Sunday, May 25, 2008

Matt’s Memories

Doyles of the Dairy
The late Jack Doyle and his wife Mag Doyle were big figures of life in Ballymore-Eustace during the fifties and before. Jack and Mag lived in the two-storey house at the junction of The Square and Truce Road. Mag was a McGee of Bishophill. They had a family of one boy and six girls. Back then we all got our milk at Mag’s dairy.

Their son Jim headed to Canada and afterwards he travelled “down under”. At the time that was quite unusual and I guess we all felt a little bit jealous of him. In due course he returned to Ireland and eventually took up residence in the bungalow opposite the new school (1956) where he spent the rest of his days with his wife and family.

Apart from holidays, Kathleen spends her time at her bungalow on Truce Road. Over the years Kathleen has contributed to many worthwhile ventures, the most recent being her contributions to the Senior Citizens party. Some years ago, she also helped care for my late mother. Kathleen married Peter Lawler who was only sixty years of age when he died. Peter was a brother of Myles, Bill and a sister whose name I do not know. He was also a brother of the late “Tot”. In the fifties, Peter was a key figure in the local non-stop draw that funded many of the late Monsignor Browne’s plans for the Catholic Church, school and dispensary.

Joan’s married name is Steed; she and her family are regular visitors to Ballymore-Eustace, usually in the company of her sisters.

Like Kathleen, Claire has been involved in many worthwhile ventures. I usually associate her with selling items at sales of work and of course, badminton. For many years, Claire worked at Ardenode for the Mullions family. Claire likes reading and now lives at The Square in the house where Miss Headon the schoolteacher used to live.

Gay and Ann
Gay and Ann Doyle both went to Dun Laoghaire Dominican convent. In time, my sister Margaret joined them there for the last two years of her school life. Gay married her namesake Sean Doyle of The Seasons while Ann married Jimmy McLoughlin of Bolabeg. As we have come to expect from the Doyles, Ann has been to the forefront when it comes to good causes and was one of our nominees for person of the year in 2007.

As readers of the Bugle will know, Trish died recently after a short illness. Her son John, her grandchildren and her five sisters survive her. Her only brother Jim died four years ago.

Being organised
Some years ago, I found it helpful being organised. Over the years, I have accumulated a large volume of information that is very useful in regard to my Bugle writings. Sometimes I surprise myself with all the information I have. That said, since my stroke, I am sometimes unsure of myself.

Mona Nugent (nee McLoughlin)
At the recent Senior Citizens Party Mona Nugent was seated quite close to me. Usually Mona attends these events with her sister Patty (Mrs Jenning) but this time she was accompanied by her son Pat, her daughter Sheila Reynolds and Sheila’s husband. Mona gave me a warm welcome and we had a good chat. Some years ago I visited Hollywood Cemetery and one of the graves I came across was that of Mona’s late husband Paddy who was only sixty-nine when he died.

My First Stroll
The day was a lovely spring day so I took my first stroll along the Dodder. This was a trip I was used to making. Before Christmas I had often gone walking with my youngest brother in Tymon Park and on one occasion, I even went for a long walk there on my own.

With the weather staying good, I made the trip along the Dodder on several occasions. I guess the Dodder reminds me a bit of the Liffey.

Person of the Year 2008
I was pleased to see from the Bugle that our Fás team consisting of Frankie Burke, Tom Barker and Martin Deegan were successful in winning the 2008 award. Unfortunately, I was not present to endorse their success but I whole-heartedly concur with the adjudicators’ judgment in the matter.

Saw where C.J. O’Reilly’s ‘Sea Diva’ finished fourth in the Punchestown Grand National Trial over three and a half miles on February 3. He never threatened the first two trained by Noel Meade and was twenty-one lengths behind the third horse.

Saw where ‘Cork All Star’ (the Exors. of the late Cathal M. Ryan) was again placed over hurdles. The race was run at Leopardstown. Cork All Star has won five of his ten races including the big Bumper at Cheltenham in 2007. While Cork All Star has always run well over hurdles he has only won once over them to-date. At Cheltenham on March 11, he was seventh to another Irish horse, Captain Cee Bee, in the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Supreme Novices' Hurdle over two miles and a furlong. Next year he may do better when he goes chasing.

Trainer D. McCain Junior’s Khachaturian did me a good turn when he won at 37/1 at Uttoxeter on March 15. I also had him backed for a place at about 7/1. As a result, I recovered all my Cheltenham loses with a bit to spare.

Mister Top Notch
Saw where ‘Mister Top Notch’ won at Fairyhouse on March 24, giving Conor O’Dwyer a winner for his last ride. For many years, Conor was one of our top jockeys over hurdles and fences and will be best remembered for his successful rides on ‘Hardy Eustace’ at Cheltenham. Mister Top Notch is a nine year old and to-date he has won seven of his twenty-seven races with Conor on board for four winning rides.

On February 23 as I was buying my copy of the Bugle at Janet’s, I met Jimmy Murphy for the first time since he was missing and I am happy to report he was obviously making good progress since his bad experience.

Mobile Phone
Before my illness, mobile phones were strictly for emergencies. As a result, I accumulated a good bit of credit on my phone. Thanks to one of my nephews and one of my nieces and the staff at Naas and Dun Laoghaire Hospitals, I learnt how to use my phone, especially for texting, and soon got rid of my credit!

Ipod Shuttle
Arriving home to Braemor Avenue I missed broadband on my PC and also the digital programmes, including At The Races, on my TV. In due course, these were installed for me and in recognition of this BT, sent me a present of an Ipod Shuttle. While I had heard of Ipods, I had no idea as to what they did. This time my youngest nephew came to my rescue and I now have all my favourite tunes (two hundred and thirty six of them!) on my Ipod.

I suppose I should be offering tips for Punchestown but the truth is I know nothing about this year’s from, as yet. It’s probably a bit optimistic of me to expect that this year I’ll get to go but who knows…..

My youngest nephew, Phil, brought me to Ballymore-Eustace several weeks ago. While there, Phil attended to a number of jobs while I took it easy at the front of the house. I heard a familiar voice enquiring as to how I was. It was my next-door neighbour Tommy Deegan who was very good to me when I was first ill.

We were about to turn off the “Late, Late Show” when Kris Kristofferson appeared on it. As my youngest brother and I were due to see Kris perform at the Olympia Theatre, we decided to watch his contribution. He clearly had a cold which we hoped would be better by the following Thursday; better or not, he turned up for his show at The Olympia, singing several of his best-known songs in the first-half but as time went by he became more relaxed and sang better. In the second half, he sang a lot of new material that sounded good to me. At the end, he sang three encores for us! Another Kris fan that night was Avril Mullins. James and I got talking to Avril who is second in command in South Dublin County Council Law Department

Anne and Ted
Nowadays, I don’t often meet my Two-Mile-House cousins, Anne and Ted Keegan. Occasionally, they come to evening mass in Ballymore on Saturday and that’s where I last saw them. At the time I was chatting to Eugene Gilroy, outside the Church, when I recognised them. Excusing myself (at least I hope I did), I went over to talk to them. In recent years Anne herself has had several medical complaints so hence, I had met her several times in Naas Hospital where they visited me or I bumped into them. In his younger days, Ted was a good athlete and won the Corban Cup at Punchestown on a number of times.

Extended Family
As already explained my family and extended family were very good to me when I was sick. In saying that, I’m thinking of William and his brother Matt from Naas. William on many occasions brought me (and my equipment) for long walks while I was in Naas Hospital. I appreciated this very much. Matt did much the same for me but in addition, he also visited me on several occasions when I was in Dun Laoghaire.

Ann-Marie and Philip from Dublin were also very helpful to me. Philip visited me both in Naas and Dun Laoghaire. For her part, Ann-Marie was my mainstay when I was in Dun Laoghaire, taking me for a drive or walk and treated me to lovely meals. My thanks to you all!

Walter Coote McClintock of Wellbank died on March 24 at Naas General Hospital. His wife Vida (nee Greene) sons, daughters, daughters-in-law and grandchildren survive Walter who was buried in the adjoining grounds to the Brannockstown Baptist Church.
Johnny Clarke of Broadleas died suddenly on March 26 R.I.P. His wife Margaret (nee Murphy), sons - Pat and John, daughters - Mary, Anne, Nuala and Oonagh, brother, sisters, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, nieces and nephews survive Johnny who was buried in the adjoining cemetery to St. Kevin's Church, Hollywood.
Jason King of Broadleas died on March 27 following a long illness R.I.P. His parents Kathleen (nee Mahon) and Tom, his brothers - Stephen and David, his grandmother Kitty, grandfather Tom, aunts, uncles, grandaunts, granduncles, cousins and his great friends Finn and Doc survive Jason who was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Ballymore- Eustace.
© Matt Purcell (March 29, 2008)

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