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Saturday 25th December 2004

Emigrants’ Newsletter on Sale
This year’s Fethard & Killusty Emigrants’ Newsletter is now on sale in local shops. The 132 page issue is packed with articles and photographs and can be purchased locally at €7 per copy. Over 1,000 copies were posted free of charge to emigrants from the parish and we would like to acknowledge local support, through donations, church gate collection and the purchase of the Newsletter, that all help to finance this annual project first started in 1959 by the Legion of Mary.

Died Recently
We record the death of Kathleen Cummins, Prior Park Green, Clonmel.  Kathleen, nee O’Dwyer from St. Patrick’s Place, married the late Joe Cummins, Killenaule Road, and lived in England for many years before returning back to Ireland to live in Clonmel. Kathleen was a regular visit to Fethard.  Interment took place in Calvary Cemetery.

The death has occurred on 21st December of Biddy O'Connor, nee Henehan, who died in East Twickenham, Middlesex, England. Interment took place in Calvary Cemetery.

The death has occurred on 25th December of Mary ‘Mai’ Dorney, Milestown, Cloneen. Interment took place in Cloneen.

Carol Singing on The Square
This year's Carol Singing took place on Wednesday 22nd December, commencing at the Christmas Tree on The Square. A large group of children attended, accompanied by Fintan Rice, Nano Nagle school teacher, Michelle Skehan and her friend William on fiddle. The sum of €213 was collected on the night which was donated to Alice Leahy's organisation for the homeless TRUST.

Broadband Update
The following information was received from Des Keating, Project Manager, Eircom Broadband Programme.

"Unfortunately we missed the deadline for the submission to the GBS scheme under Phase 1, Phase 2 was due to start in November but my current information from the department of communication Marine and Natural resources is early in 2005 for Phase 2 to commence and they will accept proposal then. However, Fethard is included in the roll out schedule with our network people anyway, so if we submit a proposal in the New Year it won't effect the date for broadband being available. The current date for deployment is March 2005.  If you have more expressions of interest please send them on to me and I will include in the proposal.”

Greetings to everyone this festive season
This season. as we all know, is meant to be a time of holiness, joy and expectation.  A special welcome for the birth of Our Lord and Saviour, joy at His presence amongst us and indeed the presence of all who have come home for this festive season.

Our expectations for the year ahead — as we long for the peace of this season to stay with us for the year 2005 — is that Christ may express himself through all of us in a humble and forgiving way.

On behalf of Canon Power and myself, I thank you all, especially our colleagues in the Augustinian Abbey, for your prayers and continued support.  May you all have a peaceful and loving Christmas and New Year.  (Fr. Tom Breen P.P.)

Seasonal Greetings
“What greater favour could God have shown us than to make His only son a human child, that He might in turn make the human child a child of God? You may ask, who deserved this, what claim required it? You will find none. Nothing but pure gift.” (Saint Augustine)

Sincere greetings for a happy and a holy Christmas, from the Augustinians in the Abbey. We welcome all who will be returning home for the Feast and we wish them a pleasant stay. May the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate, fill our hearts, homes, parish and country, with peace, love and joy during the Christmas season and into the New Year.

We are very grateful, as always, for the continued kindness and support of Fr. Breen, Canon Power and the people of Fethard. A Novena of Masses will be offered in the Abbey during the Christmas Season in which your special intentions will be included.

The year ahead will be a particularly significant one, as we celebrate 700 years of Augustine presence in Fethard. A comprehensive programme of events has been arranged for the Jubilee, the theme of which is the “Renewal and Celebration in the Spirit of St. Augustine”. You are cordially invited to participate in the events of the Jubilee. Full details later. (Fr Jerry Horan, OSA, Prior)

White Christmas
This year in Fethard we celebrated our first ‘White Christmas’ in many years. It was lovely to see snow fall on Christmas Day.  Although the ground was too wet for snow to lodge, the many roofs and bonnets of parked cars obliged, which enabled children to have a traditional game of snowballs on what might be, the last ‘White Christmas’ of their childhood.

Married Recently
Congratulations to William O’Meara, The Green, Fethard, and Jennifer Danderford, USA, who were married in Fethard on 9th December.

Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto will resume on weekending 8th January 2005.  The jackpot is €10,000.  We would like to thank all supporters of the Community Lotto over the past year and we would appreciate your continued support in 2005.  All our proceeds go towards community projects, “Helping Ourselves — Supporting Each Other”.

No Parking
There is a special technique employed by people who can’t find a parking place near the shop which they wish to visit. It’s called abandonment. The vehicle is just left on the road, usually blocking one lane.  Two methods are used. If the vehicle has only one occupant, that person abandons the car in the preferred spot, then steps from the vehicle with a confident air as though they had just pulled up in their very own private parking spot outside of their house.

They must remain oblivious to the fact that they have just blocked one of the two lanes on the road and walk into the shop, taking care not to make eye contact with the irate drivers behind them. The second method is employed when the vehicle has a passenger on board. The passenger dashes into the shop while the driver sits in the car staring ahead into a void. Use of the indicator or hazard lights is optional. The driver must never look at the cars that are overtaking their vehicle, as they might loose their nerve amid the flying insults.

Mass time in Fethard is peak practise time for the abandonment of cars. As the street broadens towards the square, it is not uncommon to see cars abandoned three abreast. One man did this a few years ago as he was a bit late getting to Saturday evening mass. Being a laid back type of character, he went for a drink before returning home. One drink led to another which soon led to a game of cards which lasted until closing time. His abandoned car was completely forgotten at this stage, so he accepted a lift home from his neighbour. It wasn’t until he looked out the window the following morning that he remembered where he had left his car. He made his way into town to find his car exactly where he had left it . . . on the white line in the middle of the road where it was functioning as a temporary traffic island.

These days, it would probably get towed away, but in the era before the Celtic Tiger and congested roads, nobody was too bothered and people just drove around it. Knowing the car and the driver, people presumed that the car would be needed to get to the ‘Point to Point’ later that day, so it wouldn’t be there too long.

Fethard Fashion Frolics
Fashions and trends come and go. These days, with the speed of images travelling around the world on the internet, the new fashions are in even the most rural parts of the world in seconds. No longer do people have to wait for the box of clothes to arrive from the relative in America or England to be the trendiest person in town.

A Fethard girl nearly took the brave step of introducing a new look which is, according to a local dedicated follower of fashion, all the rage in Italy. This is the wearing of different boots, in the same way that Lord Henry Mountcharles wears different socks.

The girl in question purchased a new pair of boots in a shoe shop in Clonmel. She went home and got ready to go out for a night on the town. All of her preparations were ready when she went to apply the final touch — putting on her new boots — she pulled the box from the bag, took off the lid, and lo and behold, there lay her new boot. Singular. She rang the shop to discover that the assistant who had served her thought that she had put the other boot in the bag herself as she was holding it at the time. Words were passed that wouldn’t have been used in a church.

As the shop was about to close and the other boot would have to spend the night in the store, the girl from Fethard had to solve her dilemma. Would she be the one to introduce the new fashion to town by pairing her new boot with one of her other ones. Or would she play it safe.

As cutting edge as the new style may be in Italy, it might be regarded as slightly dim not to choose matching boots in Fethard, so the girl went for the safe option. A sensible pair of shoes. Brown we believe.  And Fethard lost its chance to lead the way with the new trend. But not to worry, there’ll be another one along in a few seconds.

Road rage is beginning to creep into the little town of Fethard. As life is getting faster and society is becoming more affluent, it seems that everybody has got a car. While the number of cars has increased, we have to remember that Fethard is a medieval town which was constructed to allow the passage of pedestrians, horses and traps. The town planners 600 years ago weren’t expecting cars, vans, busses, articulated lorries or boy racers to shoot through the Main Street. Some delays last up to five minutes. As traffic problems go, it’s not too bad.

Spare a thought for the Fethard couple who were by passing London on the M25 a few weeks ago. Their arrival on the road coincided with road works, a train strike and a car crash at one of the junctions. As they descended the slip road they saw that the motorway below them was gridlocked. Nothing was moving. In true Irish style, they reversed along the hard shoulder of a slip road which joined their one and hit the M25 travelling in the opposite direction, adding 60 miles to their journey, but giving themselves a chance of making their flight home. Until they hit the road works at that side of the motorway, which took two hours to get through. They made the flight with seconds to spare.

Another Fethard couple mentioned gridlock last week, only this time there were no cars involved. It was on Henry Street in Dublin. There were so many people on the street doing their Christmas shopping, that it came to a standstill. For a few minutes, nobody could move. It sounds like hell.

So the next time that you’re stuck in the gridlock for five minutes in Fethard, relax. Or turn on the radio and listen to the traffic reports from around the country. Or just turn off down the valley and admire the medieval walls as you pass by. Just watch out for the geese.

Jumping the gun!
“You’ll never guess what I saw on the way back from Clonmel”, said the man behind the bar, “It was pouring out of the heavens and there were three eejits out walking on the gallops in Clonacoady”.

“Hold on a second, before you say any more”, retorted the customer, “I was one of those eejits!”. No more was said.

The men out walking on the gallops weren’t out for a gentle stroll in the afternoon. They were out replacing the sods that had been turfed up by the horses that day.  This task has got to be undertaken every day once the last of the horses has finished. Rain or shine. Carrigan’s gallops, closed for the past few years, are back in action with trainers travelling from as far afield as Clonakilty in West Cork to avail of the facility. The number of horses using the track is growing by the week.

The gallops were originally opened by John Carrigan in 1974. Many were sceptical about the venture at the time but the sceptics got their answer when large volumes of horses turned up each morning to use the gallops. John’s daughter Helen, now runs the business.

The whole operation is very much hands on. Somebody has got to be at the gate at daybreak each morning to meet the trainers and collect the fee’s before the horses get to the track. The same person will end up turning back the sods that evening.

The story is told about a trainer, back in John Carrigan’s time, who turned up before there was anybody at the gate. He had organised the early arrival on the phone the night before, so all was above board. He decided to pop a few of his horses over the hurdles. This cost more, but as there was nobody about he would get this little extra for free. The last of his horses was just clearing one of the hurdles when a head popped out of a bush beside him.

“Lovely morning”, said Mr Carrigan, addressing the trainer who shall remain nameless, “So that’ll be three gallops and three hurdles”. He paid up without protest. The bush, we believe, is still in place. Just in case it’s needed.


This site is maintained by Joe Kenny, Rocklow Road, Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.