Home thoughts from abroad…




It’s Monday afternoon, warm but slightly cloudy, and I have just come back from the pool a few yards down the road from where we are spending a few days in the October sunshine in the Spanish seaside village of Cabo Roig.

  We have been here since Thursday last, and it is now almost time to be heading back to Creggs, where this weekend the 39th Harvest Festival is taking place. The festival happens in a village where, as I mentioned briefly last week, huge changes are taking place, changes that are greatly welcomed by everyone in the village and surrounding areas.

  Firstly, a few weeks ago one of the newer residents in Creggs itself, Andy Clancy, opened an antique furniture shop in the beautifully restored premises that was Michael Kilby’s. He has a great collection of interesting old pieces on display (and of course for sale), and he tells me that business is already booming.

  As someone who has been involved in the furniture and antique business for many years now, I can tell you that a visit to Andy’s would be well worth your while. He is an expert in the antique field. If you want a bargain, tell him I sent you. It probably won’t get you any reduction, but it’s worth a try!

  Secondly, and a massive boost for all of us who like a quiet pint now and again, the big news is that Gannon’s pub, which was a favourite with us all for too short a time, is reopening this Wednesday evening, under the management of the Dolan brothers, who have already been very successful in their recent acquisition of Dalton’s pub in Fuerty. There is no doubt that the Dolans are committed, innovative publicans, and are sure to be a great addition to the village of Creggs.

  Thirdly, I am reliably informed that the local chipper/takeaway, which has been closed for some months now, is also set to reopen under new management, details of which I have not yet got. I wish its new proprietors, and Andy and the Dolan brothers, the very best in their new ventures. I encourage you all to support them as best as you can.  

  When a village the size of Creggs gets three new businesses almost simultaneously, it has to be a great day. I have mentioned rural deprivation and rural decline several times in this column down through the years. A  development like this proves that rural Ireland is fighting back. As of now, Creggs is very much to the forefront. Here’s wishing the best to all the new ventures. Hopefully it won’t be long before I sample your wares.

  Back to the Harvest Festival, and I’m told there are great plans in place to celebrate its 40th birthday, and details will be available in plenty of time for next year’s offering, but for now, all roads leave to Creggs this weekend where there are a multitude of activities laid on for your entertainment, and where you can have the best of fun and craic.

  I don’t think the chipper will be open (hope I’m wrong), but you will definitely be able to buy a top of the range Chesterfield couch or some other period piece in Andy’s, and, to celebrate your great purchase, slip around the corner and have a pint in Dolan’s.

  Our old reliable, Mikeen’s, has music a few times over the weekend as well, and all the usual attractions like the dog show and the craft fair, as well as other new events, are taking place. All you have to do is get on your bike and get to Creggs any time over the Bank Holiday weekend, and if I run into you and you’re buying, I’ll have a pint of the black stuff.

  Back to Spain, and at this stage we nearly know as many people there as at home, but this time we met new people from around our own area – like Paul and Cathriona – while we also ran into an old friend, Liz, as we socialised in O’Riordan’s Irish bar.


I’m grateful for the great days this Irish team gave us


Last Saturday morning, along with loads of optimistic Irish supporters, we were in O’Riordan’s Irish bar in Cabo Roig in time for breakfast, to watch Ireland versus the All Blacks. In truth, almost before the rashers and sausages were cool enough to eat, we were already on our way out of the World Cup.

  The 46-14 defeat was a sobering experience, but scarcely a surprise. Thankfully, I haven’t had to read any of the Irish sportswriters, but knowing their habit of turning on their own, I am glad to be away for the few days.

  For me, as a rugby supporter, I thank this team for the great days they have given us over the last few years. A good few of them have probably come to the end of the road as international players, but as a group they did us proud, punched way above their weight, and gave us memories to cherish for as long as we live.

  As for Joe Schmidt, I have heard that some of our prominent rugby writers on national papers have had a go at him. As always, it’s easy to kick a man when he’s down. For me, he delivered some of the best rugby occasions ever, both with Leinster and Ireland, and I believe as a small little country we owe him a massive debt. Of course he would have wished to go out on a better note, he may even have been guilty of some poor selection in his World Cup panel, but all things considered he did an amazing job, and all I can do is thank Joe for the great days and wish him well in the future.


And finally…

Finally for this week, as we prepare to head off to the airport for the flight back to the Emerald Isle, I have to say that there is no doubt that the sunshine and excellent value for money still makes Spain a wonderful holiday destination.

  However, the good – or maybe bad – news is that today could be an ‘Irish day’…the rain is lashing down, it’s pretty cold, there’s no-one to be seen, and even the hundreds of cats that are usually to be seen everywhere seem to have gone into hiding. It will be good to be home.


Till next week, Bye for now!