R.I.P. Garda Adrian Donohoe killed in the line of duty. Unspeakable tragedy: the loss of a lovely young man while guarding Credit Union workers.
Sadly he joins The Garda Roll of Honour
Sadly he joins The Garda Roll of Honour
Looks like victory in The Australian Open meant a lot to Victoria Azarenka.
After we passed Charlie Nolan’s of the Pound-that’s the name of the house opposite the gate of the Sportsfield-and waved to Paddy Evans at the fountain and to Kiely’s just beyond it-I spied something that attracted my full attention. It was a tall woman with a galvanised bucket of water balanced on her head. With a slight inclination of her face she saluted me with dignity.
On the crest of the hill and in a little distance from the road was Kennelly’s. Later I entered the kitchen to find an elderly pair conversing in fluent Irish as capably as one would find in Ballyferriter today. With Jer, a brother in Bedford, this family comprised the last natural Gaelic speaking family in North Kerry.On the brow of the hill there was a pause to chat with several neighbours. Here it was at a later date that our pride came to grief as I shall explain presently.
Downhill then the pony trotted merrily to reveal houses in Knockane and Clounmacon I came to know as well as my own. After a chat with Son O’Donnell we came to a halt at Murphy’s. There we were royally received, the pony untackled and left there until the afternoon.
“Across the Fields to school” is a fitting title for what I recall as a first impression of the school area. I realise later that girls and boys were making their way cross-country to the school from the Mail Road area. Sometimes they had to walk along the tops of the fences as the dykes, as we call them, were flooded.
The schoolmaster greets me- a fine old timer called Thade O’Flaherty. There are assistant teachers also: memory betrays me at this point as I am not sure whether the assistants were Tom O’Connell, Michael Griffin or Patrick O’ Farrell. But all of those were there in the early days of Clounmacon School.
As I enter the building, and my mother’s hand leaves mine. I am engulfed by the senior girls. They crush me to their bosoms and admire my velvet suit, my lace collar and my little Duke shoes with the buckles. It was my first major encounter with the opposite sex. I wasn’t aware of the full ramifications of their embraces but, young as I was, I knew that something pleasurable was going on. They even fought one another for possession of me. Later, when the cookery classes were over, they bribed me with tarts and queen cakes.
Given into the custody of one of the older boys who was seated beside me, I too demanded a pen and a sheet of paper. I then peeped over his shoulder and cogged from him- this though I had never been taught to write. The teacher was amused when he took up my handiwork. What I had done was to cog faithfully the name and address of the senior boy beside whom I was seated.
Lunchtime came and again the senior boys took charge of me in the playground. The school master stayed inside in the school with the door locked while he ate his luncheon. When he emerged he wiped his face with his handkerchief and seemed in good humour. A trio of my custodians, the bigger lads, hustled me into the open door and right into the empty classroom. One of them knelt on the floor and putting his nose to a tiny pool of dark liquid on the boards looked up and said “Tis porter all right lads”.
Some time later, on spying a similar pool of spilled liquid on the kitchen floor in my own home. I knelt and sniffed it deeply then looked up and said 'Tis porter all right mother”. When I was cross examined on this antic the whole story came out. “ Well, could you beat the Cloubmacon lads?” was my mother’s comment of the affair.
What else do I recall? The girls gathering ceannabhán or bog cotton to stuff pillows, also collecting wild flowers to win a competition in the old Gymnasium Hall at the North Kerry Show in Listowel. I recall too many of the girls coming to my house to seek advice from my mother before they set out for the United States of America.
But most of all I recall the pony under our trap who, taking fright on the crest of Dromin Hill, drove one of the wheels onto the fence and capsized the vechicle. I was dragged out bespattered with mud and blood. My velvet suit was in tatters, I recall being comforted in a neighbours house (Shanahans?) and later sitting shivering with shock in front of Murphy’s big fire where a cup of tea steadied my shaken nerves and the fire dried my sodden clothes
These memories of a school and a gracious community are renewed and reinforced by the opening of a new Gaelic football ground today where thrilling contests will adorn the Ireland of the future.
Above all, my memories focus on a very lovely community, which although the school as a school is gone, the building lives on in sterling service to the people. This pitch and the splendid players Clounmacon of the future will produce, as it has done in the past, will also forge a fine link in the chain of tradition.