I missed the very successful Ploughing Championships last weekend (see separate article) because a good while ago – long before we heard about the ploughing being held in the Creggs area – a group of us booked a weekend away in Bundoran.
So on Friday evening we duly arrived in the sun-kissed Donegal town, and I have to say we had a whale of a time. How many times have we heard about the extraordinary beauty of our own country, particularly when the sun shines? My God, the sun shone the entire weekend, and it was as if we were on holidays in some foreign resort…such was the wonderful weather, and such was the number of people around.
There are a couple of spectacular cliff walks around the town, and while some members of our party did them all, I contented myself with a few trips on the shorter one, but even at that, it was just so beautiful.
On Friday night we headed into a lovely pub called Madden’s, where we had great craic, met loads of like-minded ‘weekenders’, and enjoyed the renowned Donegal hospitality.
Saturday was a day spent exploring the area. A few of us headed out to the famous Rossnowlagh beach, where we used to bring the children when they were a bit older. It was great to see it again. It must be one of the best beaches in the entire country.
On Saturday (bear in mind it was only the 6th of April), it was thronged. The ice cream van was there, as was a chipper van, and both were doing a roaring trade. The ice creams looked so appealing that we treated ourselves to a load of 99s – and they were delicious.
Later that evening we went for a bite to eat in a restaurant called ‘The Peak’, and it is hard to imagine any more beautiful setting for an eating house, as it is literally perched on the cliff face overlooking the sea. It is so close to the water that it looked as if you would fall straight in if you managed to fall out through a window. Thank God nobody did. What was even better was that the standard of the food more than matched the location, and everything from staff to service to quality could not be faulted. If I ever go back to Bundoran I will most certainly be going back to The Peak.
Needless to say we couldn’t go home at that stage, so we hit for the liveliest bar in town (or so we were told). That recommendation brought us to the Crushin Bull, and it sure was lively. A band with the wonderful name of ‘The Bangin Yokes’ were playing, and to be fair they were very good, but a little too Bangin for some of us elder lemons. After a while we escaped to my type of pub, 51 Main Street, which had a one-man band, a much smaller crowd, great Guinness, and where you could hear yourself talk. So that is where I parked up until closing time. However, some of the younger members of the group went back to The Bangin Yokes, and said they were absolutely brilliant – so everyone was happy.
Sunday was a very pleasant day too, but sadly we all had to hit back to all corners of the country. But as I write this on Monday evening, the good news is we all made it home safely, having thoroughly enjoyed Bundoran and its surrounds.
The feelgood factor was easy to find!
It’s not too long after noon on Monday, and already today my travels have taken me to Creggs, Brideswell and Roscommon town – and there is no doubt that everywhere I’ve been there’s a notable ‘feelgood’ factor.
In Creggs, we have a few reasons to be positive on this fine April morning. Our local GAA club won their opening Tansey Cup fixture against Padraig Pearses on Saturday evening, and the club then ran a hugely successful draw over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Roscommon Ploughing Championships, hosted on Hanley’s farm on Sunday, was one of the most successful ever held.
I couldn’t get to the ploughing (see separate report on our escapades in Donegal) as we were all away for the weekend, but I’m told the organisation and the support for the event was second to none – and that, as with the Sheep Dog Trials a few years ago, the crowds flocked in large numbers to what is a spectacular venue.
A local lady told me this morning that the whole event was just fabulous, so well done to everyone involved.
On then with me to Brideswell, and for me the feelgood factor there came from the fact that I was picking up our miniature Jack Russell, Hope, who had been on a three-night sleepover with Barra and Mary O’Brien in Lisbrock Kennels.
In truth, we missed her an awful lot. It goes without saying that we were worried as to how she’d be on her own, but of course she was ‘the finest’ and well looked after. It reminded us of when the kids were small and we’d go away to a wedding or some other social occasion, and we’d be wondering if they were okay, when they would be ‘happy out’ to have us gone for a day or two.
Barra was also in good form, because – and this goes back to the ploughing – he told me that the Sheep Dog Trials which were held in conjunction with the ploughing were among the best they’ve ever had. He too reckoned that the crowds last Sunday were the biggest he had ever seen at the County Championships.
(As an aside, in relation to the organisation, I saw signs directing traffic to Kilbegnet as far away as Curraghboy, and I said to myself fair play to those people who had the foresight to put them up).
Next I headed to Roscommon, and of course the wonderful victory the CBS had in the All-Ireland football final had the county town buzzing. I’m told that the reception the team got on Saturday night was just amazing, and reminiscent of the minors in 2006, when they brought home the All-Ireland trophy. What’s seldom really is wonderful, so congratulations to everyone involved – it was some achievement.
Finally for this week, it’s back to Roscommon Hospital – and all the controversy over the last few years concerning the closure of the A&E Dept. seemed to overshadow the opening of the brand new Endoscopy Unit there. Indeed until last Thursday I had never given the new facility a second thought.
However, on that morning I presented myself there for both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, and I have to admit that I was very impressed.
It’s a lovely new building, and as always the entire staff were just so wonderful, treating me really well. As it happened, I knew a good few of them, and they told me that the endoscopy unit is extremely busy with people coming from far afield for their examinations. I remember going into the examination area, but thanks to the wonders of sedation that was the end of it and I was back in recovery before I woke up again.
All told, my impression is that this new facility is a great addition. The staff, as always, were great, and I actually enjoyed my visit – although, unlike Bundoran, I don’t plan to go back again any time soon.
Till next week, Bye for now!