Wednesday, December 30, 2009

By Pastor Robert Dunlop
It is easy to fall into the temptation to hobble through life in fits and starts. Constancy is an attractive attribute, well worth pursuing.
It needs to be nurtured, even amongst the most optimistic people.
There are many situations which produce a burst of enthusiasm, followed by complacency.
In the realm of relationships we have all met “fair weather friends”, who disappear when the going gets tough.
To cultivate consistency is a major challenge. One of the reasons why it is not healthy to become too individualistic is to create momentum for growing
together. When we hold each other up we encourage consistency in running the race. This is something deeper than meddling in the affairs of others but it is also to be distinguished from aloofness and detachment.
“Although each of us is fashioned in careful incompletion, we were created to long for each other. Huge differences may separate us, yet they are exactly what draw us to each other. It is as though forged together we form one presence, for each of us has half of a language that the other seeks.” ( From Divine Beauty by John O’Donohue, (page 153).
Those who draw on Divine support will discover that the words of the prophet Isaiah are not only true, but relevant –
“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.
It is hard to think of a better recipe for staying the course.


Combined pressures of work and study have kept me from my reading this month…couldn’t manage to finish anything in time for the review. However I was lucky enough to be treated to two trips to the Dublin Theatre Festival by a friend who loves a good drama.

A reliable source (who attends just about everything in the festival) had previously tipped me off about Enda Walsh’s “New Electric Ballroom” (At the Peacock), so I suppose I had quite high expectations of this play. Set in the claustrophobic kitchen of an Irish fishing village , we are introduced to three sisters who seem to be living a kind of groundhog day. Events of the past, which originally took place in the eponymous ballroom, form the central plank of the drama. The sister’s seemingly unconnected dialogue takes place in a series of set pieces which have a strong sense of repetition and are quite powerful lyrically and dramatically.

The unfolding story of the three women is punctuated by the appearance of the local fisherman, who enters noisily and gradually merges with the romantic male figure from the elder sister’s past. Although the language was clever and the actors undoubtedly gifted, I felt strangely at odds with the plight of the characters and couldn’t really engage with them emotionally. Perhaps it was the force of the dialogue which put me off- in places it was reminiscent of Beckett and that could have turned me off. It was a powerful production, commensurate with what an audience can expect from Druid Theatre Company. I wasn’t really moved though – so I am afraid I wouldn’t recommend it ….

Conversely “Tales of Ballycumber”, by Sebastian Barry (The Abbey) was devastating it its simplicity and power. Barry examines the impact of loss on a community and how judgements are often formed about people based on their ability to connect with others. Nicholas Farquhar is an ageing protestant bachelor, living alone and basing his life on the premise that he has become a better farmer than his father ever was. His simple life is disrupted by tragedy and leads him to call into question his view of himself and the perception of others - that he has become (that awful word) a loner.

Stephen Rea is mesmerising as the troubled Farquhar and the rest of the cast revolve around his star. The set is fantastic and the whole play is one of the most touching expositions of loneliness I have ever seen. There was a palpable sense of emotion in the theatre when the play was ending.

I was doubly privileged at the performance I attended, as Sebastian Barry spoke about his writing before the performance. He has a singular humility for such a gifted writer. I have always loved his novels and now I am a confirmed fan of his drama also. Highly recommended.


Matt’s Memories


He was chatting to John Ryan when I first saw him. For the second time in quick succession, I met Mick Kelly of Bolabeg. He was attending the Vigil Mass in Ballymore Eustace on Saturday, August 8 and this time he was accompanied by his wife, Bridie. Bridie was formerly a Wilson of Hollywood. Chatting to them, we recalled Dinny Toomey working in Headon’s Butcher Shop, the Downshire House Hotel and most recently in Wilson’s Butcher Shop in Rathfarnham. It turned out that the Wilsons of Rathfarnham were related to Bridie. Mick had one brother and five sisters. Sadly, one of his sisters, Lillian, died when she was 48. Mick had two sisters who used to work in Clerys and occasionally, I used to meet one of them in Parnell Square in Dublin.

Brass and Reed Band

I gather from an Article by Rose Barrett O’Donoghue in the Leinster Leader on September 9, 2004 that the Brass and Reed Band came into existence in 1875. This article coincided with the building of the replacement Bandhall. The article contained five separate photos of the band highlighting different features in the band’s time. Over the years, Tom O’Rourke (Senior) was one of its stalwarts. Another was the late John Headon and, in mentioning those two, one also thinks of Mick Kelly (Briencan). The Band was not the only community involvement Tom had. He was also Chairman of the Handball Development Committee before he became the Supervisor of the Fas Group that built the 40 by 20 alley. In earlier times, Tom was also very much involved in the Ballymore Eustace Tidy Town’s effort.

St Mary’s Cemetery

When the Annual St Mary’s Cemetery Mass was held this year, I was in Tramore at the time. I gather it was a great success. An Alter was built in the left corner (as you look into the cemetery) of the older part of the cemetery so that the Mass accommodated both those in the older part of the cemetery and also the new part. Talking to Jimmy McLoughlin, I gather a New Cemetery Committee has been set up and a Fas Worker employed. Noel Deegan is our Fas Worker. He was formerly of Dowdenstown and now of Liffey Heights and returned home from England some six years ago. Noel has done great work at the cemetery re-establishing the footpaths and cutting the grass and doing other necessary jobs. (Mary Campbell told Rose the entire committee under Pat Griffin were working well together – well done to all of you).
Luke Kelly
Over the years I was a fan of Luke Kelly who died in 1984 aged 44. All this was brought back to me when RTE ran a tribute show to him. I saw about half of this show that reminded me of the glory days at The Embankment in Tallaght. At the time, the late Mick McCarthy (not the soccer man) who specialised in folk music managed the Embankment. Mick died in April 2004. Luke has done great versions of “Raglan Road” and Phil Coulter’s “Scorn Not His Simplicity”. One of Luke’s most famous songs was recorded at the Embankment. All the top folk singers and groups performed at the Embankment at one time or another.
Anne’s Wedding
On August 14, Anne Winder married Mark Doyle in the local Catholic Church and her reception was held in the Ardenode Hotel. Anne is a daughter of Jim “Bumps” Winder and Mary Winder (nee Browne). I gather Jim underwent a heart by-pass operation recently and is presently recuperating from it. Her famous handballing Uncles, Cecil and Pious, were both in attendance. I gather Tess Sammon was also there and her good wishes were duly passed on to me.
Another Wedding
I see from the September Bugle that Emma Marshall and Roy Clarke also got married. Emma is a daughter of Willie and Carmel while Roy is noted for his singing ability and his parents are Peter and Anne.
Fr Jimmy Kelly I see has left us. In the short six months he was with us, he endeared himself to the people of Ballymore Eustace.
Leinster Leader

The Leinster Leader of August 13 contained an Acknowledgment by the family of the late Pat Nugent. In the August 20 issue of the Leinster Leader a photo of Frank Sammon and Brendan Clarke appeared. It also contained a photo of Mac Sully and the Organising Committee of the Kilcullen Vintage Rally. The same issue of the Leinster Leader also referred to a re-union of the Langan Family. The Leinster Leader of September 3 deals with the Bishopsland Hoard that was found in 1942 during work on the Poulaphouca Hydro- Electric Scheme. The same issue of the Leader indicates that Martina Reilly has a new book called “The Wish List”. Some years ago, Martina worked with South Dublin County Council.


Vincent Kavanagh called to pass on a message to me recently. As our readers will know Vincent retired as our local Garda sometime ago. What I did not know was that Vincent had a heart by-pass operation last year and has made a good recovery from it.

Eddie (Junior)

I call him Eddie (Junior) because his late father was also called Eddie – the surname being Gordon. While I often saw Eddie (Junior) up the village, this time his two daughters accompanied him and we exchanged greetings.


He was out strolling and came over to talk to me. Surprise! Surprise! I did not know who he was. Anyway, it was Garrett Keenaghan, Celine’s husband and Barbara O’Neill’s son-in-law.


There I was getting ready to leave Ballymore Eustace when a 4 by 4 gave me a welcoming blow of its horn. It was Brian Fennan on his way up the village.


On July 18 the Anniversaries of John and Elizabeth McGlynn were celebrated. On the same date, the Anniversary of Seamus Mahon, the Month’s Mind of Louie Murphy and the 38th Wedding Anniversary of Michael (earlier referred to as Mick) and Joy Kelly were remembered. On August 8 the Anniversaries of Judy Kelly, Patrick Kerr (who reached 100 years of age), Brendan and Betty Headon and Michael and Margaret Cregg were celebrated. The following day, the Anniversaries of Michael Conway and Catherine Daly were remembered. On August 22, the Anniversary of Dr. Malachy Dignan was celebrated. The following day Karen Lewis, Emily Norton and Michael Grace Senior were remembered.


The death occurred of Jack Kaine of Kilmallum, Blessington on July 18, 2009. His wife Rhona predeceased Jack (John). His son James, daughter Elizabeth, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, son-in-law Alan, grandchildren Roger, Alison, Cheyenne and Glenn, nieces, nephews and extended family survive Jack. Jack is interred in the adjoining cemetery to St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Blessington. He was a brother of two of Ballymore Eustace’s leading ladies of former times the late Nellie Kaine and the late Dorrie Talbot. As readers will recall I sat beside the late Jack at the 2008 Senior Citizens Party.

The death occurred of Manzie Kelly of Barrack Street, Ballymore Eustace at St. Vincent's Hospital, Athy on August 13. Marie and Billy Murphy and their children - Frank, Henry and Mariea (and their families) - and relatives survive Manzie (Patrick) R.I.P. He was a brother of the late James and the late Alice. Alice worked in Joe Headon’s for a long time. Manzie is interred at St Mary’s Cemetery, Ballymore Eustace. He was a good football player and featured on the good Ballymore Eustace teams of the fifties. In 1956 he was on the Ballymore Eustace Team that reached the County Senior Final. In the final they were beaten by the Military College one of the finest teams ever to play in the Kildare Championships. Manzie played on the Brass and Reed Band. He was a great construction worker and left many legacies of this around the Ballymore Eustace and surrounding areas.

I was shocked to learn from the September Bugle of the sudden death of Frank Slattery. Frank died on August 16 and was the eldest brother of Barry. Barry did Trojan work for the community and handball when the 40 by 20 alley was being built. He was Treasurer of the Development Committee for the three years involved.
Joe Kennedy (Senior) hoped one of his sons might become President of America one day. Sadly his eldest son, Joe Kennedy (Junior), was killed in a plane crash in the Second World War. In 1960, his son Jack became the first Catholic to hold the position of President when he narrowly defeated Richard Nixon in the vote. Jack was a great Orator and “wowed” the Irish when he came to visit his ancestral home in Wexford in 1963. A few months later he was assassinated. In 1967 Jack’s brother Robert ran for President and he too was assassinated when doing well in his campaign. The youngest brother Ted ran for President in 1980 but was beaten and essentially this was the end of the Kennedys as a Presidential force in America. For the remainder of his life Ted Kennedy concentrated on his role as Senator. In that role he was a great help to Irish politicians especially in regard to matters relating to the North. Ted died on August 25 aged 77.
Only two weeks earlier, his sister Eunice Shriver died aged 88. Eunice was a founder member of the Special Olympics, which have been going from strength to strength.
Rob Mullally was previously from Assumpta Terrace but now lives in California after a spell in Jamaica. Recently Rob went to the races and had one good place bet. Additionally, he went to Pine Peak, Colorado as our photo shows and enjoyed the occasion even if it turned out to be 14,ooo ft., freezing cold, snow on the summit, and 40% less oxygen than at sea level. The scenery was spectacular and the rocks and waterfalls were amazing. Rob appears in the 1952 Corpus Christi Procession in Ballymore Eustace on the shoulders of his late father, Bertie, as the Procession approached Nellie Carroll’s house - then owned by Jimmy Gregory.
© Matt Purcell (September 21, 2009)

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