Saturday 6th January 2007

Reunion of Class of 1980/81
It was with great trepidation that I made my way up to the Fethard Arms on Friday 29th December at 8.30pm. The organising committee (Liam Daly, Anthony Hayes, Tony Aylward and myself Liz Newport) had spent a few enjoyable evenings in the kitchen coordinating the event over a beer or glass of wine. Finally the day arrived and we still wondered if the four of us would be on our own reminiscing about the past. We need not have worried — classmates started to arrive from 8.30pm on — I had a bird’s eye view of the door from my perch at the top of the lounge.

I was quite pleased that I remembered nearly everyone as they came in. I do admit that I needed an prompt from another enlightened ‘pupil’ for Mary Slattery from Milltown, Lisronagh. It wasn’t long before photographs were circulating from Mairead Fitzpatrick, Ena O’Meara and Mandy Phelan. Happily we can say that all in attendance still held their looks from 25 years ago with some maybe carrying the start of middle-age spread. But what the heck — it’s not the quantity but the quality that counts!

Anthony ‘Sid’ Colville and Liam Daly revived lots of memories with their remarkable floor performance to the Sex Pistols ‘God Save the Queen’. I think they may have forgotten that they hadn’t leaped and jumped to Punk Rock music for quite a while. Bill Kennedy had a deliberator on standby in case it was needed!

One thing noticed on the night was the general feeling of camaraderie amongst all the people who turned up and the genuine interest that everybody had in talking and listening to other friend’s stories of their lives. That memorable tour to Mountshannon was a topic that could be discussed forever. We laughed about who had kissed who and where they are now. Our two class love-birds, Ger Moloney and Paul Anglim, have been together since Inter-Cert and were still smiling together at the reunion. It was also lovely to meet Fr. Tom O’Connell who is now a curate in Thurles. It’s amazing that someone can live so near and yet you still never meet them.

The night ended on a very positive note — everybody enjoyed it — and the following day lots of phone calls were received saying how much fun they had and asking not to let another twenty-five years slip by without meeting up again. A big thank-you to Johnny O’Connor who put a lot of effort into choosing appropriate music for the night and also to Michael O’Flaherty for supplying the food, which was very nice and provided a bit of welcome ‘soakage’.

To finish up all I can say is they’re a great bunch of people and as Fr Thomas wrote in my book on the night, “In your chain of friendship, please regard me as a link.” (Liz Newport)

Fethard ICA Notes
It is with great sadness that we begin the New Year, as we mourn the loss of our secretary, Nuala Delaney. Nuala was a long time member of our guild and held many office positions over the years. She was our President up to May 2006 and then took up the responsibility of secretary. Nuala possessed many qualities, among them the gift of leadership and organisation, from which our guild benefited greatly. She will be sadly missed by all her friends within the ICA countrywide. We offer our sincere sympathy to her husband Bill, her daughter Ruth, her son William, her son-in-law Brendan, her brothers and her extended family. May she rest in the Peace and gentle care of the Lord.

We will hold our usual monthly meeting on Tuesday 9th January at 8pm, ‘green group’ are catering.

Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto Results
The Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto will resume on Wednesday 10th January, The Jackpot Prize is now  €9,150 for our next draw and the Jackpot sellers prize is €915. We wish all our supporters a very healthy and prosperous New Year.

Transition Year Youth Group Christmas Carolling
On Friday 22 December, Transition Years took to the main street of Fethard to sing in aid of the Christmas Town Lights. The TY group have been meeting over the past couple of months in the Tirry centre as one of the youth groups of the Fethard Community Youth Project. Many thanks to all those involved, including the Presentation School and staff and adult volunteers and to all those that sang to raise the money.

Fethard GAA Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of Fethard GAA Club will take place in the Abymill Theatre at 7.45pm on this Friday night, 5th January 2007.

TYs Sing for Christmas Lights
On Friday 22nd Transition Year students on behalf of the Fethard Community Youth project went Carol Singing to raise funds for the Christmas Lights in the town. A total of €350 was raised for the fund. This money was presented to Jimmy Connelly. On behalf of the Transition Year Group, the Fethard Community Youth Project and all involved in the Carol Singing we would like to thank Centra for providing (the very cold) singers with tea/coffee and buns and sweets, the Credit Union for the very generous sum of money that was given to us and all the community in Fethard for the generous donations.

Helen Prout receives top accolade
Helen Prout, a former pupil of Killusty National School, was presented with the Cork Person of the Month award for November to mark her work in film with young people for more than 25 years. Helen, the inspirational 76-year-old, established the Cork Youth International Film, Video and Arts Festival in 1980 and has spent her life voluntarily teaching thousands of young people about film and the arts in workshops all over Cork.

Helen went to school in Killusty and married Chris Prout from Killusty in 1947 and later moved to Cork. Helen's interest in film began at the age of 16, when her parents gave her an old clockwork movie camera as a present.

But it was not until 1972, at the age of 42 when her 13 children had been raised, that Helen submitted two entries in an amateur film competition; The Cork Camera House Competition. Both of her entries — a documentary about schoolchildren and a film called Fluffy's Adventure took first place. Fluffy's Adventure went on to win first place in The Carlow Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute's Agfa Film Trophy Award as well as various awards in England, Belgium and New Zealand. But far from seeking further glory in the world of amateur film, Helen's thoughts were of others.

“At the festivals, there were no young people involved. They didn't make film-making simple. I thought it was a pity and I said I'd get involved in showing young people how easy it was to make films”, said Helen. And so, the Cork Youth Film Group, later to become the Cork Youth Film, Video and Arts Group, was born. Helen began with a film workshop for ten year olds in Gurranabraher. In 1980, she held the first youth film festival in the country - The Cork Youth International Film Festival. From there, the interest kept growing.

In 1986, Helen became the president of the International Association of Amateur Film and Video Film Festival and was involved in festivals in 40 countries. That was two years after she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Her last Cork festival was in 2005. The festival is now run by the Cork City Learning Support Group, but Helen, who is wheelchair-bound, says she will never give up her workshops. At the moment she is engaged in compiling an archive of all 5,000 films ever entered in the festival. The original films will be stored in the Irish Film Archive in Dublin, while copies of all films and all the files, photographs and her camera will be stored in the Cork City Archive.

Goal Mile on Christmas Day
The first GOAL mile, which was the brainchild of former GOAL chairperson and international athlete, Noel Carroll, took place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin in 1982. It is now an integral part of Christmas Day in over 55 venues throughout Ireland for people to help those less fortunate than themselves.

GOAL is an international humanitarian agency dedicated to the alleviation of the suffering of the poorest of the poor. It was founded by its Chief Executive, John O’Shea in 1977. GOAL works towards ensuring that the most vulnerable in our world and those affected by humanitarian crises have access to the fundamental needs and rights of life, i.e. food, water, shelter, medical attention and primary education. It is non-denominational, non-governmental and non-political.

Global warming is it here?
Science has shown how in the artic, ice is decreasing in size every year. Research has suggested that summer ice may disappear entirely by 2040, which is 40 years earlier than previously estimated. Here in Ireland we are to expect warmer summers with wetter and windier winters. Maybe this is already happening as the last four months have being mild, wet and windy.

Weather for the year (courtesy of Parsonshill Farms Fethard):
January started off dry and calm. From the 9th to 19th the weather got stormy and wet and the rest of the month was cold and dry. There were fifteen days with ground frost and fifteen days of rain.

February was cold and dry. There were only twelve days of ground frost and sixteen days of rain but we still only had 36 mm for the month.

March saw the coldest night of the year on the 4th with a recorded temperature of minus -7.2˚c. We had twelve days of ground frost and twenty days of rain. Rainfall was 954mm for the month.

April was a dry and cold month. There were only 32.2 mm of rain for the month and seven days of ground frost.

May was wet and windy with no frost, but 114mm of rain fell in the month. There is an old saying that says, “a wet and windy May, fills the barn with corn and hay”. It is probably true!

June got off to a very dry and warm start and temperatures reached 25˚c on the 6th. We had four days with temperature reaching 25˚c. During the month only 30mm of rain fell and most of this was in the last week.

July stayed hot and dry with the temperature reaching 29˚c on the 19th (the highest for the year) and the soil temperature reached 20.4˚c (the highest on record). The rainfall was low at only 47 mm for the month.

August was warm and dry. Most of the rain came as showers mainly in the second half of the month. Rainfall 46.6mm remember august 1986 when 200mm of rain fell in August. That was the year of Hurricane Charlie.

September saw the start of the rain. We got 145mm in 21 days. 75mm fell between 19th and 24th.

October saw more rain. We only had seven days without rain and 136mm fell in the month. 34.5mm (1.4 inches) fell on the 25th, which was the wettest day of the year. There was no frost and temperature was 1.5˚c above normal

November started off dry with no rain for five days. It then rained for the next twenty-five days. 156 mm fell during the month.

December stayed wet and stormy with rain for the first twenty days. High pressure came in on the 20th and stayed with us until just after Christmas. The rains came on St. Stephen’s night and it has being wet and stormy since. We had 143mm of rain in December, which was the wettest December since 1993.

The total rainfall for the year is 1038mm (41.5 inches) this is 125mm (5 inches) above normal. The average rainfall for the last 20 years is 912.5 mm (36.5 inches). The mean temperature for 2006 is 1˚c above average. The weather is definitely getting warmer and wetter, so maybe we will be able to sail up to the North Pole in 2040 without an icebreaker! We will wait and see what happens in 2007.

Tipperariana Book Fair
This year’s Tipperariana Bookfair will take place in Fethard Ballroom on Sunday 11th February and all donations of books are gladly received. The bookfair is organised by Fethard Historical Society. If you have unwanted books or know someone else who does, please contact any member of the committee who will arrange collection. For further information please phone Dóirín Saurus at 052-31936, Terry Cunningham at 052-23402.

Hunting News
Large fields of mounted followers and an equally large number of car and foot followers were a most encouraging feature of hunting with the Tipperary Foxhounds over the Christmas period.  St. Stephens Day at Ballingarry, Ballyluskey on Thursday 28th, Cashel on Saturday 30th and Fethard on January 1st attracted very large fields, especially Cashel where up to 130 riders turned out.  The usual over 100 riders present at the Children of all ages meet at Grove on Saturday 23rd surely augurs well for the future of the sport in South Tipperary.  The best hunting was probably enjoyed from Ballyluskey on the 28th.  A fox from the covert behind Clancy’s Construction ran towards Killenaule, crossing the Ballyluskey / Killenaule road he headed to Lyons Hill.  Hunting strongly here hounds crossed the road to Shanakyle towards Magoury Boreen.  Once again swinging left they ran a good circle back to where they first found eventually losing him at John McCormack’s farm at Upper Ballyluskey.  From Cloughtaney a very good twenty minute run was enjoyed back to Careys and returning to Hugh O’Donnells where he was lost.  An excellent day concluded with a fast forty minutes through the glen to Smyths.  Turning right-handed this fox ran over the narrow road towards Crohane Hill.  Doing a good right-handed circle hounds were still running strongly when they were stopped as they were heading back towards Cloughtaney, ground which they had already covered earlier.  A feature of the Childrens day at Grove was hounds hunting in full view through the Deerpark from Kiltinan and back to Grove House. 

 All followers of Tipperary Foxhounds will be saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Ward O’Malley.  The late Mr O’Malley was still in the top flight of riders to hounds fearlessly taking on the biggest Tipperary banks when well into his eighties.  This great old veteran of the chase will be sadly missed.  Mr. Tom Burns MFH, in a few well chosen words paid a special tribute to Mr O’Malley before the Tipperary Foxhounds moved off from the meet at Cashel Palace on Saturday last. 

With the White Heather Harriers
With the heavy rainfall and high winds prevailing on Sunday morning last and a worse forecast for the afternoon the Ballyluskey White Heather Harriers were obliged to cancel their meet at Coolbawn on Sunday last.  The hounds were however taken to the lower slopes of Slievenamon at Walshbog for an hours exercise.  Next Sunday the Ballyluskey White Heather Harriers travel to Ballingarry where they will hunt the Foyle area in a joint meet with the Jessfield Harriers.

Recent Death
The death has occurred recently of Mrs O’Dwyer (formerly O’Neill, Farranaleen), Newbridge, Co. Kildare. 

Bin Collection
Looks like there will not be a wheelie-bin collection, scheduled for January 1st, in Fethard over the Christmas period.  This means that if the bin collection does not resume it’s usual fortnightly collection until January 15th Fethard will be one month without a South Tipperary County Council refuse collection.  With all due respects whether they collect by weight or by the square yard this is going a bit too far.



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