Friday, October 30, 2009

Matt’s Memories

Pat Nugent

Thanks to my brother James I was able to attend Pat Nugent’s removal to the Church on June 24. I sympathised with Pat’s brothers Tom and Martin and Pat’s sisters Sheila (Reynolds) and Betty. Betty introduced me to her German husband. I met Paula Jennings there. Paula’s Grandmother, Patty Lynch, and Pat’s mother, Mona Nugent, are sisters and Paula used work with me in South Dublin County Council Law Department. Other relations that I met were Joe Lynch (Patty’s son), Jimmy Reynolds, Claire Nugent and Madge Tyrrell. On the way in I met Paddy Dreelan. Whilst there I saw Rita, Tom and Jacinta O’Rourke.

Pat Ryan (County Secretary) and Martin Moran of the Leixlip Handball Community were there - I had not seen either of them in a long while. Pat and Olive Hilliard came over too from Leixlip. Another that I saw there was Tutsy Holloway (nee Marshall). Spoke to Margaret Laming (nee Gordon) and I gather her sister Eileen (Kavanagh) will be home on holidays again around Christmas. A lovely photo of Eileen appeared in The Bugle in January 2007 outside Ballymore Eustace Catholic Church with her family. Saw Margaret’s sister Trish (O’Brien) also there.

Kildare County Council

I see from a photo in the Leinster Leader that Kildare County Council is presently celebrating its 110th Anniversary. The account features a photo of Eilis Fullam whose father was an Engineer with the Council in the early years of the last century. I was at school in Naas with members of the Fullam family.


Paddy Nolan, who is married to Bridgie Hennessy, is a Stratford-On-Slaney man. Paddy had a quadruple by-pass in St James’s Hospital in 2006. Since then, Paddy has made a good recovery. When we were building our 40 by 20 ball alley, Paddy was one of our top ticket sellers. Chatting to Paddy, I gather he remembers Tom O’Brien’s tram which was located on Wilson’s land at Stratford-On-Slaney.


As usual, my neighbour Imelda Gorman gave me a warn welcome when I met her recently. Imelda works in Janet Deegan’s where I usually meet her. Imelda Gorman’s late parents, Myles and Kathleen O’Reilly, were prayed for at the Mass on June 20.


On June 20 I dropped in to Rita O'Rourke and had a good chat with her. Earlier I had got the Vigil Mass in the local Catholic Church where my brother Dan was prayed for to mark his anniversary on June 17. This was Dan’s eight anniversary. My late father was also prayed for; in his case, it was his twenty-first anniversary on June 27.

BBC 4 Programme

After being at Rita’s, I caught most of a biographical programme on the Chieftains on BBC 4. This featured Kevin Cunniffe who lives in Hollywood and regularly played handball in Ballymore Eustace. In 1984, when I won the World Master’s 40 by 20 Doubles with Pat Kirby one of those regularly present at the games was Matt Molloy, of the Chieftains. As I recognised Matt, I assumed he was a regular handball fan but discovered I was mistaken when I met John Gaffney of Sligo. Apart from John’s prowess as a handball player, he was also into music and Matt had accompanied him to the handball games in Clare.

Poulaphouca House

The Poulaphouca House Hotel featured on a TV programme called “At Your Service”. The object of this programme was to assess the hotel’s suitability for its present uses and see if it could be improved. Frank and Rita Malone now own the hotel. After a thorough assessment, the Brennans, the experts assessing the hotel, came up with a number of recommendations as to how the hotel could be improved especially financially.

GAA 125th Anniversary

I see where the GAA is currently celebrating its 125th Anniversary. In 1984, I was very much involved in its Centenary Celebrations as I was the Chairman of the County Handball Board then.

The Rathdowney Angle

Chatting to Alice Cullen lately I learnt that her daughter Mary is married to Ballymore Eustace man, John O’Neill, and they are living in Rathdowney.

Radio Programme

Up to recently, Eamonn Dunphy used to have a radio programme called “Conversations”
on a Saturday Morning. The first time I heard it he was interviewing Ted Walsh, horse
Trainer from Kill, and even though I did not get the whole programme I heard enough to
become hooked on it. On June 6, Eamonn interviewed Billy Gaff who years ago was at
school in Newbridge College. More importantly, Billy was an Entrepreneur who at one
time was Rod Stewart’s Manager. On June 13 Eamonn interviewed the Argentinean
Rugby Captain and this, to my regret, was the last in the series.

The Tramore Connection

In the early fifties we got to know Mick Barry. Mick lived in Tramore and
played handball. Mick had two brothers Brendan and Tony that we knew and who also
played handball. Over time, we lost track of Mick but one day I was at the Dentist in
Dundrum and sitting across from me was a man who looked very familiar to me – it was
Mick. We got reacquainted and sometimes I used meet Mick at Mass in Churchtown.
Visiting Tramore, I met Mick at Mass. I gather Mick is now retired for eleven years but
still lives in Dublin although he often visits Tramore. I arrived in Tramore with James on
Thursday July 2. At the Masses in Tramore that week-end, my old friend, John Joe
Fitzgerald, his wife Eileen and daughter Mamie were remembered. John Joe was a 1st
World War veteran who had a workshop in Patrick’s Street beside where we used to stay
in the fifties. Back then we spent many an hour listening to John Joe’s stories as he went
about his work. Fr Dick Doyle of Perth, who was on holidays, Con-Celebrated the Vigil
Mass with the local P.P.

© Matt Purcell (August 01, 2009)

Matt – More

Photo Correction

The last Bugle had a picture of our All-Ireland handball winners. The caption to the photo referred to “The late Cecil Winder”. Happily, this was incorrect. Cecil has indicated, “he is definitely alive”and Rose rang him immediately to explain her mistake. Sadly, two of the Winder brothers have died. The late Paddy died on March 5, 1973 aged only 33 while Robin died on April 30, 2007. Four of the Winder Brothers were All-Ireland handball winners. The caption also refers to “Fergal Byrne” where the picture was of “Justin Byrne” who won an All-Ireland Junior Hard Doubles medal in 1973. The picture was taken at the Ardenode Hotel at the official launching of our 40 by 20 alley and was our biggest ever gathering of All-Ireland winners (up to 1984). It contains none of our IAHU winners. The late Mickey Dowling and Bobbie Grattan were not in the photo although All-Ireland winners. The following IAHA winners were also missing from photo: Willie Grace; C. (Dan ?) Murphy; Billy Doran; Seamie Curran; Tony Daly; the late Paddy Winder; Jackie Byrne; and, Michael Dowling who was busy that night helping Barry Slattery who was Treasurer of the Development Committee.

Eclipse Winner

It was my good fortune to back the winner of the Eclipse Stakes, Sea of Stars, on July 4. Previously, I had backed it when it won the Newmarket 2000 Guineas.


Met Aidan Farrelly while he was doing his shopping at Supervalu in Tramore. Subsequently, we had dinner with him at his newly restored home on Priest’s Road. For years, going back to our late parents time, we have been meeting Aidan and his siblings especially his brother Brian. Had my first swim in years at Kilfarassy (near Tramore).


Met Teresa Nugent (nee Keenan) in the village recently and had a good chat with her. Years ago I regularly met Teresa’s late husband Tom at the races without realising he was Teresa’s husband. The late Michael Murphy who was also a regular race goer helped put me right on that. In days gone by, Teresa was a regular badminton player while Tom played badminton for Hollywood.


Recently I was behind Gary Murphy at a Saturday night Vigil Mass in Ballymore
Eustace. Some years ago, Greg Lawler formally introduced me to Gary. Gary appears in one of Fr. Dowling’s Ballymore Eustace Films playing football with his late father in Quinn’s Field. His late father’s anniversary occurred recently and he was prayed for at the Mass on June 20.

Longstone Boarding Kennels

Recently I visited Longstone Boarding Kennels for the first time and met Suzanne Byrne there – what a busy woman she is! In times past, I often walked past it as I strolled around the Commons.


On June 25 there was a Presentation to Tom Doherty on his retirement from South Dublin County Council. Tom was the Deputy Manager of the Council and lived for many years where the late Dr Malachy Dignan lived on the Truce Road. Malachy’s wife, Nuala, still lives there. Tom and his wife Marie now live at Castleknock. They had the heartbreak of their daughter, Mary, dying at only 26 years. Like Tom, Mary also worked with South Dublin County Council.


Met Mick Kelly of Bolabeg as I was doing my shopping at Janet Deegan’s recently. My articles to the Bugle apparently go down well with Mick who spoke of his neighbour, Vincent Dallon of Coldwells. Although I knew Vincent to see I did not know him personally. In times past, I would have known Vincent’s late brother, Billy who was formerly a member of the band and his late parents.


Helen Dreelan’s photo appeared in the Leinster Leader in which she was remembering Athy’s famine victims. About the same time, Helen and her sister carried out a Church Gate Collection on behalf of St Vincent’s Hospital, Athy – as Matron of St Vincent’s, Helen and her staff are doing great work with the elderly and particularly, Ballymore Eustace people.

Chairman of Kildare Handball Board

After I retired as Chairman, Vinny Wrynne (Leixlip) took over that role for a number of years. I saw Vinny for the first time in a long while when he played some 60 by 30 handball in Ballymore Eustace.

An interesting handball website is the above that Tim Ryan told me about. Aine Ryan sets up this site with the aid of a Heritage Council Grant. Several of the photos are by Enda Timoney including the photos of the alleys in Ballymore Eustace. Enda served on the Coaching Council during the eighties as did our own Tom O’Rourke to whom Enda sends his regards.


Met Seamie O’Brien recently. I understand from him that Jack Boylan is in St Vincent’s
Hospital, Athy. Jack suffered a stroke a few years ago. Seamie went to John Brosnan’s
funeral and met Paddy Conway there. Like Seamie, Paddy was keen on
athletics and previously lived at Dowdenstown. Paddy now lives in Churchtown.


Patsy McEvoy of Celtic Mist died on April 24. The Leinster Leader had an In Memoriam to Pat Burke (Naas and Tipperkevin) on May 14. Anne Langan who contributed so much to our community was prayed for on May 24. Shay Winder’s anniversary occurred on June 17 and he was prayed for the following weekend as were Sean and Jean Forster, Laurence and Ann Finn, Maureen McGlynn (Bernie Toomey’s sister). On the same date, Anne Cowley was prayed for to mark her anniversary on June 22. Teresa Shannon and Catherine Daly were prayed for on June 21. Well-known horse trainer, Vincent O’Brien, died on June 1, my Californian friend Marjorie O’Grady (nee Osborne) died on June 26. Well-known figures to die recently were Karl Malden (97) of “Streets of San Francisco” fame, Miss Slocombe (86) of “Are You Being Served” and Frank McCourt (78) writer of “Angela’s Ashes”.

Congratulations to the Lennon Sisters of Liffey Heights who did well in the 2009 Leaving and Intermediate Certificates. Marie starts a course in Waterford while her sister Nikki continues her studies.

© Matt Purcell (August 4, 2009)

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