Sunday, June 21, 2009

Punchestown with Matt
One of the first we met on Wednesday was Christy Dennison. It has been a hard year for Christy whose mother and aunt both died recently. Additionally, I gather Adam Jackson’s widow also died lately. Adam was Christy’s uncle.

Another that I met was John Holland. John is a son of Michael and Anne Holland and is a solicitor working in Castlecomer, County Kilkenny. He took the week off work to take in Punchestown. A few years ago, his mother joined him there.

Regular Punchestown visitor, Tony McLoughlin, was there and I was delighted to meet him again. In days gone by, Tony helped the McAuleys of Blessington who had several good horses in their time.

I met race goers, Joe Curran and Pat O’Toole, for the first time in a long while. On the Thursday, I met Joe’s wife Anne. This time last year, Joe and Anne were visiting their Kavanagh family in Perth. Later on, I again met Christy Dennison and this time he took photos of Tony O’Connor (formerly Swordlestown), Tom Nugent and myself.

Box and Bill
Eamonn Deegan and his brother-in-law were in a box at the races. Fr Breen’s friend Bill McCormack was also at the races and I got talking to him briefly. Like myself, Bill is missing his old friend.

Although Ollie Deegan was there everyday, I met him for the first time on Thursday. It was Thursday too when I first met Jim Clarke who was chatting to Tom Magee, formerly of Bishophill and cousin of the late Myles Magee.

In my travels I met Larry and Grainne Glancy. Grainne apparently had a dream relating to the late Fr. Breen. Because of Fr Breen’s interest in horses, Grainne checked the papers for likely horses to coincide with her dream and found two. Although outsiders, both won for her at nice prices.

More Meetings
Another I saw included Tom Nugent’s wife Claire who was busily trying to find winners. I also met and was talking to Margaret McDonald and her sister, Anne Tipper – both of whom attended everyday. Belatedly, I met Tom Sheehan who used to work with me at Dublin County Council.
The Conways
As usual, Monsignor Seamus Conway (formerly of Dowdenstown) and his brother Tommy were at the races. I believe Eddie and Mai Whelan were also there but I did not meet them.

The Brother
Thanks to my brother James, I got to Punchestown on Wednesday (April 29) and Thursday (April 30). Beforehand, my brother Billy’s wife Carmel provided us with dinner and we had tea there afterwards.

On the Wednesday, I backed 2 winners – Dunguib and J’y Vole- but that was not enough for me to break even. Thursday was a lovely day and I had 3 winners - Jessie’s Dream, Garde Champetre and Quel Esprit. Hopefully, I did not put Pat O’Toole off Quel Esprit as I backed it on account of what Pat told me. For my part, I had already backed another horse. With Quel Esprit winning I more or less got back my outlay.

© Matt Purcell (May 2, 2009).

Scarborough Fair

Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme
arsley takes its own sweet time to germinate which can take as long as up to six weeks. Always follow planting instructions on the seed packet. When your parsley plants are about a couple of inches tall, thin to 8 to 12 inches. Keep in mind that parsley needs space to grow. Parsley is a good companion to carrots, onions, tomatoes, asparagus and roses. It attracts beneficial insects and acts as repellent to damaging ones. Parsley over winters here; let a few plants go to bloom in its second year. Parsley’s flowers are also very beneficial for the same reason: attracting parasitic wasps and hoverflies. Choose curly leaf or flat.
age comes in different coloured flowers and even variegated leaves (some fine for kitchen use), although none are as hardy as the common sage. Sage will grow almost anywhere as long as it is in full sun for a good part of the day. The best soil is a well-dug medium one, with a handful or two of bonemeal worked in twice during the summer. What sage does not like is soil that is moist all the time - it is a native of Mediterranean areas.
osemary. The three fundamentals for
successfully growing rosemary are: Sun,
Good Drainage and Good Air Circulation.
Provide a sandy, well draining soil and 6-8
hours of full sunlight. Rosemary is not a
heavy feeder, but fertilizing in will get it
off to a good start for the season.
hyme pretty much grows itself. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be. Thyme is most fragrant and flavourful when grown in dry, lean soil. Too much moisture will rot the plants. If trying to cover a large areas, space new plants about 6" apart, to form a cover.
Thyme will grow well indoors, if given a bright, sunny window. However, since it survives quite well outdoors all winter, you might want to consider giving it a sheltered location outside, where you can continue to harvest.
We would like to thank all our customers for the support of your local shops.
We will plant your hanging baskets for you. Please bring them in.

It was a glorious afternoon, conditions ideal for spectators like me to experience their first ‘go’ at canoeing. ‘Happy Days’, Ballymore’s first canoe club was established in January this year with 43 members and is fully registered with the Irish Canoe Union. Their recent launch drew a large crowd and proved the sport is suitable for all ages with Super Great Granmother Ethna Lewis paddling like she had petrol in her veins and competing against a couple of my twelve year olds! The club boasts a superb clubhouse with a fleet of 13 Canadian canoes and all safety equipment as required by the Irish Canoe Union’s strict code of safety practise.

What a wonderful way to experience our beautiful countryside and an ideal way for a family or group of friends/ work colleagues to pass an afternoon. We are spoilt with rivers and lakes in Ireland, indeed non more so than on our doorstep, here in County Kildare and Wicklow. Log onto to Happy Days website to make contact with club members…………. well worth checking out!

The Irish Canoe Union
The Irish Canoe Union is the National Governing Body in Ireland for the sport and recreation of canoeing; with approximately 3,000 members registered primarily to participate in competitive events, there are a further 7,000 members involved in non competitive canoeing activities around the country.

Interest in the latter has experienced considerable growth over the past few years with participation in proficiency training courses increasing by an average of 15% per annum. Canoeing is such a diverse sport/recreation with many involved in one or more of the seven competitive disciplines which are the Olympic Discipline of Canoe Slalom and Flat Water (Sprint) Racing, Marathon(Lond Distance) Racing; Freestyle; Surfing; Canoe Polo and Wild Water Racing.

The vast majority of canoeists are however, involved in non-competitive canoeing such as touring, kayaking and white water paddling – canoeists who seek to enjoy the remote but easily accessible waterways of Ireland whilst enjoying stunning views of our scenic countryside.

Recreational Touring
Recreational touring is characterised by single or multi-day journeys by canoe or kayak on lakes, canals and placid rivers. The kayak and the open canoe enables paddlers to access and experience many wonderful natural environments in an unobtrusive manner and may involve camping in remote areas.

Open Canoeing
The Canadian Canoe or ‘Open Canadian’ is immediately distinguishable from a kayak because it is paddled using a single bladed paddle. This canoe originated with the native tribes of North America and was traditionally made from a timber frame covered in one of a variety of barks usually birch.

Nowadays, most canoes are made from plastic, fibreglass or aluminium. The original designs which were used to travel across the large expansive lakes of Canada were open on top for transporting people and goods.

Canadian canoeing is particularly suited to exploring the inland waterways of our country. Ireland offers an attractive network of inland waterways for canoeing – providing endless possibilities for exploring, fishing and multi-day expeditions. What makes this form of canoeing so attractive is that it can be enjoyed by all the family, of all ages, shapes and sizes no matter what your level of fitness is.

Whilst some would prefer leisurely trips on slow moving rivers such as the Shannon or Barrow, others have begun to use Canadian canoes in Marathon Races. Due to innovations in materials and design, canoes are now seen more regularly on rivers with small rapids and fast moving water.

Canoeing and the Environment
Navigation by canoe causes no erosion, noise or pollution and leaves no trace of its passing. Canoeing is a clean physical activity enjoyed causing no damage and minimal disturbance to wildlife and landscapes – erosion, if any, is only evident around specific access points where canoeists enter or exit the water.

The natural environment and clean water are the essential elements sough by canoeists and therefore, very much in the canoeists’ own interest to conserve, maintain and protect the environment.

Canoeing can be a valuable first point of contact with the environment for many people. Not only does the sport provide healthy physical activity but also a very calming way to observe our beautiful, natural wildlife. One of the best ways to discover what canoeing has to offer is to join a local group or club yourself. Alternatively, undertake one of the Irish Canoe Union’s training courses – they are fun, safe and will help you master basic skills.

Check out your local canoe club, ‘Happy Days’ website for contact details: Enjoy nature at its best without hindrance or harm to the environment……..Happy Days!


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