Having a grand time in picturesque Malahide

Our man Frank on one night in Malahide; Why he’s leaning towards Harry & Meghan in that family falling out; Another Bingo update… and some local events this Christmas

It’s Saturday night, and after visiting our daughter Lisa and her husband Brian for their annual Christmas Dinner (which actually hadn’t taken place since 2019 because of Covid), a group of us headed into the north Dublin village of Malahide for a little bit of Christmas socialising.

Now Malahide is a small enough place, with only a handful of pubs, but every one of them was hopping; barely room to swing the infamous cat. I began to wonder, not for the first time, where exactly this recession that we are supposed to be in is?

After a while, since some of the party were of the age where they no longer wished to be pushed and shoved around a bar while trying in vain to get a drink (aka me), we headed for the beautiful Grand Hotel.

Though quite busy, the hotel had ample seating and was lovely and comfortable, with a nice Christmassy atmosphere. As we sat at a lovely round table having a few drinks, my mind drifted back a long, long time, back to the first time I ever saw ‘the Grand’.

Carol and I had visited it long ago in the company of our good friend, the late Marky Fitzmaurice, and his wife Pauline. I’d safely say that was 30 years or more ago by now, and if memory serves me correctly, we had great fun that night, and the truth is we enjoyed ourselves to a similar degree last Saturday night.

The hotel is still my favourite place in Malahide – although I would think there is a fair difference in the price of drink since our very first visit, with the pint of plain now coming in (or out) at €6, and a bottle of Heineken a tasty €6.40c. However, the atmosphere, comfort, and the friendliness of the staff more than compensated for the slightly inflated prices, and the next time I am back up in that part of the world, I hope to visit the Grand once again.


Bingo update!

Speaking of social nights out, and having recovered from my exertions at the bingo recently, Olivia Harris tells me that the event will return again to the school hall in Creggs early in the New Year, on a date yet to be confirmed.

She also asked me to thank everyone who helped to make the last Bingo Night such a success, including the businesses that sponsored prizes, all who helped on the night by giving out teas and sandwiches and other refreshments, the ticket sellers who achieved the unusual feat of selling out of all their tickets, the number callers, and especially all of the people who came out in such numbers to support the whole event.

As I said, it will all be back again in the New Year, so watch this space!

Why I’m inclined to side with Harry and Meghan!

I have to admit that I’m not a great one for following the never-ending barrage of stuff that’s constantly appearing about the Royal family, but I must confess that I’ve (more or less) completed the six-part Netflix series on Meghan and Harry – and the truth is that I cannot understand what all the furore is about!

Surely it is obvious to everyone that the Royal family’s existence is totally abnormal, and because they are effectively a family both ‘owned’ and paid for by the British and Commonwealth public, they are subjected to a level of scrutiny that normal people never have to endure.

Obviously some members of the family are quite happy to live their lives of luxury in return for a life of public service, where their every move is monitored by the press, but if Harry and Meghan want to lead their own private lives, why can’t they?

It seems to me that the young couple’s popularity when they toured Australia sent alarm bells ringing back in Buckingham Palace, and the family could not tolerate another Princess Diana! That is, another hugely popular global figure who was a ‘blow-in’ – in this case an American (Meghan), and worst of all from the Palace’s viewpoint, a woman of mixed race.

Personally, I have no doubt that a lot of the bullying, manipulation, and other misdemeanours which the new Royal was allegedly subjected to did happen and were deliberately done to ruin her reputation. But the revelations seem to have divided the British public.

Whatever the outcome, the Royal family will carry on, and the media will always be interested in their every move! After all, the right photo, at the right time, and in the right place, could be worth its weight in gold!

Roll on Charles‘ coronation – we will wait and see if the rebellious pair are invited, and if they are, can you imagine the media circus then?

Local events at Christmas

Talking of royalty (elsewhere in this column), out in this part of the world we have our own entertainment royalty in the person of Annette Griffin – a world class singer who is the resident entertainer in the exclusive Ashford Castle Hotel.

The exciting news is that Annette tells me that along with her mother Frances, and John Staunton, she will be singing at the Christmas Day Mass in Donamon Castle at 10 am.

So pop in for a special and wonderful occasion if you can. I for one am certainly looking forward to being there, and if I were you, I would be there as well! It truly is a very special place on Christmas morning.

Moving on to St Stephen’s Day: after a day of over-eating and (hopefully not too much) over-drinking, St Stephen’s Day will see the annual Creggs Charity Walk take place.

Leaving Mikeen O’Roarkes at 12.30 pm, the walk will travel up, over and down the mountain, giving you a chance to get rid of the excesses of the previous day! Four charities (ACT for Meningitis, Galway Hospice, Mayo-Roscommon Hospice, and the Sunshine Room in Creggs NS) will benefit from the funds raised from the walk. Sponsorship cards are still available in Mikeen’s.

Following the charity walk, there will be music with Sean Donoghue kicking off at 5 pm, so a great evening is in store too.

And finally…

As we approach another Christmas Day, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday: keep safe, don’t overdo the alcohol, enjoy your time with family and friends, and with so much emphasis on social activities, spare a thought for the real meaning of Christmas – and remember what it’s all about! Happy Christmas!