Saturday, December 27, 2008


Well it’s the time of year for making someone happy with a good book- and a visit to the Blessington Bookstore will suit any budget- recession or not. Janet’s shop has something for everyone, especially lots of small novelty reads which make great, thoughtful gifts, so check it out.

Starting with literature for her ( naturally…) I recommend “The Almost Moon” by Alice Sebold (Paperback: 8.99) I read “The Lovely Bones” by the same author a few years ago, and like this it was very odd, but a fantastic novel. The Almost Moon tells the story of a mother and daughter’s relationship clouded by the difficult taboo of mental illness. It is taut, gripping and beautifully written- you really won’t want to put it down, so it would be a great one for over the holidays- it’s a little gruesome in places, so not for the faint hearted.

For the men I would have to revert to my read from earlier this year which I feel is a real man’s book- “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill (Paperback:13.99). As male readers often enjoy non-fiction a couple of good reads around this Christmas are Conor O’Cleary’s “May you live in interesting times” (Paperback :16.99) and very topically Mark Little’s “The New America” (Paperback 14.95) I haven’t read all of both of these as I am not really a fan of non-fiction, but both look excellent on skimming.

I was recently given a marvellous book of poetry for my birthday, and would highly recommend it for any poetry buffs out there: “Answering Back” edited by Carol, Ann Duffy (Hardback: 11.75). Its an excellent collection of classic poems like Kipling’s “If “ and Dylan Thomas’ “In my craft or sullen art” with replies written by modern poets. I found it quirky, amusing and erudite- very satisfying.

As usual Janet has a great stock of cookery books, including all the big names, but the one that really caught my eye was small but beautifully formed: “Our Grannies Recipes” edited by Eoin Purcell (Hardback: 14.99) Its not glitzy or packed with photos, but it does exactly what it says on the tin….a perfect present for the food lovers in your life.

In the biography line I hear that Julie Walter’s “That’s another story” (Paperback: 15.99) is a good read and apparently male readers have enjoyed both this and a book that was featured on BBC Radio 4 this year: “Cold cream- My early life and other mistakes “ by Ferdinand Mount (Hardback: 26.30).

The plethora of children’s’ books on offer is as usual, mesmerising, but if I was choosing something for a very small child I would b have to go for the box set of “Bright baby touch and feel”, which at only 6.99 is terrific value and will give endless pleasure to little fingers and minds. There is also a lovely book about telling your child you love them called “Before you go to sleep” by Benji Bennett (Paperback:9.99) . For older children the Alfie Green books are a lovely buy, averaging around 6.95 and for non-fiction readers the child’s version of Bill Bryson’s “A really short history of nearly everything” (Hardback 16.99) might make a nice change from the all-time favourite of the Guinness Book of Records, as it’s crammed with fascinating facts (very boy friendly…)

For much older children and adolescents I would have to recommend the Northern Lights trilogy by Philip Pullman- they were definitely the best books I read this year. They are marketed as children’s books, but I feel they are probably most appropriate for early teens as they are quite complex in places. You can get the whole trilogy in a box set for 29.00 euro.

Lastly…there were a couple of lovely picture books that might make excellent presents…one was “Doorways of Ireland” (Hardback:15.99) and on a local note “Beneath the Poulaphouca Reservoir”, edited by Christian Corlett (Hardback:35.00)- this is a big book and a lovely archive, so actually represents good value.

Hopefully there is something for everyone here, but this is just a taster of what the bookshop has in store- it’s a lovely place to shop and you can lose yourself in browsing after a hectic day at work!

Enjoy all your Christmas and New Year reading, make the most of having extra book time- I know I will!

Angie Thompson


It was a happy day for me the day my son William graduated; I was driving to Waterford to see him accept his degree, all decked out in his finery, proud as punch of him, I was and looking forward to seeing his college friends, all stone mad and ‘rearin’ to see the world. Its good to be around young people, happy young people, up for the craic and game for a laugh. Only one tinge of sadness hung over me that day – the death of Ena Keenan. When I was a child and finally allowed to cross the road from Byrne’s corner, I spent my years from age 8 – 12 in and out of Keenan’s house at The Square.
“Mzzz Keenan, is P’tricia there?” “Can I use the toilet?” (We didn’t call it a bathroom then).
“Mzzz Keenan, where’s Bernadette?”
We played hopscotch on the pavement outside the front door and in good weather, legged it up and down the steps out the back, only waiting on the fruit in Ena’s garden to mature. If you stood on the flat roof at the back, you could see into neighbouring garden of Marslands and right across the road to Byrne’s, another house we went through like we had automatic access to their back garden.
In and out of Keenan’s like yo-yos, Ena busy baking or cleaning, always on the go, out to the clothes line or setting up the ironing board….. No tumble dryers, no fancy house cleaning gadgets, just elbow grease and effort. “Close the door after you!” she would shout and if one of her own spread muddy shoes across her clean floor, she’d give them a warning swipe of her tea-towel…

Hopscotch, apple tarts, hairy gooseberries, Jackie posters all over the older girls’ bedroom, mostly of George Best and Patricia and I practising the accordion and harmonica in the front room (she had talent, I had wind). That’s what I remember about Ena; when she went over to Kilcullen to visit Sheila or Granny Keenan’s in Cannycourt on Sundays, I went too – Sunday drives were always good, you were sure of sweets or an ice-cream…….. When I was married with young children and my own Mam had passed away, Ena collected me and brought me into Naas Swimming Pool; by then my children had been through playschool and co-incidentally, Theresa’s children Claire and Patrick during the same years as my Gillian and William. We exchanged funny stories about the kids and usually we stopped at Anne’s on the way home for a cuppa.

I have one very vivid memory of Ena; Patricia had been hospitalised for several weeks after a lung collapsed – she was to be kept free from infection as much as possible, minded and cosseted under her strength had fully recovered. Patricia - ‘minded’? It would be like asking a dog with fleas not to scratch…. Every opportunity she got, the bold Patricia snook out and up to Barrett’s unheated, E-coli friendly, stream-water filled pool – and this would be in the evenings! We saw Ena coming from the kitchen window and we knew the speed of her walk and the set of her chin meant trouble! Where did Patricia, still clad in a soaking wet swimsuit, hide? In the henhouse, next to the boiler room – the kindest way to describe the henhouse is ‘a sauna reeking of ammonia’ and there was the ‘fragile’ Patricia, supposedly recuperating, hiding from a very angry Ena that night, possible the only time I ever saw Ena in a foul mood.

I didn’t make Ena’s wake as I was in Waterford on the day but I have asked myself since how could it be that I hadn’t visited her over the past few years just to say hello and catch up with family news. Shame on me. It’s too late to acknowledge the hospitality and patience of Nanny McGarr and Maura Byrne whose gardens were paradise to children with imagination and Mrs Brosnan – I loved going into Mrs Brosnan’s shop, I think it was her Kerry accent....

It’s not to late to say thank you to Kathleen Edgeworth, my first port of escape as a child; nor to thank Alice Cullen – you were always assured of a big pot of mash in Cullen’s and a hiss from that wicked feline, ‘Pierre’. Or Barbara Bolger or Maggie Dowling or Rita Lawlor’s – they all baked apple tarts and scones and their houses were safe playgrounds to us. As I got older, we listened to records in Murphy’s front sitting room, ousted only when Dr Purcell called for a quiet drink…… I’d say children from the bottom half of the village wandered in and out of Murphy’s and Gordon’s, oblivious to the fact that these were businesses. Betty Cremins and Marie Doherty gave me sympathy and babysitting money as a teenager and of course, Rita O’Rourke, mother of all mothers who has been an adopted auntie to the Barretts.

I lost my mother twenty four years ago and I still miss her, never more so than at Christmas. To all you mammies who remember young Rosina Barrett running in and out of your homes, eating your apple tarts and anything else that was on offer – God Bless you and yours this Christmas. And to the family of the late Ena Keenan, I enjoyed those hairy gooseberries best of all.

If you have your mother with you this Christmas, spoil her, talk to her and listen to her because you won’t have her forever.

A Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year to all Bugle Readers and special thoughts are with those of you have lost family members over the past few years.

God Bless – Rose

“St. Oliver Plunketts win first Under 21 Title”

On May 29th 1988, St. Oliver Plunketts (Ballymore/Eadestown/Two Mile House) won the Co. Kildare Under 21 Championship for the first time in the Club’s history. This achievement was extremely important as the Club had come close so often in the previous few years and had suffered one point defeats on two occasions and so it seemed that eventually the hoodoo sign had been overcome at last. The Club was originally founded in 1977 as the parent clubs found it difficult to field full teams at underage level and it was hoped that by playing in the higher divisions against strong opposition, the prospects of the three clubs at senior level would also be greatly improved. There is much evidence to suggest that the exercise proved fruitful. Ballymore won a Junior A and B double in 85, an Intermediate title in 86 and a further Intermediate A & B double in 94. Eadestown had similar successes in both the 80’s and 90’s. Plunketts, with a team that included Larry Tompkins, were actually beaten in the minor final in 79 by Newbridge. The names of the Clubs first Officers and Committee were Chairman, Eddie Hubbard, Secretary, Jack Harold, Treasurer, Ned Byrne, Registrar, Danny Boland, John Murphy, Jim Sargent, Pat Coyle, Jim Loughman, Noel Garvey, Charlie Clarke, Mrs. Mary McLoughlin and Mrs. Bridie Horan. Punchestown Racecourse provided the Club with a “neutral” playing pitch.

There was no representative from the Two Mile House Club on the team in 88 but they did provide many fine players in other years, such as the Coyles and Andrews’ particularly on previous sides beaten in the under 21 finals. Of the 24 players on the panel, 14 were from Ballymore and the other 10 were were from Eadestown and it was their combined efforts that led to ultimate success. Sarsfields were the opposition on the day who had also narrowly beaten Plunketts in the 1987 decider.

It was always known that this particular group of players had the pedigree to achieve top honours as in 1982, the club beat the best opposition in the County to earn the honour of representing Kildare in the Óg spórt u15 competition, a 32 County affair with the finals being held in Gormanstown College, Co. Meath. Plunketts played brilliantly throughout the series but due to several injuries to key players in the closing stages of the competition were beaten in the All Ireland final by a strong Fethard team representing Tipperary. This competition was to act as the springboard for further success and an u16 league and championship double was achieved in 83, u17 leagues in 83 and 84 and in 1985 the Club won the Minor title having accounted for Clane who selected from St. Kevins, Rathcoffey and Clane. In 1988, nine of the panel that had represented the County in 1982 were part of the successful Under 21 Panel that finally raised the Squires Gannon Cup for this part of the County. Go on the men in maroon!

As previously mentioned, during the eighties, the club contested several u21 finals only to be beaten at the final hurdle. But in 87 a remarkable achievement for the club was to prove the catalyst to change matters. No less than 5 Plunketts players, Jarlath Gilroy, Brendan Conway, Gary Bolger, Andrew Dooley and Henry Murphy all from Ballymore were selected to represent Kildare and won a Leinster Minor Title. They were beaten in the All- Ireland Semi Final by Down, the eventual winners of the competition. A Kildare player was sent off in the early stages of the match and it is quite likely the lads would have won All- Ireland medals but for that unfortunate incident. Plunketts were beaten in the 87 u 21 decider by Sarsfields, 0-9 to 1-4, but in 88, with the nucleus of the ’85 Minor team playing in their last year at this grade and the experience gained by the afore mentioned players, the u21 title was eventually added to the collection.

Tony Keogh was the team manager and he had been involved for several years as Plunketts sought to win the ‘elusive’ u21 title. His motivational style added the extra impetus needed to achieve victory. Plunketts won on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-3, all Sarsfields points coming from placed balls. Sarsfields were very strong and fielded a virtual County team but Plunketts were “in the zone”. Liam McLoughlin was the Captain and he told all the players before we took the field that in no uncertain terms were we leaving Newbridge that day without the Cup! It was “last chance saloon” and the final time we all played together as a team and it was arguably the best display of football we had played in our 9 years together. Before the match started, there was a torrential downpour and the Sarsfields men all ran for cover. We knew then that they were not fully focused on the job in hand if they were more concerned about the rain than on us. There were some brilliant performances from certain players on the day. The mid-field partnership of Jarlath Gilroy and Henry Murphy ensured that we never lost grip throughout the match in this vital area and Willie Dowling’s ‘handling’ of Brian ‘Spike’ Nolan would certainly stand out for most people who remember the match. In fact to a man, nobody put a foot wrong and it was a fitting way to end those halcyon days. Even the forwards who often seem to really try and wind us backs up by not putting teams away earlier were in flying form and did the business.- scorers Jarlath Gilroy, Brendan Conway, Paul Murphy, David Magee 0-1 each, Martin Kelly 0-4 and Liam McLoughlin, 1-3. There is a debate over one of these points as to who got it but for the sake of this article, I’ve given to Liam because, ah well, just because! If we can unearth some video evidence, then we can finally put the record straight on this issue. The backs were all superb as usual, well no scores from play surely says it all on that front ! Near the end of the game some of the lads began to relax in order to savour the occasion and our Goalkeeper Sean went absolutely ballistic. Sean had made several fine saves during the match and was determined our Archrivals were not to be allowed score a goal. Indeed, I think he would have even climbed up on the posts to prevent them getting a point from open play!

Those years brought much joy, happiness and camaraderie to the players, the mentors, our families and supporters. Sadly many who contributed to those happy times are no longer with us today. Ronan O’ Dowd who was our goalkeeper for many years died tragically young some years ago, as did our mentors Billy Dowling, Tony Keogh and Frank Gorman who had always given us such encouragement throughout those years. Many other supporters who followed this particular team’s fortunes have also passed on to their reward, eternal rest to them all.

On a happier note the Club, which was disbanded in the 90’s has been reformed and in the last few years some of these players have went from strength to strength. In 2008 they fielded U14, U15, U16, U18 & U21 teams thus giving players from Two Mile House, Eadestown & Ballymore Eustace the opportunity to play football against opposition which they would not otherwise have been given. The U18 team won the Minor B Co. Championship while the U14 team reached the Feile B final, Feile Laighean 2008(Division 3) Leinster Final, U14 league semi final and Division 1 championship shield semi final. Hopefully, it will not be too long before further victories are achieved. I would like to wish the club every success in the future and hopefully, the maroon jersey will be worn with pride for many years to come.

As this year is the 20th anniversary of the under 21 victory, a reunion of the 88 Championship winning side is being held on 3rd January 2009. In 2005, the Minor championship winners played the 2005 Minor team and lets just say the ‘Ould Lads’ gave them a lesson that they surely will never forget (reminder 5-9 to 1-9). Apparently, these chaps have recently being looking for a rematch but alas when we were playing we tended to only give other teams one bite at the cherry. Sorry about that lads but I believe some of the ‘Legends’ are willing to sign autographs for you and give you some tips if you would like to join us on Saturday 3 January in Paddy’s. Indeed anyone who remembers those great days is invited to come along to share the memories.

Frank Murphy

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