Thursday, May 6, 2010

Matt’s Memories

For an hour each Saturday at 10am, RTÉ1 has a programme on business. One of those featured on that programme on Saturday, February 27 was Kevin Keenan (Senior). Kevin is still working a full week even though he is 83 years of age. He has a full truck driver’s license and all safety certificates required to work at sand and gravel.

He talked about loading his first truck in 1950 with a shovel and unloading the same way. The tipper truck, washing and screening equipment emerged in time. His two sons now run the business. His son Tom attended the interview with Kevin (Senior).

The Nugents of Ballybought
Madge Nugent is the only surviving Nugent now. She has one girl, two boys and two grandchildren and is married to Des Tyrrell of Blessington. Joe’s wife Rita, two sons and three grandchildren survive the late Joe.

Tommy died in June 1982, aged 78 and Margaret died in August 1983, aged 68. Two girls died in infancy; Lucy Ann died in November 1975, aged 31 while Pat died in August 2000, aged 60 and Joe who died last year, aged 67.

In his younger days, Tommy was a “dog man”. He used to breed and train sheep dogs and had success at the Wicklow dog trials. Two of his dogs were named ‘Fly’ and ‘Spot’. Fly spent her time between Ballybought and Ballysize, Hollywood. Paddy Toomey had his farm at Ballysize and was Margaret’s brother. Fly used to walk the 4 miles along the road between Ballybought and Ballysize regarding both as her home. For the most part, she stayed where she felt most welcome at any given time.

Tommy used to loan Fly to Paddy to gather the sheep off the mountain as she was a wonderful sheep dog and worked so well on the whistle. She was a great help to Paddy as she did the entire running around the mountain and brought the sheep down. She would spend weeks with Paddy and then come back to Ballybought where Tommy would work her with sheep.

Spot was very loyal to Tommy. He was a great housedog and also excelled at the sheep dog trials.
Handball Michael Dowling, who has been in top handball form lately, won a Leinster Golden Masters Singles Title. Over the years, Michael has performed at the highest level, winning a Senior All-Ireland Hard Doubles title in 1990 with no less a player than Tom O'Rourke . To date, Michael has won four All-Ireland titles. In times past, his namesake and late father won three All-Ireland titles including two at senior level. After taking a break from the game, Michael is again playing top class handball - congratulations to you, Michael.

Another provincial winner was Gerry McGrath. Gerry was playing for Wicklow and won the Emerald Masters "B" Singles title. Gerry plays most of his practice matches in Ballymore Eustace and we have come to regard him as one of our own. Like Michael, his next game is against Mayo on March 20. This time the venue is Coolboy and Gerry's opponent is Joe Neary.

Having arrived early for Frances O’Donoghue’s funeral I decided to explore my nearby surroundings. This was my first time in Manor-Kilbride. Next door to the Catholic Church was Craul’s Supermarket. In days gone by, Jimmy Craul and his band used to play for the handball club when it was having its Lenten Dances in the Parish Hall in Ballymore Eustace. I believe Jimmy is now deceased.

Next I came to a school and got talking to a man who referred me to his mother. To my surprise, this lady was very familiar with our Bugle and myself. Little by little, I realised I knew her of old. It was Bridget McLoughlin (nee Conway) who used to live near Ballymore Eustace before marrying Tony McLoughlin. The man I met earlier was their son who now lives near Ballymore Eustace. Chatting to Bridget, we recalled the days when Teresa Shannon was caretaker of the old National School in Ballymore Eustace.

Returning to the Church, the first one I met was John Browne who had been at the funeral of the late Jim Dunworth the previous weekend. Next I met Anthony and Mary Campbell and I sat beside them in the Church. In front of us was one of Alice Cullen’s sons and later, I met Alice herself, she being a sister of the late Frances. Then, I met Rose and little Sophie.

I also met Patsy O’Donoghue and his daughter Sarah, both of whom worked with me in South Dublin County Council. I gather the Campbells were in Manor-Kilbride before at funerals including the funeral of a daughter of the McLoughlins who died in a motorbike accident on the dual carriageway. The last one I met was Mary O’Neill (nee Cullen) now of Rathdowney, Co. Laois.

Congratulations to the History Society, the Juvenile GAA and James Kavanagh on their recent Awards successes. Best wishes to all the nominees who have contributed so much to our community.

As the funerals of Jim Dunworth and Elizabeth (Lil) Horan (nee Flanagan) were both covered in the February Bugle, I won’t go into them further except to say, Jim is interred in St Mary’s Cemetery while Lil is interred in Burgage Cemetery. Reading the February Bugle, I realise I would have known Jim’s wife Kitty and all his children, who of course are all grown up now. Lil Horan is a grandaunt of Barry Hennessy’s wife, Barry being a son of former local resident, Bren Hennessy.

© Matt Purcell (March 8, 2010).

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