99 reasons to fondly remember those far-off summer days!

Down (or is it up?) there in Ballaghaderreen, the patrons of Duffy’s Supermarket are enjoying the recent wonderful weather, happy in the knowledge that when they want to cool off with a delicious 99 cone, they are eating by far the cheapest 99s in Ireland.

  Recently, the Daily Mail carried out a survey on the price of 99s all over Ireland and at 50 cent a time, Duffy’s were the cheapest by a country mile. The average around the country was €1.75, although a couple of outlets were charging €2 or more.

  The former TD, bookie, bankrupt and now – in my opinion – thoroughly annoying know-all radio presenter, Ivan Yates, reckoned that Duffy’s offering was not a proper 99 at all, (it must have a flake), but he was informed that it’s a full genuine model – and there are queues of lucky Ballagh’ people lining up for these great value ice creams.

  I’m sure the publicity did no harm at all to Duffy’s Supermarket and congratulations and well done to all down there (or up there!).  

  Anyway, it all made me think of the days when I was a child growing up in Creggs and when our summers seemed to comprise of day after day of never-ending sunshine, and when an ice cream would be an occasional and very welcome treat.

            Back in those days, we had a load of shops in the village, but for all of us young kids, our favourite was Lizzie’s, a shop which sold all kinds of bits and pieces and which became a sort of a meeting place for all the children, both from the village and the rest of the local area.

  Funny enough, even though the 1950s were supposed to be a time of economic hardship, most shops had people working in them, and a girl called Baby Boyle was the resident shop assistant in Lizzie’s, and I can assure you that if the Daily Mail had existed at the time and if they had carried out a survey on sixpenny ice creams in Ireland, Baby’s ice creams would have, just like Duffy’s, come out as the best value in the country.

  The sheer size of the sixpenny ones meant they were way too wide for our little hands and little mouths and by the time you’d have eaten them, your face would look just like it was made of ice cream. Sadly, Lizzie’s is no longer and Duffy’s is too far away, so I’m off to Mikeen’s and, for a change this time, it’s not for a pint, but to sample the best 99 in Creggs! I’ll tell you next week how it was!!

‘Flying visit’ to Enniscrone

Sticking with the summers past, but not as far back as the 1950s, when the children, that’s our ones, were young, we used to go to Enniscrone, now Inishcrone to some, in Sligo for an occasional week’s holiday and I have to say that we had some of the most memorable and enjoyable times of all time down there in that lovely seaside town.

            Anyway, the years have flown by, and after a long break, myself and Carol decided to head down to Inishcrone on a glorious day last week and once again have a look at and take a stroll on the beautiful sandy beach. In recent times the arrival of a recently-retired Russian Boeing 737 to the Co. Sligo town has been all over the news and has propelled the resort back into the public domain and it appears as if the holidaymakers are flocking into the town in huge numbers and that Inishcrone is on the crest of a wave (a horrible pun!)

            As for us, we lunched in a packed Ocean Sands Hotel, where the food was excellent, and after a nostalgic walk on the beach, (which was freezing due to the very strong, cold, breeze), we headed back home, vowing it won’t be as long again before we visit what we think is one of the nicest places around. The airplane is not up and running yet as high class accommodation, (the man behind it is also converting a double decker bus and a number of old London taxis), but it certainly has increased interest in the locality and will help the local tourist industry greatly.

Good start to Euro 2016

Staying down memory lane and sticking with the beautiful summers (although this one is not so long ago), back in 1988, we as a entire nation basked in the glorious sunshine as we drank, danced and sang our way through our (for us), first ever European soccer finals.

  Street parties were the order of the day, even in Creggs, where the little traffic that was passing through the village had to drive between pub tables and chairs and when we were all decked out in anything that had a bit of green, white or orange on it – and overall it was just a magic time in our history.Joxer going to Stuttgart is still one of the most iconic songs of all time and for a few weeks the whole place was on a complete holiday. Today is Tuesday, the day after our opening match against Sweden in this year’s tournament and I wonder was there the same excitement and joy around the country last night.

  For me, I have to confess that I watched the game, a very good one I thought, in my own front room and as I write this, I am in the whole of my health and not a headache in sight. Now I know it’s a sign of advancing years (even advanced ones), but I sincerely hope that I am in the minority and I hope the rest of the country had a big night and partied into the early hours.

            The 1988 tournament had only eight teams in it, while this time we have 24, which means a lot more games and a lot longer of a competition. I still think we will find time for a knees-up and here’s hoping we can get a result on Saturday against Belgium – and if we do, the Italian game might just be the one to set us on our way to reliving the craic and the fun of 1988.

            It’s been a good enough tournament so far, judging by the little bit I’ve seen, but the trouble at a lot of games is a worry and I hope the French authorities are well enough organised to make sure nothing major happens. Anyway it’s a decent enough start and here’s hoping we can get to the next stage.

Solstice Choir on stage

As I told you in last week’s column, the highly acclaimed Roscommon Solstice Choir are performing in the Church at Donamon Castle on this Friday night at 8 pm, in a fundraiser for both Creggs and Cloverhill national schools. Tickets are only €10, so make sure you go along on Friday night for a great night’s entertainment and to support two local schools.

And finally…

Finally for this week, on the greatest ever week for Ireland on the rugby front (not a peep out of George Hook all week), on Saturday night last, the proceeds of the 21st Annual Barrie Harris Walk were presented to a large number of deserving charities, in Mikeen’s, (he of the Creggs 99s), and once again the walk was a great success.

  More than €12,500 was raised and distributed and it’s a credit to everyone involved, but of course, in particular to Bina and her family, friends and relations. On a personal note, my praising of Bina’s apple pie in last week’s column worked well, as she brought a special one for me, which I ate almost completely on the night! Thanks Bina, now I wonder if I told you that Mikeen has the best pint (of Guinness) in Ireland, what would happen!

Til next week, bye for now