Baby wailing, sheep racing and flying to the festival


It’s Wednesday night of last week…and the Ryanair flight from Murcia (in Spain) back to Dublin is almost an hour behind schedule, but there’s not a word from anyone to tell us why – and I’m thinking to myself that for a company which famously used to play music celebrating when their flights arrived on time, it’s a wonder there was no acknowledgment of or explanation for why this particular one was so late.

  Anyway, we eventually took off, only for a baby who thankfully was seated a bit behind us, to start screaming. For a full hour and a half it bawled and bawled, proving its lungs were in prime order. I couldn’t figure out whom I felt most sorry for. Was it the baby, or its parents, or for the passengers sitting beside the baby?

  Then, as if by magic, the crying stopped completely, peace was totally restored, and the flight continued uneventfully to Dublin. In fairness to Ryanair, we made up 25 minutes on the way, and landed only half an hour later than we should have!

  As you know, my destination was Creggs, where the Harvest Festival was due to take place. As I write this on Monday evening, the curtain is falling on the 39th consecutive event, and there is no doubt that it was one of the most successful ever. The crowds flocked in their hundreds to the village.  The businesses – old and new – were flat out, the fair day on Monday had a great selection of horses and asses on view, and there were the usual number of stalls too, selling everything from clothes to tractor oils to beautiful oil paintings. The atmosphere throughout was just electric.

  Out in the football field the sheep racing attracted a huge audience, but sadly my selection finished well down the field and out of the prize money. She (I presume it was a ewe) was so far behind that I suspect she must have been drugged, something not unheard of in dog or horse racing, but, up to now, never seen in sheep racing.

  However, I didn’t want to cause any controversy, so I took my defeat like a man. I went for a few quiet pints to drown my sorrows, closed my Paddy Power account – and have decided to join Gamblers Anonymous.

Musings on a successful Harvest Festival…

The Dog Show last Sunday at Creggs Harvest Festival was a great success. The revived Clay Pigeon shoot was very well attended, and the Craft Fair (held over two days) was also well supported.

  Meanwhile, I’m told that the American Tea Party on Saturday night, during which the extremely well received Crexit debate was held, was great craic. For some unknown reason I am personally not a fan of the tea party, and have yet to attend any of them, but I think it’s my loss, as everyone I met since told me it was mighty fun. Maybe next year!

  Friday night (I’m going back over the weekend in reverse) saw the launch of the festival, with Larry Donoghue being a well deserved Personality of the Parish, while the Annual Mass was celebrated in the Heritage Centre and was followed by a night of music, poetry and storytelling.

  Talking of poetry, and on Friday night one of our best known and respected parish members, Vincent (Vinnie) Keaveney, launched his first book of poems, The Banks of Lough Ouver, and I can only say it’s a wonderful production and an absolute delight to read.

  20 of his poems, covering many of his life’s interests and experiences, are beautifully presented in the book, and all I can do is tell you to get yourself a copy because it truly is a book worth having. Christmas is coming and it would make a smashing present for anyone, so snap them up before they sell out, as they surely will, and in doing so you will also be helping the Galway Hospice as all the proceeds are going to that worthy organisation.

  On a personal level, I have known Vinnie for many a year. He is a true gentleman, a talented musician and singer, and a lovely fellow, and I heartily congratulate him on this wonderful book. I hope it’s the first of many. (There are many lovely poems in the book but my favourite is Jock the Clown).

What about the penalty points?

This week my heart goes out to the footballers of Oran (our neighbours) who lost the County Intermediate Football Final replay after extra-time in the most bizarre way ever – losing on penalties to Tulsk on a 4-2 scoreline.

  Now I don’t know who decided to go down the penalty route, although it appears to be because of Connacht club fixtures, but it’s an awful way to lose out after a year’s hard work and effort. It seems to me that a midweek replay under lights would have been a fairer option.

  Another question that arose in my mind was – why could only goals count? During the course of any game you can score a point from a penalty, so why not in the shoot-out? Anyway, it’s a very unsatisfactory way to lose (or win) a county final, and while congratulating Tulsk on a famous victory, I really do sympathise with our near-neighbours. Knowing Oran, I expect to see them back in the final again next year – hopefully against Creggs!

And finally…


Finally for this week, it looks as if the way to make big money is to be an international rugby player. Despite our horror showing at the World Cup, I see that if you want to get a motivational talk by Johnny Sexton you would need to shell out almost €20,000, with Paul O’Connell commanding the same sort of money, while Brian O’Driscoll or Ronan O’Gara can be got for about €5,000 less.

  It’s handy money if you can get it – and fair play to them – but the mind boggles as to how much they would cost if they had won the World Cup. I wonder if a few Connacht Junior Cups and leagues are worth anything? Probably too late now.


Till next week, Bye for now!