back!

  The whole thing was on for the weekend, with a highly-rated American all-girl country band there on Friday night, as well as other performers on Saturday night, so I just hope the crowds turned up all weekend, and kept the tills ringing. It costs a lot to put on these type of weekends, and people like Valerie deserve to be supported.

 

A year’s a long time in world rugby

Onto rugby, and it’s hard to believe that only a year ago we were second favourites for the World Cup, and supporters here were eagerly looking forward to the finals in Japan and talk was of reaching our first ever semi-final, and perhaps winning the whole thing out.

  However, in the wake of the heaviest defeat we have ever suffered against our ‘old enemy’, England, there is an undeniable air of despondency about our chances with people now saying that we may not even get out of our group, and may be on our way home before the quarter-final stages.

  Now it’s hard to accept that our Grand Slam winning team of 2018 has fallen back so far that the bookies have us as the eighth favourites to win it out now, but, sadly, the evidence all points to the fact that we are way behind even a number of our Six Nations opponents. The truth is that we seem to be way off the pace. Why this has happened is hard to figure out, but for a long time now the two players who were rightly regarded as the best in the world in their positions, Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, have been suffering with injuries and loss of form and, in my opinion, if they fail to recapture their best form in time for Japan we indeed could be on an early flight home.

  Hope however springs eternal and maybe, just maybe, this team may rediscover the form and attitude that brought the Grand Slam just over a year ago. I’m sure the many supporters who are actually spending their hard-earned money to go to see the Irish team in the group stages are praying it will be worth it. When I put it to a friends of mine that they might try to get their money back before they went, such is the poor form of the Irish team, I was told in no uncertain terms that the trip to Japan is going ahead regardless! That person is still looking forward to the potential trip of a lifetime and rightly so!

 

Rory’s feeling like 15 million bucks!

Talking of money and still sticking with sport, I watched enthralled on Sunday night as Rory McIlroy won the Fed-Ex Cup, and in the process picked up a winner’s cheque of a mind-boggling $15 million. It just goes to show the mentality of top golfers like McIlroy that money wasn’t his main motivation at all. His focus was to beat the World Number One, Brooks Koepka, and he wasn’t slow in letting the world know how much beating Koepka meant to him. I’m sure the $15 million was nice - but according to Rory at least, the win was even nicer!

  I myself have just returned from playing nine holes on Castlerea’s lovely course but the only resemblance between my game and the one that Rory plays is the ball and clubs - nothing else is even remotely alike!

  Anyway, Rory’s victory has once again propelled Irish golf to the very top of the world game following hot on the heels of Shane Lowry’s recent win in the British Open, and there is no doubt that thousands of tourists will visit our shores over the next few years to sample some of the delights our world class golf courses have to offer. It’s great to have so much positivity in the world of Irish golf, and all I can say is long may it last.

Always look on the bright side of life...

 

Finally for this week, the news for optimists is good as researchers in Boston have shown that looking on ‘the bright side of life’ can actually help you to live longer, with optimism adding between 11% and 15% to most people’s lifespans.

  I always thought I was optimistic enough but as these results show, optimists are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, tend to be thin and not fond of a drink!

  As I’m out on all three counts, maybe it’s time for me to re-evaluate!

Till next week, Bye for now!

Hefty insurance costs are a threat to local businesses

 

 

One of the biggest problems facing every type of business in Ireland at the moment is the cost of insurance, most particularly the cost of public liability, with many businesses finding their renewal premiums are spiralling out of control, and, all over the country closures are taking place, with people out of work as a result.

  A couple of months ago, Martin Mulligan, whose family run a shop on the Roscommon side of Athlone, revealed that he was flabbergasted to find his annual insurance bill had more than quadrupled - it had risen from €7,000 a year to a financially crippling €30,000, a sum that made the proprietor actually consider closing up.

  At the time, local Senator, Terry Leyden, raised the matter in the Seanad, claiming the Government needed to tackle the rising premium costs as well as tackling the ever increasing number of fraudulent claims.

  Only a few weeks ago, I saw where a long established event promotion business in Dundalk had closed after 29 claim-free years, and in this case the problem was not the price, but rather the fact that no company would quote for his business at all. This was primarily a bouncy castle type events company, and the proprietor said that while he had managed to pass all his bookings on to other presently insured businesses, he predicted that a lot of them would also have to close when their insurance would come up for renewal.

  And so, as the pressure grows on small local businesses and even community festivals, and especially those catering for large crowds, I have to applaud the efforts of two publicans (at least) who have erected marquees beside their premises, and are having their own summer music festivals.

  On Friday night last, as I dropped into Mikeen’s for a few quiet weekend pints, I met a group of local revellers who were about to board a bus and head for Jimmy Screene’s pub in Guilka, near Menlough, where Mundy was performing in the marquee, and where Patrick Feeney and Paddy Casey have already played over the last week or two. I’m told that our gang had a great night at Mundy, and thoroughly enjoyed their outing.

  Not too far up the road in Aughrim in Co. Galway, at Valerie’s, there was also a marquee erected and it has a couple of fantastic shows lined up. On Thursday night, Foster and Allen, Chloe Agnew, daughter of our good friend, Twink, Matt Leavy and an unknown guest superstar are appearing, and, please God, I’m hoping to head down there myself. There is also a big American country band there on the Saturday, and a local party night on Sunday, and all I can say is well done to both of those pubs, for having the courage to promote such big music weekends, and I really hope the crowds flock in huge numbers to both places, and hopefully they will continue to do so for many years in the future.

  Jimmy Screene was a top rugby player with Buccaneers who got a number of Ireland ‘A’ caps, and I am told that when it comes to food, his Guilka venue is among the best around - maybe sometime in the near future I will check it out, but, in the meantime, despite the huge insurance costs, these two venues are fighting back, and fair play to them.

  As I said, loads of community carnivals and festivals are falling by the wayside due to the outrageous insurance costs, so Terry Leyden is right and it’s time fraudulent claims were investigated and the claimants were punished accordingly, and it’s also time that legitimate claims got reasonable awards, not the crazy sums that are being awarded presently. 

 

Tipp are tops as Cats are licked

 

On to sporting matters, and the All-Ireland hurling final, which we had all anticipated so eagerly, turned out to be a disappointing affair with the Richie Hogan sending off dominating the post-match discussions. As with all controversial decisions, there are people coming down on both sides. In my humble opinion, the sending off, while regrettable, was correct, but I don’t think it affected the result that much as Tipp were a much better side, and would have won anyway.

  However, once again, even though it was a one-sided final, the unbelievable bravery, commitment and total fearlessness that our hurlers show is amazing, and as someone who suffers greatly watching the antics of soccer superstars like Paul Pogba and other overpaid Man United underperformers, wouldn’t it be great to give some of them a helmet, a hurl and a sliothar, and let them experience the intensity of even a junior hurling match.

  Pogba must be one of the most irritating sportsmen alive, and as he and Alexis Sanchez, among others, pocket their obscene weekly wages, I wonder has he ever seen T.J. Reid or Joe Canning or any of the Mahers, and if he has, what he makes of the punishment they take all for the love of their native counties.

  Anyway, my late mother was a Tipp woman, and, as I told you before, my uncle Mikey brought me all over Munster back in the late fifties and early sixties to watch the Tipp hurlers and so I cannot deny that I have always had a soft spot for them, and I was delighted to see them beat the Cats. Let’s hope Galway can get back into the frame next year, and maybe bring the MacCarthy Cup back to the west.

 

Big Tom tribute night in Glenamaddy

 

On Friday, September 27th in the Oaklands Hotel, Glenamaddy, Julie Healy is having a Big Tom tribute night, with very special guest John Rex Reeves, a singer-songwriter nephew of the late superstar, Jim Reeves, who is a top country star in his own right, and who was inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He has toured England, Scotland, Norway, and Australia, has had eight records in the American national charts and has had a very successful musical career. This is his first time in Ireland, and he is looking forward to getting here, and I know he will get a great Irish welcome here in September.

  The supporting line-up, which includes Michael Lyster, Michael Commins, The Conquerors Showband, Johnny Carroll, PJ Murrihy and loads more, is just extraordinary, and this promises to be one of the best nights ever in the locality. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are selling fast, so if you want to be there call Julie on 087-9049388.

 

Dance the night away for Cancer Care West!

 

Finally for this week, for the sixteenth year in a row, we are having our own fundraising dance for Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund in Dowd’s of Glinsk, on Saturday, October 12th with music by Jimmy Kearney and the Lancers. We will be calling door-to-door very soon with our tickets. Admission is optional, but we are very glad to get any contribution for two very worthy causes. Over the years are supporters have contributed the amazing total of €70,000 and, as always, we look forward to calling, meeting you for the chat, and thank you, in advance for your great support.

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

Michael’s motivational tip(p)s…and Bobby in flying form!

 

 

 

Two memorable documentaries…

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we can jump to conclusions as to what certain public figures are like, and quite often we row in with the popular assessment, without really knowing anything at all about a person’s life or personality when he or she is away from the media limelight.

 

  Undoubtedly one of the people who falls into that category is Clare hurling legend Davy Fitzgerald, a man whose extraordinary passion for hurling has led him to being labelled everything from a ‘madman’ to a loose cannon. His sideline demeanour during a big game certainly does nothing to take from that image.

 

  As one of the greatest goalies of modern times, ‘Davy Fitz’ won three Munster titles, two All-Irelands, and three All Stars, before turning his hand to management. As a manager he had great success with Waterford, whom he won a Munster title with in 2010, bringing them to a first All-Ireland final appearance in 45 years. He then took up the mantle as manager of his native Clare, winning the All-Ireland in 2013, and a National League title the same year (their first in 38 years), before taking over Wexford in 2016, and leading them to this year’s Leinster Championship, their first provincial win in 15 years.

 

  And yet, despite all he has done and achieved, Davy has been regarded more as a ‘hot-head’ than as the superstar he certainly is. Mind you, incidents like the one where he went on to the field during the league semi-final against Tipperary in 2017 to have a go at the ref, but ended up confronting one Tipperary player (Niall O’Meara) and jostling another one (Jason Forde), only served to copperfasten his reputation as a wild man, and to divert attention from the brilliant hurling figure that he is.

 

  And so it was great to see the other side of Davy in a wonderful recent documentary ‘When Davy met Michael’. Michael O’Brien is a visually impaired lad from Killarney, whose absolute hero is Davy Fitz. The two met on the Late Late toy show, after which the Wexford manager invited Michael to come to the Wexford dressing room before a vital league game against Tipperary (again) and give the team a motivational speech before they took the field.

 

  If ever we had an example of dealing with adversity it was the way in which 11-year-old Michael let absolutely nothing stand in his way, and the documentary was one of the most uplifting programmes I have seen in a long, long time.

 

  The young Kerry lad was such an inspiration to everyone everywhere, and the daunting experience of addressing a team of top intercounty hurlers didn’t faze him at all, so much so that after his stirring words they went out and beat the Tipp lads!

 

  As for Davy, his instant rapport with Michael was a joy to see, and the bond between them had to be seen to be believed. Judging by the public reaction to the programme, there was an enormous outpouring of every possible emotion – there were tears, laughter, joy, pride, and above all admiration for both of them – and even though it’s an absolute guarantee that we will see the wide-eyed Davy on the sideline again this year, somehow, having watched the programme, I will be less inclined to have a go at him.

 

  The behaviour of his Wexford hurlers during the young lad’s speech, and the complete attention and respect they gave him, was a credit to each and every one of them, and I can only tell you that if Galway don’t win next year’s McCarthy Cup, I really hope Davy, Lee Chin and his Wexford team do. Can you imagine what that would mean to young Michael O’Brien?

 

  I’m sure RTE will show it again before too long, and while we all like to give out about repeats, this is one which, if you didn’t see it the first time, you should make sure you get it to see second time around – it truly was an inspiring, heartwarming, lovely programme and a huge credit to everyone involved.

 

 

 

Sky’s the limit for lovable Bobby

 

 

 

Staying with documentaries, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to see ‘The man who wanted to fly’, the story of Cavan octogenarian Bobby Coote who, while spending his days making violins and fixing clocks, has never given up on his lifelong dream of taking to the skies.

 

  With the help of his neighbour Sean he builds a hangar and a runway, and, despite much derision from his brother, Ernie, buys himself a micro-light plane, and sets about fulfilling his slightly crazy ambition.

 

  The eccentric brothers are just wonderfully entertaining characters, and the twists and turns the story takes before Bobby finally flies and lands his airplane on the homemade runway in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic neighbours and friends – and a by now proud and emotional brother – is just spellbinding television. Once again, if you missed it first time around, make sure you see it whenever it makes its way back to our screens.

 

  Not for the first time it made me realise that oftentimes the most interesting and extraordinary characters are right there beside us in rural Ireland, and it’s great when TV producers go that extra mile and search for, and find, this type of brilliant material and turn it into truly unforgettable television.

 

 

 

Fundraiser for Glenamaddy Day Care Centre

 

 

On to local matters: out the road in Glenamaddy, Mae Murray tells me there is a Day Care Centre, started many years ago by the legendary local GP, Patrick Geraghty (RIP), which is the only one of its type in Ireland. There are two minibuses which collect people from an 18-mile radius, bringing them in to the centre each day, Monday to Friday.

 

  Once there, they can enjoy a welcoming cup of tea. There’s a nurse on duty, help with their shopping and washing, and a four-course dinner on offer every day. There are all kinds of activities laid on, including various talks and games, and it seems to be a wonderful local initiative.

 

  Mae also tells me she has two relations receiving treatment in the Oncology Unit in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, and to show her appreciation of both facilities she is holding a fundraising dance in the Community Centre in Glenamaddy on this Saturday night, 17th of August.

 

  The hugely popular Mary Coughlan and her band will supply the music, and tickets are available at both the Day Care Centre and the Community Centre. There will be a door prize, spot prizes, and a raffle, and it promises to be a great night’s entertainment for two very worthy causes. For more information you can contact Mae on 087-2489327.  

 

 

 

And finally…

 

Finally for this week, it’s back to Creggs…Larry Kilcommins tells me that on Wednesday next, 21st of August, in conjunction with Heritage Week in Creggs, Dr. Gerry Beggan will give a powerpoint presentation on historic monuments, former place names, and forgotten legends of the Upper River Suck. It’s in the local Heritage Centre (7 pm). Admission is free. It promises to be a most interesting and informative night, so if you have any interest in local history get to the Heritage Centre and enjoy Dr. Beggan’s excellent presentation.

 

 

 

Till next week, Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to this RSS feed