Yes, it’s a long way to Tipperary – especially if you get lost!


It’s bright but not that early on Saturday morning and myself, Carol, and our son Mark are ready to hit for the beautiful south Tipperary village of Bansha, where Colin O’Rourke is due to get wed to his lovely fiancee, Louise McLoughlin. Colin, by the way, is the son of Michael and Carmel, proprietors of Mikeen’s, a place you know so well by now that you probably thought you’d be invited to the wedding – but sadly you didn’t make the cut.        

My daughter Tara has kindly offered me the use of her car, mainly because she thinks mine might not make the trip, and so I am now sitting behind the wheel in my own driveway ready to hit the road. The only thing is that her car is an automatic and not since I bought the most amazing car ever from Roscommon doctor, Padraig Brennan – a Renault 30, which means it was a brilliant three litre petrol guzzler – nearly thirty years ago, have I piloted an automatic car.  However it’s like riding a bike, or is it?

Ten minutes go by, blood pressure is rising in the car, but so far no movement to report! I am stuck, and despite making a number of phone calls looking for assistance, I fail to make contact with anyone and it now looks as if the wedding is going to have to go ahead without us. Finally, Carol tells me to get out, she hops into the driver’s seat and immediately the car decides to move and we are on our way. What I was doing, or maybe not doing, I haven’t a clue, but whatever it was it was my fault and not the car’s, but anyway we were now on our way and looking forward to a brilliant day at the wedding in the stunning surroundings of Kilshane House, a couple of miles from the village of Bansha.  

The wedding venue was booked out and so I had booked a B&B, Ballymacourty House, which was somewhere in the local area. We headed there first, as we all had to put on our finery and doll ourselves up for the celebrations. The only thing was I had no idea where the house was, we brought no map and so we relied on the sat nav, which Mark yoked up through my phone.

Now the sat nav got us there, but even now I can’t tell you how! We went through boreens that were hard set to take an ass and cart. We seemed to be going back the way we came and for a while it looked as if we mightn’t get there ‘till the barbecue the following day. If the blood pressure was high as we tried to take off from Crosswell (that’s where I live), by the time we found Ballymacourty House, we were all fit to burst. Anyway, we all got sorted, and while we failed to get to the church, we did finally make it to the extraordinary wedding venue that is Kilshane House.

A large Victorian house at the end of a big long driveway set in almost 400 acres of private parkland with its own lake and trout river, it truly is an awe-inspiring place. It would take a nature writer to fully describe the breathtaking beauty of the whole set-up but all I can say is, if you ever find yourself down that part of the country, make sure you go in for a look. It goes without saying that everything about the reception was out of this world and the attention to detail had to be seen to be believed – so much so that the staff checked to see if you had your napkin in place before you started to eat.

We had a lovely table with Jimmy and Nora Connelly, my brother Duff (Sean) and Fiona, and we were joined by Don and Phil Ryan, from near Ennis, whose son Dan was at the top table as a groomsman. We enjoyed the wonderful meal, although in my case, I ate far too much. We sang and danced and even had a pint or two, into the early hours, and remarkably made it back to the B&B and drew the curtains on a most enjoyable day. Mind you, for most of the guests, there was another full day to do, as there was music and a barbecue laid on the Monday. One day is enough for me in my advanced age, and we skipped away at an early enough hour, although funny enough I made it home a lot quicker than the downward journey.  

Before I leave the whole affair, I have to say that our B& B, Ballymacourty House, was really excellent and I can honestly say that I never got a breakfast anywhere to match it: four sausages, three old-style thick rashers, two fried eggs, loads of brown bread and as much coffee or tea that you wanted. Now that I’m fed, nothing left to do except to congratulate Colin and Louise and wish the happy couple a long happy life together, and thanks for a most memorable day out.

Before I leave the subject of weddings, sometimes we are told that the traditional wedding is becoming a thing of the past, well not so in our area as this weekend there were two weddings in our parish, when Patricia Keegan, daughter of the famous Sean (Bags) and Mary, married Gerry Grant, on Sunday, and Marguerite Heavey, daughter of Paddy and Ellen, got wed too. Congratulations and best wishes to both couples, and a long, happy life to them all.

Best rugby game I’ve ever seen!


On Sunday evening I happened to see the final of the rugby top 14 competition in France between Clermont and Toulon and I have never before seen anything like it. It was such an intense, brutal game and the level of commitment shown by all the players was bordering on the insane.

There was total disregard for personal safety, the level of excitement was almost unbearable, and when the eternal bridesmaids, Clermont, staggered over the winning line, it was such a great feeling.

I am not a fan of French rugby but that game was the best I have ever seen, so maybe I’ll watch a bit more of it now. But one frightening thing for the Lions on tour in New Zealand was the form of discarded All Black, Ma’a Nonu. He was simply unstoppable, although on the losing Toulon team, and if the All Blacks have better centres, it doesn’t bode well for the chances of the Lions, who have started this tour in a very disappointing manner. 

A big night in Creggs…


Finally for this week…on Saturday night the distribution of the Barrie Harris Walk funds takes place in Mikeen’s with music, food, fun and craic, so if you still have money to get in from the walk, get it in pronto, as this money makes such a difference to so many people and charities. It all kicks off around 10 pm and I want to see you all there!

Till next week, Bye for now!