Sunday, July 27, 2008

Festival Week Results
Well, the Festival was back this year with mixed re-action to events and crowds varying from night to night. Despite all the disappointment voiced when last year’s festival was dropped, it still seemed that the five-female-strong committee pretty much did everything from start to finish without as much as one volunteer coming forward to help with traffic and crowd control. Suzanne, Aisling, Sally-Anne, Deirdre and Sinead can take a bow and an A+ for presentation – the stage for the Festival Queen was the best ever and the Festival Podium at the Square looked fantastic, very professional and the introduction of chair-o-planes and candy floss gave a real ‘carnival’ flair to events.

The Late John Headon
The committee also showed maturity and sensitivity on hearing of John Headon’s death; reluctant to go ahead with the parade and entertainment that might clash with the funeral, they contacted the family, offering to cancel the street festivities. It was very kind of Tom and Niamh Headon to allow the festivities to go ahead and they brought the service forward to accommodate the parade. The festival committee, with the help of Tara Wilson and Philip Black, quickly organised a banner dedicating the festival parade 2008 to John’s memory. And rightly so; this was a man who had joined the Wolfe Tone Brass & Reed Band as a lad and remained a member for life, having spent decades as a committee member and marched in many a previous festival parade.

Road Rage
I was very disappointed to note that some motorists showed the usual respect for safety control at The Square. As before, the area in front of Headons’ premises was cordoned off with Garda barriers but when some motorists tried to force their way through and were reminded by the committee to drive to the right, they responded with “Who are youse to tell me where to drive, yez are nothin’ only blow-ins”……….Charming, Neanderthals Man strikes again!!

Louise is Queen
I was sorry I was away for this night – its always great fun! I heard MC, Tom O Rourke was in flying form the craic was mighty………

Louise Tutty of Silverhills was deservedly crowned Ballymore Festival Queen 2008. Representing the Ladies GFC, the bubbly social-care worker wowed the audience with her witty chat, followed by a rendition of the traditional classic, “Raglan Road”. Working within the social services, Louise liaises with persons and families coping with Aspergers Syndrome and also with members of the Travelling Community. Parents Margaret and Joe and brother Kevin were delighted when the winners were announced; Granmother Cathy Tyrell of Blessington and Auntie Maura were especially chuffed.

Caroline Hearns (nee Springate) who works at Costcutters on Chapel Street took the “Jennie Award”, an award commemorating the late Jennie MacDougald Caroline, a mother of two had lost an incredible 6 stone in weight over the past year – that won the judges over!

Sarah Deegan from Colbinstown representing Gallery & Gifts took second prize and received huge applause from the audience after she sang unaccompanied – stunning voice; Jennifer Bowes representing Versara’s Health & Beauty took third prize and opted to wax her brother’s leg as her party piece!

“I think the standard of all the girls was very high this year and the festival organisers did a great job”. said Frances Ward of Angel Eyes.

Sean hooks First Prize!
Whilst Louise Tutty scooped first prize in the Festival Queen Pageant, it was Sean Goulding of Tallaght whose 1lb 6 ozs catch of the day saw him take first prize in the fishing competition sponsored by Phil Murphy and family. Local Trevor Winders took second prize and young Patrick Langan of Chapel Street won the Juvenile Section with his catch of 1lb 3 ozs.

Scoil Mhuire and St Kevin’s Art Results
Overall winner of the inter-schools’ Punches town Art Competition was Cian Tyrell, 6th class St Kevin’s; runners up: Kathleen Keane, 5th Class Scoil Mhuire and Leanne Kiely, 6th Class, St Kevin’s.

6th Class Winners Scoil Mhuire
1st Fiona Field, 2nd Kate Curley; joint 3rd Sophia O’Sullivan and Alex Galoway.
5th Class 1st Kathleen Keane, 2nd Yasmin Winders; 3rd Declan Davis. 4th Class winners were Samara Keogh, 2nd Tadhg Dooley and 3rd Natasha Murphy.

6th Class winners in St Kevin’s
1st Leanne Kiely, 2nd Becky Griffin and 3rd Maeve Murray.
5th Class 1st Sarah Farrington and 2nd Katie O’Keeffe with 4th Class prizes going to Jennifer Mongey Balfe, 2nd Emily Harney and 3rd Robert Kelly.

Parade Results: Overall Float Winner was Paddy Murphy’s with special commendation to Hudson’s; Most Creative Float Ardenode Stud for its wonderfully colourful ‘butterfly’ presentation.
Walking groups 1st Badminton Club, 2nd Juvenile GAA; Vintage Section 1st The HillBillies (Leo Sully’s Vintage Farming exhibition) 2nd The Vintage Bikers. It has to be said, the presence of the vintage cars, motorbikes and the humorous tractor brigade adds a great dimension to the parade – keep them coming. The Tallaght Marching Band performed here also but it would be nice to see our local Irish dancers in the Jennifer Landers School of Dancing perform again.

Fancy Dress: 1st Prize Maisie Horan as a Bejing Olympic Hostess, prizes were also given to Alyssa Garland as an Amy Winehouse lookalike to young Malachy Michael Jackson Sammon! All participants received a prize on the night.

‘DEFEX’ take the lead!
Battle of the Bands took place on Wednesday night with the band first up on stage, Defex, deemed the overall winner by judges Michael O Driscoll and Colm Hackett. Stiff competition though from Crown, who went down a treat with the crowds as did Hairy Joe’s Monkey Juice, Silver Lizard and “well-dressed” punk band, The Classy Ace. Special thanks to Donnchadh of Silver Lizard who gave Morgan and crew a hand with setting up and sound…..nice one, D. Good crowd of young people out that night enjoying the vibes.

Bar Men’s Race
Thursday night saw the Guinness Jazz Band perform (with a somewhat bored look) and the Bar Men’s pulling a bigger crowd; Paddy Murphy’s barmen Dwayne O’Connor and Anthony McDonald stole the edge over the competition and proved to be fitter than their fellow barmen. Do you know what would be great craic next year – Barry O Sullivan, Pat Murphy, Phil Murphy and Darren Reilly taking to the streets instead of the staff - I reckon Phil would leave them in the starting stalls!

Funky Junction took centre square on Friday night – they are a fab band and did great cover versions of pop and rock classics - the audience on the night thoroughly enjoyed them but again, most of the youth – underage youth - were queuing outside the pubs trying to get in.

And don’t anyone waste your ink writing in to say that teenagers would have attended the street festivities if there was anything for them; there was this year and in previous years and it’s a simple fact of nature that the main mission of a large number of youth is to get alcohol before the ‘Big 18’. Nothing new there. The crowds outside the pubs though did seem to enjoy Funky Junction from afar.

Saturday night saw traditional Irish group “Ark” perform at The Square to large attendances. Sponsored by Ballymore Properties, the crowd loved them and we saw a few aspiring Michael Flatleys try out their dancing skills under the influence of ‘uisce beatha’; even some children joined in and performed Irish dancing. I heard Phil Murphys had a great night and you can bet no under-age drinkers got in.

Punches town management were thrilled with the eventual turn out for Saturday’s racing – it was very much a family day with lots of kiddies’ entertainment to hand. Long may Ballymore’s sponoship continue.

Festival Analysis
Undoubtably, this young festival committee did great work this year; their presentation was excellent and they introduced some new events – Battle of the Bands and traditional night on Saturday which definitely pulled crowds. Missing from this year’s festival was the Kiddies Party and Fancy Dress which the committee had to cancel at short notice as racecourse management were afraid it would affect attendance for Saturday’s racing.

Is there really a demand for 5-6 nights of street entertainment? The Festival Queen – yes; parade, yes; Fancy Dress and Kiddies Party, yes; Bar Men’s Race, yes; Battle of the Bands, yes for youth; traditional night – yes, yes, yes?!! But perhaps, the Festival Queen and 3 nights entertainment is enough?Maybe Festivals are gone out of fashion?

If the local community wants a festival next year, they should help organise it and support it – five young women with no children between them, setting up at the Square every night, manning the streets, stretching the funds and then de assembling the traffic barriers themselves……. I hope this committee stay on and spearhead next year’s festival, if there is to be one.
(The Festival Committee have acknowledged the help they did receive in a separate article in this month’s Bugle).

Rose B O Donoghue

Scoil Mhuire News…..

On April 30th, pupils from Scoil Mhuire took part in the National Spring Clean Day.
The school's green school committee organised a "Day of Action". Children from all classes got involved in various activities which included tidying their classrooms, disposing of unwanted items, picking up litter and weeding all the flower-beds. The Green School Committee also helped members of the Tidy Towns Committee to pick up litter around the village. The event was a great success. Well done to all involved.
Certificates have been awarded to 76 pupils for their excellent attendances. They never missed a day during term 2 this year. They are:
David Archbold, Oisin Breslin, Liam Crowe, Luke Cullen, Kevin Farrington, Liam Fisher, Tadhg Murphy, Emma Kelly, Molly McNally, Roisin Murphy, Jessica Sammon, Laura Gallagher, Laura Murphy, Zoe Louise Rigney, Brian Crowe, Dean Doyle, Billy Fennan, Darragh Fisher, Max Galloway, Cian Giltrap, Ben Noone, James O Brien, Jack Sammon, Malachy Sammon. Stephen Archbold, Finn Breslin, Jordan Deegan, Luke Maguire, Anna Conway, Serena Devereux, Abby Foster, Hannah Murphy, Orla Murphy, Mark Barrett, John Daly, Evan Keogh, Tommy Marsh, Luke Pearse, Rachel Byrne, Laura Darby, Keyra Fisher, Katelyn Gallagher, Niamh Winder, Kaja Natanek, .Mark Daly, Caolan Halpin, Ciaran Kelleher, Niall Murphy, Sean Murphy, Oonagh Deegan, Amy Horan, Kim Kelly, Rebecca McGee, Viktoria Natanek. Rossa Doyle, Ross Fennell, Joshua Burke-Hayes, Shane Barrett, Stephen Doyle, Niall O Neill, Stephen Piggott, Dylan Waters, Harry Murphy, Mairead Byrne, Kathleen Keane, Ciara Langan, Fionnuala O Connor, Heather Sammon, Yasmine Winders-Butler. Patrick Langan, Jake Meehan, Michael Stewart-Byrne, Katherine Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Hollie McGuire Daly, Olivia O Neill Brown.
Congratulations to Stephen Piggott and Darragh Kelleher who won the recent schools K'nex Young Engineers Challenge. The boys went on to compete in Intel, Leixlip on 15th May where they were given the very difficult assignment of building a digital camera! This is Stephen Piggott's second time to win the engineering award.
6th class had a wonderful talk by Mario Corrigan from the Library Service about the history of 1798. He brought some excellent artifacts with him and it really helped to bring history to life for the pupils. This term Mark McCarville is doing football coaching with 5th and 6th while 3rd and 4th have hurling coaching with Martin Kelleher. 31 pupils from Catherine Williams 2nd class will receive their First Holy Communion on Saturday 24th May. The children have been working very hard at their preparation for their big day and we wish them a lovely day.

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