It’s Tuesday morning, and out here in Creggs we are coming to terms with the success of this year’s Harvest Festival, the 38th version, which took place over the Bank Holiday weekend. In my humble opinion it was right up there with anything that has happened in our village in the previous thirty-seven years.
As we know, in the little island of Ireland we had the very uninspiring and – apart from Peter Casey’s intervention – boring battle for the Presidency, which Michael D duly won, but here in Creggs there was nothing boring, tedious or uninspiring about the battle for President of Creggs.
As we headed to the polling station in Lisaniskey on Friday evening to cast our votes in the Irish election, the six candidates in the Creggs Presidential race were getting ready for an intensive four-day campaign, the likes of which has never been seen before, and most likely never will again. At the end of it, only the best and strongest would still be standing.
Friday night was the calm before the storm, but on Saturday night the battle royale really took off. All six candidates appeared at the very well attended American Tea Party in St. Mary’s Hall, Kilbegnet. Later that night, I had the honour of interviewing all six live on stage in Mikeen’s. There was no ducking or diving by any of our candidates, with no-one coming up with excuses as to why they couldn’t face the debate. Every one of them – Shameless D Higgins, Miriam O’Cee, Mrs. Brown, Sheikh Abdul El Fullabull, Donald Whitehouse and Ger Jung Un – took to the stage like true professionals. One after the other they put forward their manifestos and explained why they should become President of Creggs and what they would do for our village if they were elected.
We had all kinds of promises…from building walls to keep the Mountain People out of Creggs, to finding oil under the floor of Mikeen’s (always thought it was a Gold Mine, but an oil well is even better), while Shameless D did his entire presentation by way of a poem. At the end of it all, the general opinion was that everyone had acquitted themselves really well and, in true election parlance, it was all to play for.
As for me, several people said that I was just brilliant as an interviewer, and all agreed that if I was fifty years younger, five or six stone lighter, blessed with a more Dublin 4 accent – and not looking like a vagrant – I could have been a candidate to present the Late Late Show. I have joined a gym, am going to a barber and an elocution class, but even with all that I have just realised I am too old (the free travel and pension book gave it away) and sadly Ryan Tubridy’s job is safe, at least for now.
Anyway, all the other events in the festival carried on…the Craft Fair, the massive auction in the school, a very successful dog show, the Connolly Cup, the well attended fair day with loads of horses (and by Monday night a good few asses), and on Saturday afternoon a wonderful All-Ireland junior Cup match (rugby) between Creggs and a Clonmel team who had been league champions of Munster for the previous four years.
The biggest attendance at The Green in years saw the best game played there in a long, long time, and at the end of a pulsating encounter the visitors won on a 36 to 24 scoreline, aided in no small way by a curious referreeing performance.
However, our lads put in a brilliant performance, and let’s hope as big a crowd turns up next Saturday night for a very important league game against our neighbours, Buccaneers.
We also had a children’s tractor run on Sunday – and loads of other fun activities for the kids – a vintage tractor display, a traditional farmhouse baking display in the Heritage Centre, and on Monday, a pretty tricky Car Treasure Hunt. Back to Friday night, and we started it all off with a Schools Quiz, followed by the Harvest Mass, and the election of this year’s Personality of the Parish. Regarding the latter, everyone agreed that the honour which fell to Kathleen McKeague was long overdue and very well deserved. It would take a full book to tell you about all the work Kathleen does in our parish, so all I will say about her is that without Kathleen and her enthusiasm, Creggs would be a much lesser place…so thanks, Kathleen. Congrats on an honour that’s richly deserved.
Later that night Bert Curley hosted a highly entertaining table quiz over the new oil well in Mikeen’s, getting the whole event off to a brilliant start. On now to Monday evening, and by late afternoon, with tension at its highest, Mikeen O’Roarke made the announcement that thousands had been waiting for when he confirmed that Donald Whitehouse had trumped all the other candidates and was the new President of Creggs. Mr. Whitehouse made his acceptance speech to his many adoring followers, and as I write this (on Tuesday evening), I am told that Melania and family are already installed in the White House.
It was all great craic and great credit is due to all the candidates for throwing themselves flat out into the contest, to Duff (my brother) for coming up with the idea, and to Pauline Scott for taking it on and for giving us such a fun weekend.
On a political note, it has long been acknowledged that the Roscommon People has a shrewd eye for elections and such like, but I think they surpassed themselves in last week’s paper by predicting that Donald Whitehouse looked the likely winner.
Over the weekend Billy Garvin, PJ Davis and Odd Sox and Ciaran Brown provided us with some wonderful musical entertainment, and as the dust settles on the Harvest Festival for 2018, it has left us with memories which will long live in our memories.
The Lecarrow Vintage Club had a wonderful display of a 1950s’ rambling house, and for all of us who came from that era it was great to see all the old things that were part and parcel of our lives back then, but which are very seldom seen nowadays. So thanks lads for coming and giving us a bit of nostalgia, even if only for a day. They go around to fairs and festivals and local events, so if you see them, they are well worth a visit.
Finally for this week, it was good to see the Keaveney brothers (Paul and Michael) home from San Francisco after a long while.
As I left Mikeen’s on Monday night I met a young lad from Galway, Gavin O’Connell, and discovered that I’d played rugby with his father Jacko, and uncle Jarleth, back in the 1970s, while plying my trade with Corinthians. It’s a small world.
Till next week, Bye for now!